Growing up in a faithful, active Latter-day Saint family, I never thought that one day a child of mine would leave the Church.
My husband and I had married in the temple and eventually had seven children. We did everything we could to obey the counsel of the prophets. We taught our children the gospel, shared our testimonies with them, attended Sunday meetings together, held family home evening, prayed daily both morning and night, and read scriptures as a family. None of our actions, however, prevented our son from leaving the Church.
In my sorrow I turned to the Lord for strength and came to understand more clearly the role of agency in our lives. Still I wondered, “What more can I do? Certainly there is something I can do to bring him back to the truth.” I prayed for our son, but I felt I wasn’t doing enough. Certainly, if I had enough faith, wouldn’t he change?
Such thoughts ran through my mind as I went to sleep one night. Heavenly Father saw fit to answer my questions through a dream. It was a simple dream, but for me its meaning was profound.
In my dream I was standing in the middle of my vegetable garden. I had planted and watered the seeds, but the plants had not begun to grow. In my dream I told my plants to grow. I nagged them to grow! Then I began to laugh at myself. The very idea of trying to get my plants to grow by telling them to do so was absurd.
Then I awoke. I immediately understood my dream’s meaning. My son was the seed I was trying to get to grow. But just as I could not make the garden seeds grow, I cannot make my son change. Inherent in each seed of my garden is a God-given ability to grow, and it is God who directs the growth of each seed. Likewise, my son has the ability to grow because he is a spirit son of Heavenly Father. But if growth and change are to occur in his life, they will result from his agency coupled with God’s power.
In my dream garden, I planted the seeds, watered the garden, pulled out offending weeds, and sought in every way to nourish my seeds. Likewise, in my role as a mother I plant seeds in the lives of my children. With Heavenly Father’s help, I teach them, try to be an example for them, share my testimony with them, and love them, doing all in my power to be an instrument for good in their lives. Then I must wait. In due time the Master Gardener will help the seeds to grow.
In the meantime He helps me to wait with patience. He fills my heart with hope. He reminds me that I am doing all that He requires of me. He gives me daily evidence of His love. In every way I need, He supports me.
So I will wait, pray, trust in His promises, and continue to plant seeds. The harvest will come.