Spiritual Soil (Things to Ponder)

Everyday, I wonder and worry if the “soil” of our family and home is cultivated and watered enough for every member to grow and bear fruit. I often find myself asking, “Are my husband and I doing the best we can to nourish the soil of our family? Are we being shining lights to each other and to our children and are we setting good example for them to follow?” I believe that if we say we follow Jesus, it should be manifested in our words and actions, in our relationships and the very lives we live.

spiritual soil

During those moments of deep pondering and self-examination, I know that we’re not intentional and punctilious enough in nurturing our soil and this brings sighing and heaviness to my heart. Such problems usually come up when the spouses have varying magnitudes of faith and differing principles, attitudes, and practices. But then again, many times in the Bible, we are admonished to be of one mind.

Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  (Phil. 2:1-2, emphasis mine)

Fruitfulness in the Spirit is what the Lord desires for all of His followers.

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” (John 15:8)

So, we go to church every Sunday (for most of our Church, it’s even three times a week), the children sing in the choir, the family doesn’t watch trashy TV shows or movies or listen to secular music. But how about the moments and hours that make up the day? What does our family and home life look like?

There were times that I have broken down in tears because of the children’s gross misbehaviors and my failure to tackle them as the Bible’s teachings would have me do. We have this great desire to be nurturing parents, endeavoring to train our children in the love and admonition of the Lord, but when we see them disrespectful, disobedient, ungrateful, and lazy in all things except to waste hours on gadgets, we feel the weight of failure on our shoulders and it’s heartbreaking. We ask ourselves, “What more should be done?”

We bathe our family with prayers so that in one accord, we will all be obedient and pleasing in God’s sight, fervently following Him and His will, so that we will be living out Apostle Peter’s teaching:

“Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.” (1 Pet. 3:8)

But sometimes, even our prayers seem not enough and we can’t seem to see much fruit.

People in our church, especially the choir leaders, praise our children’s quiet behavior in Sunday school and choir practices. I thank God for working on them to behave properly outside our home. They are not rowdy as other children. No, ma’am. They are shy, especially Hannah, to a fault.

But I see in our children things that the world does not see. And what I see breaks my heart. I know that families and homes differ from one another. But even Christian homes have their problems. I can see the huge difference between our life in the old days and our children’s life now. I grew up in a small, slumbrous town in a faraway province where life was as simple as you could get. Frivolity was out, for life, generally, bordered on poverty.

In that uncomplicated way of life, people were industrious. Young girls could help around the house: clean, cook, wash dirty dishes and laundry, and care for baby siblings, or around the farm (for those who lived in the barrios). Young people were respectful, obedient, responsible. They looked up and listened to older people. And they had a deep sense of gratitude.

I lament that this generation of young people displays an entirely different attitude. It’s kind of bratty, selfish, self-indulgent, insolent, indolent, ungrateful, prideful. We see them on TV and the Internet. And when we see traces of these on our children, oh, how it rips our hearts!

I’m not saying that our children, Hannah and Tim, are completely all that. No, they are fairly good kids who generally bring us joy. Hannah, by God’s grace, is now “under observation” for the Youth Choir and she’s assigned church chores like maintaining cleanliness in the toilets during services, etc. As for Tim, he sings in the Children’s Choir, attends Sunday School diligently and I can see that he is developing an awareness of the Bible’s teachings.

But it is evident that they still lack in the more important things: love and kindness toward one another, humility, gratefulness, respect, and also industriousness. It only takes a small act of unkindness or indifference to see what is utterly wrong, like seeing a child pick up her own used glass to bring to the sink and intentionally leave the other beside it just because it’s her brother’s. Or when they are often rude to one another, speaking biting or cold remarks. What does that mean?!

If we’re sensitive parents who see beneath such subtle acts, we would not dismiss and consider them as not worthy of our attention. We would discern at once that there’s an underlying reason to them. The children could be cold and uncaring and those are serious things that need to be addressed.

When I see our children displaying a lack in any of the things mentioned above, I feel really sad and frustrated and this compels me to strive harder: to be a more effective “life coach” to them who leads by example. And I pray the more, pleadingly and unrelentingly.

I always try to examine myself when failures happen. I strive to be better: a better wife, mom, person,  leader, friend. A better role model. More Christlike. That’s the heart of my prayers lately.

I’ve been asking myself, “Do our marriage, family, and home provide rich soil for spiritual growth for each and everyone of us? Does our relationship (my husband’s and mine) set a good example about relationships, honor, respect, love, and kindness? Do we intentionally live a life that exemplifies the Bible’s teachings which our children can observe and learn?”

Do we seek to cultivate the ground, the soil in which their minds, hearts, and souls will develop, grow, flourish, and bear much fruit?

Is each one of us a rich soil in which others could grow well and thrive?

Do we build up others or bring them down? Do we heal or do we inflict wound? Do we speak words that minister grace to others or do we speak to incite contentions, discouragements, strifes, resentments, or bitterness? Do we intentionally bring hope and encouragement for a soul to grow and thrive or do we unmindfully bring out the worst in others? Do we strive to coax out goodness and beauty in others or do we live indifferently, minding only our own welfare and growth?

Well, is there real growth when we think and work only for ourselves? Isn’t growth happens when we live outside of ourselves and reach out to others also? There is no growth when there is no expansion.

But not everyone thinks and desires the same things as we do. Others may not want to be in and if it is a spouse, that would be difficult. If the parents are not of one mind and desire or of varying degree of commitment in leading the family into rich, verdant pastures of spiritual growth, that can be a problem. It will be too taxing to be hauling the burden on your own or on unequal or opposing forces. The ship cannot sail smoothly if the winds are contrary.

(Photo from Pinterest).

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Comments

  1. Perla says:

    Hi Rina!
    A good reminder for “a today’s generation ” or ” nowadays generation”, which I am actually pondering from time to time. How we wish this&that to our children. We have so much expectations from them…I’m
    Living in another country like Sweden&a big different from where I came from & grew up, the small town of Agno, you know that for sure, how it was then . I have a son on his 30’s now, and live almost his life here tho’ he’s a Filipino. I really did or still doing my way of almost nurturing him the way I thought was always right, that’s “Philippine style”. I’m trying to be caring, loving&supporting what every parent would always seem the best of their children. But in the long run. They still want to lead the life they want to go…and there come a time, questions are popping up, my son seems wondering if I’m still living in Philippines or Sweden? And other stuffs like mostly my Filipino style, it maybe religion or my comparing to my childhood, without anything&somehow, we survived practically…I did really have some few things that I couldnt cope up totally, with the cultures. Of course, bringing up children is not an easy task&just like any other Mother,I’m the never-ending worrying kind too. (Imagine, in his early 30’s, I’m still worried, like , if he’s eating on time, if his emergency fire extinguisher is working in his flat…etc&etc-huh! How he hates to be kept reminding those) and Sometimes, From time to time, some few arguments&midunderstandings are arising between us, which is normal, when both of us are very opinionated. But now, I come to a point that I really have to accept him as what my son wants. He wants to live a life how he wants, do some mistakes&take the consequences of it. And so I’m preparing myself whatever will be what my son’s future lies& decisions….i pray& leave to God whatever in store for him. We planted a seed in their hearts -that” Jesus is The way”. God is There for them. ❤️🌺🌹🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
    HAPPY to read your beautiful messages on the first day of my pre-summer holiday . 🏄🚣🏼🎣✈️🛩⚓️🏯🏰🏘
    God bless, Rina
    Perla

    • RinaPeru says:

      Hi Manang Pearl! Thank you for shooting me this lovely message which made me smile and my eyes water. I have so many things I want to say – lol! First off, I never thought your Michael is already in his 30s! He definitely looks much younger than that. Anyway, I can see through your pictures that you and your son are good friends which is a great thing! Well, I support you in your desire to guide and remind him from time to time of God’s truth and His ways and teachings. We are certainly not giving up on that. But, yes, I do understand his desire to be independent and make his own choices and mistakes (just don’t give up reminding him of our dearest Jesus). Hannah, which is only 15, could be headstrong, too, especially when I fret and dote too much around her, like what she’s going to wear, etc. etc. Oh, how they hate that! But I remember when we were kids in Agno, we were thankful for every new dress or shoe and that was rare!

      Like you, I’m also a worrier mom. Since I can’t travel yet and whenever they go to an outing, I bathe them with prayers. Hannah wants to go to college abroad. I still don’t know if I can survive that – lol! But I will cross the bridge when I get there.

      My very best regards, Mng. Pearl. Enjoy your summer!

  2. Hi, I think God is blessed by your desire to be a good mom. Growing kids is the hardest things on earth. More is caught than taught – always convicted by that pithy statement. So we can go to John 15 and learn to abide in Jesus. Ministry, even to our children, is spillage. I pray I’m filled up to all the fullness of God (Eph. 3) so that those around me become homesick for Him. Blessings on you.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Yes, young minds are very impressionable, Sue, that’s why parents must be very careful and diligent in exemplifying the Bible’s teachings. It’s sacrificial love. Blessings on you as well!

  3. Hazel Moon says:

    I can remember when I was growing up with a brother and sister, and we were not always polite and courteous to one another. Perhaps it is reverie and as I remember this I am sad about myself. I enjoyed your thoughts and example of rich soil to grow in. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a Story.

  4. Lux G. says:

    Great thoughts to ponder on. Many things change through time, with it also is our relationship with people around us. But I think it’s always good to go back to our core values so we don’t get lost.

    • RinaPeru says:

      Excellent thoughts, Lux, thank you! Yes, our relationships with family and others do improve as we mature and learn more important lessons. But young minds are so impressionable. As you’ve said, it’s always good to go back to our core values. Yes, to start sowing the seeds of the Bible’s teachings and setting a good example for them to follow early on. Blessings!

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