I always thought people with kids had a one up on me. Every time I hear a sermon, a podcast, or just am talking with friends there is a cool analogy or lesson learned from a child. Sometimes I think, “man I got to get one of those, how many teachable lessons could I share then!” My friends have tried to talk some sense into me by telling me to enjoy being single and childless while I can because it gets harder, but man how much easier would it be to write a blog or a book with tiny humans giving you great source material??
Ok, ok maybe that isn’t a great reason to have kids or a reason at all. I know there are great things just waiting to happen to me so I can have a great life lesson to share…stay tuned to one called, “Lessons Learned While Running Downhill”. But kids are pretty great and I think one of the reason is we get to see glimpses of how God sees us in his role as Father/Mother and cares for us when we tangibly realize how we care and love our little people.
In the meantime I borrow other people’s kids for my lessons, when I’m not running downhill or something. Today for instance I watched my friend’s kids, Aubrey (3yrs) and Declan (llmo) while she volunteered at her eldest son’s school. I had a lot to do and a workout was high on the list so I decided I would take them on a hike. I would get a workout, they would get outside I saw wins in every direction. Then I got to the base of the mountain and thought good Lord what was I thinking I’m taking a 11mo old and a 3 yr, old hiking up a hill that it tiresome for me alone and I will have a backpack on my back and an 11mo old on my front so if something happens with the 3 yr old (who is accident prone by the way) I have no other place to put her!!! I was on a small internal freak out but I had now promised a hike and a hike they would get.
As we began our walk I began cheering Aubrey on. I told her how strong she was, said she was brave, she was courageous, I told her to watch where she was walking and take it slow when she was unsure of her step. I told her she was a warrior and that she could do this because she was big and awesome. Over and over again I repeated those words to her up the mountain.
In the beginning she had a couple tumbles and shed a few tears but she got up and kept going. As we were getting closer to the top I could tell she was tired and gave her the opportunity to go back down or keep going up. She looked at me with steely resolve and said, “I want to go to the top.” And with that she promptly got up off her rock and started again to go up the trail. When she got to the top instead of fatigue and frustration she was all smiles. I knew it wasn’t an easy climb for me much less a three year old but I could tell she felt accomplished.
All the way back down I kept repeating those words to her. You are strong, brave, courageous, you can do it,you are awesome. This time however, something had changed in her demeanor. It was if she believed every word that was being spoken and was acting accordingly. She took her steps with confidence and tried difficult parts on her own. Every once in awhile she would still ask to hold my hand, but she also had confidence in me that I would help her through safely. She knew she was brave, strong and courageous and because of that she had less fear. Don’t get me wrong she fell down a lot. I was worried at first and a couple of the falls I could tell hurt, but each time she got up with determination, dusted her hands off and kept going. Then when she fell she would start yelling “Weee!!!” as if each fall was fun. This I’m not going to lie went against everything I would do if I fell. She really was incredible.
Afterwards God reminded me of the importance of the words spoken to others. Asking if they were building each other up and speaking life and God-given identity to those around us.
Then he reminded me of the words he has spoken over me. Words that tell me I am strong and courageous in him, that the righteous are as bold as lions, that I am to be a lover of truth, that I am of a royal priesthood and a holy nation, a people chosen for his own possession, that he has good plans for me. Words that tell me I am beautiful and created purposefully, that he cares for me, that I am fruitful and not barren, full of joy and peace. Then he asked me if he had heard him lately speaking them, encouraging me, cheering me on.
I want to encourage you that God sees your every step. Today I watched Aubrey like a hawk. One she is not my child and I try to bring other people’s children back in one piece but more than that I didn’t want her to get hurt, but more than not wanting her to get hurt I wanted her to experience the joy of doing it, of climbing a mountain, of accomplishing something hard. So I reminded her of her identity, spoke to her who she was even if there were aspects she didn’t know about herself yet.
I think God does the same thing, he watches over us every step of the way. I don’t think he likes seeing us get hurt, but he wants us to experience this gift of life we have even when it feels like we just fell hard on our backside into the dust. He wants us to embrace the tough climbs and shout out “Weeeeee!” at the top of our lungs when we fall and it hurts because we are living our lives with reckless abandon for him and for his good purposes. He wants to see us recover from those moments by dusting our hands off and putting our foot back on the path one step at a time. To grab his hand on the parts we are not sure of where we need his help to navigate the tricky areas where we are unsure of where to place our feet. He wants us to be able to take a moment when it feels like its too hard to go on and then choose to go onward because we know we can do this. He wants us to smile at the top after a tough, tiresome journey because we can see the bottom from where we came and more of the road to where we are going. So he rehearses those words over and over again…You are brave. You are strong. You are courageous. You can do this.