He swatted my hand away and grunted loudly. He wanted to charge down the sloped sidewalk without my help. I tried insisting. Louder grunts. This time his face turned red. I knew angry crocodile tears would follow soon.
Alright then. Have it your way, I thought. I went ahead of him, thinking that when he fell, I’d catch him.
He took a few steps then paused, a big proud smile spread across his face. Then a few more steps. As he gained confidence he picked up speed going down the hill. He pitched forward and … I caught him.
At 13 months, he’s a “new walker.” I work as a nanny and take special delight in this stage. True, it is filled with tears and frustrations. But it’s also a time of cheers and triumph! Walking is a huge developmental milestone.
But it didn’t occur overnight. After a baby is born several “baby steps” occur before the baby takes his or her first actual steps.
At around six months a baby’s trunk muscles are finally strong enough to allow him or her to sit upright. Then at around 10 months the legs become strong enough to lift the torso, allowing the baby to go from a seated position to standing. After that babies begin “cruising” or using furniture to walk around the room.
And finally, somewhere around nine and 16 months, a baby will take that first timid step and become a new walker.
From the time of birth onward, a healthy baby grows stronger every day under the watchful eye of parents and caregivers.
Likewise, from the time of our birth in Christ we too are being strengthened as we learn to walk with him. And it’s a process.
When we act like “new walkers,” forging ahead and swatting God away, we can be comforted knowing he will catch us when we fall.
When we sit out on God, refusing to take another step, we can be comforted knowing he will wait for us to get back up.
When our sins make us stumble again and again we can take comfort knowing his mercy and forgiveness redeem us. With Christ we will not remain fallen.
When we hold out our hand and wait for him, I believe he delights in us.
When we look to him and walk toward him, not allowing distractions to make us stray, he delights in us.
Every part of our walk with Christ is a necessary part of our spiritual development that he will use to strengthen us.
In Deuteronomy 31:8 we are told, “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you. He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Every day is an opportunity to get up and walk with Christ. Don’t worry about the stumbles. He’s got you.
Kim Griffin is a member of the Parish of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia.
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