The Next Step
By Heather Arbuckle –
It is a story that began when I was just six years old. Angry about a perceived injustice handed down by my mother, I packed my bags and decided life would be better at Grandma’s house. Walking briskly down our long dirt lane, I quickly reached the point where the rubber hit the road. The driveway, stretching a quarter mile behind me, was at its end. A two lane highway now lay before me and I didn’t have the faintest idea which way to step next. Looking one way, then the other, the anger in my heart faded to regret, then on to desperation all in the span of a few minutes. As I sat on my suitcase, sobbing big salty tears, I cried out for my mom. Moments later, she parked beside me in her car and waited. Never letting me out of her sight, my mom had watched me from her kitchen window and was ready to bring me home. Without a word, she opened the heavy door and I stepped into the car. My trek to Grandma’s house was over and we were on our way back home.
That was the first of many journeys my mother and I have taken together. She has comforted me in my heartbreaks. Counseled me through tough decisions. Encouraged me in my trials. And held me accountable in my rebellion. Many times, my mother and I have been on opposite sides of the fence. Yet, she has never let me wander too far from her side. When I stumble, she is there to help me stand. And when I cannot find my way, my mother is there to guide me as no other can, this side of Heaven.
Years have passed and I have stepped out of childhood. Now, I too, am a mother. With children as strong-willed as their mama, we encounter many challenges in our journey together. In this season of my life, I see my mother differently. Through trial and error, I have learned the road of motherhood is sometimes difficult and lonely. I now appreciate her wisdom and strength more than ever. Filled with gratitude, I remember well what she taught me. First, Mom is just a phone call away. Second, some things just require time and a little faith. Finally, and most important, I never walk alone.
Furthermore, In the pilgrimage of life, I have found a faithful guide in Christ. A child of God, I am assured, “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble” (Proverbs 4:12). The eyes of my Heavenly Father see my every move. Because of the LORD’s work in my life, I am free to step boldly in faith.
Sometimes, however, I miss those days when I could depend on the daily instruction of my mom. Today was one of those days. A bit discouraged, I meandered for a bit through the aisles of a local store. Taking a little time away from the numerous responsibilities awaiting me at home, I wondered what my mom might say.
Then, I saw a sign that spoke directly to my heart, and made me think of her. It simply said, “Faith. Start where you are. Take the next step.” Filled with uncertainty, my steps appear hidden. Bowing my head in prayer, I give a sigh of relief. I understand. There is no need to fret, for “my steps are determined by the LORD” (Proverbs 20:24 NIV). But I have my mom on speed dial…just in case.