Yesterday I went ice skating with my oldest daughter (23) and 3 of my youngest (9, 7, & 5). Tho’ I roller skated daily for years as a kid and was quite good at it…I ice skated once when I was like 12. My oldest has done it once recently. The others had never. So, I learned some things yesterday… :)
While the 7 & 9 year olds just took off and proceeded to fall every 10 feet, laugh, and keep going…I took at more cautious approach! My 1st lap around I thought, “You gotta’ be KIDDING ME!” I could not believe how not in control of my body I was! I just laughed a lot!
The 9 & 7 year olds had taken off and were happily learning to skate. There were a couple “helps” the skating rink had supplied for kids to use on the ice, but, my 5 year old tried them and got nowhere except crying and on her butt. She was not able to do anything on the skates by herself. My oldest and I realized at that point that the only option for the little one to have a chance at having any fun was for the two of us to take her hand. But, that was a scary thought!
I’d just taken a few laps around with the aid of a SOLID WALL and felt so unstable! How in the world would I manage to help a helpless 5 year old while I myself am so unstable!
Isn’t that what we sometimes say to ourselves spiritually? If we’re weak, unsteady, wobbly, unsure, we think we can be of no use to our friends or to God, right? And, if we’re too young and we end up pregnant we think we’re too immature and not able to care for a child…and so we will make decisions about their futures that are permanent…
But, like I said, I learned something yesterday…as my oldest daughter n’ I each took a hand of the 5 year old who could not even STAND on the ice without falling…and we took a breath…and headed out into the ice convinced this was going to be a total, painful disaster! But! You know what happened? We did not fall ONCE! The little one between us, well, maybe I should reword that…neither of we weak grown-ups fell…but the little one flopped, kicked, slipped, and well, basically did not manage to find any control of her legs for at least an hour. It was so comical that I actually could not look at her legs because I would laugh too hard and probably pee myself!
So, for 2 hours we were on the ice most of the time with some breaks here n’ there…round and round with this little girl with the rag-doll legs between us…all of us smiling and laughing.
What I learned is that my daughter who is half my height, half my…ok…more than that…my weight…and had no ability to walk at all…actually held me up sometimes. This tiny powerless little person kept me from falling and being hurt. Imagine! It was bizarre. But, when I would falter or lose my balance, the grip that I had on her tiny hand actually helped me to steady myself and not fall.
“Everything about God…since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made…”
I don’t know what was going on physically that made her able to steady me and support me when she was unstable…but it happened. And, the spiritual truth that’s hidden in there is for all you parents out there who feel weak and inept…all of you who feel you just can’t care for a child because you aren’t solid and steady yet…It’s not true.
And, while my daughter fell and fell and fell in the most humorous ways with her legs going this way and that…rather than this falling debilitating her and breaking her spirit…because she was being held up by us, though she fell she did not get hurt, and she laughed the whole time. She felt more bonded to both of us. She learned more trust for us. And, by the time we left she was able to slowly shimmy a few feet across the ice without falling all by herself.
“The steps of a man are established by the Lord, and He delights in his way. When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand.” Psalm 37:23
My young daughter’s steps were upheld/established by me and my older daughter and we delighted/had a blast in it! And, when she fell she did not fall headlong/flat on her face because we held her hand!
What also happened as I focused on holding up my 5 year old…what I found was that once n’ a while when I would take a lap alone, that I was improving. I was learning to skate better and better while I slowly went around holding onto my daughter who could not skate at all…
So picture yourself…as a weak and unsteady mom and dad…on either side of your child…and you will find that focusing on helping your child in their childish weaknesses…to learn to navigate through life…that you will help them…you will hold them up and prevent them from getting hurt when they fall, and, you will also become stronger, and more steady in the process…you don’t have to have all your “ducks in a row” (your HS diploma, your college degree, your career… or whatever) to be able to be a good parent!
And, as you do all those things to help your child even in your weakness… your relationship with them will grow as they learn to trust you and have confidence in your willingness and ability to support them in their weaknesses! My daughter could see how funny I was when I skated alone…and she could see that I wasn’t ‘perfect’ but she also saw that when she fell my grip on her hand tightened and that every time I held her up and cared about her struggles. In the end she couldn’t skate by herself yet, but had fun and most importantly she felt loved!
And, with your own life…if you hold onto God’s hand in your unsteadiness, He will delight in your “stumbling” around as you’re learning to walk and He’ll keep you from falling flat on your face when you do fall!
I learned something about “spanking” while we were skating too…but I’ll talk about that later!!!