I took this picture at the beginning of this week during a pretty cool rain storm. The girls were so mesmerized by the wind and the rain and they wanted a front row seat. They opened the glass door and pulled closed the screen so they could hear and smell everything. At certain times, Callie would pull back the screen and stick out her hand and laugh and giggle as the rain sprinkled her hand. Before it became too heavy, she hopped right out in it and twirled around in the wind. She spun and danced on our deck without a care in the world. Eyes closed, arms outstretched, hands dancing along the currents of the breeze. When I ushered her back in, they both went and grabbed their blankets and plopped down on the kitchen floor as if they were watching Disney's newest movie on the big screen. They sat and chatted. They yelled out when the thunder started and would laugh here and there when the rain blew toward the screen drizzling them a bit. But they were safe and dry. They watched from inside our home. They watched not worried about being caught in it, knowing I would make sure they kept the door closed and stayed safe. They carried on with their normal playing after 15 minutes or so of observing. They walked away and went about their merry way.
I've been thinking about this picture and their little storm experience all week. I've been pulling up this picture and thinking about all of the parallels in our own lives. Unbeknownst to me, the Lord was showing me something that morning. Something I want my kids to be a part of, not to just be a spectator of. While I'm so thankful my children were under my care during the storm and inside, safe and dry, it's far from what I want for my children in the grand scheme of things. In the grand scheme of life, relationships, and in society...I want my kids to be fearless. I want them to abandon their safety for the sake of someone else. I want them to run out, get wet, stand with a friend and feel the storm with them. I want them to take a risk to show love and support in the eye of the hurricane.
The joyous scene for my girls certainly would have changed if one of their little friends or cousins were standing in our yard getting soaked and crying from fear of the thunder and lightening. No doubt in my mind, Callie would have thrown back the door, yelled for her friend or would have gone out to help her get her to safety as quick as possible.
Would we, as adults, do the same?
Adults who have experienced many more years of life than little ones. Adults who have taken root in their pride, fear, judgment, anxiety, and finger pointing. Those of us who can tell you what you're doing right and wrong, but don't offer an ounce of love or grace to the suffering. Kids need to be taught how to act, how to speak, what to believe, who to love. Who are they taught to love? And HOW are they being taught to love? WE are their teachers, parents. WE are their mentors, their how to's, their eyes, their ears, and what comes out of those little mouths. It's all a reflection of us and what they are taught. Through word and deed, through accident or observance or a direct lesson or lecture. And I want to push my kids out the door. I want to urge them to pull back the screen and go running out with umbrellas, lifeboats, food, water, pure and undefiled love. Love that hasn't been tainted by the world, society's bantering, people group's segregations, or Satan's lies. I want them to hover around the one that the rain is beating down on. I want them to hold their hand and share in their fear and worry. I want them to be the ones to offer a word of kindness, a prayer for healing, a look of concern. I want them to give life to Jesus' commands to love they neighbor.
I want them to also know that running out in the storm means getting caught in the storm themselves at times. I want to caution them and I want to prep them. Praying for my storm chasers everyday. Filling their minds and hearts with God's Word will fuel them and strengthen them for ministry work. Befriending the excluded, sticking out their neck for the undeserving, and loving those who are unloving is no light task. No light task for any of us. There is risk for rejection, miscommunication, even being struck by lightening. But when the rain stops and the clouds break for the sunshine, I want them to know at the end of each day, they weren't dictated by fear. They were bold in loving others for Jesus. That they looked at someone and saw them and their need and did what they could to meet that need or love that person in need. I want them to lie down each night, exhausted from being used up for the kingdom, ready and willing to grab their life jackets on the way out the door the next day.