1.13.2011

The One Who Steadies

My first bicycle had a name.

Morning Glory.

It was pink, the enduring color-of-choice among 7-year-old girls, with yellow and white flowers emblazoned on it. The name was its given name, courtesy of the manufacturer, splashed in cursive script on both sides of the bike. I was quite content with it, since it sounded feminine and pretty, and of course those are the only requirements for little girls' bike names.

She was perfect, I thought, the day my dad took me to make my selection. Morning Glory eventually became my own glory, my pride and joy, there on our cul de sac. But I had to master her first. She had no training wheels.

That feeling you have riding a bike on your own for the first time - when you realize that dad is no longer back there, holding the back of the seat, huffing and puffing around the elementary school track - has to be one of the greatest thrills in life. I am moving through space on something other than my own two legs. I am balancing on this giant machine all by myself. I am going really fast. I am the captain of my destiny! This is amazing! How do I STOP?!?

On Christmas morning 2010, the scene played out again, 27 years later. My daughter shakily began peddling on her new girly bike, Buttercup. Little brother was already riding circles around her on his smaller, training-wheel-clad version named Cobra (black, of course), which only added to her determination. There was her daddy behind her, huffing and puffing, and bending over, breaking his back in the process. I won't let you fall, he was saying to her. And there she was, gaining more and more momentum, until finally, I watched his gloved hand leave the back of the seat...and she flew.

When she dismounted, she ran across the yard to me, jubilant, engulfing me in her little arms. She had done it.

A milestone. Just as much as walking and potty training and kindergarten and graduation, though not talked about as often. I am filing away that mental image from Christmas morning in my head.

How many times, I thought, have I faced challenges just like that bicycle? Help! I'm wobbly. I'm unsure. I'm unsteady. Off-balance. Off-kilter. Not at all confident in this thing I am trying to do, whatever it may be at the moment. I don't even know how to work the kickstand so I can get started here. But even as I teeter and totter, there is the heavenly Father behind me, steadying me. Because His hand is at my back, never letting up, I can keep peddling without fear, even though it is not easy.

He is a safety net. A rock. Firm and secure. The one who steadies.

"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Jude 1:24-25

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