Stranger danger. We've heard it since we were little, the subconscious measures that somehow because conscious learned phrases. White vans, free candy, beware. With a personality that is often incorrect in initial discernment, and always open for a conversation with a stranger, I am thankful my parents imprinted this guidance into my mental sphere from a young age.
As a mom now I hope to do the same. Momma Bear to the rescue, steering my littles away from danger present or not. And so enters the Holy Spirit. Convictions that Jesus was so attractive in personality that both children and criminals were drawn to Him. I want to be that. I want my kids to SEE me being that.
A few months ago I had an interaction with a homeless woman in our city. I invited conversation in, with a hope that she would seek to fill the wounds and cuts she was up in arms about (drugs, stolen property, victim of sexual abuse, etc.) with the salt and light of my home church. What was a simple invite turned into a very intense conversation in details unsuitable for my 1.5 year old ears. Luckily my husband was with me and he was able to move the stroller 10 feet from the conversation and keep an eye on me. Remember that sometimes wants to talks to everyone problem I mentioned, yeah, I still have it.
A situation where I was very literally praying in the spirit, asking for discernment with no immediate answers. Fight or flight, fight or flight?
Here is the conclusion I came to. I want my kids to see me interacting with humanity. Don't read "homeless, down and out, delinquents." It is embarrassingly easy to do, right? Yeah-chill out arrogance, we are all in the same boat here in this thing called life, and I want my kids to know it. I want them to see me loving, sharing, praying, encouraging, and lifting the heads of everyone I come into contact with. I don't think the answers are always simple. I think sometimes we find ourselves embracing cultural barriers as Jesus did in so many interactions. I think sometimes we just have to place loving people above guarding ourselves and therefore turning what should be Love's light into shadowed self-centeredness.
I am not advocating placing yourself in physical danger, nor am I asking you to put your kids in harm's way. Seriously-THANK YOU mom and dad for making me watch the Berenstain Bears "strangers" episode over until it sunk in, Lord knows I of all people needed to learn caution here. My thoughts here are simply those that soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and conversations with those who look nothing like me are the very places I hope my kids grow to be the light within. I hope that they have hearts to serve, love, and interact with humanity, the same way I hope they see me doing from a genuine, servant, all things to all people posture.
As moms it is my hope that we steward lives that understand danger, but also understand that sometimes people are just people, and we all need love, light, grace, and redemption. And on these grounds, in this form of motherhood, I think we can start stamping our cities with the Kingdom of Heaven. I think here we can learn to be open with humanity from a posture grounded in it's commitment to "live carefree before God; he is most careful with you," (1 Peter 5:7) type way. And if nothing else, it has to be a pretty good place to start, right?