When you look at your child, do you ever wonder about his or her destiny? Do you wonder whom he will follow? Who he will become? Or maybe, whom he will encounter along the way? What path will she choose? Will she fight hard against conformity, or will she bend and sway to whomever screams the loudest at the moment?
How do we ensure their safety in this big, dangerous world? How do we protect them and guide them, while also, giving them the freedom to grow and develop their thoughts, their dreams and, even their faith, on their own?
We can only accomplish this, successfully, when we look to the Creator of their souls. He can and will help us, if we will but ask and follow His lead. The Word tells us God has a plan for their lives, good plans, prosperous plans…We find this, specifically, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So, we must entrust them to Him at an early age. We must submit our own lives to Him and follow His lead. Our children not only learn from what we say, but they learn most by what we do. If we follow Him, they learn, by example, what and how to do it. If we’re resistant to Him, they will, also, learn how to resist and fight against Him.
I saw this come to fruition the other day, as we came upon a beautiful waterfall on one of our hikes. You see, my husband and I absolutely love waterfalls. We will purposefully go on a hike to find those which we haven’t yet seen. We will revisit many, and even though we’ve seen them countless times, we will remain at them for limitless amounts of time just gazing and listening. It’s as if our souls settle as we stand in front of the gushing streams of water. Our thoughts are purified, our hearts are untangled from the cares of this world.
Twice, in the last week, we took our boys to a couple of waterfalls. Last week, we went to a very well known waterfall in North Georgia, Amicalola Falls.
We stayed there, admiring the falls, for probably close to 30 minutes, just simply lost in its beauty. As we stood there on the walkway, gazing up at the falls, people were constantly moving in front of us. Some would remark on the heights, on the beauty; many would turn their backs to the falls, take their little selfies, and then walk on pass. Others would simply walk by, glance at the falls and keep on walking, as if the 600+ steps of the hike was their one and only goal, or maybe just being able to say, “I was there,” was their purpose for coming.
We stood in amazement at their lack of amazement, as if this was simply some mound of dirt on the side of the path to whatever was more important in their journey right then. Even as I didn’t say a word to our oldest, I watched as my oldest son became livid with these people he didn’t even know. He couldn’t believe their disdain for God’s creation. He said nothing to those around him, but I heard about it for quite awhile as we made it back to our truck.
This past Friday, we went to Horse Trough Falls, again, in the North Georgia Mountains. It is set off the beaten path, and it is simply gorgeous! Joey and JMan stayed for a bit, but JMan wanted to get to the creek to build a dam and cool off from the heat; so, JGrizz and I remained at the waterfall while dad and youngest went back to the creek bed.
JGrizz sat at the man-made platform for a bit, then, ventured past where he could get closer to the falls. He took a few pics; then, he just found a comfortable spot on an old tree that had fallen across the creek, took off his shoes and just enjoyed the sights, smells and feel of the waterfall for a good long while.
As I watched him, I realized, he has become his Daddy’s son. This may sound silly, because, of course, this is obvious to anyone who knows the two of them. Yet, sometimes, I think, as our children grow into adulthood, there are definitive moments, those moments when we actually see the handprint of God on their lives and the tiny part we played in their development. This was one of those moments for me.
I could see his Daddy in his awe of God’s beauty. I could see the settling of his soul as he sat there lost in his surroundings. I could hear his Dad’s blunt (not-meaning-to-be-harsh-only-truthful) voice as he told me he didn’t want me to talk if I sat beside him on that log. I could feel his Dad’s love as he later hugged me, as if to say,” I really wasn’t trying to be rude. Sorry it came out that way.” I could even see his Heavenly Father’s courage, confidence and strength as he walked boldly among those slippery rocks just to get a closer glimpse of its beauty. My heart was full as I gazed at the man he was becoming.
Then, he said the words that sealed the moment within my heart. We were talking about the little streams of water which break off from the main portion of the waterfall, yet, still find their way to the bottom. JGrizz said, “Those streams are like me, and the rest are like society. I find my own way.” It was as if God was showing me in that moment, he has what it takes to make it. He will reach his destiny.
When we made our way back to the creek bed, I could see the sparkle in JMan’s eyes as he built his dam in the creek, it was the same sparkle his Daddy has. It’s the spark of wonder, adventure and just plain fun! Oh, the wonder of a child. We should never lose it, no matter how old or busy we become.
I saw my husband’s love for life within the lives of our sons, and I saw the love of our Heavenly Father wrapped up in their wonder for His creation. These things come to be as our children follow in our footsteps. They not only hear what we say; they see as we see and act as we act. If we will but submit them until God and allow Him to guide their lives, they will follow Him, and He will help them to reach their destiny.
““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9