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What gardening is teaching me about raising kids, patience, and faith

This spring when it was still snowing in our little mountain town and the flower blooms were just beginning to show, I began to save egg cartons and comb seed catalogs for veggies we might grow this year.

Because our growing season is short and it’s less expensive than buying starter plants, we grow seeds indoors and enjoy a little green despite the cold weather for several weeks.We’ve been a bit nomadic for the last two years so most of our recent gardening has been in containers. It’s nice to know that we don’t have to leave our cucumbers behind when we move again.

On an uncommonly warm day, my 3-year old son and I searched the garage for my worn garden gloves and tools, in hiding since last fall. He proudly pulled out his red wheelbarrow and we filled it with rich soil. I longed for my compost bin, a casualty of our last move.

In the warmth of the sun, we poked small holes in the egg cartons and added water to the soil. There’s something about putting your hands in soft, warm dirt that is therapeutic. After a tough month, I believe it was just the kind of therapy I needed.


We filled each of twelve holes with a little soil and took turns pushing the seeds into each one. He took the bean tray and I, the tomato. Once we covered them to the brim with soil, we gently watered each with a spray bottle. Just enough to not flood those little seeds from their new home.

Planting complete, we carried them to a windowsill inside. And each day, we wait. My kids are impatient. I tell them that while we may not see anything on the surface, something is happening below. We must carefully provide the sun and water that they need and once the roots are strong, we will see the fruit of our labor.

growing seeds indoors (1 of 1)-4

This simple statement brews in my heart for the two short weeks it takes to see the first of our vegetables rise about the surface. How, too often, I am impatient. With my kids, my husband, my finances, my faith. When my parenting doesn’t result in the response that I hoped. The job didn’t come through. Extra expenses build up discouraging a future vacation.

When I don’t see the fruit, I forget about the roots. I forget that while instant gratification isn’t good for children, it’s also not good for me.

So I will carefully take care of the tender seeds, sowing them in good soil with consistent love and discipline, faithful prayer and giving. I am reminded with each spray of my squirt bottle that something, while not noticeable on the surface, is brewing. And in due time, I will reap my harvest.

What will you be harvesting from your garden this year?

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  1. Taylor-Made Ranch

    OMGoodness I needed to read this today. I’m blessed in so many ways it seems crazy that I would complain about the small stuff not happening fast enough to suite me. Thank you SO MUCH for sharing this tender thought!

    ~Taylor-Made Ranch~
    Wolfe City, Texas

  2. Brittnie (A Joy Renewed)

    I sooooo needed this today. I LOVE the lines ” . . . while we may not see anything on the surface, something is happening below. We must carefully provide the sun and water that they need and once the roots are strong, we will see the fruit of our labor.”

    My daughter will be 1 yr and is developmentally delayed. She is in therapy and we are working with her constantly on all types of things (crawling, using her hands, language, etc). Thank you for the reminder that while I may not see the rate of progress I think she should be making, that something IS happening below the surface and that in due time she will blossom. 🙂

    • Tiffany Larson

      I’m so glad this blessed you today, Brittnie. Many prayers to see the harvest in your daughter 🙂

  3. Robin from Frugal Family Times

    We’ve got big gardening plans this year! We are building raised beds on an unused section of our driveway. It gets the best sun and I’m hoping the public display will motivate me to weed a fair bit more! We will grow tomatoes, peppers, greens and tons of sweet peas for my little Sweet Peas – who can’t ever get enough!

    • Tiffany Larson

      Robin – that’s a great way to make use of an otherwise unused space. I hope it’s a prosperous summer for your garden!

  4. Victoria

    My children are older 10 and up, and I can already see glimpses of the harvest. When I find the 17 year old covered with toddlers at a church event all of them laughing and giggling as my son plays with them. When my middle child offers words of encouragement to his sister (rare but it happens) When my daughter gives more than 50% of her allowance to the missionaries buying toys to bring to the children in Africa. These things are the beginnings of fruit that make me smile.

    • Tiffany Larson

      Victoria – I need to get some tips from you 🙂 My kids are still fighting over pennies they find on the ground!

  5. Nora

    This. This is exactly what I needed to hear today! Thanks for the reminder and for making me feel like I’m not the only impatient wife/mama/sister/friend out there 🙂

  6. Jenn @ A Simple Haven

    “We must carefully provide the sun and water that they need and once the roots are strong, we will see the fruit of our labor.”
    So applicable to more than gardening! And thanks, too, for the indoor planting example. It looks easier than I’d pictured it to be :).

    • Tiffany Larson

      Jenn – Yes! Indoor planting is really easy and a great spring project for the kids. You can also just get starter plants and put them straight into your garden container or bed once the last frost pasts. We’ve done that in the past, too.

  7. starla r

    This was such a blessing 2 read this article this morning. After a week of frustrations, it brought me back down to humbleness. I to need to learn more patience, I am growing Cilantro and have become inpatient with waiting to see a sign of life. Im learning to enjoy the simple things in life. Thank you.`

  8. Rebecca

    What an encouraging post — thank you! I’m a hands on learner, and I find God using my veg gardening often to help me meditate and think through His word.

  9. Tanya

    What a great inspiring post! Thanks, Sometimes you just need a boast of encouragement and this is what this is.

  10. Joyce

    Beautifully put. I am going to archive this to re-read as needed.

  11. ByMoore Seeds

    I’m not a mom, I’m a dad but your post rings true for me as well. It’s funny how the act of gardening and the wonders of nature can take us away from the rush and grind of everyday life. Reminds me we must nurture nature and nature will nurture.

    • Tiffany Larson

      Love this, “we must nurture nature and nature will nurture.” Thank you for sharing!

  12. Katie@ Imperfect People

    Woo hoo! Another gardening friend! I will be harvesting all the normal stuff and I also am super into fruit trees here lately! This is the first year I will have apples, plums and nectarines! I love backyard gardening. Great post! I am your newest follower!

  13. Calgary Lawn Care

    Gardening is one of the number one activities to involve your kids with. It teaches them patience, care, responsibility!

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