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Beach Block Balancing

As we walk further down the approach to the beach we love, my daughter takes off running as her favorite part of the walk comes into view. Along a portion of the approach, concrete parking blocks line the road, defining where the casual stroller should walk, and where the cars should park. To my daughter, this is her personal obstacle course. She loves hopping from block to block, trying to see how many blocks she can conquer, how long she can maintain her balance, before she wobbles off. Each concrete block has its own unique challenges…some are bright green with slippery moss, just begging for an unsuspecting sneaker to slip right over them; some have their metal reinforcements sticking up just enough to stub a toe or trip a balancer; some have silky sand lightly dusting the top, ready to catch someone off guard. Irregular spacing makes any kind of rhythm or momentum impossible, with some blocks practically touching, while others require a Grand Jeté to reach.

Inevitably, there comes a time where my daughter becomes unsure of her talents and abilities. No matter how many times she has danced over these blocks, she still arrives at a point where she is unsure and reaches for my hand to help guide her, steady her, and catch her, should she slip and fall. I can be holding her hand ever so lightly, but what does the heavy lifting is not my grip on her, but my presence, and her knowing I am there walking with her, ready, should the challenges overwhelm her.

We’ve reached the time of year where our own concrete “balance” blocks have become more challenging. The daily rhythm of life, with its responsibilities, tests, and surprises, seems to be in full swing. The goals and resolutions that we so excitedly welcomed at the start of the year, seem to have lost their sparkle, shimmer, and feasibility for many. We now stand on one concrete block, looking ahead, and doubt that we will ever make it to the next block successfully.

Imagine, friend, you reached out your hand. How might you skip across your balance blocks if you knew that there was One who was holding on to you? A heavenly hand to guide you, strengthen you, assure you, catch you when you fall, and brush off the sand when you slip? How might the peace and confidence settle within you, to take those leaps of faith, to stretch yourself further, to jump farther than you’ve jumped before, or to balance the new challenges that await this year? While we may still experience fear and doubt from time to time, God encourages us in the book of Isaiah, “Do not be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10) While Jesus promises to be with us always, to the very end of the age, (Matthew 28:20), we have responsibility in this journey as well: to hold out our hand, seek His guidance in all we do, listen, pray, study His Word. While He has blessed us with an everlasting commitment to walk with us, may we commit to seeking and following his guidance, and to nurture the beautiful relationship we have been blessed with.

When she’s hopped off the last balancing block, the look of sheer victory on my daughter’s face always brings a smile to mine. The ocean breeze is a bit stronger through our hair now, as we’ve gotten closer to the dunes that welcome us to the beach. Such a beautiful reward for the challenges we faced to get there. We breathe deep the salty air, and enjoy our time digging in the sand and gazing upon the waves. Always too soon, it’s time to turn back. Hand in hand we walk past the balancing blocks and bid them farewell. I look down at my daughter, and I see that little sparkle in her eye as she looks at them. She’ll be back, challenge accepted for another day. She believes she can do it, because she knows the loving hands that hold hers to guide and protect her. Friends, may we all carry that sparkle in our eye, because we too have someone who loves us so deeply, that will walk with us step by step, no matter the balancing blocks that come our way.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. So beautifully written. I would have never connected the two, and yet this spoke to mee deeply. Thank you for sharing this message. I need to remember that God is always with me 🙏💜

    1. I’m so glad we could spend time together this morning Kayla, even if just through the blog!! Funny how we can see God at work even in concrete blocks! How much more can we see him if we just look? ❤️

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