"but, I can't Daddy!!", she squealed with a twinge of fear in her voice. She could climb up all the ladders on the playground except for one. This swirl of blue poles created a cylinder shaped ladder and she would not have anything to do with it. Her daddy tried numerous times to convince her that she was capable and able to climb that ladder, but she would not have any part of it. He finally convinced her to at least try it out and assured her that he would be right there to help her. "but, I can't, I can't, Daddy!!" she would exclaim, all while being half way up the ladder. Her daddy enthusiastically let her know, "you're ALREADY DOING IT, Ava!" She finished up the ladder and said, "TA DA" as she lifted her arms to the sky in such pride. She had climbed her nemesis ladder and didn't even realize it until half way to the top.
I watched my 2 and a half year old daughter struggle and then conquer her frustration and fear of that ladder, but she didn't just decide she would do it, she didn't even really do it by herself. Her daddy suggested and pushed her to try, he guarded her back, stretched out his hand to her when she needed that last grab before both feet were safely on the platform. She then exclaimed that she did it and was so happy. Her daddy agreed, "Alright! Yes you did! Way to go, I'm so proud!". He didn't correct her and say, "actually dear, I convinced you to get on it at all, then helped you half way up and there at the end, you would have fallen if I hadn't of grabbed your hand". He didn't need to. He knows his job as her Daddy and he does it without reminding Ava of the details in which he did everything. His job is to teach Ava, extend his hand when needed, have her back in protection and then praise her when she accomplishes a goal, conquers a fear or simply completes a task. He is to bless her by celebrating her accomplishments and remind her that she is able, capable and less afraid than she might think.
I relate to my daughter. So many times in my life, I know I have doubted myself, screamed "God I cannot do this! I cannot make it through. I can't do what you're asking me to" if I had listened closer, I might have heard him saying, "Shaina, you're ALREADY DOING IT". It is a lesson I have learned on different levels as life has gone by. I sat in bed last night and went through the journal(s) I kept while being in the hospital with Noah. There were lots of times when I would pray, "God I cannot keep doing this, I can't continue, I don't know how to be, how to pray, how to trust" as I read those things last night, I realized, He was whispering to me, "you will, you are being exactly who I need you to be for your family, you're praying right now, just by seeking me you're trusting me." I know that in the middle of the storms in life, we tend to doubt, question and wonder where God is. We sometimes frantically think he has left us all together and somehow we think we've earned the right to "tell God how it is". Perhaps though, maybe God is right there, right behind us, guarding our back, guiding us up the blue twisty ladder, watching us grow as we do the hard thing he has asked us to do, all to extend his hand at the proper time and then celebrate with us when we reach the top, smiling at us and blessing us with his affirmation and love.
I guess I just feel as though there are days where I feel like I say, "God, I can't do this. I can't climb this ladder. I can't keep trudging through the hard nights, the hurt my heart feels when I imagine a life we won't ever have with our son. I can't keep going through the years wondering how things would be, all the while, my other baby is not so much a baby anymore and is growing up in stature and character. Is time passing me by Lord, so quickly that I can't even think straight? Lord, I cannot keep smiling when I really want to cry. I can't keep taking steps away from the last time I held him. It only gets further away. ....after awhile I remember and I hear him saying, "you are doing this. As you are getting further from the last time you held that boy, you are getting closer to the time when you won't ever have to let him go again and in that place there won't be a tear shed. You are smiling in my joy and it's ok to cry through the nights, as much as you need."
So, maybe you find yourself on the blue twisty ladder today. You're screaming, "GOD I CAN'T DO THIS", you're climbing the ladder of suffering through illness, you're climbing the blue twisty ladder of grief, you can't breathe today because you miss them so much, you're head is spinning from all the chores, kids' activities, mouths to feed, things to get done, you'r weary of being home with your children day in and day out, you are wondering when you'll get a breath of fresh air and he is whispering in your ear, "you're already doing it, I'm right here."
It is never that we are to do it on our own as he stands by and watches us struggle, just throwing out a suggestion here and there. No, he is right there, his breath upon the back of your neck, his hand guiding you, but not pushing you. He is your encourager, your guide, your safety net, your Daddy. He will push us into things we would never ever ever choose for ourself, guide us through, celebrate when we come through it and then let us enjoy ourselves on the things we do choose and enjoy the most. Did Ava have to be convinced to climb up that ladder again? Not really. She looked at it and saw what she did, not what she thought she couldn't anymore. So, be encouraged, friend. He didn't leave you, he hasn't left you and he will never fail you. If anything, he is letting you grow, working out your fears and struggles, with his quiet help, because He is wanting you to learn that He didn't mess up on you, He has and will always equip you where you're at, but you have to trust Him in it all. Keep climbing, dear one. The top will come sooner than you think. Then you will look back at the blue twisty ladder and laugh. "YA! I did it!"and all the while, God will be smiling and celebrating with you.
Remember, you didn't do it all. You didn't even choose that ladder. He chose you. He guided you. He brought you to a place where you could be proud of yourself, excited and full of joy. You climbed the ladder, you conquered your fear, but you were never ever on your own. Give him the honor, give him your celebration and your praise. He is a GOOD daddy.
Just don't jump off because you quit. Don't bail. Don't give up. The celebration to come at the top will be worth all the steps it takes to get there.
The next time you face a blue twisty ladder, it might still be intimidating, but you'll know what you're made of and who has your back.