The picture tag looked nothing like the seedling that I had planted. The seedling was gangly, small and looked like it might fall over at any moment. But the promise of the tag told me that this weak little plant would one day stand strong with firm green leaves, growing a beautiful tall blue flower through the centre. With excitement and expectation, I imagined how lovely this plant would one day look (as long as our pet goat didn’t get to it first). I wedged the tag in the soil beside it as a reminder of what it will one day become.
Now a few weeks on, having been nourished by good soil and bathed in regular rain showers and sunshine, the seedling has not fallen over but has gradually grown stronger. It will take time before it looks like the picture that sits beside it, but so long as it has good things going into it, the promise will be sure.
Big things come in little packages
I remember when my son was born. He seemed so little compared to my one and a half year old daughter. I had a very strong feeling that one day this small baby boy would grow to become a very tall and strong man. It took time, but my hunch was correct. A growth spurt at the age of 12 saw him suddenly shoot up, and today at the age of 19, that little boy of mine towers over us all.
When our children are small, we can spend much of our days wiping runny noses, changing nappies and cleaning messes. Those moments, though not always fun, are precious and important as they require love in the caring.
While we may feel that what we’re doing in those formative years is not very purposeful, those years are in fact, some of the most foundational days of these little one’s lives.
Early stages matter
A collaboration of the seemingly insignificant things, together makes for a strong foundation. These early days are also the times of story-telling, the times of song-singing, the times of play, and the first moments of word planting. Speaking words of encouragement, love and casting a vision of the wonderful person God has made them to be, helps plant within our children a sense of purpose, love and belonging not only to us, but to the One who created them.
Words such as “you have such a beautiful heart”; “You, my boy are destined for greatness”; “I love how you do everything with such creativity”; “The way you play the drums, I can see you playing before kings and queens”; “when you dance, I love how it makes everyone smile.”
It is not always forefront in our minds that one day these children are going to be adults, people who have influence and people who have been influenced, but the words we plant in the beginning stages and along the way, assist in growing healthy hearts, healthy minds and healthy bodies.
Seeing our children as future adults serves as a good reminder that we are not just managing children who will always be children, we are raising future leaders, husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, workers etc. The words we plant in them while they are small, could largely affect how they see themselves as they grow, shaping and moulding them into the person they will become. Therefore our words need to be loving, encouraging, empowering and pointing them in the right direction.
Speaking over us
Throughout the Bible, our heavenly Father speaks over us. He sees us not just as we are, but as we will be. He spoke us into existence and continues speaking us into his predestined purpose for our lives.
‘For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.’ (Ephesians chapter 1 verses 4-6)
And he continues to speak his words over us.
You are planned – ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ (Psalm chapter 139 verse 16)
You are loved – “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” (Jeremiah chapter 31 verse 3)
You are fearfully and wonderfully made – ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ (Psalm chapter 139 verse 14)
You have a future and a hope – ‘There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.’ (Proverbs chapter 23 verse 18)
We all start from a small place but if we begin to see ourselves and others as God sees us, and shower ourselves with the watering can of promise and vision, we may begin to see the plant flourish, the stem and leaves growing strong, the petals taking shape, and the colours vibrantly glow, encouraging the other flowers of the garden to do the same.