Sarah’s wobbly steps caught her mother’s attention. Alice stopped stirring the chili and moved the cast iron pot from the burner. A new mom, she didn’t want to miss any of her toddler’s “firsts”. Her heart burst with joy as she quietly left the kitchen and followed the staggering denim clad form down the hallway. “Where’s my camera?” she berated herself. It was amazing how many lost treasures showed up eventually under piles of laundry, sofa cushions, or car seats.
Without warning, Mitzi pounced from the bathroom doorway to retrieve her toy mouse. Plop! Sarah’s diapered bottom hit the hardwood floor.
She didn’t know who was more surprised, the baby or the cat. Mitzi scurried away to escape the whimpers which were quickly escalating into howls.
Gathering her blubbering bundle into her arms, the tender hearted mom carried Sarah into the nursery and dropped into her grandmother’s antique rocker. Creak, creak, creak.. In time, the howls melted into whimpers and then gurgles. All was well with the world.
As Alice rocked, she recited some nursery rhymes to help distract her ten month old. “Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses and all the king’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again.” For now, she hoped she could protect her little one from such a dismal fate. Everything in their little world seemed safe for the moment, but what about down the road?
Some day Sarah would be taking bigger steps: through the front door of the school to her kindergarten room, across a gymnasium stage to receive her high school diploma, perhaps down a church aisle to be married. Only God knew for sure.
Each of those steps would ultimately take her first born down the path of her own life and further from her mother’s embrace. Alice shivered at the thought. She simply wanted to cherish this moment! Tears streamed down her cheeks as she kissed the sweaty forehead that cuddled against her breast. Some possessive, maternal instinct wanted to hold her close and never let her go, never let her experience the bumps and bruises that life would inevitably bring.
Tears turned to sobs as she contemplated the tragedies that might come Sarah’s way. Alice knew only too well the sorrow that life could bring. Her mother had passed away before her high school graduation; a routine hysterectomy had claimed her life while on the operating table. Her grieving father had been left to raise a teen-ager on his own. A quick remarriage to a family friend had turned sour and led to divorce. Throughout the confusion of that time, Alice had wandered away from God and sought her own path. Only after meeting her husband had she come back and sought a relationship again with her Heavenly Father. She hoped Sarah would never have those kinds of hardships, and yet, there were no guarantees.
As she slipped into despair over the endless possibilities, Alice turned her heart towards prayer. “Help! I’m turning into a total worry wart. Please help me give my daughter to you, Lord. Only You can lead her and protect her. Remind me of your goodness and love.”
Alice continued in prayer until a peace enveloped her heart. She glanced down at the now sleeping toddler. “For we walk by faith, not by sight,”* the Holy Spirit reminded her. “Let me watch out for life’s potholes,” He lovingly chided.
Mitzie slithered in and out of her legs, begging to be petted. Reaching down to stroke her calico coat, she breathed a sigh of relief. She wasn’t sure if she’d been experiencing a hormone attack or simply a test of faith. Nevertheless, she giggled to herself and squeezed Sarah until she woke with a hiccup. “ Come on, Pumpkin. Let’s go tell Daddy what you did. You took your first steps!”
*New Kings James; II Corinthians 5:7
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