What is a favorite memory of your childhood? One of mine is riding my bike. Living in the country was a blessing. When I was a kid I could hop on my bike, ride all day with friends, and be home in time for dinner. I rode my bike everywhere. We lived right near the river. So, I could ride down to the river and watch the barges pass or I could take off and ride through the back roads surrounded by corn and bean fields.
No cell phones to distract us. No internet to keep us indoors. Just hop on your bike and pedal to your friends house. We lived in a small town. I guess you could say it was quaint. Life seemed easy on my bike. Freedom. Wind in my face. Sunshine splashing down on me. Sometimes I would just take off all on my own and dream as I pedaled.
I never had training wheels. Dad taught me how to ride a bike on a gravel road. Many times I took spills and dug rocks out of my knees, but I dried my tears and got back up again. Looking back all those years ago makes me long to ride again. I would get all my chores finished and wave to mom as I danced out the kitchen door. She would say, "Rob, be home by 4:00 for dinner". No watch on my arm. You just seemed to know what time it was. Boy, did time fly on my bike.
I now remember the combines the fields churning and spitting corn. Young kids picking beans. I'd ride my bike to my softball games when they were in our town. People outdoors working in gardens or cutting grass. You would raise you hand to say hello.
My hands would by high in the air, my feet high off the peddles and a smile on my face as I raced down a hill. What joy that was to fly down hill and coast through the valley. But then before I coasted I had to climb the hills. It wasn't easy. I wrapped my tiny hands around the handle bars, dug my feet in and pedaled hard and fast. Changing gears wasn't an option on my bike. I just powered through and gave it all I had. Strength would kick in as sweat dripped off my face. I'd reach the top of the hill and then I could relax a bit and enjoy the sweet breeze that would dry the sweat and cool my face.
My dad didn't believe in training wheels. No easy route for his daughter. He taught me to dig in and be strong. I was the girl who he taught to play softball with a baseball. Looking back brings me to deep gratitude to my dad and for those sweet years of riding free. Little did I know then that teaching would create in me the woman I am today.
It isn't unlike our lives today. It seems we struggle and fight, but then the more we continue to move up the hill that sweet glide into the valley comes and we appreciate the journey all the more for going through the trial and knowing without a doubt our Father is there to catch us. He is there to build us up and make us strong through Him.
We continue our journey onward. We know our home is not on this earth. We will have have good days and bad. But through it all we continue on in faith. Remember that sweet breeze on your face? The sunshine warming you on a chilly day? Jesus refreshes us. The more we dig in the more He is there. Yes, in Him we find that same sweet freedom.
While your digging in and pedaling fast, don't forget to enjoy the ride. It's those moments of riding free handed that makes me understand how it can be when I allow Jesus to guide me through the valleys and hills in life. They say you never forget how to ride a bike. I think there is a special reason why. It's one of those times in life where the struggle didn't overtake the joy of the ride. The sweat didn't bother us. We just hopped on and were ready to go wherever our bike took us.
Be ready to go where the Lord is calling. Wherever He calls. Whatever He asks of us. He will prepare us. He enables us. We already have everything we need for the ride. Get ready. Because He is about to show you something spectacular!
"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29
"Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power." Ephesians 6:10
"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one." Psalm 28:7-8