Friday, July 29, 2011

The Sweetest Fruit I Have Ever Tasted

When my son was little, he would barely eat enough food to keep a bird alive.

His little taste buds possessed a lot of picky-ness, which left him few foods to choose from. But when it came to fruit - he was like a bunny in a carrot patch - nibbling on every type of fruit he could get his sweet little lips around. In fact, everyone in our family is an avid fruit lover, and as soon as fresh fruit is available, mouths begin to salivate.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that fruit is much sweeter and more delicious than any vegetable could ever hope to be. Yet today, although I love my vegetables of every color, I tasted a fruit that was the sweetest, most delicious and satisfying fruit I have ever tasted.

The fruits of salvation, obedience, perseverance and love.

The fruits of His Spirit, in the hearts of my children.

For many years, as I watched them grow from beautiful blond, blue eyed little girls into beautiful adolescents, I have longed for my daughters, and my son, to build a meaningful relationship with Jesus.

My husband and I have had them in church since before they could walk, all the while knowing that church would not insure their salvation, but hopefully equip them to receive it when they were ready.  All three of them accepted Christ when they were old enough to understand but our prayers did not stop there.

We prayed that they would one day truly understand what Christ did for them, and that He is with them, no matter where they are or what they are going through.

We prayed that they would embrace God's forgiveness, when they made mistakes or bad decisions.

We prayed they would believe how much He loves them unconditionally, despite their mess-ups, and for them to understand that in Christ, all things are possible.

We prayed that they would grasp the reality that twe are all called and equipped to share God's love, and stand up for our faith, even in the hardest seasons of life - like high school.

This past year has been challenging.  My two teenage daughters are growing up, and with that, comes great joy. But toddling right along side that joy, are the challenges that come with trying to raise children in a world that does not honor God, and often times, the overwhelming emotion of concern.

Concern to help them understand that all those Bibles we have bought them since they were fresh out of the womb, were not just pretty books to carry to church, but a powerful tool to face life head on with a passion for what matters.

Concern for their future, their well being, the friends they choose, the boys they date, peer pressure, grades, good decision making, safety, colleges, future spouses,  and so on.

But trumping over everything -  the greatest concern of our hearts - has been the concern that they know the Lord, personally and intimately, and open the doors of their heart to let Him in and take residence.

This month, I was blessed with a glimpse, a little taste, that God has heard those prayers and concerns.

My middle daughter Kaitlyn had such a powerful encounter with God on a youth trip a couple weeks ago, that she still has not come down from her spiritual mountaintop. I shared with you in another post and on Facebook, the video of her singing a Christian song that she and her friends wrote, and playing it on their guitars.

I am so proud of her, as any mommy would be, but more than anything, I am so thankful for what God is doing, and excited about the fruit God is growing in her heart.

This week, both of my daughters left on Monday morning for a World Changers mission trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee. My prayer was that God would use their hands to help repair the homes they would be assigned to work on, their words to share the Gospel, but that He would touch their hearts in such a way that they could not doubt His presence or His power.

My prayers were answered.

Last night, my seventeen year old daughter called me, with sheer excitement in her voice and tears in her eyes, as she explained that she had led a young boy to Christ that morning.  I celebrated with her, and thanked God for giving her the opportunity to see that she can have an eternal impact on the lives of others if she allows God to work through her.

This morning I awoke before sunrise, and could not get back to sleep. So I headed into the kitchen, made some coffee,  read my Jesus Calling devotion, and opened up my email.

At the top of my inbox, was the daily email update from our youth pastor who had accompanied the kids on the mission trip. As I read it, my heart felt as if it were going to burst out of my chest. Here are the words that he wrote:

"Even more exciting was the tearful report tonight during our group devotions time from Morgan Miles - as she recounted her opportunity to lead a 6 year old boy to Jesus today at her job site. Her tears were partially from her excitement about what God allowed her to be a part of, and the others stemmed from an overwhelming sense of God's blessing on her and how her life has been filled with strong Christian parents and family. These budding conversations with her "new found friend" this week allowed her to see the contrast of her life and upbringing (in an environment that allowed her the privilege of knowing God) versus one void of that privilege. One that she has sometimes taken for granted."

As I read his email, my eyes became blurry with hot tears, I cupped both my hands over my mouth, and literally dropped to my knees in awe of His goodness and mercy. 

I give God all the credit for what He has done in the hearts of my children during this hot, sticky month of July. Lives have been impacted. Hearts have been changed.  All God. Only Him.

I know my children will still make mistakes, teeter between right and wrong, and be forced to face difficult situations in the coming months and years. But what peace it brings, knowing that they are connected to The Vine - The Only One who is capable of producing fruit in them, and through them.

Sweet, sweet, delicious fruit that makes my spiritual tastebuds salivate.

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4 comments:

Laura L said...

Tracie,

What a powerful testimony of God's answer to your prayers. Praise God! I just wish I could grow in His Word faster and impact lives for Him too.

Laura

cindy j. said...

As a parent of three children, my eyes welled as I read your post. To God be the glory!

Kelly said...

What more could a Mother ask for?? I think that is wonderful, something we all pray for! Yes, give God the credit, but without you and your husband she probably would not have been such a faithful believer at her age. Praise God and the Miles family!

LaDonna said...

I am Sooo Happy for You .....