What we sow…we reap

Thursday, January 29, 2015

"A woman named Christa once worked for a small seed company. She loved her job. It was a source of immense wonder that each tiny seed she sold had the capacity to transform itself into something quite miraculous—a carrot, a cabbage, or even a mighty oak tree. Christa loved sitting at her computer taking orders and answering questions. But one day she received a complaint that puzzled her. 
“The seeds don’t work,” the customer said. “I bought them two months ago and still nothing.” “Did you plant them in good soil and give them enough water and sunlight?” Christa asked. “No, but I did my part,” the customer replied. “I bought the seeds. After all, they are guaranteed to grow.” “But you didn’t plant them?” “Heavens no. That would mean getting my hands dirty.” 
Christa thought about this and decided that planting guidelines would have to be written. She resolved what the first guideline would be: “You must follow planting instructions for the seeds to sprout. You can’t set them on the shelf and expect them to grow.” 
It wasn’t long before another complaint puzzled her. “The seeds aren’t producing,” a customer claimed. “Did you plant them in good soil?” Christa responded. “Did you give them the appropriate amount of water and sunlight?” “Oh, yes,” the customer insisted. “I did all that―exactly as it says on the package. But they don’t work.” “Did anything happen at all? Did they sprout?” “Nothing happened,”the customer said. “I planted them just as directed. I was hoping to have tomatoes for dinner. Now I am very disappointed.” “Wait,”Christa replied. “Are you saying you planted the seeds today?” “Don’t be ridiculous,” the customer replied. “I planted them a week ago. I was not expecting to see tomatoes on the first day; I was patient. Let me tell you, there has been a lot of watering and waiting between then and now.” 
Christa knew she would have to add another guideline: “These seeds conform to the laws of biology. If you plant the seeds in the morning and expect to eat tomatoes later that week, you will be disappointed. You must be patient and wait for the work of nature to unfold before you.” 
All went well until Christa received another complaint. “I’m very disappointed in your seeds,” the customer began. “I planted them just as the package recommended. I gave them water, made sure they had sunshine, and waited until finally they produced their harvest.” “Sounds like you did everything right,” Christa said. “That’s all very fine,” the customer replied. “But what I got was zucchini!” “My records show that those were the seeds you ordered,” Christa said. “But I don’t want zucchini; I want pumpkins!” “I’m not following.” “I planted the seeds in my pumpkin patch—the very same soil that produced pumpkins last year. I praised the plants every day, telling them what beautiful pumpkins they would become. But instead of large, round, orange pumpkins, I got long, green zucchini. Tons of them!” 
Christa knew then that guidelines might not be enough and that it was necessary to state a principle: “The seed you plant and the time of the planting determine the harvest.” 
The Apostle Paul taught about God’s harvest: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not” (Galatians 6:7–9). 
What we sow, we reap. God’s harvest is unimaginably glorious. To those who honor Him, His bountiful blessings come in “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over--  for with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38). 
Just as earthly seeds require effort and patience, so do many of the blessings of heaven. We cannot put our religion on a shelf and expect to harvest spiritual blessings. But if we plant and nurture gospel standards in the daily life of our family, there is a high probability that our children will grow up to produce spiritual fruit of great value to them and to future generations. 
God’s answers to our prayers do not always come immediately—sometimes they do not appear to come at all—but God knows what is best for His children. Assuredly, one day we will see more clearly; and on that day we will recognize the goodness and generosity of heaven. In the meantime, our goal and great joy is to walk in the footsteps of our Master and Savior and to live good and refined lives so that the promised and precious harvest of God’s priceless blessings can be ours. 
What we sow, we reap. That is the law of heaven….that is the law of God’s harvest."
 Written by Dieter F. Uchtdorf entitled, "God's Harvest"
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I thought I'd share just a little food for the soul today. The past few weeks have been particularly challenging --for a multitude of reasons.  My husband (sensing my stress and frustration) emailed me this talk to read yesterday.  It was exactly what I needed. 

There are days that are definitely more challenging than others as a stay-at-home mom.  And I must admit, being in my 40s and being the parent of small children is much more exhausting than I anticipated it would be.  I sometimes envy the younger moms who are in their 20s and 30s….I wish I had their energy.  :-)  But the Lord knows what He's doing and I have to trust in that.  When I decided to leave my career behind and stay home full-time with our children, I knew it would come with it's own unique challenges--but oh boy--I really had no idea how emotionally and physically draining it was going to be.  I have many a days that are filled with cuddling, lots of laughter and just the simple joys of motherhood---and how grateful I am to be home each day with them to experience all these precious moments. 

But, on the flip side, there are those not so picture perfect, icky, super stressful days in "mommy land"--where I sometimes question my decision to stay home full-time. ;-) Where I literally feel like locking myself in the bathroom to escape these little people who can stress me out like no other and rely on me for everything, i.e.(blowout) poopy diapers from 2-year  old all the while trying to potty train my 3-year old ( and yes, fighting off full gags while in the midst of it)...the constant screaming and fighting over toys Or just simply trying to grocery shop, but instead end up having to chase two toddlers and an 8-year old down the aisles and I finally just end up leaving the store with no groceries out of complete frustration and anger…ugh!!  The dreaded nightly homework battle with my 8-year old son who struggles so  with ADHD…all these harder moments of parenting most definitely stretch my soul and are continually teaching me greater patience.

Yes, these "harder days" of parenting are where we're stretched the most -- where we have to search hard for the silver lining and pray a little harder for the help and inspiration we need from above on how to better parent these beautiful and special spirits we've been blessed to raise. I often worry on the harder days when I feel I've fallen short as a parent if I'm planting the "right" seeds in my children...the appropriate seeds that my Father in Heaven expects me to instill in them during these younger years.  Gospel seeds that will hopefully inspire and motivate them to want to become responsible citizens and disciples of Christ someday in their own special and unique way. 

Reading Dieter Uchtdorf's message about all "the harvests" in our lives was a tender reminder to me that being an effective parent takes a great deal of discipline, patience, unconditional love, selflessness and a deep reliance on Gospel principles to make it work.  A loving Savior laid the path for us to return back to Him -- to help us overcome the challenges and difficulties in this world.  Essentially, we don't have to travel down the path of life alone--He's there--He's always there to comfort us and help us raise our children.  I have found when we focus on the Lord's teachings in our home--making them a priority in the daily family life--essentially planting the seeds of the Gospel in their hearts little by little…day by day --we are promised greater blessings of peace, happiness and love in our homes and families.  
As parents, we must be willing to put forth the time and effort it requires to plant these righteous seeds in our children.  And yes, I'll be the first to admit this is not always easy….it does require sacrifice on our part, i.e. turning off the t.v., putting away the iPhones and iPads…signing off from Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. By turning off these distractions---we are better able to solely focus on our children each day…make them feel loved and valued and it ensures better quality family time.  Along the way, we must be patient as we wait for the teachings and lessons we provide our children to take root in their hearts.  The road to learning and growth is not easy as we all know and the desired changes we want to see in our children WILL NEVER happen overnight. 
At the end of the day---the Gospel principle that Dieter F. Uchdorf illustrates above in his story should ring true in every parent's heart as we work so hard each day to be a source of light, goodness and love for our children.  I take comfort in the fact that we are each promised by a loving Heavenly Father that He will never leave us and He lifts us up in our times of need.

...Isaiah 41:10... Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

I am learning more and more each day as a mother that if we dedicate our time and talents to teaching our children the Lord's teachings and the important virtues of being honest, loving our fellow man, working hard to achieve goals, sharing our talents to bless others and lovingly serving those in need--their lives (along with ours) will be all the more blessed and enriched because of our efforts.
"Children are the most wonderful gift we can have.  If they mean so much to God, they should mean everything to us, their parents."

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