By: Jaime Gibbs

    Several years ago, in a previous home, I convinced my husband to help me begin a garden. It was a small patch in our backyard, nothing fancy, but the learning experience was priceless. Who knew there was so much to learn about planting seeds and growing plants? Certainly not me!

Trips to the local library resulted in armfuls of books about square foot gardening, lasagna gardening, different types of vegetables, and natural methods for growing an impressive harvest.

What I quickly discovered was that different plants prefer different soils. Some soils might need to be amended. Certain plants fared best next to others. Some needed more or less water. Some needed more care and attention. Desirable results required a bit of effort.

And so, we rolled up our sleeves and tilled the ground, turning up the earth under the bright sun. We hammered in fencing around the perimeter to prevent unwanted wildlife from scurrying in (as best we could!). We hauled large bags of peat moss and spread them over the ground, only to turn it all over again. We dug deep so roots could spread out.

Preparing a garden for an abundant harvest is, in some ways, like preparing your children for eternal life. What seeds are you sowing? How are you preparing the soil of their hearts for the Word of God and the plan He has for them? Are there amendments that need to be made?

How we prepare the soil depends somewhat on what we’re hoping to grow. We figure out what it is we should plant after considering the harvest we desire to see. If we want an apple tree, we plant apple seeds, and consider what that young plant will need to flourish and grow. It won’t be exactly the same as growing carrots or strawberries.

Similarly, the Bible talks to us about the fruits of the spirit, which is what we should be cultivating in ourselves and desiring to encourage in our children. They should have the seeds of these fruits sprouting up in their lives. You can find these "fruits" in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control..."

We can't produce these fruits for them (that's the work of the Spirit) but we can be mindful to ready the soil, sow the seeds, and train them to look upwards.

Preparing for the harvest you want to see in your children may not be easy work, but the toil will be worth it. Stay vigilant! Armed with prayer and His Word, you can carefully cultivate their hearts with the hope that they’ll ultimately reap the greatest harvest of all, eternal life with our wonderful Savior.


Jaime is married to Pierre Gibbs, who pastors ConnectPoint Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They have the privilege of raising two amazing and adventurous young men for the glory of God. Read more from her at Like a Bubbling Brook,



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