Fruit of the Spirit in Parenting

Fact: Parenting is HARD.

Not all days, but a lot of the days (or at least part of most days) is a challenge like I have never experienced before. For all you parents out there, I imagine you are probably nodding your head and whispering under your breath “Amen, girl.”  For those of you who aren’t parents, don’t check out. Because God can use ALL of our situations and seasons to develop fruit within us.

By fruit, I don’t mean apples, bananas or grapes. This is Spiritual fruit– even sweeter, albeit much harder to grow.

And Fruit of the Spirit is really our ultimate goal as we live for Christ (other than glorifying God en route to heaven, of course. Although God does get the glory when we express Fruit of the Spirit.)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” ~Galatians 5:22-23 NIV

Isn’t that a beautiful picture? (Not to mention a rocking spiritual fruit salad.) But I tell you what, getting there is hard… Especially when we look at it from the eyes of a parent (or friend, employee, neighbor, whatever.)

So today, I would like to give you a small glimpse into this Mama’s heart on how birthing the coolest Jesus arts and crafts project (see: tiny human AKA baby) has shaped and grown this fruit of the spirit over the last 12 months or so.

tamarillos

Love: Some folks would say love is an easy one for parents, and I would pretty much agree. I love our little girl so much. I think of her and my heart swells. I would do anything I could to take care of her. I want to show her Jesus. But honestly, on the really, really hard days… sometimes she drives me crazy. There. I said it. But as I have received God’s grace in this area, he continues to slowly take those little moments of irritation and non-likability and shape my heart to embrace and come to love them. Kind of crazy (and awesome,) yes?

Joy: For me, this one is pretty easy. Our daughter Charis brings SO much joy to my life. She makes me smile, laugh, and rejoice that God has chosen us to share our life with her. Joy. That’s our girl.

Peace: This one almost makes me laugh. Finding peace in parenting? Yeah right, Jesus. But it can happen– and it IS happen in our lives. It is a rocky road some days when plans are foiled, naps are refused, poop is everywhere… it seems anything but peaceful. However, just as I posted yesterday, I have adopted a new mantra since I have become a parent: I will not let what is going on around me affect His peace within me. The God-peace in my heart continues to grow and put down deep roots that even the most projectile vomit moments can’t break. (Most of the time.)

Forbearance: AKA, patience. Oh friends. This one is such a work in process and directly linked to the fruit of peace above. I am not a patient person– but I can straight up see God doing serious work on me in this area. When my nerves are shot and I am at the end of my rope, I pray for Christ-like patience. It’s hard. But it helps me to persevere and make it through just one more teething experience or nap rebellion.

Kindness/Goodness/Gentleness: I’ve put these together because I feel like they relate. Being a parent as seriously developed a new level of kindness (see also: toning down the sarcasm) and blossoming a new level of Christ’s goodness in my heart. After all, what goes down in the well comes up in the bucket, and I want my daughter to see Christ in me.

Faithfulness: Since birthing this tiny human, my faith has grown drastically. I find myself relying on God for the tiniest things… for our sweet girl to sleep just ten more minutes or for Him to give me the energy to make through our bath/bedtime routine. And guess what friends? Even if He doesn’t grant my requests in the moments, He has still never failed me. I am reminded daily that my primary ministry is to honor God by loving my husband and taking care of our daughter.

Self-Control: I am living this right now. I am an emotional eater. I get tired, stressed, frustrated, and this mama wants to break out the chocolate. But I know that while food (or drink or whatever) is pretty effective instant gratification, only God can give me deep, lasting satisfaction. It’s wonderful to watch Him work, keeping my hand away from the freezer going for the ice cream and calling me to my knees in prayer when hard parenting days have me up against a wall.

So today’s reflection question, whether you are a parent or not: How do you see God developing the Fruit of your Spirit in your life today? Which one is your strongest? Which needs the most work? I always love to hear your feedback. Leave a comment here.

Be encouraged, my friends. Know that whatever season of life you are in, God is at work. He wants to transform your heart. Open it up and let Him move.

Because the Fruit of the Spirit is sweeter than we could ever imagine.

Growing for God,

Initials Signature Blog

“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.” ~Galatians 5:22-23 MSG

Linking up today with my sweet friend Beth over at Three-word Wednesday and also with Walking Redeemed. Oh! And be sure to join our #EverydayJesus link-up community right here at 7 Days Time every Thursday!

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Comments

  1. Self-control is probably my best. Joy is my hardest. I discovered that growing up in a dysfunctional family makes joy hard. Joy takes a certain letting go and that is hard for me. Part of me still thinks I don’t deserve to feel good. I am asking Jesus to work on that in me.
    Laura Connell recently posted…Jesus: the source of all joyMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Laura… I am kind of the opposite… Well, ish. Self-control doesn’t come easy for me, and joy is somewhere in the middle of the pack. Really makes you think, huh?

  2. Oh girl- this is great!!!

    • I know, right? (Not the blog post in itself, but the concept) Parenting IS hard but can be very, very fruitful– if we let God do His work in us.

  3. I’d say we are working on JOY and PEACE this year. And I should be asking Him for some help in self-control.
    Another great message, friend. Have I told you that you always make me smile? I’m pretty sure I have but I’m telling you again.
    Love ya.
    Beth recently posted…Friday Randomness {Vol. 16}My Profile

  4. I had to revisit this today. My favorite Jesus Arts and Crafts Project is trying my nerves today – we had to pull over to potty this morning on the way to work among other things. Three is going to be a long, long year.