“Mommy, is it adventure day yet?” These words from my daughter bring me great delight. At the beginning of this school year, I was a bit overwhelmed by the number of activities available for my kids who are turning two and four. And for me as well! With so many ways to fill our days, I felt a bit of pressure that a “good mom” should do as much as she could. If I exposed my kids to gymnastics, ballet, soccer, music, the list goes on, I could pat myself on the back for a job well done and keep up with the world around me. But truthfully, rushing off to activities with two toddlers is less joyous than I’d hoped. By the time everyone gets their shoes on and tries to make it on time to wherever we’re going, we have expended a lot of energy and I have found myself barking “hurry up” orders more than enjoying my children. After some trial and error, we’ve decided to cut back on activities this year and try something new…we call it “adventure day.”
“Adventure day” is the one day a week where we have NOTHING on the calendar – not for me or the kids. No mother’s morning out, no activities, no plans, no appointments, no agenda, NOTHING. It has been a blast! We usually decide what we’re doing that morning and go when we’re ready. Through these adventures we’ve been able to explore lots of neat parts of the city: a park on top of the mountain, nature trails, the Botanical Gardens, new picnic spots, the duck pond, the pumpkin patch, random construction sites …we’ve even driven down to the Birmingham zoo. Somedays we just stay at home playing in the yard, digging holes and climbing trees. And sometimes when it is rainy, we go to Chick Fil A for lunch (and stay for dessert so it takes longer!) Or we paint pictures, play pretend and build forts. I has been such fun! I am usually very tired by the end of these days and the house is a wreck, but I have so enjoyed these precious moments with my children. And they have come to look forward to adventure days. It’s not about what we do, but that we take time to do it together.
Through these moments, I feel like God has given me a sweet glimpse of His heart for His kids. Unlike my kids, we choose how we spend our days. And I wonder if He wishes we would clear our entire schedule and go on adventures with Him? Adventures that were planned with little-to-no notice. Adventures that took us to different parts of His creation and our city that we may not otherwise go. Margin to enjoy Him, to talk with Him, explore with Him and just be together. Moments to be taught, encouraged and stretched out of our comfort zones. Room to trust His lead and know we’ll wind up back home in the end. He has eternity with us, but this season right here and now is a fleeting one, and how He must long to spend time with us as we grow. All those things we rush off to do are great and important…but we have a Father who longs for us to make room for Him. Sometimes it looks like taking Him with us, but on the really exciting days, it’s allowing Him to take us on adventures.
While my kids can sometimes drive me crazy, I am crazy about Mary and John. Not because of anything they do, but because they’re my kids. I love them and want to spend time not just doing things for them, but with them. I want them to know me, and I want to know them. Isn’t that our Father’s heart for us? And I’m reminded that we cannot trust someone we do not know, and we cannot know someone we don’t spend time with.
I have to be honest – it’s overwhelming to me that I matter to the Creator of the Universe, and that He would want to spend time with me. But that’s the gospel, isn’t it? God loved me (Katie) so much that He sent His son to live a perfect life, die a brutal death and rise to new life to overcome sin and death for me. He took my sin and gave me His righteousness because I matter to Him. The day that truth made it’s way down the long 18 inches from my head to my heart was the day my world turned right-side up.
And I can feel Him calling me on many adventures right now. Adventures where He is the Leader, not me. So, what am I holding onto? What fears is He asking me to let go of? What part of me must I give up to gain more of Him? What in the schedule needs to be cleared? There is a beautiful invitation there. “Follow me.” (Matthew 4:19) He’s on the most awesome mission of all times: the redemption of His people for eternity, and He invites us in. Will it always be easy? No. Will there be hardships? Guaranteed. But He promises joy regardless of circumstances. He promises life more abundant. He promises a hope and a future. He promises to work all things together for the good of those who love Him. He promises to fulfill His purpose for us. He promises to equip us with all we need to do His will. He promises He will never leave us or forsake us. He promises an eternity that holds more than we can ask or imagine.
Jesus often gets to our hearts by asking great questions. In the book of John, the first question he asks his disciples is “what are you seeking?” (John 1:38 ESV) They then ask him where he’s staying and he simply answers, “come and you will see.” (John 1:39 ESV)
So, what are you seeking? Really, truly and deeply. What are you looking for right now? Are you finding it in the places you are rushing off to? I know I’m not. Chances are, we’ll find it in Him. And when we do, He’ll ask us to drop everything and join Him on a great adventure.
Why? Because we’re His kids and He’s crazy about us.