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.
My one year old is learning to go down the stairs by himself. He mastered going up a long time ago. At first, going down was a little scary for him, so he was cautious. Now, it's a game. He is not sure if he wants to go up or down every time he is on them. But he is very sure that he doesn't want my help.
I am sure that I do not want him to fall. Our stairs are not yet carpeted, so a spill down the wood stairs is especially dangerous. I stay a few steps down from him, encouraging and spotting him. I remind him to climb down on his belly, since he has more control. I anticipate any slipping.
I am happy that he is learning this new skill - my back can use a break! But I am not thrilled about how much time his practicing is taking these days. And inevitably, he starts to play a game when the phone is ringing downstairs and my older son is calling for me.
As I resigned myself to being patient on the stairs the other day, I thought about how God sometimes waits for us. Sometimes we are well aware of something that God is calling us to do, whether it is to learn a new skill, follow through on a particular commitment, or begin an endeavour (like writing this blog is for me). 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.
The staircase is a metaphor for God's calling. It might be challenging, it might take some practice, but making the journey takes us someplace different and someplace better. My son doesn't know that on this particular occasion, I am taking him to his favorite gym class once he climbs down. Following through for us can bring its own blessing.
Being a Mom isn't just about teaching our children; it's about growing ourselves. But by taking the time to follow through on who we are called to be, we are modeling for our children. We are showing them that there is something to be excited about in the world, and we allow ourselves to be children of our big God, who has his own surprises in store - for us.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for calling us as individuals and mothers. Grow us in our ability to discern your voice and follow it. We thank you in advance for the surprises you have in store. In Jesus' name, Amen.
"'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'" (Jeremiah 29:11, NIV).