Saturday, November 24, 2012

How to Really Inspire

Mama's shouldn't just sit on the shore lines.

I sat there in a cheap lawn chair - watching my oldest two tinker with gulf water.

My shoes on and laced tight - they weren't coming off. I made a proclamation years ago - that I would never let the souls of my feet step on ground I couldn't at the beach. Because you never know when you will step on a jellyfish or a crab or a broken piece of glass or something.

Better safe than sorry.

But slothing there on the warm shore - watching my kids really live -  my husband walks up all barefoot and sandy and says, "Come on, babe. Take your shoes off."

And right about that time - I look up and see my oldest inching closer and closer to bigger waters - and farther and farther away from me. One of us is about to have a thrill - and it's probably not gonna be the one all safe in her cheap lawn chair...

So before I even knew what I was doing - I unraveled the laces and slipped off the socks. I rolled up my jeans mid-shin and I left the chair and headed toward the water - where my children had been playing silly and laughing happy all afternoon.

And this is huge. Normal and expected for most beach-goers, but new and brave for me.

After daring to step on unseen ground - and splashing in washed up water (and loving it!)....and basking in fresh sun...the Spirit spoke clear. (Because He tends to do so when we choose to step out into the uncharted. He tends to speak loud when we step in places we can't see - simply because we hear Him calling. God's presence seems to be thickest when we push past what's known, what's calculated, what's safe.)

Abandoned chairs and left-behind-sand-buckets and and swept-out-to-sea-sand-shovels are a good, beautiful thing. It means their owners decided to dive in - no longer content to just see the waves - but needing to feel them. It's all in the experience.

And do we have any idea what kind of an impact this has on our offspring? Do we have any idea the damage done and the limits drawn when we don't cannon-ball right in?

Our kids will go so much farther in life - when we are out there with them. Making a splash in the world does much more for our kids than clapping does. When you're sitting on the sidelines just yelling for them to go out and make big waves....there's really not much power in that. Children need to see their elders contributing, risking - to know how to do it themselves.

Mama's (and grandmama's and aunts and cousins and friends) should not just follow the babes around - making them the center of the universe. Mama's (and grandmama's and aunts and cousins and friends) should get out there and really live this wild journey. Because when kids see us serving and loving and focusing and disciplining and sacrificing and doing - they see a life lived out well....and they'll want to join you. And they'll want to surpass you. And this is good. It's what we should want.

All too often our children beg us to get up and join them - instead of us getting up, rising up, showing up - encouraging them to join us. And this is a travesty.

So let's start today.

There are great big seas to see. And great big waves to ride. And lots of children to inspire - three of them live right here under my wing. But am I flying them anywhere?

I must remember - while it might not be 100% safe - while it might make me weary tired at times....while it might mean that little bits of the beach will end up in every corner of my mini man - while it might mean that my clothes are gonna get least my soul won't run dry.

And neither will theirs.