Hold Tight, Keep Your Balance and Watch Out for Mud Puddles

 “The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way;

though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.” Psalm 37: 23-24 ESV

One tiny hand gripped deep inside my own, another in the hand of my husband. Chubby legs danced in-between, steps uneven but oh so joyous. At any given moment, without the slightest hesitation, those little chubby legs lifted, and but for extraordinary balancing parental skills, all three of us risked a collision dive into the middle. We were just a slight distraction, a misstep away from a heap of scratches and scrapes. From behind we looked like a swerving, staggering, off kilter threesome. 

  • Parenting 101: hold on tight, and keep your balance. 
  • Parenting 201: watch for the mud puddles ahead. 

That’s the way parenting was for us, and it’s the zigzag path most moms and dads walk. Because while most of the time it felt like we were ready for the sudden leaps and those dragging feet in the middle, sometimes they jerked us off course. We worried. We didn’t know what to do. 

And, while almost all the time that little creature in the middle felt in control, we needed to be watchful for them and ourselves as well. Ready to steer around, to lift above. 

“The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
when he delights in his way.”

Oh, but every once in a while, that little hand twisted and pulled away, much like we do with Jesus, Who holds our hand in His loving one. The delight of walking side by side, hand in hand turns independent. 

I’ve mourned with those whose loved ones have wandered. I’ve seen the parental pain, felt that tender yearning, and I recognize in it the love of our heavenly Father toward us His children. How He must long for that hand to nestle again in His. How He loves the wandering child. 

  • Being A Child 101: hold on tight, and keep your balance. 
  • Being A Child 201: watch for the mud puddles ahead. 

“One, two, three,” the voice of my husband counted. 

Together we lifted our son. His knees bent. He scrunched at the waist. He flew up and over the puddle under him. 

Bubbling laughter and squeals of delight came from the center. In the exhilaration of the flight, he didn’t even recognize he’d given up control. In fact, on his own, he would have headed straight into the mud. He would have found fun in the squish. However, eventually, glee would have given way to wet, scraped and soiled. 

“though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong,
for the Lord upholds his hand.”

Maybe in eternity I will be able to see all the times the Lord lifted me with His loving hand from stepping into muddy waters, I don’t know. Perhaps I will recognize the mercy of His hand raising me above all the disasters that could have been. It may be that I will weep for the times I twisted and turned, pushing His hand from mine.   

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 ESV

You can be sure, His hand is outstretched toward you because He cares for you. 


*Feature Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

10 Replies

  1. Nancy E. Head Reply

    What a beautifully structured and written post, Sylvia. What joy we’ll know–and gratitude–when we realize all He’s done for us. Thanks and God bless!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Nancy, I’ve been aware recently, (as a result of my own complaining, no less), how little credit I give my Father for the many things only He sees and knows. Thank you for your comment. I want to grow in gratitude!

  2. Larry Minor Reply

    Well written as normal and thought provoking. How I want to run on my own and be free but in my heart knowing , being in the Saviours grasp is where I need to be.
    Thank you for causing such deep thought .

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Larry. I’m glad you found it thought provoking. You are right, it is so easy to want to run away from the Savior’s grasp. Yet, there is no better place to be. I appreciate you reading and sharing your thoughts!

  3. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Your post brought back a lot of memories of my children (and my own childhood) and of rainy days on the farm. I loved splashed through puddles and wading in a stream. Your deeper message is so meaningful and inspiring. He is with us–through all the storms and mud. And as you so beautifully remind us, He lifts us when we need it.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Katherine. I always appreciate your wise words. I need to remember that lift as I plan this year. He is enough.

  4. Rev. Andrew brucato Reply

    thanks from a puddle jumper often full of mud.

  5. Elizabeth Bradley Reply

    Thought provoking as always… I so enjoy reading what you share from your heart. This one reminded me that it’s been a while since I’ve done a word study through scripture and inspired me to search through the verses on the hand(s) of God. Thank you!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      So lovely to hear from you Elizabeth!! A study on the hands of God. That fascinates me! I’m pretty sure there are a lot of gems there. Thanks for commenting. I’m always honored you enjoy reading the posts.