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Raising up a tree is somewhat like raising up children

My “Memom” passed away two years ago this coming February. She was a precious lady almost 90 years old when she went to join her Heavenly Father. She was known for her love of gardening and the yard surrounding her home was a proof, a showplace of flourishing flowers, plants and trees, the “fruits” of her labor visibly abundant and proof of the time and love she had sown in over decades. In her backyard, there stood a beautiful corkscrew willow tree that my brother and I have often admired. We loved the look of the curly branches, the twisting trunk and the shade provided by of the leaves.

Almost a decade ago after a visit with her one afternoon, she sent each of us home with a bucket of what looked to be just dirt, but actually held the promise of being our very own corkscrew willows to grow in our very own backyards. She gave us careful instruction on how to care for the plant and when to do what, etc. Though I was appreciative and hopeful, when I returned home I put my bucket on the side of the house with good intentions of tending to it “someday soon”.

My brother, on the other hand, didn’t procrastinate. Instead, he dutifully and obediently, carefully and immediately began to care for his root cutting and did so faithfully. I sort of forgot about mine until I found it some months later and tried to get it started, but was sadly, I never saw any growth for transplanting. Over the years I have watched my brother’s tree grow and grow. He will soon have raised up a strong and sprawling well-rooted tree and it will no doubt be enjoyed and loved for generations to come.

Raising up tree is somewhat like raising up children. Parenting is a daily thing and what you do in those early days and years can make such a difference for a lifetime. Preschoolers are thirsty for knowledge and have such teachable and receptive hearts! When parents who begin to intentionally and regularly begin to shower and nourish a child’s spiritual development in the early childhood years have such potential for growing a strong and solid roots in their next generation Christ-followers. And though we may miss some opportunities for “watering” and may weather some harsh seasons, we are blessed by the outpouring and unchanging abundance of God’s grace to cover us in it all. It is truly not just what you do or don’t do today, but what you do over time that will matter most. Sharing God’s love and truth with your child over time can make eternal impact.

I am so grateful to be in a faith family that wants to support and encourage parents in this huge undertaking of raising children. GFC believes in family ministry and equipping and partnering with families in their parenting journey. “Start off a child on the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Twice a year, GFC offers an orientation series for families considering making a public declaration before the church of their intention to do raise children in the love and admonition of Jesus Christ. This season, we offer Dedication Orientation Supper Series on November 3 and 10 from 4-6 pm for those considering participating in Parent/Child Dedication on Sunday, December 1. If you are interested, you can sign up online before October 27.

Sanja Lyon

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