I see a cute little blonde-headed boy about 3 years old, barefoot, stepped up next to a black tee with a baseball on it. His hands are wrapped around a little aluminum bat, and over his tiny hands are his father's stronger hands directing the swing of the bat to precisely meet the ball. A giggle erupts as the toddler drops the bat and runs in a circle ahead of the tee. An imaginary baseball field. I know the scene all too well from the reflections of my childhood. He stops mid-stride to smile and wave at me as I jog by. I wave back.
Will I be able to see this same scene with father and son in my front yard in a few years? Will Nathan be able to swing a bat with his father's hands guiding him? Will he run around imaginary bases? I think so. But I don't know.
Ahead of me, an unsteady little 1 year old boy wobbles from one foot to the other. Each step brings a smile to his face and worry to his grandfather's who is walking behind him with arms out-stretched to catch the wee one lest he should fall. From the memories of my girls at around this age, I see that lad is learning to walk. His wide, unsteady gait is unmistakable. He is oblivious to me coming in his direction but centered solely on the concentration required for such a monumental task. His grandfather gives an uneasy chuckle and mini-wave as I jog by. I smile and wave back, but my heart is heavy.
Will Nathan walk these same unsteady steps in a few months? Will we cheer him on as he walks between us as we have done twice before with our girls? Will he smile that same mischievous smile of freedom that every toddler smiles when experiencing this newfound skill? I think so. But I don't know.
The questions are familiar in my head. They are the same questions I have been wondering about since I was pregnant with him and knew that there could be problems. Will he be able to...? I have plans and aspirations for all of our children. I have visions of baptisms, ball games, vacations, driving lessons, graduations, marriages, grandchildren. They are the plans of most parents...we just expect them to happen.
I am a planner to a fault. I fill out our calendar every January for nearly every trip and important event for the entire year. I keep stacks of lists...of plans...of expectations. This is my security blanket of control. If I have planned it, I know what to expect. I feel confident over the situation.
I don't do well "flying by the seat of my pants". I get behind in my daily tasks. I forget to make lists of things to do. My mind is a jumbled mess trying to find structure. Things I have planned go undone. Visions of our family like I have always pictured change. Our life as a family does not go how I have planned it.
"As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him." Psalm 18:30
My way is not perfect. My way, my plans, my expectations will never be perfect. And although those plans feel so comfortable, so right, I must not trust in my own ways, for they are not perfect. God's way is perfect. Through a little boy with an uncertain outcome in this world, God is teaching me to let go of the comfortableness of the plans I have in my head for our family, for my son, for our lives...and trust in him to the fullest effect.
It is not an easy lesson. I fight against it almost daily. I desire to feel like I am in the driver's seat, but with each protest, I am brought down to my knees again...asking, begging for strength, for help, for forgiveness in my hardheadedness.
I don't know what Nathan may or may not be able to do as he grows older. I don't know what Abby and Emma may or may not be able to do as they grow older. I don't know what God has planned for our family, but I am learning daily to trust in only him.
For his way is perfect.