“So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7 ESV)
Our new home has many adorable, you-only-get-this-kind-of-character-with-old-houses type features. One feature I enjoy immensely is the corner sink in the kitchen, it looks out into the front yard/driveway and has two HUGE windowsills where I imagined starting a little herb garden and collecting cheerful flowers. I could just picture myself joyfully (ha!) scrubbing the dishes as my gaze ran dreamily through the vibrant homage to domestic tranquility.
Filled with all the optimism in the world, I purchased some spirited daffodils in sweet little planters and began planting the little herb seeds my father bought for me.
Just two weeks down the road and my windowsills are looking anything but inspirational. They are looking more like an homage to death than domestic tranquility. I am finally calling the daffodils’ unfortunate demise and hoping that the fuzzy moldy looking stuff on the top of my herb garden’s soil will just magically go away.
It turns out I’m not a natural gardener.
It’s not surprising, really. I have never grown anything before, and I didn’t exactly do any research on the best methods for windowsill gardening… I don’t even know if you can sustain daffodils indoors. They just looked adorable, and I thought I would give it a shot. I wasn’t very attentive to my little plants: some days I would forget to water them and they would get all dry and then when I remembered I would flood them with water, hoping to make up for the days I had missed.
Apparently it doesn’t work like that.
When I first began this little project I thought that gardening would surely provide many opportunities for reflecting on the master Gardener in my life–the Savior who plants seeds of faith in his people and then faithfully tends to their growth. I thought I would see illustrations of his loving, but painful pruning and protection. Instead I was given a very obvious illustration of how inferior I am to him and how quickly I forget about the souls I’ve been allowed to help cultivate.
In his grace, the Savior has allowed me to come alongside him in the duties of tending to some flowers in his garden. I have these little children that he’s placed in my care, who require constant attention. Just like my gardening enterprise, however, many of my days as a mother are marked by failure.
I forget that I can’t successfully work the soil of my children’s hearts on my own. My own strength and my own knowledge are painfully inadequate.
I forget that I need outside sources–namely the Word of God and the fellowship of God’s people–to aid me in this endeavor.
I forget the important task assigned to me, some days neglecting to nurture and discipline my children, and then on others flooding them with affection and attention in an effort to make up for it.
I am not a disciplined gardener, and I am certainly not a disciplined mother.
How thankful I am that my children’s spiritual lives are not solely dependent upon me! How thankful I am that their salvation and sanctification are the responsibility of God alone–the only one who can truly penetrate the hard soil of their hearts. And above all, how thankful I am that He is not done with me yet! Every day his Holy Spirit is transforming me from one degree of glory to another.
The same one who is tending the soil of my children’s hearts is tending the soil of my own–creating in me a heart that beats with the steady love and compassion of the Master Gardener, Jesus Christ.
This is the power of the true “miracle grow” in the our lives. It is the power of the gospel, by which we are saved and by which we are sanctified. All glory be to our God!