Have you ever seen one of these figures outside a business in your community? It is a long, skinny thing attached to a fan at the bottom. The fan blows air through the plastic tube and sends it flapping around in every direction. Its head flails back and forth and its arms swing up and down and side to side.
Not long after my first son was born, I was driving by a local car dealership when one of these caught my eye. Immediately I thought, “That’s me.” I was a new mother running on too little sleep. I was juggling things like work and family for the first time in my life. I was keenly aware of how vulnerable I felt because I was suddenly crazy in love with this little person and I knew if anything happened to him it could potentially destroy me. Ever on my mind was the fact that our new son was the first grandchild on both sides and this meant we were dealing with several extra sets of eyes watching every move we made because they had all waited a long, long time for this season of life. I felt exhausted, unqualified, and fragile.
But at the same time, I also felt powerfully connected to God and His strength. Somehow I was aware that even though this parenting thing was already turning out to be much more difficult than I had envisioned, God was working in me, and that I wouldn’t always feel as out of control as I did in those early months. Feeling close to Him despite riding my emotional roller coaster was so helpful. “That’s, me”, I thought. Flailing… but firmly grounded.
In the summer of 2010, several years after I first saw myself in an inflatable character waver outside a used car dealership, I adopted Psalm 40:1-3 as my life verses. There is a phrase in the middle of those verses that reads, He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along (NLT). This idea emphasizes an understanding I have about what God can do in my life. I believe that through the ups and downs that make up my everyday experiences, it is God that can keep me moving forward. When I stay focused on Him, my feet are on solid ground. As I walk throughout my day, He is there to steady me, guide me, and grow me.
We are all walking along through our lives. Each morning as we wake and face the day, we are taking steps on our journey. Through good and bad moments, through painful and wonderful experiences, and through large and small decisions, we are ever moving… ever walking. I invite you to consider with me that God is what can make the quicksand we often maneuver through become more solid underneath us. It is God who can place a steady hand on our back when life has unbalanced us. One small and steady step at a time, friends. That’s all we need to do.