The days are getting warmer. With only one more month of school, summer is just around the corner. I cannot believe how quickly this school year has passed. My babies will be in fifth grade next year and my oldest starts high school. Where has the time gone? I was thinking about this while tending to the pool. When we moved into this house, my oldest had just started kindergarten and my twins were not quiet two. I taught them to swim in this pool.
I remember that first summer with my babies sitting on the pool stairs waiting for me to bring them out into the water for their lesson. One at a time I would take them out and tell them to kick, kick, kick while the other waited patiently on the stairs. I was always amazed how they would just sit and wait. They never moved until they were instructed. Soon I put puffs on their arms and let them loose. It was so cute to see their little arms and legs going full speed as they journeyed around the pool. By the following summer they couldn’t wait to get back in the water. My son was jumping off the side to me while my daughter gently lowered herself into the water. He has always been more adventurous than his sister. Then one day when he was 3 he asked if he could swim without his puffs. He jumped to me a few times and swam to the side without any help. I knew he was ready. That was the last day he wore those puffs. My daughter wore her puffs for another year before she was coaxed into swimming without them.
Some of us are born courageous and others have to be coaxed. I have always been the less adventurous one although I welcome spontaneity. My husband is even less adventurous than me. He is nicknamed “Mr. Safety” in our house. Having a son like Jonah has put a few gray hairs on his head. Although “Mr. Safety” warns him of the possible dangers, Jonah remains fearless. He would rather try and get hurt than not try at all. I have to admire this about him. I’m not nearly that curious or courageous. I know God has big plans for my boy and his adventurous personality.
I have been reading Acts lately. Paul is one courageous guy. He was bold and fearless. He was not afraid of officials, prison or even death. He was on a mission to reach as many people as God would put in his path. Once he met Jesus, there was no turning back. He was clear about his path in life and willing to do what it took to accomplish the task. He was a man who got things done. Today I read about a riot exploding in Ephesus. There were those who didn’t like the disciples preaching about Jesus. They liked things the way they were. They had created their own gods and were making a hefty income because of it. Along came Paul and other disciples threatening their way and their financial status. Their only retaliation was to cause an uproar.
Most of us run from difficult times. We are afraid and avoid any kind of confrontation. Paul, on the other hand was fearless. When he heard of the riot, he wasn’t afraid. He saw it as a chance to preach. To everyone else, this was an angry crowd. To Paul, this was an opportunity to share Jesus. “Paul wanted to appear before the crowd, but the disciples would not let him.” (Acts 19:30 NIV) The scripture goes on to say his friends begged him to stay away. They feared for his life but Paul was willing to risk it to share Jesus.
Having children has made me realize God made each of us so very different. No two children are the same. Our uniqueness is the masterful work of a Creative God. And to think each child has a calling and a purpose sketched out by that same God amazes me. We need to teach Jonah self control but I believe God made him the way his is for a reason. He is willing to do the things others are not. He is inquisitive. I know God created those characteristics in him because He has a plan specifically designed for him. Part of parenting well is recognizing the gifts your child has and encouraging them. God says not to exasperate our children but lead them with grace and love. This can be exasperating to me with child like Jonah. But then I read about Paul and I see, even the most challenging children grow up to be servants of God. Paul was one of the boldest and courageous servants we read about in scripture. I’m glad God chose to share his story.