Have you ever planted a vegetable garden? You plan it out, lovingly place the seeds and seedlings in nutrient rich compost, just the right depth, with just the right spacing. You make sure they receive the sunlight they need to reach their potential. Each day you check on them. Each individual plant becomes a special part of your day. You water religiously. Not too much, not too little. When one plant seems to lag behind the others you worry and check to make sure every need is met. You feel the great potential in each of these plants you’ve tended so devotedly.
What happens when an unexpected storm attacks your garden and wipes out these beloved seedlings you’ve been so diligently tending?
Now imagine these plants are our children. What happens when you teach your children, love your children, pray for your children, hope for your children only to have an unexpected storm hit and knock them off their gospel foundation?
Storms do hit us unexpectedly. We should just expect that! I’d like to say we should just make sure we’ve tended these plants well enough that they can withstand any storm that comes their way. But that’s unrealistic. The truth is, some storms knock us down. Some wash away the foundation entirely. Some uproot even the deepest of roots.
So what do we do when the storms come? We keep on praying and let God take care of the rest. As a parent, it is difficult to let our children trip and fall. We want to protect them from all the storms of life. But in reality, by facing the storms they are building a stronger root system that in the long run will make them stronger. To quote Elder Henry B. Eyring’s mother, “If you are on the right path, it will always be uphill.” (read “Choose Higher Ground” here)
Thank you to an anonymous Relief Society sister for this wonderful analogy about gardens and children. I heard her comment in a ward I was visiting recently. I didn’t even know who she was. She may never know how much this comment made me search, ponder, and pray.