Finally, after overstaying its welcome, winter seems to be moving out! Our days have been filled with sunshine, clear skies, and warm weather, and my boys want nothing more than to be outside. For my two-year-old, that means daily walks to the creek down the road from our house, where he likes to throw in big rocks and see how big a splash he can make.
Yesterday, he got the idea to ride his tricycle down to the creek. He just learned to pedal over the last couple months, and he loves any opportunity to ride.
I knew when he suggested it, he wouldn’t make it down there and back on the tricycle. There’s a big hill to climb on the way back, and his little legs would never hold out. But I didn’t discourage him. I walked beside him, smiling as he put his heart and soul into pushing those pedals and bending down to give him a gentle shove now and then to help him out. We both laughed as he sailed down the hill, his white-blond hair standing straight up in the wind.
Parking his tricycle in triumph next to the creek, his grin stretched from ear to ear. “I did it, Momma!”
“You sure did,” I said, holding my hand out to receive a very enthusiastic high five.
He threw the pile of rocks he’d brought in the tricycle’s pouch into the water, letting them splash one by one. When he finished, he mounted his trike again, ready to go back home.
But just as I expected, his now-tired legs didn’t have the strength. He only made it a few feet before he stopped. “I can’t make it go.”
I smiled. “It’s okay. Let’s just walk. We can carry it home.”
He got off the tricycle and watched me as I hoisted it onto my hip, holding one of the handlebars. He grabbed the other one. “I’ll help you, Momma.”
“Thank you,” I replied. Together, we climbed the hill heading home. He strutted as he clutched the handle. He was Momma’s big helper. I carried the weight of the tricycle and let him believe he was really doing some work next to me.
As we neared the top of the hill, he stopped again. “Momma, can you carry me?”
Again, I smiled. “I sure can.” I lifted him onto my other hip and finished the short walk back to our house.
It was such a small thing, but as I carried him home and looked down at him, his sweet little cheek resting on my shoulder, I saw myself in him. God spoke to me in that moment.
How many times have I set out to do something on my own, counting on my own strength to get it done? How many times has God given me those gentle pushes on my path, pushes I didn’t give him credit for because I only saw the work I was doing “on my own”?
And when I’ve failed…and I have, so, so many times…how many times has He carried the weight of my burden for me? Even when I didn’t see His hand because I didn’t know Him and all He did for me?
And when I was so weak, so exhausted I couldn’t go on, how many times has He picked me up and carried me the rest of the way?
I am so, so thankful for His love and forgiveness. But today, I am thankful for His quiet strength. I wasted so much of my life knowing who He was but not really knowing Him. For years, I failed to give him the credit where it was due, not realizing that without Him, I could do nothing. But He never demanded the glory – it was up to me to humble myself and see Him for who He was and what He was doing in my life and give that glory to Him.
We are so lucky to have a God who knows us inside and out – our thoughts, our flaws, our mistakes – and still loves us more than we will ever understand. A God who wants to walk with us and strengthen us, even carry us through life’s trials.
Jesus offers to carry our burdens for us. “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). We can give Him our troubles, our worries, our stress, and He will carry that load for us and provide the rest we all so desperately seek.
I am thanking Him today for the many times He’s held me through life’s storms. I pray that I will never again fail to give Him the glory and praise for all He does in my life. He is still working in me, and He knows (even when I forget) how much I need Him. I am so thankful for all the times I can see His hand at work in my life. But I’m especially thankful for the times He is there next to me, carrying my troubles or even carrying ME, even when I fail to see Him. He is faithful, and He is good. Even when I don’t deserve it.