Tracks in the Snow

Matthew 16:24

My daughters are 18 months apart. Amber was born in September, one year after we were married, and Alyssa was born the next November.  They were beautiful babies, but having two in diapers is challenging, often draining.  Amber, the older daughter, was a free spirit from day one. She always charted her own course, an experiential learner. It was not enough to tell her not to touch the stove. She needed to know just how hot it really was.  Alyssa was the compliant child. Often, after her older sister received discipline, she would approach me and assert, “I’ll never do that, Daddy.” She was also compliant to her sister’s adventurous nature, at least in her formative years. Intuition might say raising kids gets easier as they learn to walk. Oh no. Chasing two toddlers is like herding cats or stacking BBs. In fact, it’s like herding BBs or stacking cats. It’s not easier.

Now, everyone knows not to leave Dad in charge of the children, not for long. My wife was beginning her teaching career and needed some help with the kids. Most days, my mother-in-law could keep them, but sometimes I had to step in.  My job as a Youth Pastor didn’t pay all that well, but the schedule was flexible, and that was a big help with two little ones.  I could work from home, tend the children part of the day, and still get my work done. Therefore, I believed myself to be a perfectly capable parent and multi-tasker.

When I was in charge of the girls, one of my rules was everyone takes a nap after lunch. That was a great rule. While little tummies are digesting, they can recharge and refresh. It’s completely healthy. Again, I was proud of my prowess as a young parent; that is…until I realized I was the only one actually sleeping.  That stark discovery hit me on a November afternoon after our first snow of the season.  I fed the girls and put them down, then I too drifted off.  I was having the craziest dream. There were faint cries.  Slowly, I came to and realized this was no dream. I hurried into the girls’ room, only to discover they were not there. I checked every other room.  I could hear them, but I couldn’t see them.  Frantically, I ran outside and into the front yard.  I looked down the street and saw both girls, in their little night-gowns, walking down the sidewalk… barefoot.  Amber had decided she needed to take Alyssa to the park at the end of the street, so she was leading her by the hand. Alyssa was cold and crying, but dutifully following her big sister, who was boldly blazing the path.

To this day, I can feel the heart-stopping sensation of hearing faint cries and seeing their little footprints in the snow.  I think of it every time I hear the song “Footsteps of Jesus” or I see the little poem “Footprints in the Sand.” (I confess to the guilty pleasure of laughing at the spoof, “Buttprints in the Sand.)

Most of us have that one person in our lives who we will follow. For one reason or another, we have chosen to love, trust, and emulate that person. With that understanding, I would like to suggest two simple challenges: 1. Make sure you are following a person who leads you in the right direction. 2. Make sure you are leading those who follow you in the right direction.



Published in: on September 6, 2017 at 9:16 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. What an adventure ALL of you had that day!! Loved reading this.

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