The yards between Katie Wernert’s and mine all bled together like one collective playground. We innocently took tomatoes from her neighbor’s garden and sold them on the street. There were no boundary lines for little girls who were discovering the world. Between her house and mine was a stretch of life waiting for our search.
Some nights we played until the fireflies were on display and filled jars with these flickering luminaries that we hoped might last all summer in our confinement.
Caterpillars were pets and the stars were a light show and digging to China was a possibility.
These were the years where I learned that I was made for wonder.
When I hit my twenties at race-pace, seeking to make an imprint for God on the world around me, with a one-sided perspective on a God that never slept (so why should I?), something in me longed for these days when I went to bed with dirt under my fingernails and a plan to continue building that fort out back tomorrow.
Wonder happened when I gauged time by my mom’s dinner bell and the setting of the sun. But I wore a watch in my adult years. Everything was timed. Scheduled. Planned.
And my heart was dry.
I’d need to press pause on the pace of life and hike the Blue Ridge and let my feet get wet in the Atlantic when I wasn’t wearing a watch before that wonder could be restored.
To mamas of those who don’t yet hold a learners permit …
We’re in a culture crisis and our children are at risk for living small lives with small dreams, small vision and a small perspective of God.
Their wonder years are now. The years of developing their appetite for the finer things of life — the things that will fill their minds with questions, not answers, and pack their fingernails with dirty earth — are at hand.
Scoot them outside.
It’s there that they’ll learn to find wonder.
If we want them to develop a taste for the wonder of God we have to teach them how to fight for it, by how we fight for it for them and how we fight for it ourselves.
The life outside your front door tells the story that God is big and is capable of capturing our affections if we leave walls behind to explore it.
What makes the flower bloom, now? Why does the earth worm burrow? How long does a toad live? are precursors for What started the world spinning? Why do all the planets stay in line? Who knows how many grains of sand are on the earth?
Wikipedia spits out facts. Getting soiled in His creation instills wonder.
We teach them the depths of God, early, as we make what He made to be their playground.
Our mamas would laugh at these words. What else makes up a childhood except ponytails whipping in the wind and tree forts? It’s just what they did in their day, shooing us outside to find life. I can hear that screen door slam as if it was yesterday.
But today there’s a fierce, but subtle, competition.
We live in a world of Cliff’s Notes where the plot matters more than the language of the story and “give it to me quick” trains our children, young, to have flash-pot attention spans and a starved capacity for wonder.
We spoon feed them candy-like bursts of excitement and are perplexed, when, at sixteen and eighteen and twenty, they have no hunger for His Word. The world’s version of “fun” will capture them when they’re young, if we let it.
He is the God who created the stars and used the cleft of a rock to hide Moses and teaches His tender-care through the sparrow.
Mamas, His timeless Truths are right outside your kitchen window. Scoot them outside. Give them permission to roll through the grass and climb tall trees and catch crawfish in the creek.
Their wonder years will be over before you know it and they’ll have a lifetime of feasting on what first won their affections when they were young.
Give them a taste of true wonder and they’ll be captivated by the One who made it.
Scoot them outside.
Even better: shut down your screen, press pause on your “to do” list and let the corners collect dust while you tramp out there with them.
A mama who has been touched by the wonder of God in creation will teach her children, with her life, about a love that captivates.
Is today your day to catch a butterfly?
Photos compliments of Mandie Joy.