This week in my community it has been graduation season. My social media news feed has been filled with milestones. There have been preschool graduations, kindergarten graduations, elementary school completions, intermediate school completions, jr high completions, and high school graduations. I love seeing the posts of excited moms and dads boasting in the accomplishments of their children.
When I was growing up I don’t remember all these graduations. I think we just celebrated high school. Today it seems that social media has opened the door for us to celebrate every momentous parental accomplish we feel we have seen. All these graduations and completions I believe can be used to help us set up our children stepping stones to get them through life. Which personally I think is pretty great.
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, And He delights in his way.
Perhaps it is better that we train our children to focus on reaching just that next step instead of just pointing out to this imagined beyond that may or may not be there for them. After all didn’t Jesus teach us to pray, “Give me this day my daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). I think focusing on the current step and not looking too far past the next step helps us to be present in the moment. Too often we have our minds set on the fulfilled accomplishment of the future plan and we miss the preciousness of the current moment which very well could cause us to miss the very next step and the plan all together. The moments matter.
The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps
This week I took my middle child to college to take a compass test for dual enrollment and my youngest will be in 7th grade next year. As parents, we have been standing on the steps still with our children. We have gone with them each and every step.
My husband and I have prayed with them and talked with them and studied them and sought the guidance of the Lord for each and every step. We have five more steps until we send them out to steps of their own. Five more steps to make sure they are fully prepared.
The naive believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps.
As their parents our job has been to train them to consider their own steps as diligently as we have considered them as we lead them from one to the other. For many years we never even asked their thoughts on the next step. It was our step to make. It was our job to seek the Lord and be careful to obey Him as He pointed the way. It was our job to teach them by example as we taught them through our own obedience to the directed steps of God.
I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself,
Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps.
Then at some point and time we began to kneel down to them and point out the different paths and ask, which step does the Lord say we should we take? We had trained them. We had walked with them. They were no longer naive. Yet, they still needed us by their side to walk with them on the way to make sure they did not stray.
They needed to learn for themselves how the Lord makes clear the next step if we are willing to be still and wait and listen to obey. Yet they still needed to know that we were there to say, yes I agree, I believe that’s the next step! When it’s the Lord next step for you it is sure and stable even if it has you standing in the midst of a storm.
You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped.
The Lord’s next step will never cause you to stray from the path of His commands. Never.
Our heart has not turned back, and our steps have not deviated from Your way…
That doesn’t mean that the next step will be easy or problem free. It just means that you will have peace. Peace is something that you cannot have unless you are good with God. You can be at odds with man and the whole world, but if you know that you are standing on the step that God provided for you, then you can indeed stand with the gospel of peace on your feet. If we have prepared our children and pointed them in the right direction then we do not send them out to step alone…
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps…
1 Peter 2:21
If we have been following in His steps, then we have been teaching them to follow in them as well. We have five more steps and then we send them off to follow Him… trusting God and trusting them.
Indeed, He loves the people;
All Your holy ones are in Your hand,
And they followed in Your steps;
Everyone receives of Your words.
For now we still we walk with them closely, but soon they will begin to take steps that we cannot go on with them. For they are His steps for them alone.
We have already watched one step out on her own. We held our breathe as we saw her stray from His path… but we trusted the God who loved her even more than we could imagine, that He would only allow her to stray so far. He proved faithful. The Word of God poured into her heart in her youth did not return void.
When we stand there on that last step and let go to let them step on their own. We don’t send them out alone. The steps are theirs alone, but God never leaves them to step alone. The great joy and promise that we have as we wave them off and cheer them on is that the steps, though different, if they are following Him, all lead us back to the same place. They lead us all home to Him!