It was a day with little plans, overcast skies and a soaking wet ground; a potential bad combination for a mama! I let the kids out in the backyard to buy some time and figure out what to do with our adventure day. And within about 15 seconds, they found them….the two puddles in the back of the yard. And they plunged RIGHT IN.
Oh dear! Too late to stop them! Do I run them inside and clean them off? Hmmmm. On second thought, we had nowhere to be and since they were already covered in mud, we made a morning of it. Boy, did we! They giggled and squealed and rolled around and had a ball.
It brought back fun memories from my childhood of playing in the mud, and I still cherish the pictures my mom took to capture those carefree days.
As my kids laughed and splashed, I stood at a distance puzzled about why they react so differently to mud puddles than I do. Here are the thoughts that ran through my mind:
I am wearing borrowed white maternity pants that they better not ruin
Will their new shoes ever look the same?
Is the grass ever going to grow back in that spot?
How will I get them into the bath without getting mud on the rug?
What if I change clothes and get in with them?…No, a meeting with the financial people to talk taxes later and I’ve already showered.
Those thoughts that came into my mind did not come close to my children’s little brains. They saw: Fun. Water. Irresistible adventure. So simple. They did not hesitate one minute to step into it. They did not think about their clothes, how they’d get clean or what came next. And why should they? They have me, don’t they? Has there ever been a mess I couldn’t clean up? They trusted I would be there to clean them off and make sure they are clothed tomorrow. Or, perhaps they intuitively understand that cleanliness is not an exterior thing at all. They trust they are taken care of…and they are…so they don’t worry.
On days like this, I realize that while I am teaching them about life, there is so much that they teach me. I hope I am always a mama like Mary who “treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
Jesus says, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:3 NIV)
As I looked at my kids, I wondered…when did the shift in thinking about mud puddles happen for me? I think with responsibility, we become less free-spirited and childlike. And that’s a good thing in many ways. But as responsible adults, do we really believe Jesus when He says:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?… But, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” (Matthew 6:25, 27, 33-34)
When God offers me adventures, do I jump in? Do I trust there is nothing to worry about because I’ve got Him? Or do I see all the reasons why not to? Do I see the abundant life He freely offers, or just the consequences of stepping in?
How quickly we can talk ourselves out of what God puts right in front us. God puts these interruptions in our lives…people to share our faith with, ministries to give our resources and time to, people who are hurting on the side of the road…messes everywhere. And when we rationalize why we can’t go all in, we stand on the sidelines of an abundant life. Do we have to jump in to be more approved by our Father in heaven? Absolutely not! But we get to! And it’s more fun! He has called us to live in the present tense, to trust Him and not to worry, to follow Him right now, to become like little children and to enter His kingdom.
Father, thank You for children. Thank you for telling us not to hinder them. Thank you for providing the most simple opportunities to live an abundant life in our backyards. Please open our eyes to the messes you would have us step into, renew our minds to trust Your provision, and give us childlike faith to let go of our worries and follow You in wild, pure joy.