Living in the city without much of a yard to speak of, I needed to learn the art of container planting. Well, describing my container plantings as an art form is a bit of a stretch. Most of my window boxes and planters consist of nothing more than a variety of impatiens dumped in Miracle-Gro soil. (I have learned over the years that impatiens are very hard for me to kill.)
But I do have a small yard with a few shrubs, an olive tree, some evergreens, and a hydrangea. These were all planted in the ground. If it wasn’t raining right now, I’d show you just how “well” these plants are doing at the moment. The hydrangea has some horrible fungus and is mostly eaten by something mysterious. The olive tree is dead, dead, dead. The evergreens are one down and three to go. And the shrubs, well…they just look sad. Why? What did I do wrong? Nothing, as far as I can tell. The only different variable between my container plants and my ground plants is the soil. I’m not able to control the environmental conditions of the earth, and I cannot neglect to mention that the bugs just adore my yard. Seriously, for a 10×10 plot it is an entomologist’s dream come true out there.
So, I was thinking about my philosophy of parenting (mostly that I don’t really have one), and it occurred to me that I hope to container plant my children. I want to plant them in a good environment (Matthew 13:8), nourish them with all they need, and have them flourish. I want them to mingle amongst the other plants but from the safety of their own containers so that they are truly in but not of this world (Romans 12:2). I want to protect them from all that threatens to injure and consume them. But mostly, I think I want what every Christian parent wants. I want them to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
I may not have a green-thumb when it comes to gardening, but my daily prayer is that I will have a green-thumb in parenting! My prayer for myself and for our children’s generation is that the Lord will cultivate the kind of gardeners needed to raise up the foundations of generation to generation (Isaiah 58:12). (And if we can do that with less bugs…all the better!)