Yesterday was a day of adventure and misadventure. It was be-au-ti-ful! in SC in the early part of the day. The kids were sitting around playing on their devices and hubby and I decided they needed to get out of the house. We dragged the bikes out of the garage and pumped up the tires from their winter rest, oiled chains, tightened seats and got ready for the adventure part of this story.
Cadence has been to a special camp called iCan Bike for a couple of years to learn how to ride a bike. They teach kids with special needs to independently ride a bike. Last Christmas we got Cadence an adult tricycle and our dream has been to take the whole family bike riding. We’ve been working toward that goal for a couple years. So yesterday I was working with Cadence on using the hand breaks. It’s a new skill for her, but yesterday was the day that it all clicked for her and she could understand my instructions and stop when I told her too. She was doing so well, in fact, that we decided to all go out together on some side roads near our house that were low traffic. Normally Michael would have taken the other girls and she and I would have been left behind, so this was a REALLY BIG DEAL.
She did awesome. We set the gear on the bike so that it moved slower and I ran beside her and could keep up with her and help her stay straight on the road. If she started to get away from me then I would have her use her hand brakes. It was beautiful. We all had a wonderful time. I was grinning ear to ear. I was so proud I was almost giddy. Here we were living the dream. This is something we wanted for a long time…to all be together on an adventure and nobody left behind.
And then the misadventure came. I didn’t let her do hills. We walked those. But at one point I was helping her get started and we just weren’t completely at the bottom of the hill. So she started going a little too fast. This girl loves speed, so she got so excited at traveling fast and distracted by her surroundings that she wasn’t paying attention to my desperate calls to squeeze the hand breaks. We started to head toward a ditch that was deep (maybe 4 feet or so) and some yahoo had thrown some trash in the ditch…and what I mean by trash is a discarded box spring.
I’m not sure if you can yell, run, panic and pray all at the same time, but I think that’s what happened. By some miracle she stopped. There was a little ledge on the ditch that jutted out farther than the rest and she stopped right on the edge of that ledge about 2 inches before her bike went over. It was quite The adventure. The misadventure is that she had more ground than I did and I never slowed down and never let go until she stopped. I just kept on running with her. Hanging on tight. There was no way I was letting go. If she was going, then I was going too. I ran until she stopped…which ran me right over the edge and put me flat on my face on top of that box spring in the middle of a briar patch. I felt like Brer Rabbit and it was a very poor impression of Evil Kenevil.
Some ibuprofen/tumeric, an ice pack and antibiotic ointment has patched me up pretty well and thankfully nothing serious happened, but y’all…it scared me out of my mind! When I finally disentangled myself from the briars and climbed out of the ditch I just knelt down on the road and cried like a baby. I couldn’t say anything but ‘thank you Jesus’. If she had not stopped it could have been so bad and the thought of what might have happened shook me to my core. Literally. I was shaking all over.
When she was headed toward that ditch, it never occurred to me to let go of her. In fact, I grasped even harder. I was with her no matter what happened. And at the end of the day, I would take the fall for her over and over again if it means she doesn’t have to. That doesn’t make me a hero. That makes me a mom. A parent.
God is many things with many attributes and qualities, but yesterday reinforced the way I usually see God. I think above all, he is a good parent. He is Daddy. Papa. And when I think about my kids and all I want for them, how I would gladly lay down my life for them, how I would take the pain for them so they don’t have to, I’m kind of blown away by God. See, I’m just human. Imperfect. Flawed. And yet my love for them is so fierce that I would sacrifice without holding back. Just like you would for your kids.
Friends, that’s how God loves you and me. We are his kids. We are still learning. We’re growing. We are trying new things. He’s running beside us, cheering us on, trying to keep us on the right path. Sometimes, however, we get distracted or enamored with our surroundings and we start to head for the ditch. He calls desperately to us. He Never. Lets. Go. Even when we are heading the wrong way, He just holds tighter. He wants to protect us. And when it comes to the fall, He did something so amazing. Long before we were born, He anticipated our need, and sent His son Jesus to take the fall so we wouldn’t have to.
I wasn’t mad at Cadence for not using her brakes. And God isn’t mad at us when we fail either. He isn’t waiting for us to mess up. He isn’t keeping a list of all our wrongs. He wants us to stay on the path. He wants to celebrate our victories. He wants to be close to us and share our lives. He’s proud of us when we succeed and He weeps over us when we are broken.
And when it comes to the ditch… even if we jumped into it on our own, fell into it by mistake, or got pushed into it, He always comes after us. He never lets go of us. Don’t believe Him to be something He is not. Believe He is who He is and let Him love you the way He wants to. He is Daddy.
Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.