I have a habit of assuming my ideas are always going to be easier than how they actually turn out, such as the time I thought I could easily remodel the bathroom in our house. Pat was going to be working long hours, so I enlisted my sister’s help and, together, we were going to rip out the entire bathroom, giving it a much needed facelift. As if one wasn’t enough, I decided while we were at it, we might as well remodel both bathrooms, so we ripped out the master bedroom bath too. You could shower in one, and use the toilet in the other. I know, I know, my parents and husband still shake their heads at this one.
Thankfully, after hearing of our plans, my parents were willing to drop everything to come and help, if needed. I assured them they wouldn’t be doing all the work because—in my mind—it didn’t seem extremely difficult; I figured having them here would give us access to their sage advice when, or if, we ran into trouble. How hard could it be? Silly me! It was a hard week for everyone involved. That year for Christmas my sister and I received sweatshirts that read, “K and K Construction. My Sister and I Do The Grunt Work. Call 1-800-4-Dad.” Funny, huh? Thankfully, our family has a good sense of humor and is willing to offer grace on an as needed basis.
Turning around to head back home proved to be a little more difficult, however, when he saw the stream for the second time–he wanted to cross it. Not only was the stream a temptation for him, but the woods tempted him too. I noticed he had new determination to leave the path we were on and head off on his own as we journeyed towards home. As he tugged and pulled at me, I glanced at the path we were on and then scanned the way he wanted to go, considering the outcome of each.
As we began our climb back up the hill to Avery’s house, I began pondering how easy it was for me to pick Avery up and carry him away from a path I felt was dangerous for him to try. Yet, that won’t be an option in a few years. With the speed of a camera flash, images of my parenting journey zoomed through my mind and I remembered:
I once picked my own children up and carried them away from the dangerous path;
I held a hand and gently guided them away from the dangerous path;
I held tighter to the hand, while they yanked and pulled, kicking and screaming, but eventually I moved them away from the dangerous path;
I let go of the hand, explained why the path was dangerous but stood close by, ready to run after them if they entered the dangerous path;
I had to trust they understood the dangers on the path and the consequences they’d face if they chose to walk upon it;
The day came when I had to allow them to choose their own path.
The control-freak-mom in me found this task extremely difficult; now, the friend-with-a-fixer-personality-mixed-with-a-mercy-gift in me finds this downright excruciating!
The Lord recently spoke to my heart over this very issue of trying to protect people from a path I perceive as dangerous; I often struggle to release the tight grip I have on them. Solomon offered great advice when he told us to “ponder the path of our feet”(Proverbs 4:26), and who doesn’t squirm a bit when someone you care about seems to be pursuing a path they haven’t yet pondered? There are some paths God never meant for us to occupy, and when we fail to use His Word as a lamp—allowing it to light the pathway for our feet--we run the risk of taking a journey down the wrong route (Psalm 119:105). If “all the paths of the Lord are loving kindness and goodness and truth and faithfulness to those who keep His covenant and His testimonies” (Psalm 25:10, AMP), why do we risk the detour? Of course, His path won’t be the easiest path, it’s just the safest path. His path will hold a few rocks, and there will be roots that cause a few missteps and stumbles. We will even endure a few falls, but we can be confident that—just as I was there for Avery—the Lord will be there for us. When I’ve found myself face down in the dust He has always been faithful to help me get back up (Psalm 145:14). He wants to “enlarge the path beneath me and make my steps secure, so that my feet will not slip” (Psalm 18:36, AMP). He holds the same desire for you.
While I may still tug and pull a bit on the Lord over directional differences, with the memories of my detours lurking, I find I ponder my steps more these days. I think it’s true what they say, with age comes wisdom. I also fear finding myself wandering down a path that may lead to destruction—and I don’t want to be there!—so I ponder where I place my feet. If you see me turn towards danger and need to grab my hand, please do!
Psalm 16:11 says, “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forevermore” (AMP). If I’m holding your hand too tightly, I apologize; I’m simply hoping you will join me on the journey to the path of life. The path that holds...
All of His presence with the
Benefit of fullness of Joy,
Containing pleasures forevermore.