This is an article from Jennifer Bycroft, a church planter’s wife in Iola, Kansas. She is married to Matt, has 2 daughters and is pregnant with her third child. Besides being a planting wife, she is also a girl’s high school tennis coach. Thanks Jennifer!
Last summer, my family and I were heading back from an awesome vacation to Colorado. It is our most favorite place to go! If it works out, we usually try and stop in Colby, KS at a hotel there that has an indoor pool that’s open all night. Of course, we don’t take advantage of the all-night swim, but at least we can stay in a little later. Our girls love it! It’s a good stopping point between Colorado and our home in Kansas. Right beside the hotel is a little playground area. So it works out perfectly because while my husband Matt fills up our vehicle, I take the girls over and they play a while until we are all ready to go.
On this particular morning after we checkout out while I watched my daughters play, I noticed something. Something sad, something that broke my heart, something that I know breaks the heart of God. There were two cars parked pretty close to the playground, one with Kansas tags, and the other Colorado. I noticed a cute little girl that didn’t want to leave her mommy. I noticed a mom that was hanging on to her daughter, not wanting to let go either. Then I noticed a dad, who was standing quite a bit off to the side waiting patiently until the other two said their good-byes. I couldn’t help but stare. It really was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen. Tears were welling up in my eyes.
The more I watched and the more I tried to figure out what was going on, the more I realized that the mom and the dad were separated at least, and they share a daughter together, and it became evident to me that this little girl was going to stay with her dad for a bit. I could tell that the dad was growing a little more anxious, uncomfortable, and maybe even a little impatient, as the little girl hung on to her mom. Not a pretty picture. But there he was, waiting patiently until finally the mom walked over and buckled her little girl in her daddy’s car. I don’t recall a single word spoken between the two parents. Seconds later, the mom drove off headed back to Colorado. Again, it absolutely broke my heart to see this separation, this division, this innocent little girl in the way of hurt and pain.
This got me thinking. If this kind of separation between a family breaks the heart of God, how much more does it break God’s heart when we are separated from Him? The good news is, we don’t have to be separated from God. You know the story of how He died on the cross for you and for me, bridging that gap, that huge separation, between Him and us. It doesn’t stop there though…we have to make that decision to come near Him too, not wanting any divisions between us. He won’t force us to love Him, but He longs for us to love Him back.
Being a Christian woman myself, and the wife of a church planter, I see the importance of planting seeds. I believe we tend to shy away from this at times, because we think we have to do it all alone! Thank God that we aren’t alone…and that He can take it from here. Paul writes in I Corinthians 3:6…”I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.” You see? We can be involved in planting those seeds in people’s lives, but God is the God of growth. We can be that “tool” that encourages and challenges others to dig deeper into God’s word and stand back and watch the growth that takes place in them. The Bible says that “neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
Do you have any family members that are separated from God? What about friends? Co-workers? Neighbors? You know who they are. What kind of seeds could you be “planting” right now in their life? To some, you may be the only one that can do it. I’m no farmer, but I do know that planting takes time. My husband’s grandfather plants a garden every year. He does have help from a few family members that live near him, but it is always a lot of work, time, and energy on his part to get it ready. My family travels back for one day in the summer to help with that garden. We pick, snap, and pressure cook the green beans and then get to enjoy fresh vegetables throughout the winter months. I sure didn’t do anything to get that garden ready, but I am thankful that I get to enjoy that labor that was put in for us. Thankful that my grandpa “planted” those seeds, watered them either by his own hands, or by the rains God pours down…and then thankful that God takes it from there and grows just what we need. I know for myself, I am extremely thankful to the many that have planted seeds in my own life, wanting me to grow in my relationship with God.
Remember that family I mentioned that was separated? To have that picture in my mind still makes me sad. But what should break our heart even more is the thought of that family being separated from God. For that little girl, it would seem that she is separated from her mom and her dad for just short periods of time. Though that would be very painful, imagine being separated from God for all eternity? Who will plant the seeds of love, hope, forgiveness, and reconciliation in that family’s life? What seeds will you plant today? Get your tools out…start diggin’…start plantin’…and watch the God of growth do His thing!