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Yesterday morning, I took Lindsey sledding. (The other kids didn’t want to go.) This is a big deal for us, because we have sledding weather exactly—well, almost never. But a few days ago, we had an ice storm, and now the ground is covered with ice, and has been for the past few days.
So Lindsey and I went to our favorite park, where there’s a hill that’s just perfect for sledding. We took along a cardboard box, since we don’t own sleds (almost nobody down here does). When we got there—driving slowly and carefully all the way—we managed to cross the icy street on foot and made it through the park to the bottom of the hill.
There, we picked up a large piece of cardboard from among the several that previous sledders had left behind, knowing it would be better than our small box. Carefully, we trudged to the top of the hill.
Walking to the top of a small hill might not sound like such a big deal. But it was, because remember, the ground was covered not in snow but in ice. Walking uphill on smooth, glassy ice is a next-to-impossible task.
We had to step in the places where people who had gone before us had broken through the ice slightly as they trudged uphill. Placing our feet in these small depressions allowed us to dig into the ice better and gave us the ability to make it to the top.
Once we were at the top of the hill, Lindsey took the first turn down, perched on our piece of cardboard from someone’s old television box. I took the next turn, a treat I hadn’t had in almost 30 years. Then it was Lindsey’s turn, then mine again, as I demonstrated how to slide down without turning sideways and getting dumped off.
For the rest of the time, I stood at the top of the hill and watched Lindsey slide down and climb back up to do it all again. Coming up carrying the cardboard was hard for her, and each time, I watched her try to find places for her feet where she could really dig in, as we’d had to do on our first ascent.
And I wondered what you and I do, as moms, to dig into the spiritual hills we have to climb.
The problem is that sometimes we don’t do anything to dig in, and partway up, we slide back down again. We don’t have solid footing. Or we do fine digging in for awhile, but then we hit a patch where we can’t figure out how to dig in, and down we go.
We’ve all been there. We’ve all faced challenges in our lives that we’ve tried to overcome, and sometimes we’ve been more successful than others at reaching the top.
What makes the difference between making it to the summit and getting stranded halfway up (or sliding a few feet or even all the way back down again) is whether or not we dig in.
It’s obvious how to dig in on an icy hill. You use your feet and maybe your hands, and up you go. It’s actually equally obvious how to dig in on life’s figurative hills, because we all know what we’re supposed to do. Read our Bibles. Pray. Attend church. Seek Christian fellowship. Confess our sins and ask forgiveness.
The problem is that sometimes we don’t do those things, because we don’t understand how vital it is to dig in.
After all, if you can get to the top of the hill by yourself, there’s no reason to dig in, right? The only reason to dig in is if you need the help. But let me tell you, my friends, we all need it. We are sadly mistaken if we think we don’t particularly need to dig in because we can make it on our own. God hasn’t designed us that way, and there’s not a single one of us who can make it to the top without prayer, Bible study and all those other things we mentioned (and then some).
Make no mistake about it, you are on a slippery hill. Maybe the going seems easy for now, but you could hit an icy patch any second, and when that happens, you’d better be dug in before you hit it unless you want to wind up at the bottom.
What are you doing to dig in before you hit an icy patch? Will you make it up the hill?
"Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor. 10:12, ESV).
Adapted from Megan Breedlove's blog, Manna for Moms. Megan is the author of Well Done, Good and Faithful Mommy and Manna for Moms: God's Provision for Your Hair-Raising, Miracle-Filled Mothering Adventure. She is also a blogger and a stay-at-home mom with five children.