A few well-meaning mommas I spoke to around town back home suggested I think twice about taking Reed to the beach. The ladies fearfully proposed, "He might hate the salt water," or "he could be afraid of the texture of sand," or even, "the sound of the ocean might scare him." Now like I said, I understand where these mommas come from. In fact, every time I heard another piece of "advice" I would nod my head, listen attentively, and swallow my anxiety. I thought, What if he is scared of the beach? What if I've saved all this money to have a toddler who can't leave the hotel? What if he screams every time he hears a wave? What if... What if... What if...
I tried taking my worries and cares to my husband, who shook his head and laughed. "Rebekah. Reed digs holes in the mud, finds worms, eats grass, hunts turkeys, and swims like a fish. He's going to love the beach. You can't worry about everything people say." I knew he was right, but STILL! I want to worry! What about all the what ifs?!
Nevertheless, we endured 625 miles, 10 hours, 6 stops, 2 traffic jams, 2 bags of animal crackers, and countless Veggie Tales episodes and made it to North Myrtle beach. When Reed looked out of the window of the car and saw the beach, he said in soft, perplexed amazement, "That's a lotta sand out there, Mommy". Later, as we walked out for the first time, I held my breath as he stepped onto the beach, picked up two handfuls of sand, rubbed it all over his chest and belly, and smiled.
People need to chill out.
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea-- the LORD on high is mighty.
I wasn't sure how having a child would change that. After all, my husband is back in Ohio, and even though I am here with my parents and sister's family, I am really busy making memories with TLO. But watching him experience the ocean for the first time kind of made me feel... convicted. I mean, this two year old showed more love for life, God's creation, and simple pleasures in that one moment than I had during the entire trip! Reed radiated with love and joy as he took in everything about the ocean. As I watched him play, I thought about recent events where I chose not to enjoy my life but instead worry, complain, or gossip.
I thought about worrying about saving money the months before the trip. And shark attacks.
I thought about all of the times I complained when the family plans didn't go exactly, perfectly right or MY way.
I thought about gossiping about the people I saw on the beach. (Oh, you know you've done that one, too!)
And then, I thought about Matthew 18:3, when Jesus says,
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Yikes. Ok, Lord. I think I've had a revelation on this verse. I hear You say that You want me to enjoy this life, trust my Father, and love and appreciate every simple moment. I understand that You want me to take it slow. I will run my fingers through the sand. I will roll in the waves of this life and taste and see that You are good (Psalm 34:8). Yeah, sometimes I might get salt water on my face, but I'll laugh (Proverbs 31:25), get up, and enjoy this life anyway. My time here was not meant to be spent worrying about the sounds of the unknown, complaining about the rough texture of unpleasant situations, or focusing on the bitter, salty taste of trials. This wonderful life that our loving Father has created is meant to be reveled in, enjoyed completely, and filled with expressions of gratitude, joy, love, and amazement.