Thursday – December 12, 2013; Matthew 12:33-37

“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.  I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned

A gardener tends the soil, pulls weeds, provides water, and even does some pruning when needed…all in hopes that the plants will grow healthy and strong, and provide good fruit.  Sometimes, in spite of the gardener’s best efforts, the plants do not grow up as hoped, a few branches can wither and fall off, leaves can turn brown, and sometimes the fruit is sour, or the plant fails to produce fruit at all, and the results of all that hard work can seem disappointing.

A good gardener does not give up however, and will continue to work with their plants, doing what it takes to encourage new growth, and even asking for help from other gardeners when needed, doing whatever it takes to help the plant to produce good fruit.

Still it can take some time for that fruit to appear and waiting can get discouraging, even for the best gardener, but if he or she works hard, is able to reach out for help and can learn from others…and has faith, the plant will eventually provide good fruit!

As single parents we can sometimes feel like gardeners ourselves, sometimes struggling in the dirt to work with our growing plants, doing all we can to ensure that they produce good fruit.  Sometimes we too can get frustrated, especially when it feels like we are not only all alone in the garden, but also when it seems like all of our efforts are going to waste.  But like the gardener, we are not without resources: there are those who have experience tending to their own gardens, and who can teach us from what they have learned; we also have our own experience and faith to rely upon, as often we do know how to tend to our children well, but just need some confidence and support to ensure that we are taking the best steps forward.

That said, no matter what we do, the results are often out of our hands, and there comes a time when we have done all we can, and just need to step back, let go and trust our children to the care of a loving God; who is the ultimate gardener!

However. if we raise our children with love, patience and a big helping of faith, and do the best we can to guide our children as they grow, there is a good chance that they will turn out just fine…even if it takes a while for them to bear good fruit.

Let us Pray

God, thank you for always tending to your garden.  Please help us to be good gardeners ourselves, taking good care to raise our children to the best of our ability, but not neglecting to care for ourselves along the way.  Thank you for the people you put in our lives who can help us when the way gets rough, the leaves turn brown and the fruit sours.  Help us to have hope in the knowledge  that none of us are ever far from your care and love; and that it is through your grace that we can all bear good fruit…fruit that we can share with our children and with the world.

Amen

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