I gladly poured my life into knowing and loving our two boys. I read, taught, played, protected, challenged, lead, pursued—with the goal of shaping their hearts for God. I relished my time with them. The middle and high school years brought dark waves of concern that stretched our faith and stressed our hearts, but my husband and I clung to the hope that we would come out the other side by grace. Yet on our younger son’s twentieth birthday, we were confronted by the spiritual reality: he wasn’t alive. Yes, chasing after life on his own terms, but spiritually dead.
That day I went to a nearby retreat center and spent time praying, journaling, walking the grounds. Tears began to flow as I gave over to God my twenty years of sowing seeds of truth. I asked Him to create the garden of His choice. It was His to care for now, almost exclusively.
My Father is the gardener….
I am the Vine; you are the branches….
Apart from Me, you can do nothing.
— John 15:1, 5 NIV
ACTION: What do you hope to see grow in your spiritual garden (personally, in your family, in your ministry)? What enemies threaten your garden right now? How do Jesus’ words in John 15 release you from false guilt? From shame? Instill hope?