My kids recently helped replant an aloe.
They took shoots of all sizes and transplanted each one into a different sized pot. Small shoots went in the tiniest pots. Larger ones needed more room.
Some of the larger ones have already sent up shoots of their own and are large enough to need new pots.
This Fall, my oldest will venture into highschool while my youngest experiments with kindergarten (“kitten garden”). It is easy for me to just continue in the same old routines we’ve always had. However, when I realize that one is ready to learn to read and another is ready to learn to drive, I know I will have to make some changes. I am going to have to step them up into larger pots!
I am tentative about allowing them to go to summer camp. I worry if they seem to be choosing the wrong friends. I hold out my hand to catch them if their bikes wobble without the training wheels. However, I am learning that they need larger pots if they are going to grow.
They need to be able to practice faith in a God they cannot see. They need to be able to anchor to the hope of eternal life in Christ instead of to a stable home environment. They need the chance to love the unlovely without their mom fretting about germs, risks, or disappointments.
As I plant them in larger pots, I recognize that my Heavenly Father is enjoying a chuckle over the irony. This is just a larger pot He is transplanting me to. When she leaves driving the car, my faith is expanded. When he deals with loss, my hope is increased. When they disappoint me, the opportunity to love like Jesus is there.
The Master Gardener has pots within pots where we parents are growing alongside our children. He prunes, weeds, cultivates, and gathers a harvest as we live and work and love one another.
Everything about parenting is difficult, but as my father-in-law used to say, “If it was easy, I’d ask your little sister to do it.” The Lord has assigned parents this difficult task because He knew we’d need to depend on Him for each moment. He knew we would make the perfect imperfect picture of disciples.
He knew it would mirror what happens in the life of every Christian and every church. Whether we are parents to children or not, as Christians, we have the directive to “Go and make disciples of all nations.”
Our task as parents is just a microcosm of the Lord’s greater task. We must encourage other Followers of Christ to be transplanted to bigger pots, to stretch their faith, hope, and love for His glory.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways… so now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”