Walking last evening with my kids, just them and me. They, peddling their bikes - helmets bobbing and wheels turning.
We rode up and around... Through the desert, along the paths and by the pool. They rode up and down the street. I walked along side. They would peddle ahead then circle wide around to come back to me. This was the first walk I've taken with them that I didn't panic when they rode in the street too far ahead. This realization scares me.
There is a wash run off and basin along this path that, since we are in the desert, hardly ever fills. In the early spring it comes alive with wildlife of all sorts, wildflowers in bloom and sprigs of green grass. My son, he tells me in his peddling, that daddy never trusts him to ride down there... I don't trust him to ride down there... But a soft voice whispers - "It's okay, I've got him." I gently encourage him to go, to ride - "Do, it!", I say. Wide-eyed, he looks at me... "Next time mom." We keep waking and peddling.
There are quite a few houses in our neighborhood for sale, the kids notice this... Signs that say For Rent... "What does that mean?" Still along our walk we come to this house... Not for sale or for rent, with weeds growing tall - at least three feet in some places and all over. I mentally note this home in my head, to visit another day... To gift them with a service project - an effort our church does.
My daughter asks about the weeds and we talk about that for a little bit. All the reasons why and what we can do to help. In the conversation, I smile at them and say, "The things you guys think of amaze me." My son replies, "You don't want to know what I think about." He wasn't joking nor have a hint of teasing in his voice - it was just matter of fact and a bit ominous. I told them both that I always want to know what they are thinking. That I love them and it's my job... I encouraged him to share with me.
Out of his 7 year old mouth he says, "I wonder what it's like when you die. I wonder if I will go to heaven or hell." Quietly stunned, we walked on for a bit. I held back all my mommy instinct to stop and hold him, to put my protective arms around him and tell him it's not something he should think about or worry about... But that's not the answer.
We walked... I said, "Oh, Buddy. I don't know what happens when you die, but I do know that Heaven is waiting for us. That God had built a house with many rooms which Sripture promises to you and me. I know God loves all His children and He has a place for you there. I know that you prayed to God and acknowledged Him, you told Him you know He died for your sins, that he raised from the dead for you and me. That's all you need. I don't worry about that for you - I know where you will go." We talked about baptism a little after that... And after a drawn out pause, he stops wheeling and says, "Mom, thanks for encouraging me."
They peddled happily home in excited banter. I trailed after in awe of those two. Of the gift God gave me in the raising, loving and encouraging. These are the moments which are hard to prepare for, are never really ready for but are armed with the truth.
I thank the Spirit for speaking truth, reminding me he has them.
I am a praying mommy. I pray with them and over them. My last prayers before I go off to sleep are about them.
I pray for their friends, I pray for their future... I pray that they will be mighty and bold. I pray they will speak love and truth - that God will watch over them all of their days.... I pray for their personal decisions to follow God, for one - I pray she has the courage and desire to stay on His path and for the other, that he decides his God is bigger than his fears. That stage fright can't keep him from the good and noble things.