One of my favorite pieces of equipment that we used when Libby was a baby was the infant sling. It was hard to imagine when we first began to use the sling all the advantages this piece of cloth would provide us. Life with a baby was very different when Libby came along because we had two boys in elementary school. Our activities could not stop because of the baby’s schedule, so she had to quickly adapt to whatever the need of the moment was in their lives. Did we spend quiet mornings cuddling and nursing her when she first woke up? No, more often we were pulling her out of her crib, throwing her in her car seat (often still wearing a wet diaper) and nursing her while sitting in a lawn chair at the soccer field, very thankful for the wonderful privacy of a baby sling. As she grew older Libby enjoyed riding in the sling like a kangaroo baby. She would sit with her legs crossed, back next to me and have a wonderful view of the world while still feeling safe being swaddled next to her mom.
For all the advantages the infant sling gave in raising a baby, one of my favorite aspects of the sling was the freedom it gave me to do other things with my hands. While Libby was securely swaddled against me in whatever position was comfortable for the moment and situation, I had still had two free hands. As the mother of two young sons this was helpful and important. As the mother of Mark, it was critical.
Mark was very active and often impulsive as a youngster. Having a free hand in order to hold onto him helped to avoid numerous disasters, both large and small. When we crossed the street, I did not have to worry about him running in front of cars. When we walked in the afternoon after a Central Florida thunderstorm, I could lift his feet over the puddles, instead of watching him drag his tennis shoes through them. As we watched Rob play softball, I could stop him from running out on the field to join the game. The baby sling provided the free hands I needed in order to provide Mark the safety and support he needed in that season of his life.
When I remember those days of carrying Libby while reaching down to grab Mark’s right hand and support him, I also see a beautiful picture of what my heavenly Father does for me.
I have set the Lord always before me.
Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
When my Father is holding my hand, numerous disasters, both large and small, can be avoided. He will keep me from running out into danger. He will lift me up when I am tempted to drag my feet through the mud puddles of life. He will even graciously hold me back when I want to join a game that was never designed for my level of play.
There is one key difference between my Father’s holding of my hand though, and my holding of Mark’s hand those many years ago. Mark held my hand by my choice, whether that was his decision of the moment or not. Often he had other plans and other ideas, but Mom’s hand usually won out. My Father does not reach down and grab my hand against my will. He waits for me to choose to hold His hand, to set Him always before me. I have to first make a decision to trust His wisdom instead of my own decisions or perceived skills.
So how about you? Are you finding yourself today dashing into dangerous streets, strolling through mud puddles or playing in games not meant for you? Are you willing to let go of your own abilities and/or desires to “set the Lord always before you?” Are you tired of feeling shaken? The Father waits patiently, anxious to assist you. The moment you reach out, you will find him willing and ready, at your right hand.