One little smile before the tears.
Ivy struggles with fear. She has always been one of the last to go out on a limb and try something new because she is afraid. Even as a baby.... she walked holding my hand for almost a month before letting go. She never would have tried to climb, jump, or wonder off from us. She always has had this fear in her heart but with bicycle riding it became a whole new level, a handicapping fear.
We started bike riding with a balance bike last summer. Daddy thought this would make her feel more secure than training wheels, she would learn to balance, and then we would move onto a pedal bike. She was timid at first, but quickly learned to balance. She would keep her feet up for long stretches and ride proudly (no feet!) down a hill. So we felt like it was time to move on up.
We purchased her new bike at the beginning of summer. Buts something about the pedals and the wobble of training wheels had my girl scared out of her mind. The picture above was the one little smile I could get before she burst into tears saying she wanted us to hold onto her the whole time. Quite a regression from what we imagined. At first we responded to her fear with anger (I am ashamed to admit). We threatened to take the bike back, Ivy cried because she had disappointed us and I thought about crying out of frustration. Then we put it away for a few days and I had time to pray about my actions.
Not afraid to go on a bike ride with Daddy.
My parents quickly reminded me who Ivy inherited her fear from, and it certainly wasn't her Daddy. So I had some reflection to do.... What do I fear? How do I respond to it? What fears have I overcome?
And I thought and prayed about the way I parent Ivy. I had a choice- I could push Ivy's fear away by scolding or mocking and she would learn to control her fear in certain situations or around certain people (cough, cough... her mother) or I could empower her with God's promises. As I thought about my own fears and the ones I have overcome, I thought about how I give my fears to God, I read scriptures on fear, I pray myself to see the end of scary circumstances. I wanted to teach my girl to do that. Not just in riding her bike..... but to use in any situation.
Not afraid to swim in the ocean with Pops.
So before trying out the bike again or playing in the backyard where there are bumblebees or swimming underwater..... I have started having a special time with my girl. Ivy and I have a time of prayer, we talk about words and comfort given to us through scripture, and wow- her courage is present.
Have I not commanded you, Ivy? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, the the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of anything, for the Lord your God goes with you, Ivy ; he will never leave you or forsake you.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged... for there is greater power with you, Ivy, than with him (the bike, the bumblebees, etc).
2 Chronicles 32:7
It is God who arms you, Ivy, with strength and keeps your way secure.
2 Samuel 22: 33
Then he said to you, Ivy, "Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace."
Oh, the smiles, when she courageously rides her bike now.
This time with Ivy is special and has been a real wake up call to me. I need to be slow to respond to my children so that I can use these parenting lessons to teach them and model Christ's love for us. She has talked about over and over how God is with her when she rides her bike, has a bad dream, or is nervous. She keeps talking about how God tells her over and over and over "Do not be afraid!" At church right now she is learning that "God will be with you wherever you go" and is seeing this is illustrated through several Bible stories. She is bridging the connection between all these situations and I am confident that this will be a lesson that Ivy will use time and time again.
Today Ivy will proudly tell you this about her bike riding....
"I can ride down a 12 house hill (the longest hill she has went down) and a couple of times I almost fell down but I didn't get hurt. I think it is because Jesus is there, and there, and there (pointing around the room) and he is everywhere, so He catches me when I fall."
Mommy is so proud of you, Ivy Girl!