Years ago, we moved into a historic house with giant maple trees lining the street and dotting the yard. I was painting in the living room shortly after we moved in, and was startled by two elderly sisters shuffling outside my window, pointing and commenting. Climbing down from my ladder, I quickly realized that these ladies had more than a passing interest in my new abode. I set down my brush and went outside to meet them.
They told me how one of the sisters, now well into her eighties, had lived in the house for fifty years and raised eight children there as a single mother. She pointed to the trees and told me how they were gifts from her children for Mother’s Days or birthdays and how they had been planted as seedlings. These mammoth woody parasols had taken over fifty years to reach full glory. Now they represented a full and complete life to her.
We carried on her sweet tradition for our own birthdays and Mother’s Days. The spring my husband and I became grandparents, we planted our first two “grandparent” trees. The many young trees that we watched grow over the years were difficult to leave when we eventually moved on.
Now, when we visit our former home, I am amazed at the growth of these trees. It seems they grow in spurts, like our own youngsters. When they were first planted, they needed a good deal of support, structure, and extra water. After infancy, the trunks needed to be bound and protected. We did not expect to have huge foliage or flowers—and certainly not fruit—in the first several years.
It would be odd, to say the least, to see a big shiny apple hanging from a seedling. Sometimes, however, that is what we expect as parents. We forget that training, disciplining, and discipling our children is a process with seasons and cycles that bear fruit in their time. We get tired and want to give up. After all, doesn’t Hebrews 12:11 say,
"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
I encourage you to continue to tenderly mind your “young shoots.” One day, by God’s grace, they will mature into beautiful works that He will continue to grow long after they have left home.
Where does this post find you? Are you on the brink of giving up because you expected to see fruit in your kid’s lives by now? We’d love to pray with and for you!