As she gets out of the stroller, her eyes grow wide, a smile spreads across her face, and her little feet are stamping the ground as fast as they can go. It is pure awe and excitement. It's her first trip to the park as a toddler. The first time she can run, climb, and explore this new place of wonder. She doesn't even know where to begin her exploration. Then her brother takes her chubby little hand and shows her the way. It only lasts a few minutes and then she wants to be on her own, figuring out this new place.
I watch her amazed at her lack of fear and her perseverance. I go behind her as she tries to climb a tall ladder. As I keep my hand on her back, she pushes it away. I stay right there, my hand mere inches from her back just in case she slips or gets distracted. It reminds me of our Heavenly Father, sitting there with His hands on our backs and how often we push Him away to do it on our own. But yet He is there, mere inches away to catch us when we fall and comfort us. He is always there to take care of us, to watch over us even when we think we don't need Him. So much like my toddler who thinks she is courageous and independent enough to master this playground on her own.
Then there is my preschooler, who only a year ago needed me to be in eyesight, running and climbing not worried about where I am. He would per
iodically run up to check in, not realizing my eyes were on him making sure he was safe and being careful. There are times in our lives when our Father is so close, we need Him right there. Then we start to grow independent and our eyes turn from Him, occasionally looking back to see if He is really there. In our hearts we know He is there, always taking care of us and how He must long for us to look to Him in everything. Just as I long for my preschooler to be looking back at me, still needing the security of his mother at every turn on the playground.
My children are focused on exploring and finding their independence. They don't notice that I am watching over them and protecting them. They may find it more of a hinderance than a blessing at this age. I am truly thankful for a Father who protects me, cares for me, watches over me, and loves me even when my eyes are not turned on Him. I am thankful for the lessons from the playground, reminding me that He is always there, waiting for me to turn to Him in everything.