Boundary lines, how tempted we are to push past them. When I was little, crossing our manicured yard and it’s stretching foliage felt like a thrilling adventure for me. Whether a competitive basketball game of Horse on my neighbor’s driveway, a festive game of hide-go-seek with around the children’s homes in our cul-de-sac, or a crowded pick up game of kickball on the pavement in front of our driveways–we grade schoolers were free! Well, until our exterior house lights flickered on, calling us in for mostaccioli again. Sometimes we would pump our Huffy bikes a little farther down the road without mom knowing. Or we would tiptoe into neighbors homes to marvel from their foyers. One day, my friends and I ventured off the neighborhood playground and into a house under construction. The thrill of playing house among the wall beams, the electrical scraps, and the creepy sub floor opening dropping to the basement-dungeon, exceeded our imaginations! We were in danger, what danger? Dangerous wasn’t even a part of our vocabulary in the mid seventies. Our creativity knew only the bounds our neighborhood provided.
My husband and I want our children to experience yard adventures also. At first we discussed the issues–darting balls in the street and visibility, which created unspoken tension and insecurity for our family. What was our prayerful solution? Build a fence. Build a fence. Build a fence. However, with every good solution, as parents, there are often real adult fears to face. Others’ opinions, a visual barrier to our hillside view, the cost, and the upkeep of a fence circled our thoughts. Those were some of our fears. We needed courage to invest not in a fence but in our family adventures. We needed belief that the sacrifice would prove its worth.
So, was it worth it? Yes. Peace that passes our understanding has fallen upon our little pie shaped lot. Now, when our kids are bounding on their trampoline–they aren’t distracted. They can pull out the soccer nets and kick all day without one rolling into the street. Even a tea party has already taken place in the back corner near our apple trees. Our children now feel the gifts of security and creativity from one parental decision. They feel joy and adventurous more than before and childhood tensions have melted before our eyes.
I think God understood the urgency I felt as a mom. The passing of time for our children to want to play outside passes so quickly. With spring rains already falling, I’m aware of our children’s dreams to sink their vegetable and flower seedlings in soil. By God’s grace, I have less than ten years to prepare and equip them for the adventures God will unfold. I want them to learn to pray, to risk, find their courage. I want to fan the flame of creativity, resourcefulness, all while showing them God’s nearness and limitless love for each of them. Yes, now our new boundary opens up a new world where even more nurturing may take place. It’s very good.
I’m most thankful as a mom for the boundaries and vision God provides through His word. It’s the map for us as parents where we can show our children boundary lines meant for good, protecting them from sure disaster. It provides the trellis on which the vine coils and climbs. I count it a valuable privilege to have invested so many of my days preparing the soil of their hearts. Their maturity and the fruit they bare matters to me like nothing else does. From what I read in I Corinthians 13:11, I believe it matters to God too. “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
As I reconsider our yard boundary, for us, maybe it marks a step of maturity and responsibility for us as parents. Sometimes, we are forced to take these steps as parents and leave the easy path for the greater good. To some around us, it may not make sense. However, in this case, the comforting and nurturing of our little brood requires it. Now, they can play and squeal outside until the stars shine. They may also enjoy every freedom and benefit our hedge of protection provides until they are ready for God sized adventures of their own. Until then, we parents will keep reminding our children to trust those loving boundary lines and enjoy them as the God-given benefit they are to our little family.
“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy?
“Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place,
when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?