My twins turned 4 at the beginning of September, also about the time they started riding their bikes without training wheels.
I remember when Brock, upon turning four, learned to ride without trailing wheels. I thought he was super special and one- of- a –kind. I didn’t know of any other 4 year olds who could ride. Now, I have had 3 boys who all started riding when they turned 4 and I realize that it’s not so much that THEY are special. While they are very special to me, being special isn’t what allowed them to ride their bikes so early on. But I’m proud of them. Proud of their long hours and hard work that it took for them to learn. They have spent lots of time preparing. They just didn’t know it. They had no idea that our hours of walks and bike rides with them on those slow, loud, plastic wheels (wheels that would leave them high centered on uneven ground) were actually preparing them to one day get rid of those wheels.
It took each of them one try to have it down. We didn’t have to “work with them.” They could do it solo. They hated it at first. Their fear of falling and fear of turning was shown by their screams. For several round trips they both rode the length of the street, by themselves, yelling at the top of their lungs. They hated that we let go of their seats. They wanted us to hold on, but Ryan and I could both see the bigger picture; that they could both do it by themselves and that they would love it. After the initial fear passed, they realized how awesome, and freeing it was.
Witnessing the “first bike ride” again and realizing that my boys didn’t do it because they are “special,” but because they were prepared, got me thinking. And wondering. How many times in my life have my parents, or teachers, or God been preparing me for something greater without me even realizing it? Because, you see, the twins had no clue what they were practicing for when those wheels would come off. Those wheels were their safety net- for them, and for me. They were never even curious about Brock not having any on his bike. Reflecting back, I can see lots of times in my life when I was truckin’ along in my “safe zone” with no idea of what the future would hold. I can also see, now, that most of those times were actually just practice for when I would be thrown into real world situations and have to figure out how to ride out of my safe zone.
Small situations like reading a certain scripture one week, and then meeting someone who it applies to and being able to provide encouragement for them the next. Situations like going through high school and experiencing peer pressure within my safe zone. I had to practice saying no, practice doing the right thing. And then when I got to college, away from my safe zone, I was able to put those years of practice into action. At the time, I didn’t know that those high school experiences would prepare me to stand firm in college. But they did.
Similarly, we didn’t realize that what we were going through with Brock would leave us with a rock solid marriage. That experience prepared us for rocky moments and moves and changes that could have torn us apart.
This makes me wonder what I am being prepared for right now. I think I am going to start paying better attention to what I might be getting prepared to do and how God may be preparing me to be used. I am hoping that if needed, I will get out of my comfort zone, take off those safety wheels, and have faith that my God (who knows the bigger picture) has prepared me for whatever is going to be thrown my way. Because isn’t that the purpose of training wheels-to train. I may go into it screaming, but I know I’ll come out of it able to see God’s handiwork.