Expectant Prayers ®

Jennifer Jo Weiss

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Here's Zeke at a little over a year old enjoying the pumpkins we grew!  Those things were huge!   He's always been a gardener at heart.

My three year old, Zeke, and I love to garden together!  His favorite thing is "picking", but who can blame him?  
He gets very excited when he sees a bunch of green beans hanging on the plants or realizes that there is a cucumber ready.  Last year, he was my cherry tomato guy.  He would go out with a large bowl and just pick as many as he could.  That particular plant yielded gobs and gobs of tomatoes...too many for us to eat.  In fact, this year, a plant started on it's own... evidently a result of a seed getting in the ground last year due to the abundance.  Our little cherry tomato plant is getting bigger and Zeke will probably be out there picking cherry tomatoes again before too long.   
We also have some things that are just beginning to fruit, like our carrots and peppers.  He's loving the carrots and keeps pulling the little ones out of the soil.  If he doesn't quit soon, there won't be any full sized carrots to enjoy.  He just thinks that they are ready (probably because we eat so many baby carrots).

He also likes putting the seeds in the ground, which he was very helpful with this year, but I often wonder if he really gets the picture that what we put in the ground is actually what has grown all these wonderful plants.  All I know is that when something needs picking, he's right there gleefully gardening.

This year, like some years past, our harvest had been a little disappointing.  That is until just a week or so ago when the garden seemed to hit overdrive.  It wasn't that the plants weren't yielding, but the wild animals would come and gorge themselves on our garden!  I can't tell you how many green tomatoes I would see growing on the vine, only to be picked a few short days later and half eaten by some animal. 
Now, don't get me wrong...we love the wild animals... but it is a little frustrating when they are stealing what you've worked so hard to nurture.  It left me feeling like the verse in the Bible about sowing the seed... how some of it was eaten... or other verses where the enemy comes to steal what was just sown in our hearts!   I actually prayed and asked the Lord to keep the animals from getting to the garden and I believe he is answering prayer!  I went out on Tuesday to find about 20 nicely sized tomatoes growing, a bowl full of green beans, and some cucumbers that I didn't know were there.  Of course, Zeke found the cucumbers and pulled all the green beans for me.  You should have seen the look on his face when he found the cucumber that was almost a foot long.  He picked it and then went to find all of his brothers and his sister to show off his  prize!

I am grateful for our garden, especially since I have to eat so many fresh fruits and vegetables right now.  I guess the Lord knew that.  Tomorrow I'll share what we did with our rhubarb! 

I guess kids are a lot like our gardens because it takes a lot of work, nurturing, and "watering" with all the right things to produce good fruits in their lives.  I often talk to parents that have questions or concerns about parenting, and I think the garden is a perfect example of the how- to's and how- not- to's!  I can say one thing, kids sure do grow fast!  Here's a little something I came up with...

7 Points of Productive Parenting:

1.  Plant with love.  Remember when planting that children need to be in good, fertile soil.  This will assure that their roots will grow deep and keep them stable in the years to come.  Our job begins when they are still in the womb- just like the seed in the ground.  Never forget, too, that you will reap what you sow into their lives.

2.  Expose them to the sun (SON)!  Just like plants, kids cannot grow properly without the Son.  In fact, without the Son, they will wilt and die.  They need Him to live!

3.  Pull the weeds.  Each child will have weeds that will sprout up beside them from time to time... do not let these "weeds" take root.  Take care of them immediately, or the weeds will attach themselves to your child and choke the life out of him/her.

4.  Pest control.  Occasionally, you will find it necessary to deal with pests or other problems that could negatively affect your child.  It is your job to be a diligent parent and watch for signs of pests.  When you find them, treat the situation quickly. 

5.  Water regularly.   Consistency in parenting is one of the most important aspects you can work on.  If you water a garden irregularly, the fruit will show that you did... it will be misshapen.   We need to water our children with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self control,  and the Word.

6.  Feed (Fertilize).   We must feed our children's spirits regularly with good things so that they will grow strong in faith and love for the Lord.  Proper nutrition is essential!

7.  Pruning.  From time to time, you will find it necessary to prune out bad branches from your child.  Though no discipline is pleasant at the time, it does produce a harvest of righteousness.  You will find that eventually, more fruit will be evident and he/she will be healthier because of pruning.

If you commit to the work of "gardening/parenting" then you will harvest a life of abundance and righteousness in your child that will perpetuate to the next generation!

I hope you will consider the gardens in your life today and think about how they are growing!

Blessings, friends!  See you tomorrow!

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