Monday, July 09, 2007

Growing Along the Journey

I love impatiens. They are such pretty little flowers. However, you probably agree that the seedlings aren't much to look at. Just some green leaves on a tiny plant. Not very impressive. When you see those green leaves, though, there is the promise of something better yet to come. Hold that thought...

Recently, I had an enlightening conversation with my oldest son, regarding his thoughts about what he wants to be when he grows up. We discussed a couple of different things he is considering. I finally told him, "That's a great idea, but you need to make sure it's what God has in mind for your future, not just what you want for your future." In the past, that would have been the end of it. But this time, he asked, "And how do I know what God wants? How will He tell me?" Wow. Such a grown-up question coming from an 11 year old! It led into a really great talk about developing our prayer life, and learning to hear God's voice.

When did my little boy become a pre-teen, thinking through such mature things?

You have to know, I'm a pretty protective mom. I try not to be overly that way, but you know...it just happens sometimes. Both of our boys have blogs, but with strict restrictions: you must not use your real name, you may not post a picture of yourself on there, you may not tell where you live, and your parents have your password, so that we may remove any unacceptable posts or comments at any time.

But, they are both growing up. Soon, my oldest will be a teen. That's a scary thought! It's time to let my little seedlings begin to do some growing on their own. They're not ready to go it alone yet, of course. They still have some years of nurturing to receive. But I have to learn when to back off and when to nurture.

I see the same in my walk with God. I often feel like a little seedling, spiritually speaking. My roots are just starting to take hold in the soil, and a few leaves have sprouted. The flowers aren't there yet. Just some leaves, that show growth is taking place.

I know the Father has more though. It's time to stop being a seedling and let Him mature me into an adult "plant", full of flowers...the fruit of time and growth and the work He is doing in me. The nice thing about our spiritual growth is that God never stops nurturing us. I believe, though, that as a Father, He does sometimes just sort of step back to see what we'll do with what He's given us. Will we continue to deepen our roots and turn our faces to the "sun", relying on Him as our ultimate source of growth, or will we think we can do this all on our own? And wither in the process?

Yes, I do love impatiens. But I don't settle for those seedling leaves. I am "impatient" (pardon the pun) to see those beautiful flowers: the fruit of my watering and weeding.

I look forward to seeing the outgrowth of the nurturing time poured into my sons. And I look forward to seeing the fruit of God's work in my own life. God is the best gardener of all!

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