“Look mom, no hands!” I exclaimed as I ran down the face of a rock. I was an adventurous little girl. I wasn’t afraid of getting dirty or heights or trying something a little more on the edge.
My mother had been a much more refined little girl. She wore dresses, had tea parties and didn’t push the limits.
I attribute my casual attitude toward adventure to being an only child and having a father who was also exploratory and daring.
Prov. 3:5-6 tells us to “trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” My sweet mother put her trust and understanding in Jesus time and again. She placed all my antics — inching my way to the edge of cliffs, climbing high into trees where the branches become thin, jumping off rock cliffs into the lake — into the hands of her loving God.
She wrestled within herself not to project her fears outwardly for me to see them. She wanted me to be adventurous and trust in myself to attempt activities she wouldn’t have tried as a child. She wanted me to live the truest life I could discover for myself, and she would sit back and watch the excitement unfold before her.
“Mom, did you see that?” was something she heard repeatedly during my childhood.
Matt. 18:2-3 instructs us to remain childlike. Jesus called a little child to him and said to those around him: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
My patient mother reminded herself regularly to keep her childlike faith while raising me. She would smile at the beautiful life before her as I continued to move toward new horizons.
I’m currently thinking daily of how my mother felt all those years ago. Since spending nonstop time with my three children and watching their imaginations work overtime, I find myself placing my worries in the hands of Jesus. They are creating obstacle courses with boards and rocks in the back yard, climbing with ropes on the basketball goal, attempting to cross the Arkansas River in waders and learning new tricks on the trampoline.
The older I become, the more cautious I am. I lived to tell exciting tales of my childhood to my kids and, I trust, so will they.
I, too, need to step back, smile and breathe at the beautiful life before me as my children move toward new horizons.
Beth Lichty, of Wichita, Kan., is a former elementary schoolteacher, wife to Jonas and stay- at-home mom of three children. She is a board member of Springs Forth! Faith Formation Inc., which publishes online, multi-age curriculum.