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Posts tagged ‘Parenting’

Holding Tight in the Falling Times

Spring ushers in some of my favorite things: sunshine, warmth, birds singing and a multitude of flowers peeking through muddy ground. This spring the birds have been singing, flowers have begun their ascent into full glory, but the sun… ah, the sun. Maybe it was sleeping hard after a long winter and couldn’t be bothered to show its’ face. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, the sun came out to play. Finally. Ecstatically happy and in celebration of the sun, I spent as much time as I could outside. I hiked through the park, attempted to garden a bit, even walked down our lengthy gravelly driveway and road, up the hill to meet my daughter at her bus stop. Normally, I’d drive. Not yesterday. Not a chance. Didn’t even mind pushing her enormous, ancient jogging stroller up the big hill.

Delighted to see me and the stroller, she couldn’t wait to take a ride. She loves taking walks. She loves riding and loves walking. Used to be, she was a bit too unsteady to walk for long on the gravel. She’s grown considerably in strength, in a year’s time. After riding to our driveway, she promptly asked to walk. “Out, Mama. Wanna walk. Please.” Absolutely. Down she went, ready for her hike up the hills in our drive.

Five year olds are inquisitive creatures and my daughter is no exception. With eyes focused on either side of the drive searching for birds, deer and chipmunks, it didn’t take long for her to take a spill. Footing lost; down she went, both hands hitting hard on gravel. Her little face belying shock over what happened. Frustration. Then, the cries of pain.  Scooping her up immediately, holding her close to soothe her tears, she calmed. Tiny scraped up palms and sadness in her eyes. It’s heartbreaking to see your child in pain, even if it’s just over a few scrapes.

Scraped hands are brushed off. Tears wiped away. We turn to continue our walk. Afraid to take another step, my daughter moves slowly. Cautiously. “Sofia, do you want to hold my hand?” I ask. “Yes,” she mumbles through left-over tears. I hold out my right hand to her, which she grasps solidly with her left. Tiny hand in mine, I begin to take a step. Before my foot hits the ground, another little hand shoots out, desperately grabbing for my hand. Two little hands tighten their grip on mine. The ferocity with which she holds on startles me. It’s as if she doesn’t trust herself. One hand holding on is good, but two are better. Both hands in mine, I steady her for our hike home.

As we walk together, I’m reminded of the times in my life I’ve been walking along, enjoying the scenery, unaware I’m about to lose my footing. Then, the fall. Painful, surprising spills on the road of life when I’ve longed to hold on to someone bigger and stronger. After falling, I’m stunned and shocked by the hurt of whatever’s thrown me off balance. At times, I’ve been afraid to keep going. Over time, I’ve learned to raise my head, tears falling and hold out both hands reaching for the God who offers me His right hand to steady me.  

I walk in His strength, in the knowledge He can lead me safely on my journey. I’ve learned I can’t make it alone. So I reach out and grip with both hands, the hand offered me. I take it, hopefully without question. Sometimes, with questions nagging. I’m grateful for the help. He’s always been faithful. He always leads with love. I can only hope that’s what my daughter sees, when she reaches out to me. And that, in turn, she’ll learn to reach out for Him.

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10  NLT

Sizer or Life-Giver: Which One are You?

There seem to be two types of people in this world, those who view others through the lens of what is lacking and those who see great value in the personhood of another human being. Read more

Abiding: Lessons from a One Year Old

Driving home, my mind was all awhirl. A mix of emotion and fear, fear of what the unknown future held for my precious daughter, waiting at home for me. Sofia was almost a year old.  Every now and then, when I’d least expect it, fear over what the future held, would creep into my psyche, playing games with my heart and mind. I’d long felt I’d already accepted her diagnosis of Down syndrome. Yet for some reason, a battle would erupt in my mind, threatening the knowledge that God was and had been so faithful to us, throughout my pregnancy, her birth, and her first year.

Were we doing enough to keep her safe from unwanted germs that might send her into the hospital, like we’d been advised? What if she was hospitalized? What then? Who’d be there to provide help or support? How would she be treated by others, as she grew? In a world professing to love diversity and celebrate differences, I’d already felt pangs of pain, seeing the fear on some people’s faces, once they realized she was “different.” Heartwrenching. A sucker punch to a mother’s soul. What would her world look like when she became a young woman?

Questions better left at the foot of the cross. After all, God tells us not to worry about tomorrow, because today has enough trouble of its’ own. Most days my heart was peaceful. But every once in a while, those punches would come, knocking the wind out of me.

Returning home I’d run to see my daughter, to hold her, as if holding her tight in my arms would protect her from the fears waiting to threaten her little world…my fears. A mother’s fears. Looking into her beautiful blue eyes, bright with energy and happiness, the world outside faded away. Nothing else mattered. Holding her close, breathing in her joy, feeling her little fingers wrap tightly around mine, made everything better. Fear didn’t exist here. Squeezed out by love, the love of a little child for her mother. It’s not an understatement to say the gauges of my heart returned to a place of peace and trust. Trust in the God whose faithfulness had brought this amazing little person into my life. He’d taken care of everything. Nothing else mattered. Not tomorrow. No fear.

Perfect love drives out fear. I know I’m not alone. My husband experienced the same. Talking about it with him made me realize how similar the human experience is for each of us. Talking with other parents in similar situations, the story is much the same. Being in the presence of their child, their beloved child, the fear melts away. There may be exceptions, but I find it interesting so many people share the same experience.

Why? I’ve often wondered. Made in the image of the God who created us, could it be that what we see and experience in those moments of truly being present with our children is a reflection of God. His Beauty. His peace. His goodness. His faithfulness.

Jesus tells us, Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” ……………………………………………………………..John 15:4,5,9,11 NIV

Jesus commands that we remain in Him. Abide in me. Dwell in me. Then, your joy will be complete. The joy that filled my world, being in the presence of my daughter, is only a glimmer of the fullness we experience when we remain in the presence of Christ. A heavenly, divine portion of joy and peace is waiting for us. It is ours, when we choose to dwell in the presence of the divine.

Silence. Reflection. Meditation on the Word. Open ears, open heart. Praise. Thanksgiving. A meager offering of our hearts laid out before the only One who can fill us. We’re never asked to go it alone. Day by day abiding is necessary to live this life of faith. Dwell with me, He says. What goodness He brings when we do.