Guest post from author Sandra Byrd.
For me, spring is the season of self-imposed whiplash. Whether it’s while driving or riding in the car or walking with my daughter, I’m looking left and then right and then left again. I’m distracted by what’s coming up in planters, sprouting in flower beds, popping into margins by the side of the road. “Mom!” my daughter says. “Stop looking. You don’t need any more plants!”
Oh, but yes, I do.
I’m the botanical equivalent of the crazy cat lady—I love plants, and I have empty containers lining the inside of my garage wall to prove it. Although summer is the season when plants are most lush, spring is the season when they are most welcome. After a long, gray winter, nothing says finally! like nodding redheaded tulips, pots stuffed with practical pansies or the pink teacup blossoms of dogwood trees. Hope has arrived! Good things are just ahead! I especially love fruit tree blossoms, knowing what they promise for the months and years ahead.
And yet, everyone knows beautiful blooms and delicious fruit do not just magically appear, as it can often seem in the flush of spring. There have been months of planting, weeding, tending, and care offered ahead of time and even as they grow. Vulnerable plants must be guarded during the cold months, either brought into the house or mulched to keep warm. Deer love to nibble tender shoots, and I need to shoo them away. I feed my plants; I pluck pests from them, I trim and train them. Much tending goes into their health and welfare.
This, I think, is like tending to kids. We who have been privileged to nurture, train, and protect young lives are eager to see them to be, right now, and grow into, later, the beautiful people God has designed them to be. That well-being doesn’t just happen, however. We must feed them good spiritual food in music, books, movies, and sound teaching. We need to guard them against pests and those who would damage or destroy. We weed influences from around them— influences they are not yet mature enough to realize will harm them even as those influences encroach ever closer. We train children in the way they should go, helping them wrap themselves around the sturdy frame of their faith in and following of Christ, just like we would steady and secure a beautiful climbing vine.
Spring is the birth of the new year, the hope and promise of what is to come. Our children are, too. Which little ones are you called to plant, to weed, to feed, to water, to train, or protect this spring?
Each of us did the work the Lord gave us. I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. 1 Corinthians 3:5b-8
Sandra Byrd is the author of The One Year Be-Tween You and God, the London Confidential series, and The One Year Home and Garden Devotions which is scheduled to release in October 2015. You can visit her website at www.sandrabyrd.com or on Facebook or Twitter.