Did I tell you about my Mary?
She smiles at a pretty dress, but needn't try it on just now; no thanks Mom. She's interested in only girly colors, but unlike her thoroughly-girly sister, who changes clothes for fun, my Mary puts clothes in their place.
Clothes are for covering us, nothing more.
When Mary awakes, nature sings unto her heart, beckoning her. As fast as she can, she dresses, waiting for Mom to have a shower so she can go outside. She submits to the morning hair brushing, dreaming of the escapades to come.
She makes frogs her friends, observes bugs, searches for snakes, plays with water and mud, catches butterflies, swings on tree branches. She becomes one with her environment.
The adventures change with the weather. Sometimes, when there's a heavy rain and laundry is already plentiful, I keep them in, preventing a muddy onslaught.
Other days I remember, thanks to the Holy Spirit and my own mother-spirit, that childhood is for getting dirty and exploring. For laughing at the rain and dancing to its beat.
Childhood is an open book upon which each day writes its own story. Childhood is for believing in joy and creating joy from the raw materials God provides.
Childhood is for inspiring the adults. Have faith like one of these, my Father tells me.
Toys r' Us has nothing on a glorious Heavenly Father who knew us before we were born. The richest child doesn't own toys. The richest child has a yard or a safe street and a Momma who will do the extra laundry and run a bubble bath.
After four hours in a muggy Ohio rain, clothes and body wearing mud from head to toe--high fashion for a child--she came in when I called her for a bath, some lunch and a little school.
Smile wide and wondrous, and grateful too, she announced:
"That was the most fun I've ever had!"
As moms we need to remember how the tyranny of chores can rob us of joy in the moment. But our kids? They live in the moment, unless we ruin that for them. Let's not over-schedule them or over-indulge them.
The Lord loves the little children and what does he want for them? To be able to go outside and say, "What do you want to show me today, God?"
A child's first experience of God is a personal one, not a parent-directed one. God reveals himself through his Creation. When they are told that first time, Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, the lights begin to go on and when they go outside, they remember.
God created. Flowers. Trees. Birds. Water. Mountains. Rivers. Sun. Stars.
God created everything and everything is as interesting as it is beautiful. And He loves me.
The magical moments that make childhood rich are put together by God, not by the local Rec Center employees or camp counselors.
When I asked Mary what Bible verse she wanted to say on stage at the end-of-year AWANA awards assembly, she didn't hesitate.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
When Mary goes outside, she worships. God put His glory in her midst and now she knows Him intimately. He's the glorious God who put the purple in flowers and the yellow in butterflies. He sent the rain that made the puddle that beckoned and delighted her.
Set the little children free so God can speak to them in a way they understand. Set them free to find Joy, and Peace the Person.