"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go."
I am not a thrill seeker. I am a "keep-my-feet-on-the-ground" type of gal. I can be a lot of fun, don't get me wrong. As a matter of a little-known fact about me, in my senior year I was one of four gals nominated as "Wittiest" in our senior class, with a senior class of over 900 students. That's pretty witty, isn't it? And in my mind, that translates into "fun"!! But I like being witty and having fun with my feet planted firmly on the ground!! I hold the bags and take the pictures...and I am quite content doing that. Y'all go be adventurous, but my feet are staying on the ground!
This truth about me was confirmed over and over the past few weeks as we vacationed at two different destinations with two different groups of wonderful families and friends from church. From the beautiful, turquoise Caribbean waters in Turks & Caicos to the majestic Adirondack Mountains of New York State, my appreciation of safety had many opportunities to shine!
Since becoming a mommy, my caution comfort zones have been stretched and stretched and streeeeeeetched!!!! Our children not only enjoy swinging and sliding on the backyard play set, but they also enjoy climbing to the top beam and jumping off. Gabrielle whizzes across the monkey bars in a flash. On our front porch, Joshua pogo sticks up and down the steps. Gabrielle blazes through the neighborhood on her California Chariot. Joshua tears into the cul-de-sac on his rip stick at speeds exceeding the residential limit. While I often just have to close my eyes tightly and pray, I want them to go and ride and jump and run!
I want to encourage my children to use the gifts and talents God has given them, to try new things, to use their young wings, to fly (carefully of course), to grow. I don't want my feet-on-the-ground contented bliss to define them, but rather to guide and shield them. I am thankful they are both adventurous and interested in athletics.
Camp of The Woods Christian Family Camp, where we have vacationed the past seven summers, has a great zip line in the thickly wooded mountain on which the camp rests. This summer, Joshua was old enough to give it a whirl. The thought of zipping down the line excited Joshua. We were not sure how he would feel about climbing the towering tree, tethered by a rope and with only short spikes in the tree trunk on which to step.
As the families we were with made the hiking pilgrimage to the zip line, I quietly prayed for the Lord to give Joshua courage and to build him up in Himself through this experience. After being prepped with all the necessary equipment for the zip line, Joshua's seemingly fearless friend, who was also doing the zip line for the first time, asked if Joshua would please go first. With several people looking on, Joshua stepped up and approached the base of the tree with courage fueled by the belief of his family and friends that he could do this.
With determination and strength, Joshua climbed the tree without hesitation. Pausing only a few times to strategically find the next spikes in the tree that served as his ladder, he kept looking up and reaching higher. Step by step, spike by spike, reach by reach, pull by pull...he never looked down (except when I asked him to smile for a picture, of course). Knowing his friend was looking to him, and hearing the cheers of his family and friends, Joshua just kept climbing until he reached the platform. Through his body language, my "mommy heart" knew he was quietly rejoicing with the Lord for his accomplishment of making the climb to the platform. The climb is more precious than the ride itself. "...all that we have accomplished, You have done for us." Isaiah 26:12
Joshua reaching the platform after his climb. Really, the rest was gravy!
As his parents, that moment of him completing the climb and reaching the platform was more thrilling to us than the subsequent zip across the mountain. It's the courage and adventure of the climb that was the real thrill. Though he hasn't said it in so many words, Joshua would agree. Was the zip line ride fun? Yes, it was a blast for him. But it's the climb, and all that represents, that really matters. Trust. Courage. Determination. He humbly and happily led his friend by example. He enthusiastically encouraged those who climbed and zipped after him. He makes me want to be brave. 1 Timothy 4:12 is one of our favorite memory verses with our cherubs, and it kept ringing in my heart: "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity." And in courage in making the climb for the zip line (smile).
God is good.
My personal climbs may not be physical. They may be spiritual, emotional or mental. Still, it's all about the climb and the treasures of His life and truth we discovering while persevering and reaching. Our children inspire me to climb, reach, grasp and grow.
After zipping across the mountain.
We truly rejoice and give thanks to the Lord when challenges and new adventures are met with courage and success. "In everything he did he had great success, because the LORD was with him." 1 Samuel 18:14 He allows our children to spread their wings and grow. He builds them up in His strength. He is with them when they climb. And after all, it's not about the ride, it's all about the climb.
So climb on, cherubs! Momma will be here with her feet on the ground, cheering you on, taking pictures, holding all the stuff, and lifting up prayers for you!
"The Sovereign LORD is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights." Habakkuk 3:19
"Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success..."
1 Chronicles 22:11