Motherhood, as a whole, is marked by seasons of personal and spiritual growth. There are lots of gardening metaphors and parables used in the Bible – from the fruits of the spirits to a gardener pruning his plants so they produce – and it’s with little wonder. The journey of faith can be easily compared to the growth cycle of a plant. So let’s apply some Scripture to just what a season of growth looks like, especially as a mother.
A Season of Growth in Motherhood
26 “The kingdom of God is like this,” He said. “A man scatters seed on the ground; 27 he sleeps and rises—night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he doesn’t know how. 28 The soil produces a crop by itself—first the blade, then the head, and then the ripe grain on the head. 29 But as soon as the crop is ready, he sends for the sickle, because the harvest has come.”
30 And He said: “How can we illustrate the kingdom of God, or what parable can we use to describe it? 31 It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown in the soil, is smaller than all the seeds on the ground. 32 And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the vegetables, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
Mark 4:26-32 (HCSB)
The “He”, of course, is Jesus speaking to His disciples. While Jesus sometimes was recorded privately explaining His parables, these two have been left alone. Fortunately for us, we already know what the plants represent: the kingdom of God.
Remarkable Unexplained Growth
He sleeps and rises—night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows—he doesn’t know how.
Mark 4:27 (HCSB)
I’ve probably studied the lifecycle of a plant five times already. But even though I know how it works, I don’t understand it. It’s like magic how quickly the tiny sprouts can erupt through the seed one day, then be high above the soil the next.
Watching a plant grow is remarkable. It’s almost unexplainable besides, “One day it was a seed, and the next it was a plant.”
And if you think about it, that’s very similar to our faith. You see, I can tell you stories all day long about how God has continued to work in my life. (I’m not bragging. I’m a storyteller. It’s what I do with everything.)
Do you know what I can’t do? I can’t explain to you where that faith actually comes from. It’s like one moment I’m teetering on the edge of a cliff trying to take that leap of faith. I summon the courage to keep moving forward despite my doubts, and suddenly I have the faith to match. There’s no in-between stage.
Faith is a remarkable unexplained growth. We either have faith in the situation, or we do not. There’s no in-between.
And that is one of the most encouraging thoughts that I’ve ever written. Let’s back up and approach this from a new angle.
The Mother’s Season of Growth
Motherhood is a challenge. It stretches you as a person, it pushes your strength, and it pits you up against your own worst enemy: yourself.
You’ll come across situations that you don’t know how to handle and also think that you can’t handle. You’ll have your mommy meltdowns and your moments where you just don’t think you can go on anymore. The enemy will have a new foothold to tempt you with as you find yourself plagued with new fears and anxieties: “What if I’m messing my child up by responding in this manner? How do I explain this to my child? What if I fail to show God’s love to my child?”
Motherhood is a challenge.
I’ve shared before about how motherhood is a refiner’s fire in my life. We spent an entire month discussing freedom from our burdens. Both of those things – the struggle to give up impurity and the struggle to give up burdens – lead to spiritual growth.
That remarkable unexplainable growth of your faith.
Because somehow you will handle that situation. You’ll give yourself grace when it’s needed. Your anxieties over being the good Christian mother, your desire to be an example to your children, will keep your mind on God and His commands for our life.
Even while you feel like you’re completely failing at both being a mother and a Christian, your faith will be growing in leaps and bounds.
Finding God in Motherhood
Take a deep breath right now. Let go of the fear and the anxiety for just a few moments. Dear Busy Mom, you are on the right track.
While I’ve called it “unexplainable” so far in this devotional, you and I both know that there is an explanation. In those moments when you feel like you can’t go on, God is right there. You find strength and power through the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of you.
That’s something that should comfort you. I’ve written before that our faith shouldn’t be segmented off. In fact, that was the entire idea behind the Faith of a Mother theme. Because our Christian faith should be a defining characteristic of our life, no matter the role we’re playing, we should be able to find and see how God is working in every area.
Remarkable unexplainable growth?
No. It’s a remarkable unexplainable Love that sustains us.
Keep walking humbly with the Lord and you will experience a season of growth in your faith.
The Sown Seed
31 It’s like a mustard seed that, when sown in the soil, is smaller than all the seeds on the ground. 32 And when sown, it comes up and grows taller than all the vegetables, and produces large branches, so that the birds of the sky can nest in its shade.”
Mark 4:26-32 (HCSB)
Many times when I’ve read this passage in the past, I’ve read it straightforward: a tiny faith can grow into something large. Today I read it like a promise.
Could there be any seed tinier than the seed of faith that we sow into the hearts of our children? Through our actions, our desire to pass down our faith, and even our tears and meltdowns, we’re sowing that mustard seed.
Cathy McIntosh once shared that we don’t pray big enough for our children. Today, I want to echo her sentiments:
We mustn’t underestimate the power of a mom who prays. It’s never too late to start and never too early to begin. Lift up your kids before the throne of grace. Pray for the unborn generations in your family. Pray big – ask the Lord for mighty things in their lives – for the glory of the King of the universe and for the advancement of the Kingdom.
Read more of Cathy’s Post by clicking here.
Today, I’m praying that I see that mustard seed grow into a might plant. I want to see my child living her life in such a way that I’m left thinking, “Where did this remarkable unexplainable growth come from?”
Ask: “When was the last time I experienced a season of growth in my faith?”
Do: Write down a list of ways that you can see (or have seen) God at work in your life as a mother, including little ways that you’ve learned faith lessons from your children. Put this list somewhere to look over when you find yourself doubting you abilities as a Christian or a mother.
Pray: “Dear God, help me to be aware of my seasons of growth. Help me to be courageous. I don’t want a spirit of fear; I want a spirit of power and love so that I may sow little mustard seeds of faith for my children. Amen.”