When my second child was getting to that sweet stage of just-about-to-take-her-first-step, we were so excited! Our eldest had taken that first step alone on his first birthday. Now our second was right on track to do the same. She was already pulling up, and would even stand up in the middle of the room on her own. She walked round and round the coffee table holding on. She walked into Sunday School holding our hands every Sunday. We just knew she would do the same thing her big brother had done.
The evening of her 1st birthday, once all the guests were gone, my husband and I sat down in the living room floor about 8 feet away from each other. Far enough, but not too far. I had Little One in my lap. I stood her up on her feet, turned loose, and proclaimed, “Walk to Daddy.” She stood there a minute, turned her head to grin at me and promptly sat down.
Daddy was going to fix it. “Give her to me,” he said, “I know she’ll come to you.” So we reversed roles. This time Daddy got the grin and the girl plopping down at his knees. It was kinda comical. We decided she was tired from all the fun and we would let her try tomorrow.
Tomorrow came, and you guessed it, same story. It became a daily routine, and a little game for Miss La-La. It didn’t just go on for a week. No. Nor a month. No. And she heightened her game. It got to where she knew what was about to happen, and if we tried to stand her down on the ground she would pull her little legs up to her tummy so her feet would not touch the floor. As weeks turned months we inquired of our pediatrician whether we should be worried or not, and he proclaimed her to be “Fine. She’ll do it when she’s ready.”
At 15 months old, she was the odd-ball in the church nursery. One particular Sunday, the nursery workers were giving me grief about it as usual and I laughed it off as we hurried out the door to go visit my sister, Phyllis. Arriving an hour later in my sis’s home, we hugged, ate lunch and started the social “catching up” we Southerners do when we haven’t gotten together in awhile.
My sister is the heart of the family – loving, accepting, gregarious, and never without a huge welcoming smile. Everyone is drawn to her, including my Little Miss La-La, who laughed and spoke gibberish to her from the moment my sister hugged her. There were about a dozen of us seated around Phyl’s living room on couches, the floor, and kitchen chairs we dragged in. La-La was happily playing at my knees when there was that natural lull in the conversation. Phyllis smiled, held out her hands, and out of the blue said, “Lauren, come see me!” And you know what? She did! La-La stood up and took off across the room. Her first step was about 10 steps, and not the wobbly, baby kind. She just walked. We were all shocked, and my sister was thrilled that Lauren chose to walk to her first.
By the time we got back to the nursery that night, La-La was running. Yes running! And all the nursery workers were amazed that within a span of 6 hours the non-walker had become a runner. It’s a favorite humorous story our family loves to retell at all our get-togethers.
So why do I tell you this story?
Many times I’ve read Ephesians 6:10-18 and have been told to “put on the armor of God.” I always pray that, and want to do that, but in a crisis situation I would end up flattened – feeling totally laid bare and not sure where my armor even was nor how to use it. As I read this passage in Ephesians recently my mind caught on the words of verse 13.
Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then…
Put on the armor… so I’ll be able to stand my ground…
After I have done everything else, to stand…
Stand firm then.
Hmmm… Stand firm then.
Suddenly those images of my 15-month-old came flashing into my mind. She did everything to be able to stand and walk. But she wasn’t walking. After she had done everything to learn to stand and walk, then she had to do it. Stand firm then. Walk then. It was her choice. And she chose not to. She didn’t stand and walk for a few months.
How often are we like my baby girl? How often do we do everything at church? We go to worship, sing in the choir, go to Ladies Bible study, help with ministry projects in the community, serve and encourage and seem to be mature Christians old enough to “stand” when the tough times come. Yet when they come, we buckle our little legs and collapse in a heap. After we have done everything to mature in the Lord and to learn to “stand” in Christ, we still allow ourselves the option of not doing it. We simply don’t stand firm. We choose not to, just like my little one chose not to stand and walk even though she could have.
Ladies, it’s time for us to no longer be babes. It’s time to grow up in the Lord and decide to stand firm under our own will. We have trained. We are ready. Will we choose to stand or will we cry out like dependent children for someone to hold our hand? It’s time to Stand!