Teetering

Teeter – To move unsteadily (verb), wobble (noun)  Dictionary App

My son is 15 months old and currently learning to walk. In typical toddler fashion, his head and belly account for 90% of his mass, so his attempts at steps look a lot like teetering. Mostly, he looks like a stumbling drunk, but with his dimpled grin, he can pull it off. My reflex as the hovering mother is to reach out and stabilize him. Sometimes I do, but mostly I let him try. I let him fall. I let him learn. I know it’s how to help him grow. I want him to run and play and take over the the world. We have to start somewhere.

He is resilient. I think the diaper-padded bottom helps, but he often pops right back up after he falls. The fear of falling again has yet to hamper his vigor in attempting consistent strides. When he gets tired, he seems to step harder but with less balance. That can get pretty funny. But he seems to understand the end game. Walking. Then running. Then who knows?  

I can relate to the point of tears to the teetering. At any given time, one or more arenas of my life see me in that form. And unlike my son, more often than not, my instinct is not to pop back up and get right back in the game. I have never been one to feel like I’ve ‘arrived,’ but for me, parenting has wielded an even stronger hammer of humility than any season before it. When so much is at stake, it feels crippling to want to do well with all you have and still fall.

Then I read in Ephesians 1 about GRACE. Grace that has been LAVISHED on me, according to God’s purpose. It even says it was done in God’s wisdom and insight as if it was obviously the only right thing for Him to do, which is mind-blowing to me. But LAVISHED, y’all. Not sprinkled. Not doled out enough to get to the next pothole. Like, RAINED DOWN. And at an unfathomable cost: Christ’s blood. God’s own Son. That was always His plan. From the beginning. He planned to sacrifice His Son because he knew I’d screw up parenting, among other things. Are you getting with me how crazy this whole thing is?   

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you have some teetering of your own that came to mind while reading this. What if you and I considered God the Father’s view as we stumble around down here?

The plan laid out in Ephesians 1 is one of extreme love and sacrifice made by a willing and determined heart. There was no impulse or frivolity in His plan. There never is. His plan was to redeem our fall. Our falls. I try to picture, Him watching me, like a doting Parent, arms outstretched, cheering me on in this season, knowing my next feat/struggle/growth/victory is waiting. And unlike my prior belief, I don’t think His joy comes from me accomplishing stuff for the Kingdom. I think His greatest joy is having me know Him along the journey.

I think Pastor Jon touched on it recently in a sermon: the tragedy with Adam and Eve getting booted from the Garden of Eden was that they no longer got to commune face-to-face with God. It wasn’t that they were no longer able to work enough for Him or get Kingdom stuff done. The tragedy was broken relationship.

Hear me when I say this to my own heart: His joy in me is not dependent on my works. Wow. That’s hard to let sink in. But slightly relatable, right? I’m going to love my son the same regardless of the time it takes him to learn to walk, or anything else for that matter. I love my son because he’s my flesh. My son is mine and part of me. The God of the universe feels that way about you and me. Let’s live in that awareness. Let’s let that grow into resilience.

The teetering may never stop. I’m not convinced that’s His goal nor if it should be ours. Knowing He is with us, watching, smiling, catching us at times, changes what’s at stake. It’s no longer about success or failure. It’s about my relationship with a good Father. Just like my son looks up at me whether he needs help or he is beaming with pride, I want to draw close to God in every season. Everything I read in Scripture leads me to believe that’s what He wants as well.

Ephesians 1:3-6, The Message translation

How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.