This week in my Bible studies we looked at our identity as a child of God. Since I was blessed to have my earthly father until he died earlier this year, I have been able to understand God as my Father from the perspective of a child. But part of God’s plan for me was to get married later in life which included not getting to be a mother. Since I wasn’t a parent, I never had that vantage point to understand my relationship with God. When God gave me a husband at 44, however, He also gave me a family. My husband has two sons who were in their early 20’s when we got married. This family has also brought the more recent blessing of being a grandmother. And that is giving me the chance to understand God as Father from a different perspective – a grandparent perspective.
This winter I realized that in spending time with my granddaughter, I was learning more about God and my relationship with Him. It started when we would take walks outside this winter. The low winter sun gave us long shadows next to each other. As I saw my long shadow next to hers, I was reminded that God is always, always next to me. He promises that He will never leave or forsake me (Hebrews 13:5). And even if I am behind her and Casey can’t see me, I am still always there.
Sometimes when we walk, she holds my finger. When she feels unsafe or unsteady, she will reach for it, and when I know we are about to walk on uneven ground, I tell her to hold onto me. She knows she needs me to stay on her feet and not fall. Walking with her this way brought to mind Psalm 37:23-24:
“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”
God has me by the hand all the time just like I am there for Casey – well, actually BETTER than I am for Casey because He is perfect. I can trust Him to keep me safe, even when I fall. He will pick me back up and not let me go.
One thing I have loved about this early toddler stage is how obedient she is! When we walk and Casey starts heading for a mud puddle or something else yucky or unsafe, I just put my hand on her head and gently turn her in the direction I want her to go – and she goes in that direction! Her obedience to my nudge protects her from harm. One day after doing this, the thought came to me that I bet God would appreciate it if I would respond to His promptings so easily! How often do I resist and try to go in a different direction because it seems better to me or just because it’s what I want to do? And yet, if God is gently “turning my head” in a certain direction, it’s because He knows it’s what’s best for me. Casey’s example has challenged me to be more obedient and compliant with the Spirit’s leadings rather than resisting in my own stubbornness and sin.
Those are just a few lessons that have come simply from walking with Casey outside. Just as she trusts me and obeys me, I want to trust and obey God more. As I know He is with me and always has me, I pray I will be obedient to that little “turn of my head”. I can know and trust that He is always for me and gives only good to me just as is true of a good parent – or grandparent!