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Follow Close Behind

Follow Close Behind

We were a bunch of giggly pre-teen girls, each one clinging to the person behind and before, like a string of pearls making sure not to lose one from the strand. We followed close, bumping and tripping, always near someone to grab and hold on to on the dark path. A delicious terror made the night one I remember.

The farm can be cave-black without city lights or neighbors nearby. It was one of those nights. The stars and moon were covered by a thick layer of clouds. Fueled by ghost stories and far too much sugar, it was a perfect scene for scaring ourselves silly. It pushed a group of us through knee high weeds sure with each step we’d step on a snake or find an ax murderer.

“Wait, don’t go so fast,” someone hissed.

“I can’t see anything,” another moaned.

“Don’t let go!”

“What was that?”

“Where are you?”

I still remember well when our fearless leader, LouAnn, went down with a yelp, and the rest of the line of girls followed. A sewer ditch freshly dug, crossed the outlying yard dirt in a smelly line. You can only imagine the chaos that ensued. The stink and misery of all of us being hosed down in the dark by some very patient parents made us laugh until we cried.

The hilarity of the night stayed with me, and undoubtedly my friends, for a lifetime. The tight kinship of a chorus of girls desperately following one another in the dark makes me smile even now.

King David spent a lot of time in the wilderness, difficult, needy, and painful hours. He penned about meditating God in the night. Thirsting and yearning he wrote, “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8 NKJV

This picture of pressing close to our Savior relates well to our parenting role. Like the game of follow the leader, we are conscious of our children following close behind, of their warm breath and eager spirits. The responsibility of leading them on the right paths is at times a walk in the dark, perplexing and a bit fearsome. At other times, it is pure joy.

Psalm 63 describes some of the ways David chose to follow close to His Leader. “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You.” Ps. 63:1-3 NKJV

  • David establishes truth. O God, You are my God…”
  • He goes to God first. “Early will I seek you.” 63:1
  • He bares his heart. “My soul thirsts, my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.”
  • He knows where to go for help. “I’ve looked for you in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory.”
  • He establishes priority. “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life.”
  • He shows his trust through praise. “My lips shall praise You.”

These same steps provide a way to move forward when parenting feels disjointed.

  1. Establish truth. God is ultimately in control.
  2. Go to Him right away. God is not an afterthought.
  3. Bare your emotions to the Father. There are a lot of paths through which parents must walk, and not all are pleasant. Jesus understands emotions and wants those feelings to cause us to turn to Him.
  4. Search Scriptures and pray. Parenting is a process of humbly recognizing how much we need help.
  5. Remember spiritual priorities in parenting quagmires. The goal is always to follow more closely to Jesus, both for the parent and child. Knowing this big picture brings purpose into daily details.
  6. Praise Him. There is no circumstance in which you cannot praise Him.

I remember as a mom of a small child wondering when the last time would come for my son to slip his hand into mine. When would he be too big, too independent? Looking back through the years, last child hand holding times are a mist. They came and went unnoticed.

God has His hold on us as we parent. The pitfalls and craziness cannot separate us from His hold. Like a string of schoolgirls glued together in a game of nighttime adventure, His hand never leaves even through the darkest nights.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves in member care with Avant Ministries. Mom to four, grandma to 14, and wife to her one and only love, she enjoys writing about all of them. Find her blog at When the House is Quiet. Like her Facebook page or follow her on twitter.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

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