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Her First Independent Steps

Recently, I had the privilege of watching a friend’s daughter take her first steps in growing to become an independent young lady. Said daughter is about 8/9 years old and of course has been and still is under the protective wings of eagle-eyed dad!

We had just come out from church and on our way to the car park, when dad remembered he had planned to buy his kids some McDonalds. We were now standing at the corner of McKee Dees and he had already sent off the older one on his very own to the local sports shop. Time for some independence day event, season 1, episode 1, for the younger daughter.

Here’s a paraphrase of the conversation that ensued. Main characters: dad, uncle, me and future independent lady (let’s call her ‘Grace’). Stage setting: This McDonalds’ store was at a street corner with full see-through glass walls, so anyone outside can watch what’s going on inside.

Dad: Grace, go into McDonalds and pick up the Happy meals for you and John (not his real name).

Grace: Can you come with me?

Dad: No, you’re now more grown up. Common, we’ll be standing outside, watching you. Uncle: Grace, you can do it. Me: When I was in primary school, my mum used to send us the market by ourselves to buy food stuff and we used to run there and back home quickly, not talking to anyone!

Grace walks over to Uncle and links her left hand with his, looks at him with her puppy pleading eyes, trying to persuade him to go inside with her.

Uncle, almost giving in, says: Okay, I’ll come with you.

Dad and I: No. Grace can do this. She’s a big girl now. Dad: Common Grace, we’ll be outside here waiting for and watching you. Uncle: This is a battle we won’t win. Me: No oh, we will win this battle oh! (remembering when I waited over 30 minutes with a 4-year old to apologise for hitting his friend.)

Grace takes about 2/3 steps away from us with sulking eyes, pouted lips and head down, protesting that John was older when she was told that he’d gone off on his own to the shopping centre.

Then it was as if a spirit of boldness came upon her after our constant reassurance and promised nearby presence.

She then took her first baby steps of independence into the store. Woohoo!

We three carried on conversing, not really planting our eyes on her while she was in store. (Thank GOD GOD really means it when HE says HIS eyes are on us always!!)

After a short while, I peered in through those glass walls to see where our trusting baby girl was; she was looking peaceful, standing quietly in the queue. I carried on pacing back and forth on the wall outside tracking her progress, keeping conversation with the rest of the team.

I watched her place her order, then caught her when she was waiting on the side for her order to come through. Then when she was being handed her order in the brown paper bag and finally as she skipped her triumphant exit out the store to where we were still standing.

As she approached us, you can imagine our reactions. I hollered, like she had just walked though a den of lions crouching in the valley of the shadow of death and came out with Goliath’s head hanging on his bloody spear! Dad and Uncle joined in the triumphant shouts!

She was all smiles and I bet she was feeling wonderful and more confident inside. She was very happy and dad was obviously very pleased, he let her have the change from her spoils! He cross-checked that she got the order correct, which she did. Double win!

I thought to myself, tuck this lesson away for when you have yours to train!

Later that week, I was rethinking this and it reminded me of The Shack. (If you haven’t read/watched it, please do!) Three of us waiting outside can be likened (at least a little) to THE TRINITY – dad as the FATHER. Uncle as Jesus and me as Holy Spirit, or vice versa, or both.

Dad gave the instructions, had a bigger picture of what he wanted to achieve in his daughter and we two joined in as co-labourers to bring that vision to pass. Since Jesus has been through everything we experience in this world, He empathises with us and reassures our hearts that we can do what the FATHER would have us do. HIS eyes are on us even though we don’t always feel HIS presence right next to us. We can stand, move and wait peacefully because we know that HIS eyes are forever always on us.

Whenever we feel we’re out of our depths and are being called into something beyond us, remember that GOD is faithful not to give you more than you can bear. And if HE says you can do it, then you can do it.

Even though Grace protested going solo, our constant reassurance of our proximity and her trust eventually gave her the momentum to go in, so much so that I didn’t even catch her looking our way all the time she was inside.

P.S.: I suggested we prank her by hiding behind a parked car, so she doesn’t see us when she comes out, but even I, because I knew her, knew that was pushing her faith levels! (Thank GOD HE doesn’t prank us after we’ve just made our biggest steps of faith! Lol . . .)

To your trust in GOD’s ever-presentness with you, . . .

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