Taking off the training wheels

Pulling his bike out of the garage, Jackson did a couple of laps on the sidewalk and then came over to talk. I caught a glimpse of how scuffed up his training wheels were, so I asked him if he was ready to take them off. He got a strange look on his face and replied, “But, if I didn’t have training wheels, I might fall off.”

“True,” I said, “but when you learn to ride without training wheels you can go so much faster. It is amazing! Plus, I will be right there to keep you steady.”

So, Jackson checked out how the training wheels were attached, and I found the tools needed. After a few turns of the socket wrench on both sides, we had a new bike.

Jackson sits proudly with his "new" bike, without training wheels.

Jackson sits proudly with his “new” bike, without training wheels.

Of course, it was of utmost importance to test it out immediately. Jackson wasn’t sure how to get on now that the bike wouldn’t stand on its own. Everything was different.

I held the bike so he could climb aboard, and kept him steady as he began to pedal. He rode up and down the drive way, with me running behind, keeping him from falling.

He has a long way to go to master riding a bike, but he took the first two steps: taking off the training wheels and trusting me to keep him safe.

These are the same lessons many of us struggle with in our spiritual lives.

Too often we decide to play it safe, and avoid taking risks and stepping out in faith. We hold onto what we know, and settle into our comfort zones. As long as God leads inside those well-marked areas, we will oblige. However, this attitude begins to limit God’s leadership and power in our lives. We can only go so fast and so far with training wheels on.

Where in your life and mine are we still insisting on training wheels? Is God wanting us to grow in our trust, and we are holding back?

It is time for us to agree with God to get out the tools and loosen some screws. We may be scared, but now is when we need to believe that God will do what He has promised. We will never feel His steadying hand unless we step out in His love. Yes, we may lose balance and even skin a knee. But with God’s grace and faithfulness, we will learn.

Eventually we will ride up and down the lane, and feel the wind rushing around us as we race. We will go farther than we thought was possible.

We will experience the thrill of trusting in our Savior.

Jackson is learning to find his balance without training wheels.

Jackson is learning to find his balance without training wheels.

Injury

More than two weeks later, Lauren still wears the evidence on her nose of a nasty meeting with concrete.

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Lauren smiles three days after her fall at McDonalds

We were celebrating the end of Jackson’s soccer season at McDonalds. As we all gathered in the outside eating area, my kids clamored for their Happy Meals, hungry but wanting to play with their friends, too. From across the table, I watched as Jackson and Lauren jockeyed for position on the same bench, and then in slow motion as Lauren slipped head-first toward the concrete ground below.

I managed to reach her a second too late, as she lay on the ground sobbing and bleeding. I scooped her up in my arms, held her close as Matt tried to clean her wounds and did the only thing I know that will calm her down during intense situations.

I started singing “Jesus Loves Me.”

I sang it again and again, over and over for the next half an hour until she had calmed down completely.

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Lauren rests at home right after her fall.

More than any “comfort” item, Lauren wants her special song, when she is scared, when she is tired, when she is sick or when she is hurt. I have sung her “Jesus Loves Me” what seems like thousands of times, and to her it never grows old, only more dear.

Jesus’ love is like that. There is nothing better to soothe a troubled soul or comfort a wounded heart. His love is for all occasions and for the just because. He will never turn us away when we come to Him and crawl up in His lap to hold us close and sing his love over us. He will run and scoop us up when we fall. His love sustains us through the unthinkable and pushes us to soar higher as we pursue His plan and purpose.

God’s love never grows old, only more dear.

Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Little ones to Him belong. They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.