Not long ago, my daughter Kelly and I were deep in one of our mother daughter conversations when I asked her what she felt was her best childhood memory. Now over thirty and with three kids of her own, I thought she might offer some insight as to my success as a parent. After all, as a mom, I worked hard to give both my children many things deprived of me as a child. With pride, I clothed them well, celebrated birthdays and holidays in style, not to mention all our many vacations.
Eagerly, I awaited her answer. Her head slightly tilted and for a few seconds, she stared out into space. Then her eyes brightened and a broad smile swept over her face. “When you let us go out and play in the rain!”
Shocked, I began to protest, “Kelly, we took you skiing in Colorado, we drove half way across the country, you went to the Minnesota state fair, and what about all those trips to the beach?”
“They were nice Mom. But playing in the rain, that was the best.”
I laughed because like Kelly, I too remembered playing in the rain as one of my fondest childhood memories. Many rainy summer days, I stood beside my mother in front of our huge picture window begging her to let me go outside. After what seemed like hours of her scouring the sky for lightening she would say, “yes.” Eagerly, I darted out the front door.
Once outside the rain smelled fresh and clean as the drops brushed my cheeks and rolled down my face. With delight, I bunched my bare feet against the curb and tried to dam the dirty water as it rushed toward the sewer and disappeared. I loved splashing in the puddles and tromping through the wet grass. I felt so free.
For days I thought about my conversation with Kelly. I wondered what made playing in the rain so memorable. Then it hit me, it could not be planned. It almost always happened spontaneously thereby eliminating any expectations. And without expectations, it was impossible to be disappointed.
Five years ago when I moved to Florida, my life had become a puzzle I could no longer put together. My job took from my family, I had no time for my friends, and our Church bored me to tears. In desperate frustration, I consciously got on my knees and gave up everything–my family, my job, my friends, and my dreams. I told God I no longer wanted anything but Him.
Daily I focused on my Bible studies. I turned to prayer and every decision I faced, I took to the foot of the cross. Since then, my husband has been diagnosed with lung cancer, he’s lost his job, and we’ve faced financial struggles we’ve never seen before. But I refuse to try to manipulate the outcome. Daily, I wait for God to move and I’m in awe of His ability to provide for us.
Living each day without my own set of expectations, I have discovered a freedom amongst the chaos of my life. Daily I wake up and see my struggles, but when I see Him, I know it’s safe and my needs are being met. I’m not sure how He’s doing it, but I trust Him and that trust gives me the strength to get up, get dressed, and go play in the rain.