Tears stood in my eyes as I listened to my son pronounce the words to his speech therapist. “Cat, cut, cow, call.” First the hard c sound at the beginning of words, then in the middle, then at the end. Then the same with the hard g. I was amazed. Every single c and g (at the beginning, middle, and end of words) was perfect. He had a nice, clear sound to them. Even the harsh, throaty sound was completely gone. When did this happen?
We were at my son’s speech therapy session for the first time this year. We have a new teacher this year and she was testing him on the sounds he was working on last year. I could not believe the difference. The sounds he’d been working on for a year (or longer) were all of a sudden mastered.
I had to think how parenting can be a lot like that. We plug along daily — working on the same issues again and again — and sometimes we wonder if we are making a difference. But we are.
We might not see the results right away, but nothing great, or noble, or beautiful is built in one day. It takes time and a giving up of ourselves to something greater.
I was reading today one mother’s thoughts on Jim Elliot’s famous quote, “He is no fool, who gives what he can not keep, to gain what he can not lose.” She applied these words to motherhood and the mission field, we as mothers, have in our own homes. She said,
Giving up what you cannot keep does not mean giving up your home, or your job so you can go serve somewhere else. It is giving up yourself. Lay yourself down. Sacrifice yourself here, now….Gain that which you cannot lose in [your children].*
And if we keep this up: this giving and forgiving, correcting and disciplining, teaching and discipling, and, above all, praying, we have God’s promise to us that if we are not weary in well-doing, in due season we will reap if we don’t faint or get discouraged? Galatians 6:9
I love that thought. If we don’t give up, we will at the right time reap something more precious than any of the temporal things this life has. We will make a difference in the eternal souls of our children.
Sometimes it might seem like our labors are in vain. We don’t see any progress. We bring up the same issues again and again with our teenagers. Or maybe we’re just trying to get the toddler to come when we call her. By the way, the second one is far easier, but still takes more consistency and unselfishness than I sometimes manage.
This thought– that if we don’t give up, we will reap — gives me hope.
I remember a sermon my father-in-law preached years ago on sowing and reaping. He said that we reap what we sow, we reap more than we sow, and we reap later than we sow.
We reap what we sow. It can be easy to live our lives as if we don’t believe this.
We reap more than we sow. This applies to the bad as well as the good. So let’s not respond with impatience or a critical heart to our children’s mistakes, but let’s fill our children’s lives with love, joy, peace, and consistency.
We reap later than we sow. We can’t expect instant results in the lives of our children. Just as it takes time for a seed to mature and bring forth fruit, so the seeds we sow today in our children’s hearts don’t take root immediately.
So let’s keep sowing seeds in the lives of our children believing that we are making an eternal difference in their lives. And let’s pray that God would bring forth a harvest not only in their lives, but in their children, and their children’s children and those they come in contact with.
*The article referenced above is also available in the book Mom Enough. Mom Enough is available free as a pdf download or is also available for purchase as a Kindle book or paperback. I highly recommend that you get a copy and read it. You will be blessed and encouraged. By ourselves, we are not mom enough, but with God, we can do all things.