This summer, our youngest daughter suggested the family go for evening walks around our neighborhood. Agreeing that it would be a great way for us to bond while getting exercise, family walks quickly became part of our after dinner, summer evening routine. The route is quite simple, but it can be a bit challenging because there are several hills to climb along the way.
When we first began, I was the slowest and was embarrassed because of my heavy breathing, coupled with the fact that while everyone else could effortlessly trek up the hills, I'd have to stop along the way to catch my breath. Although I liked the "idea" of our family walks, I felt like I was sucking all the fun out because of my challenges, even though my family never said or acted like that. In fact, every time we reached the top, LT made sure to give me a high-five to celebrate our accomplishment.
One day, I decided to start walking the same route alone every morning so my body could build endurance for the evening walks. It worked. After a few weeks of my consistent, double walks, I was able to keep up with the family. And because we no longer had to take breaks along the way, we were able to walk further and enjoy more family time together.
Recently, my In-Laws visited and while they were here, I invited my Mom-in-Law and our daughter, Jazzy, to walk with me. At first, they were excited to join me, but halfway through, they both looked at one of the hills we would climb and began to voice their concerns:
Jazzy didn't know how far we would be walking and she didn't have on the right shoes.
Because my Mom-in-Law wasn't used to climbing such steep hills, she wasn't sure she could make it.
Yet, neither wanted to end the walk, nor turn around and head back home. They wanted to continue.
The route we were taking is now part of my daily routine and I am proud to say that I could have easily breezed by them. But that would have defeated the purpose of us taking a walk together. So instead, I slowed my pace, encouraged them along the way and stopped whenever they felt they needed a rest -- the same way my family had countless times with me. Yes. It took longer, but once we made it to the top, my Mom-in-Law was able to snap a few pictures and we enjoyed the view. Together.
In the beginning, when I struggled the most, my family didn't allow me to quit. Although they could have either breezed by or left me alone, they walked right beside me. When I needed to stop and catch my breath, they stopped with me. They didn't point out my weaknesses. Instead, they cheered me on and reminded me of our goal. Because I saw them walk effortlessly, I knew it could be done. And when we reached the goal together, we celebrated together. The grace they extended towards me gave me opportunities to catch up, keep up and improve. When my Mom-in-Law and Jazzy experienced challenges, I was able to return the same grace towards them that I had received before. In the same exact ways. And in the end, we celebrated together.
This WHOAment is simple:
There are times when we need to receive grace from others. And there are times when we need to extend grace to others. Afterall, we all are trying to get to the same goal: to be more like Christ.
As Believers, we should keep in mind that we are not alone in our quest to be more Christlike. We are here to serve as encouragement and support and to be examples to one to another. When we face challenges, it's important to look to our Brothers and Sisters in Christ, and vice versa. We are a family and when one succeeds, we all succeed.
If you enjoyed reading this WHOAment, you may also like "My Sock is Slipping"
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