Looking at me with his big blue eyes over his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, my at the time four year old tells me that he wants to pray to an idol. Perplexed at first, I remember that his Sunday school class has recently studied the Old Testament stories of idol worship.
Taking a deep breath, and careful not to overreact, I gently explain that it is not good to joke about these things and that we pray to God; the God that created us and made us a family. Satisfied with my explanation, he smiles and offers a prayer of thanks for his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
Years later as I reflect over this lunch time discussion with my little boy, I realize that every time a child sows even the tinniest seeds of rebellion a mother must seize the opportunity to put on her gardening gloves and dig up these seeds before they have a chance to take root in the child’s soul.
Tools are important to any gardener, especially to mothers who till in the soil of the heart. The tools she strives to embrace include praying continually to God for wisdom, studying to grasp the deep meaning of scripture, and learning from the joys and trials of older gardeners. With these tools in place she can confidently dig up those tiny seeds of rebellion before harvest time.
A mother’s hands get pretty dirty while tilling the soil of her child’s soul. Her face will even loose some of it’s youth, just as a farmer’s face is callused by the winds of winter. But she doesn’t really mind. Her garden is beginning to bloom.
Children, like all seedlings, will take on a development of their own. The mother’s soul is not the child’s and the child’s soul is not the mother’s. They are separate, but connected through the love they share.
Attempts to plant evil seeds in the life of the child will continue to occur long after they are grown…long after the parent’s gardening tools grow dusty. So while there is opportunity, mothers must give themselves to the important work of pulling the weeds planted in their child’s life, smoothing out the soil, drawing a line in the child’s soul and laying a new row of good seed to grow in the life of her child.