As many of you who have been tracking my work for some time are aware, my "charges" that I took care of for a while (Kacie and Jackson, my great niece and nephew) and I planted some orange seeds that we saved from our breakfast one morning. That has now been a little over 2 1/2 years ago. Of the many seeds, we wound up with 7 small trees. Between some dying and me giving away some, I wound up with a total of 3 orange trees.
Citrus fruit would probably do very well in north Texas were it not for the winters we have. Therefore, I have to keep the orange trees in pots to bring them in before the frost hits. I am assuming that those 3 little trees would be far bigger now if they were planted in the ground. I don't really know because I haven't been around many orange trees. I just feel pretty certain that they ought to be bigger than they are. And I don't know how old an orange tree is supposed to be before it blossoms. All I do know is that my little orange trees have not even begun to blossom, much less produce fruit.
If you read an article I posted about a lemon tree I once grew, then you might know just how upset I was when the neighborhood children decided to have a "sword fight" using its thorns. To say I was angry when I saw those bald stems would be putting it mildly. And yet, it was just a lemon tree, just 1. And though I grew it from a seed and nurtured it for 7 years, and though it was pretty and healthy, it would never bear fruit. Single fruit trees never bear fruit because they need to pollenate.
The 3 orange trees are precious to me ... to an extent ... simply because they are something that I can share with Kacie and Jackson. They are "our" trees that "we" planted. And it would probably upset me ... to an extent ... were something to happen to 1 of them. It would probably upset me more if something happened to 2 of them. It would probably upset me a LOT if something happened to all of them.
About a week ago, my 10-year old step-granddaughter broke a china plate that belongs to a collection that I put together 1 piece at a time over 20 years ago. I have to admit that I was slightly upset. But it was an accident and I tried to let her know I was not angry with her. But that didn't keep me from fussing about it when she was not around. Today, I broke a glass that belongs to the same suit. I was upset for a minute. Then I realized I had some repenting to do. China plates? Lemon trees? Children? God gave them all to me and put them in my care. But it is the lives of children (or any people for that matter) that God puts in my care that can truly be affected postively or negatively by how I choose to "water" them. And the lives of young children are so very impressionable.
Lord, help me to treat people more like YOU would!
My youngest child, Daniel, graduated from high school in June. And I must admit, I've been having a rather difficult time with "empty nest syndrome." I wonder sometimes if perhaps I've not had a more difficult time than I would have otherwise had if Daniel hadn't chosen to live with his father from ages 12 to 16. I was just getting over the exhiliration of having him back home with me again when he moved out and graduated from high school. He is moving closer to the university he will be attending (UT Dallas) in 2 weeks. I already hardly see him. I am learning to let go ... again. We can "water" and nuture only as much as God chooses to allow us to do so. I sure miss him.
After the graduation ceremony, my family and I took him out to a neat Chinese food place where the chefs entertained and cooked our food on grills that were built into the dining tables. It was not only very fun, but the food was great too. But most of all, I treasured the company. I took my tea home in a to-go glass. And when I finished it, I pulled the lemon wedge out and thought "some people plant trees on special occasions. Hm."
There were only 2 seeds in that wedge. I dried them out for a few days and then wrapped them in a wet paper towel, put them in a ziploc baggie, and stored them in a dark place. It took several weeks for them to finally start to root. Just a couple of days ago, I took them out and put them in a cup full of very wet soil mixed with root stimulator and then, I put that entire cup in a ziploc baggie (to hold in the moisture) and sat it on my kitchen sink so that I can check it daily for sprouts.
I pray both of those seeds survive and grow to be healthy, fruit-bearing trees. But I remember my first attempt at growing lemon trees. There were many sprouts where I'd spit seeds into one of my plant pots. But only 1 out of all of them survived. If I wind up with 2 lemon trees from only 2 seeds, I will surely know where to give credit. And it has little to do with my hard work, watering, and care.
But more than I pray for those 2 seeds, I pray for the 3 children that I "watered" and nurtured from birth. Sometimes, I forget to water my orange trees and they shrivel up to remind me. Somehow, they've survived despite my lack of perfect care for them. My adult children also remind me occasionally that they did not have picture-perfect lives growing up and there were a lot of things I could have done better. And yet, they also remind me often that I must have done something right. They are God-fearing, compassionate, beautiful souls. And that in itself serves to remind me that it was GOD who did something right and gave me enough grace to teach them a few good things amidst the turmoil.
You see, according to 1 Corinthians 3, we can plant and we can water, but only God can make a seed grow. Of course, we can't expect to see seeds grow unless we're willing to plant and water them. I suppose that is why we are told to pray that the Lord of Harvests would send laborers into the harvest fields. I pray that my labors will bear much fruit. Yes, fruit from precious things, like memorial lemon trees and memorial orange trees. But more importantly, I pray that my labors in my children and those to whom God has given me to nuture with The Seed, The Word of God, whether they be children or adults, will bear much fruit, that they will grow and flourish and multiply seeds themselves.
1 Corinthians 3:7-8 So then neither is he that plants any thing, neither he that waters; but God that gives the increase. Now he that plants and he that waters are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor.
PLEASE ENCOURAGE AUTHOR,
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This is a delight, Treava! You just embrace your readers and scoop them up so they become part of your life! What a wonderful 'life lesson' you have shared with us. You have nurtured and 'watered' your family with great love and God is providing the "Miracle Gro" to make those 'seeds' of love grow strong and thrive! Whenever I enjoy an orange or squeeze a lemon into some iced tea, I will remember this beautiful article and it will inspire me to reach others and bear fruit. With love, Peggy
This was not only a homey and informative story, it had a good spiritual message. I am sure God will reward you for your care and nurturing of your children, as He already has. And the lesson of the orange and lemon trees are good examples to pass on to Christian parents...Thanks for sharing this delightful story...Helen
Treava, I know Our God is going to amaze you with what strong, beautiful trees you have nurtured. Of course, I'm speaking of your children. You are blessed and surely will be rewarded for all you have poured into those three. Much love.
I think that Peggy, Helen and Mitzi have covered everthing pretty well Joyce. God will continue to nurture those plants and you will see beautful trees emerge as they begin to blossom and bud for His glory. I love you Sharon