11/16/08

Falling isn't Failing

My heart hurt as I watched my one-year-old struggle to get his body to do what his head was asking. I stood and watched as he slowly made his way across the room. He was crawling, then moving up on his knees, then putting one foot out in front of him in an effort to pull himself up and walk. But his weak little legs wouldn't let him. He cried out in frustration and looked up at me, his eyes asking me to do something.

I smiled at him and told him it was okay, that I knew he would walk soon enough.

I see the reasons why he struggles more clearly than he does. I've known him since before he was here with us, growing and changing by the day. Because I know him, I know it will take some time for him to walk, and I don't mind a bit.

I thought about how I wasn't frustrated with him or embarrassed by his lack of ability. When people ask if he's walking yet, curious about this meaningful milestone, it's never bothered me to answer, "No, not yet."

So I went to him and helped him to his feet. He held my finger with his tiny hand and we walked together. He giggled at the joy of putting one foot in front of the other without falling, and I thought my heart might burst with his joy.

He will fall a thousand times before he actually stays on his own two feet. He'll try, he'll get discouraged, and try again. Then the day will come when he'll run. I'm sure of that. For now, I'll be here to help whenever he needs me to get him up and going in the right direction.

In the meantime, as I watch him strive and fail, I'm learning something new. Or maybe it's not exactly new, but it's fresh.

Once again, the parent heart of God has been revealed through one of my children.

Because I'm crawling so much of the time, frustrated with myself for tripping and hitting the floor again and again. I'm impatient with myself and confused as to how I can want something and have such a difficult time living it. I consider myself ugly, impatient and cranky. I see myself sad and failing to find joy. I'm assuming God must be tired of all the crawling, sick of my mistakes, shaking His head in disgust and moving on. So I stay planted on the ground, afraid to move, jumping to the conclusion that I'll never get it right.

"It's okay, daughter. You'll get there. Be patient with yourself. I see you. And by the way, I'm not in the hurry that you think I am. I know why you struggle, I've known you since before you were born. Be more patient with yourself and let me help you."

He comes over and stands there with His hand outstretched, pulling me off the floor and keeping me stable as I toddle along. We will practice this over and over, a thousand times. He won't get tired, but I might. And I'll let go and flop to the ground, stubborn and weary, sick of the striving. I might even forget to get back up, but He'll find a way to remind me. Then relief will wash over me as I reach for the hand that never tires of me or my faults. His hand full of hope.

So this year I'm thankful for Asher and his struggle to walk. As his mother, I'll never give up on him. Even if he never took a step on his own in this life, I would love him all the same.

Just as it's true that if I never accomplish what I think I should, my God will not give up on me.

My children and I, we strive and we fail together. My prayer this Thanksgiving is that they will both know how madly in love I am with them despite my failings, or theirs. Even more, I pray they'll learn what God's unconditional love looks like from their imperfect Mom. I'm thankful that I'm theirs. It makes all the striving, and even the failing, completely worthwhile.
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This post was submitted to Scribbit's Write-Away contest for November.

30 clicked right here to comment:

Kazzy said...

Geez. Between you, Heidi and LisAway I am bawling my head off today.

I agree that our children come to us to remind us of our dependency on God. They remind us of the whole baby steps approach to life, which we so often forget in our rush to accomplish one more thing.

I hope you don't mind if I attach a couple of paragraphs that my husband has written about falling. He talks about it in relation to Adam and Eve's fall and the metaphor of falling over and over again. Here it is:

"To sin is but the most overt falling we do; we exist in a perpetual state of falling--things falling due, people falling away, the current moment falling into a static past, the future falling into presence falling into past. Memory failing and falling, anything present diminishing to something absent, distant, removed, fallen away from.

Like Adam and Eve looking over their shoulders at the bright luminescence of the Eden forbidden to them, we on occasion grasp a sense of something pristine, something not subject to the perpetual entropy of mortality. It's how we know we are still falling."

I am so glad to know that our falling over and over, through our own shortcomings, is part of our experience here. Thanks for your insight and sensitivity. You are a gem.

pam said...

So beautiful--thank you!
Isn't it amazing how parenting helps us understand God's unconditional love, just a little bit?

Peanut said...

Thank you Heather. After a week of much failing and falling on my part as a mother and wife, I REALLY needed to hear that today.

I never really understood God as a father until I became a mom... my understanding is still very basic, but growing every day.

Kristina P. said...

Heather, you never cease to amaze me. Thank you for sharing this today.

Lara said...

I loved this. There really isn't anything more to say.

I have learned so much about how God must feel about me since I became a mother. I've often thought that it is all part of the plan...the entire reason we are parents on this earth.

BaronessBlack said...

Beautiful. Really Beautiful!

PS. My word verification for this post is - cleared
Appropriate, huh?

Ron said...

agreed .. watching my daughters develop taught me how God looks at me .. I am sure sometimes he is frustrated .. not that I falter, but that He knows that to do it is still inside me .. and I am usually the reason it isn't out of me yet ..

One thing I realize is just how much an act of faith that walking actually is. You are standing firm. then you pick up one foot and begin to fall forward. Just in time, you put that foot out in front and catch yourself .. utterly amazing .. and then we do it again .. and again .. and again .. The security is in standing, but the journey is in the falling .. and catching .. We walk in the natural because we trust that we will catch ourselves before we fall .. we walk in the Spiritual because we have faith that He will catch us if we fall ..

Katina said...

Such a beautiful post. I have you and Asher and your beautiful family in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Heidi Ashworth said...

I loooooooooooove this! So gorgeous and it shows such insight and maturity and faith and it is such a great reminder that our children aren't the only one who isn't quite making it in all the ways we should but that our Heavenly Father is there for us as we are there for them. One of the best lessons of being a mom is having a glimpse of how much He loves us. I'm so glad you submitted this to Scribbit and will enjoy watching you win.

Sabrina said...

Thank you for this lovely post... I can relate in my own way! :)

Erin said...

That was beautiful Heather. And amazing. And really tender and loving.

Mommy Madness said...

Thank you for putting my thoughts into words so beautifully. Thanks for sharing this beautiful message. Well done.

Kelly @ Love Well said...

Dang girlfriend. Speak some TRUTH.

Muthering Heights said...

GREAT post!!!! So true!!!

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Such a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL post. Beyond beautiful even!

~Lisa
www.CrazyAdventuresinParenting.com

Melanie J said...

This is such a lovely way for me to end and evening. I hope the in addition to recognizing God's love for me, I remember to have it for myself.

LisAway said...

Thank you for this, Heather. You have such a gift (I know you know that). I have thought of this crawling/walking analogy before, but you express it so wonderfully and it is such a pleasure and so enlightening to read "from your pen."

Thanks again. I think you're a great walker, if you sometimes forget and start crawling like the rest of us. I also think that you are sort of on the sidelines for others who are also being held up by the Father and you are cheering for us while we make our uncertain steps. That's what I love about The EO and Heather of the EO. Thanks so much for that.

Brooke said...

You gave me chills and tears. That was such a beautiful metaphor. I love your reminder of God's love for each of us as individuals.

Debbie said...

If you don't win that Scribbit contest with this post, I am so taking her off my reader. That will teach her.

Blessed said...

This is a great post - such a true thing... isn't it amazing how much we see of ourselves through God's eyes as we watch our children.

Scribbit said...

Thank goodness the Lord doesn't think I'm a failure when I fall--because I seem to do it so often.

Well said, thanks!

Jessica said...

thank-you for this, i needed it this morning. You are so right, everyday we can learn more about the love of God from our children, and be amazed. . . and to think that He is so much for gracious and loving than we are capable of being with out own children! This is a great place for me to land today. thanks! (and welcome back, we missed you)!

That Girl in Brazil said...

Excellent post. This is why I have coniption fits when my interent is out.

Bytheway, love the new look! Geez, I'm out of it.

Tooj said...

Thank you for stopping by my blog, however you came across it. I appreciate this post more than you can ever know...right now, this is exceptionally helpful to me. Great read, thoughtful and well-written, but most importantly it is meaningful. (did you keep the teddy bears?)

Rachel said...

Thank you for this. You are beautiful, Heather, beautiful.

Kristen said...

Beautifully said, Heather.

Heidi said...

Wow! Are you just talking to me? 'Cause seriously, this was aimed right at my heart. Thank you.

MoziEsmé said...

Beautiful post...

Lisa said...

Beautiful. I love fresh discoveries of the parent heart of God. Its just so real!

Daisy said...

Both my kids walked late. I learned not to worry. It's a strong message: everything in its own time.

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