Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seed of Faith

This is my all time favorite piece of artwork. It's by Jay Bryant Ward and I saw it in an Ensign once and was deeply moved by it. Jon bought it for me the next Christmas, and I've had it hanging up in our room ever since. It's called "Seed of Faith", and it depicts a mother and her son who is a future strippling warrior from the Book of Mormon. This little boy grew to be one of the young men of tremendous faith who said, "We do not doubt... our mothers knew it." In this print, she's using a seed to teach him about faith.

The artist sums up his work, "To me, Seed of Faith" represents a tender, teaching moment when a mother's loving patience has paid off, and the child's young heart is ready for learning. It is then that a precious seed may be planted." - Jay Bryant Ward

This painting was inspired by the following poem written by the artist's mother:

Your Life Will Be My Gain
Given me on loan my son, for a brief earthly span,
To bear, to love, and nourish. Baby, then boy to man.
Remembered tender moments, after I gave you birth,
In God's miracle we shared. I pondered this child's worth.
What would life store for him, this babe so pure and sweet?
Can I but help prepare him life's challenges to meet?
God trusted me, noble one, Oh what a humbling task,
To teach, to train, and temper the first day to the last.
To grow in hearts of babes, a faith for ever more,
To plant in the souls of boys, true character, the core.
Grant in me a fertile soil from which you draw your might,
Strength to face time's drying winds, and earth's temptations blight.
From God your life I borrowed, to claim you as my seed.
Will you help me pay my debt through your good life and deed?
If you can return to Him as pure as once you came,
Glory be upon your head. Glory to our Father's name.
This life for me holds no goal, I seek no worldly fame,
If only hailed as Mother. Your life will be my gain!
-Joanne Ward
(Mother of artist Jay Bryant Ward)

Then one day while I was scrapbooking, I was flipping through our photos and came across this picture that reminded me of that print. It immediately brought me to tears. Just the way Benny is looking up at me, with such trust in his eyes, completely dependent on me and his Daddy not only for survival but for knowledge of the restored gospel. What an ENROMOUS responsibility, to not only teach the truths of the gospel, but to model them, and to set up and maintain a home where the Holy Spirit can witness these truths to them.

I worry a LOT about measuring up to this monumental task. It's actually pretty ironic because this picture is of a mother teaching her child about faith and as the Prophet Joseph Smith once said, "Faith and worry cannot exist in the same mind at the same time." I guess I don't have enough faith yet because like I said, I worry a lot. I often fear that I'm inadeqate for motherhood which has been called "the highest and holiest service to be assumed by mankind". With all my weaknesses and shortcomings, I just don't feel good enough. But I guess the faith part comes in when I remember that I'm not alone in this! If I were to be relying on my own knowlege, strength and abilities, I'd be terrified of this calling. In fact, I don't even think I'd want to get out of bed in the morning. But it's such a comfort to know that these are really His children, and that they are on loan to me and my husband. That He is more invested in their eternal welfare than I am because His love for them is perfect.

So now both of these pictures hang in my room as a constant reminder of the sacred and holy responsibility of motherhood. They inspire me to get up every morning and try to do my part in raising these children to be faithful and grow up unto the Lord. I know that my husband and I don't have to parent these kids alone. I know that we have a wise and all-knowing Father to call on anytime day or night and that I can draw on his perfect strength. And I know that he is willing and eager to help me... all I have to do is ask in FAITH. And with this faith, I can go on... trusting that His perfection will make up for my weaknesses as a mother. I am so grateful for the joy these children have brought into my life. They are so precious to me... each of them. Each of them is God's own child, with a unique and distinct mission to perform on this earth. I can only hope to raise them in a way that would please Him.


Rob and Steph Puterbaugh said...

yeah, thursday would be fine! Did Kelly say she was going to call me? hmm...maybe i'll call her anyways.

Jill said...

Beautiful post. :o) It's easy for us to feel inadequate when we realize the potential of our children. Remember also that Satan will prey on those inadequate feelings. We must not let him stand in the way. Love you!

Rob and Steph Puterbaugh said...

11:30 is fine.

6jardines said...

Nicole - you are just such a sweet Mom....I try to keep a rule that if I am doing the things I am asked to do each day... ( not to be perfect!)....ie: pray, read, teach, love.....then NO inadequate feelings allowed. Heavenly Father delights in our efforts to do what he has asked...and it can be tricky to tap into the joy that we are promised. But it is there!!!...and I can tell you feel it often.
We are all allowed one day every few months of emptying a bag of chips on the table and resting alone for awhile!!!...at least we better be! :)
Your children are very blessed to live in a home with parents that love and desire so much for them.
I say pat yourself on that back just for birthing all of them...I mean let's break it down, girl!!!
love ya!

Anonymous said...

I just had to comment about the painting. I like his paintings too. I think that they are very rich. And it helps that Scott and I used to go to his house every so often when we were in college. (They are relatives of Scott's.) We always had a good time there. I had no idea though that this particular painting was inspired by a poem by his mom, that's cool!
I can only hope that I can teach my boys some of what those Stripling warrior moms taught their boys! I know my kids are in a battle for their lives (spiritual one's anyway) and I hope they come away like those boys did! Thanks!~ Angela Orme

traceyroxanne said...

The Lord doesn't require us to be perfect today-and doesn't ask us to pefect our children, today. He delights when we're headed in the right direction and when we find those pearls of Joy in the Journey. Celebrate your many successes. You are such a wonderful mother and friend to all.


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