Noelle Kirchner, M.Div., is a Presbyterian minister and mother of two boys. As they wrestle on the floor, she enjoys wrestling with her manuscripts. She writes for Huff Post Parents, the TODAY Show Parenting Team, and has been a repeat guest author at in(courage). You can find her on her blog, where she writes about faith and parenting, and on Twitter and Facebook.
I learned an unforgettable lesson from a staircase. Surprisingly, the teacher was my dawdling toddler.
He was learning to go down the stairs by himself. He had mastered going up a long time ago. At first, going down was a little scary for him, so he was cautious. Then it became a game. He was not sure if he wanted to go up or down every time he was on them. But he was very sure he did not want my help.
I was sure I did not want him to fall. Our stairs were not yet carpeted, so a spill down the wooden staircase was especially dangerous. I would stay a few steps down, encouraging and spotting him. I would remind him to climb down on his belly, since he had more control. I tried to anticipate any slipping.
I was happy that he was learning this new skill - my back needed a break! But I was not thrilled about how much time he spent practicing. And inevitably, he would start to play his game when the phone was ringing downstairs and my older son was calling for me.
As I resigned myself to being patient on the stairs one day, I thought about how God sometimes waits for us. Sometimes we are well aware of something God is calling us to do, whether it is to learn a new skill, follow through on a particular commitment, or begin an endeavor. God encourages us by reminding us at poignant moments of his call, but it is easy in the everyday rush to put it off - or even play games ourselves.
It’s true - the staircase is a metaphor for God's call. It might be challenging, it might take some practice, but making the journey takes us someplace different and someplace better. My son didn't know on that particular day, I was taking him to his favorite gym class once he climbed down. And following through can bring its own blessing for us too.
God reminds us in Jeremiah 29:11, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" When we choose bravery and obedience to his call, we can best experience God’s goodness. It might be scary to obey. We might have to fight some old procrastination tactics. But I love that we’re still children, children of a big God who has his own surprises in store – for us.
So climb, fellow moms, climb. See where your journeys take you. And one final thing: Remove any abandoned socks on the stairs. Little boys like to leave them.
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