Last week, we had our family vacation to St. Simons, GA. (I’m blaming my procrastination in writing on this momentous occasion.) I was so excited! I love the beach and as a child, beach vacations were not something we did. We were usually traveling several hours from Georgia from Ohio to visit relatives, and then after we moved we transitioned to driving several hours back to Ohio to visit the relatives we’d left behind. Now, in my married life, I am blessed to be able to visit the beach and visit relatives. My husband’s grandmother (Gammy) lives in a condo right on the coast of St. Simons Island. It’s amazing. I was once telling this to someone and they responded that I “married up.” Yeah, I guess I did.
Anyway, we survived. Gammy, who is now a quite sassy matriarch at 81, arranged for us to rent (for free…) a larger condo one floor down. As a result of my Nathan’s mother’s vision, we ended up with the following in our condo: my in-laws, Nathan and I, with Corbin and Gabriella and Nathan’s cousin, her husband, and their two small boys (3 and 1). In Gammy’s condo, there was her son (Nathan’s uncle, father of the above cousin) and his older son along with his girlfriend. All total, we had 14 people that comprise the Vinton side of the family. Chaos ruled most days, but it was fun. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot through these trips….about your family and yourself. Sometimes it’s things you don’t really want to know, but you learn none the less. For example, I learned that Corbin is no longer a toddler, but a very strong-willed, little boy, I learned that without help I would no doubt FAIL as a single mother AND I learned that Gabriella is a fish.
Amidst all the things we did, fun had, crises averted this trip will be remembered as the week Gabriella learned to walk….and swim.
When we headed down there, Gabs had started the independent tottering between furniture and by the time we left she was confidently strutting across the living room (most often in the direction of her Granddad or whomever had food). As for the pool….. I am a paranoid Mama when it comes to water. For that reason, Corbin has been required to wear a life vest around any body of water. When he was Gabriella’s age, he was content to sit in the sand next to the waves and splash and in the pool he’d float for an hour content in a baby float. Not for baby #2. Laid back at almost everything else, her idea of beach fun was flinging sand and crab walking head first into the waves, only to turn around and scurry away when the water hit her to do it all over again. Day # 2 in the pool I realized that a baby float was not at all going to cut it. She wouldn’t let me hold her and kept throwing herself headlong into the water. I was about to throw in the towel when I decided to try Corbin’s “water wings.” The minute she realized she could float without me holding her she took off. I’m not just talking the baby pool, Gabriella at 14 months old was swimming in an adult pool.
I am amazed at the fearlessness of my children.
I began thinking about the term “baby steps.” We take baby steps when: trying a new endeavor, coming back after a setback, or anything we want to do “slowly.” How many of us take baby steps with our faith, or trusting in God’s will and plan for our lives?
But is this an accurate use of the term? As I watched Gabriella, I realized that baby steps for her were a fearless endeavor of jumping into something full of faith that she will only succeed. And how I long to have that type of faith.
I’m reminded of the story in Matthew, where Jesus walks on water. (Matt. 14:23-33). Peter has enough faith to say, “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you!” But as soon as he is called and begins his own miraculous steps on the deep, he falls fear to the impossibility and begins to sink, calling on his Lord to save him. I am blown away by Jesus response to Peter: “Why did you doubt?” Implying that if only he’d believed, not in himself but in his Christ, that he could have walked as far as he’d like above the Sea of Galilee.
How many times, have I sabotaged God’s work because I lost faith? Usually not completely either. Simply by only allowing that small inkling of doubt creep in…..“but what if it doesn’t work….?” “what if you’re wrong?”……
I have this tiny vision of why God called me to go to seminary. When people ask me, “Cody, why are you doing this?” I have a constructed answer about education and faith, that most find acceptable, but the truth be told the real answer is that, I was called. I made a promise and I cannot NOT do this. Why or where this is going to lead me, I have no idea. And that is scary. Thousands of dollars, spent on an education that according to my current employers, is not useful or refundable. However, I am determined to fight the doubt with all I’m worth and follow the lead of my daughter who at a year seems to have a profound model for living life.
I will dive in, in all things, fearless and believe and trust that God’s plan is at work and that I am definitively part of it. Come what may, I will take my daughter’s version of baby steps.
“I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20