Saturday, September 12, 2015

Jesus, Choices, & Learning to Ride a Bicycle

This summer my four year old pronounced that she wanted the training wheels off her bike.

I met this announcement with equal parts excitement and fear. It is fun to see children make strides but my hubby’s rule that once they’re off they stay off also made this a scary move. I am the one home with them during the day and I could already hear the crying and carrying on of a girl unable to ride with all the neighborhood kids if this didn’t go well.

As Ava put on the knee pads and wrist guards and helmet, I started with natural words of praise. They weren’t enough. Now, I don’t know what led me to think I needed to be outside for this training because I never was with the previous two, but I did. So, I moved on to the next parenting move every honest parent knows. Bribery. “Ava, when you learn how to ride your bike you can pick ice cream from any place you want to celebrate.”

I knew CherryBerry was in my future.

With her goal in mind, Ava mounted the bike and moved her little legs from her daddy towards me. Only, as she would get going, she’d look to where the action was and fall.

“Eyes up, Ava. Keep your eyes up.”

Back toward her dad she went, trying so very hard, but again taking her focus off where it needed to be and crashing.

This went on and on, my frustration growing as I saw neighborhood playtime turning into an epic meltdown. Come on, sweetheart, eyes on the prize. And then I officially lost my marbles.

“Ava, you know the story of Peter in the Bible? Jesus was out on the water in front of him telling him to come. When Peter would look down, he’d sink. But, if he kept his eyes up, he was able to walk on the water. Keep your eyes up and you will ride without difficulty. It will be so great. But, if you only focus on what is happening in the moment you will fall.”

She looked at me like I had four eyes and my man slapped his hand over his mouth to stop laughter. “Point well taken, honey,” he recovered, “but I’m not sure it’s going to help her ride the bike.”

Touché. I think God brought the story to mind more for me than her. What Ava was struggling with and I wished for her to immediately get right so mirrored the human condition.

There are times when we are all trying to move through life with sight on the best when we get distracted by a moment, a feeling. This happens with sexual temptations, alcohol and drugs, decisions made with friends, things we’re looking at, financial concerns, job status, medical situations, worry (dear Lord, am I guilty of that final one), and the list goes on and on and on. The overwhelming of the moment pulls our eyes from the One who says, “look at me,” and we crash.

Chill out and ease up on her, woman. Her struggle is yours and everyone else’s.

She was trying. We try. And sometimes we don’t get it quite right.

As is the case with the bike, sometimes we get bumps and bruises along the way. Sometimes physical and emotional scars that can never be fully healed.

But that isn’t the end of our story.

I watched my incredibly patient husband pick up the bike and dust Ava off. “It’s okay. Let’s try again.”

Oh my gosh, there is nothing hotter than a father nurturing the heart of his child.

He steadied her bike. He pointed to the goal. The same goal as before because she is still capable.

What can’t always be erased from an earthly perspective is from the heavenly.

Like Ava, going to her daddy, listening to his voice, believing that he still believed in her, we go to our Heavenly Daddy and he cheers, “It’s okay. Let’s try again.”

Maybe you fell off the bike. Emotion suctioned you in and you took your eyes off the prize. Well, I have good news, you don’t need to give up or settle. You can saddle back up with your eyes on the Best.

It’s okay. Let’s try again.

You have a God who believes in you.

C’mon, Ava! CherryBerry awaits :)

xx Melissa

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