I remember when each of my kids were learning to walk. I would prop them on their feet, wrap their tiny fingers around mine, hold tightly and then encourage them to take steps. At first they could only walk if they held my hands, but it seemed like in no time at all, they had gained the strength and courage to let go and toddle across the room on their own.
In each of their first years, there were many times I felt like I was holding my breath as they began to let go of my hands and fearlessly explore new territories. With each stumble and fall, my heart seemed to skip a beat as I would run over, to wipe away tears and help them to get back on their feet again! And those moments were foreshadowing for what was to come. In the years that have followed, I have had plenty of breath holding, letting go moments… when we took the training wheels off their bikes, on each of their first days of kindergarten or their first time away from home over night. When my oldest entered middle school and later high school, I felt those butterfly feelings again, and I could tell this aspect of parenting would not be an easy one – training them to step out along the path God has for them without me by their side, to hold their hands along the way, and pick them up when they fall.
The reality is, I can not live out my parenting days holding my breath as my kids grow and mature, and as a human I am limited in my ability to extend my reach wherever life leads each of them. I simply can not hold their hand every step of the way, but what David and I can do, is train them up in the way they should go and teach them to grab hold of the hand that will uphold them, steady them and never let them go – and that’s the loving, gracious hand of God.
Psalm 37:23-24 (NLT) paints a beautiful picture of what walking hand in hand with our Heavenly Father looks like. It says, “The steps of the godly are directed by the LORD. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand.”
Isn’t it wonderful to know that no matter how old we are, we have the hand of God available to us at all times? There is no more fruitful, joy-filled way to live than in a life of surrender to God, placing all we are into his grasp, and allowing him to lead us each step of the way. When we stumble, He won’t let go – he picks us back up, dusts us off, kisses our aches and pains – and lead us down the path that leads to life.
Copyright © 2011 by Amy O’Donnell. All Rights Reserved