I took my son to the beach for a play date last week with other moms from my church and their kids. It was nice to get out of the house. I enjoyed getting a little sun and my son enjoyed playing with every toy on the beach. He doesn't really understand yet that not everything he sees is for him to "borrow." I love his innocence. And his boldness. He makes me laugh.
I have to keep a close eye on my son because he wanders. He lives in the world of a child, as he should. And as my husband points out, not just any child, but his mother's child...it is not unusual for me to exist in my own world as well. I am easily absorbed into all that surrounds me, captivated by what is there, and often deep in thought. My son is just like me in that way. He loves to walk, to touch everything, to explore, to ask questions, to chase birds, to walk up next to another child his age and say "lets run!" There is no fear in him.
And I love it. I love him.
He knows that I am watching out for him. He knows that I will call him back when he walks too far from me or lead him back if he gets lost. He trusts me to keep him from getting sunburned, provide food when he is hungry, and make sure he doesn't go with strangers. He plays blissfully while I take care of everything. I wish life could stay this way for him forever.
I think that my relationship with God used to look a lot like that. I walked out my faith with a childlike naivety. There was not much to fear in my world and I often reached for God's hand to hold as I walked contently along. God was with me. And I loved Him so much. What could happen?
In an instant my world was shattered. I went to sleep walking along the beach with God and woke up stranded at sea. I was face to face with a crash course in a new kind of faith. Time to grow up? Time to grow deeper. And that means growing pains. Deep growing pains that carve out the flesh to make more room for the Spirit. Less of me and more of Him right? That's what I want...
...but my girls. I want my girls too.
Deeper faith fills my heart, but not my arms. It is hard to feel ok just yet. My girls are gone. But my Jesus is more near to me than ever. I used to feel that God's faithfulness was more of a consolation prize in comparison to losing my girls and I accepted it like bad tasting medicine. Eventually it would help right? But now I can honestly say I feel the grace. God's comfort is real to me. I feel the relationship. And that relationship has become EVERYTHING to me.
God has been reaching his hand out to walk with me this whole time. It was me that wouldn't take hold. I just couldn't, and I'm not even sure why. Too hurt? Too disappointed? Maybe too angry? All I know is that I was no longer on the beach like I used to be. Like I wanted to be, watching my children, all of them, play and wander around. I would never be on that beach again. And I resented it. I watched my tears drop on the sand.
I guess I was tired of hanging my head because I looked up. I felt compelled to choose again to heal. To choose Christ and his healing power. I re-focused my eyes on Him and let my tears dry in the sun. I reached my hand up and took hold.
OK God, I will walk with you today. Bring my girls!
And we did, on the beach of all places.