Im going to give a little illustration of what I mean. Who likes to garden? I am just learning how to keep things alive in this tiny little garden my dad started with my kids a month back or so. I was told to water the plants everyday, shouldn't be to hard right? Only takes a minute. Through the day, however, I get busy. I am meeting the needs of everyone in my house, working on a big project, and on most days working on a little project around my house. By the time I realize I haven't watered the plants it is the next morning. A whole day has passed and I have given thought to the idea of watering the plants, I have acknowledged that it needs to be done but I assume I will have more time later and I put it off until I am back at a new morning with the same thought "the plants need to be watered". In that moment I have a choice, let another day go by and see if i happen to make it outside to water the plants or go right that minute and do something about it. I tell you honestly, I let the first round of plants get to this exciting stage where the seed sprouted a little fragile plant and then I put the kids in charge and released the responsibility onto them with no accountability. My dad showed up and he goes outside and he says (in a pissed off tone of voice) "you didn't water the plants?!?". "We have been watering them" I replied sheepishly, it was evident we hadn't by the dried up dirt and now dead little fragile plants. My dad, disappointed and well aware that I did not take proper care of the plants, did not argue with me, did not say another word, he just threw the plants out, gathered my kids back around the planting supplies and began instructing them to replant new seeds. This time I would be vigilant at making sure the seeds stayed watered and that I gave accountability to the kids on their watering responsibility. We are back seeing those seeds in the tiny plant stage and my kids and I anxiously await the first crops! Here is what I am getting at, with our children we are given little seeds of love from God. Our home is their garden box that they are planted in, when we intentionally take the time to water them with love, time, and good instruction they become little plants that sprout up and the world gets to see the formation of God's creation beginning to step closer to its purpose to bare fruit but we can't stop watering it. Soon with faithful watering it will get stronger and stronger and bare fruit the whole world can taste but it won't happen by accident, like my pastor said about bad and good in the world, it would be easy to let the plants die all I would have to do is stop watering them but to sustain them and get them to bare fruit will take effort and intention. It is easy to raise an ungrateful, selfish, disrespectful child, but it takes effort, intention, and love to raise a child who desires to be a leader of love and goodness in this world. A few days ago I had a heard of children here, they were all playing in the back yard and one thing led to another I realized the older boys were getting to rough (I was watching them from the window) and I went out side to regulate and I began by reprimanding the child that was physically bigger than the other boys and jumping on them (on the trampoline). As I did this another child spoke up and informed me that though Kyle was physically hurting them another boy was emotionally hurting Kyle by speaking words of hate to him causing him to get REAL mad and lash out physically. After hearing the full story I got down on a knee and began trying to reach Kyle's heart but it was too late, he had thrown himself on the ground and was bawling and screaming that he hated everyone and he wanted to go home. He went home and my heart broke. I felt as if I totally could have avoided this mess if I would have been one of those moms who hovered around my children a little closer, but I am not. All I could do at this moment was pray. I had the 4 other kids grab hands and repeat after me, calling back every hateful word that was spoken, asking for forgiveness, and praying over Kyle and then I prayed and told the Lord what I needed to. After praying Kyle showed back up in my yard and each child apologized to him I explained to the children that when we choose not to love we automatically choose hate. When we choose not to do God's work we, be default, chose to do the enemy's work. The condemnation left me, I did what I could to turn a moment that the devil intended to destroy Kyle with into a moment that the Holy Spirit could teach the children today. In this whole moment I was also taught that all of the kids that I welcome into my back yard need the same intentional watering I am instructed to give my kids. What will we choose today? Like our children, we too need to be watered, in order to flourish to our fullest potential. We do this by spending time with the Lord in his word and then walking out the things that he teaches us. We can sit around every day and allow the trash of the world and the business (busy ness) to flood our list of what needs to get done today or we can take hold of each moment and be intentional with what is important like, cuddling our children to let them know they are important, allowing the Lord to cuddle us to allow ourselves to feel the love of our creator and father, and teaching the children why LOVE must reign. Let's make today a day of intention and let's start by making it a day of intentionally watering our most important ministry... our children!