936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!
I sat on that plaid couch, sandwiched between my two oldest boys, sunlight in stripes down our backs through the blinds, books in piles around us, and stunned.
“How can we know what God is like?” I had asked Zeke, my seven-year-old, a moment before. Without batting an eye he told me the first thing that came to mind.
“We go outside.”
His answer was my exhale in the midst of a season full of questions. All those questions that through the lens of parenting present themselves more as doubts than anything.
Are we living on purpose?
Are we anchored in our values, or are we being swayed by circumstances, adrift at sea?
Are we merely surviving, or are the small actions and choices we make each day building into a legacy that matters?
When the pressures of responsibility press in and life feels more insistent and demanding than intentional and joyful, have we veered off course?
And in the midst of all of these doubts, the one pressing hardest against my soul asks me whether, despite the answers to those questions, I am pointing my children to Jesus.
“We go outside”, he told me that day on the sofa, and those three words assured me we are doing something right, that they are seeing God as we walk this path together, sometimes with wobbly knees.
“The LORD possessed me (wisdom) at the beginning of his way, before his works of old.
From everlasting I was established, from the beginning, from the earliest times of earth…” (Proverbs 8)
I picture my boys bending at hips, dirty hands pressed hard against knees as they examine the rings of a one-hundred-year-old stump in the forests of Oregon.
“When there were no depths I (wisdom) was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water…”
I picture the day we hiked with our boys along the Kettle Moraine trails in Wisconsin, the same trails I bounded down as a child, stopping to watch tiny bubbles shoot up from the silty soil beneath the ponds.
“Before the mountains were settled, before the hills were brought forth; while he had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world…”
I see my boys sitting pond-side with snow-capped summits towering behind them the first time their Daddy brought us to Colorado, unaware of just how those mountains would steal our hearts, and that within a year’s time we would be packing boxes, selling our home, and returning to claim those hills as home.
“When he established the heavens, I was there.”
Now I see me, tiny and buckled into the backseat, eagerly awaiting my father’s surprise as he drove us middle-of-the-night to catch the Northern Lights painted across the sky. And I see my hand in my husband’s as we sat on our back bumper, boys running wild at our feet well past bedtime, watching a Supermoon ascending before the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.
“When he inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when he made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when he set for the sea its boundary, so that the water should not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth…”
I see my boy of four years old walking slowly along a beach on an overcast day, stopping to examine every crab and broken shell. I see them grinning ear-to-ear on the ferry that took us across the Puget Sound. I see them looking from the pages of their Beachcombers Guide to the jelly fish splayed across the sand.
“Then I (wisdom) was beside him, as a master workman…”
I see my boy, feet pulled up under him, leaning into my side, explaining to me that if we want to know more about God, we go outside.
His words captured our heart for many of the decisions we have made as a family, for the adventures we have chosen to pursue. And of course, even if God had another piece of the earth for us to call home, He would be there, evident in blades of wheat, stalks of corn, snowy fields, or cloud towers shrouding out skyscrapers.
“Whether you live nestled within mountains, among farmlands and fields, or in the middle of a city, God’s wonder is begging to be explored. It can be an afternoon drive to a nearby park, an impromptu trip out of the city to glimpse the stars shining against the night sky, or a stroll along the river. That is the thing about God’s creation. Even amidst the developing world, His creation stands out, if we’ll only set our mind, eyes, and hearts to finding it.” – 936 Pennies: Discovering the Joy of Intentional Parenting
His creation exists wherever we are, a constant refrain of His wisdom, artistry, and vision.
We need only to go outside and see it.
“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!