The walk home seemed endless and hard for little Denise as we returned from getting groceries in our small town in Argentina. With no sidewalks outside the immediate downtown area of Basavilbaso, our choice was to walk either on the dusty (or muddy) gravel road or on a foot path parallel to it, through high weeds. Both of my hands were laden with full grocery bags – my own re-usable ones, of course, since at that time the stores there didn’t have bags to give their shoppers. As we were trudging through weeds that were knee high to me, Denise, who was nearly two at the time, was overwhelmed by them and trailed behind me. The weeds I was trampling down were nearly as tall as she.
I don’t recall the exact words Denise used as she expressed her discouragement; but I do remember how the conversation continued. I simply told her “Follow Mommy”, not realizing that the word “follow” was not yet in her limited vocabulary. She innocently questioned: “Follow?”… Of course, my prompt reply was, “Yeah, FOLLOW!” When she asked “What’s follow?”, I realized she never dealt with that word before and had no idea of the concept of following. So I answered her with words she was familiar with. “You go where Mommy goes.” Satisfied with that, the conversation was dropped, and we continued our trek home.
Right then, those words that I spoke hit me over the head like a hammer. I realized the tremendous responsibility that God entrusted me with. It wasn’t just about forging a trail through high weeds; it was all about me first following HIM, so I could mark the right path for HER in all circumstances, including the “high weeds” of adversity! She didn’t realize it then, but Mommy could see farther ahead; Mommy would be with her every step of the way till the end; Mommy would make a way and trample down all the weeds that were so overwhelming to her; and if need be, Mommy wouldn’t hesitate one second in scooping her up and carrying her – grocery bags and all!!…But most importantly, Mommy was also following Someone: the One who promised: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8)
Following God, we also get overwhelmed at times. Sometimes those “weeds” seem WAY too big to trample down; we get tired, and can’t see the end of the road, much less know how to get where we’re trying to end up…we might be so discouraged that we don’t even remember that He is with us 24/7, forging the way, so that we can safely follow Him, and even picking us up and carrying us as He did his special people in the desert: “The LORD your God who goes before You, He will fight for you…you saw how the LORD your God carried you, as a man carries his son, in all the way you went until you came to this place.” (Deut. 1.30, 31) In times of discouragement, we can securely follow the One who loves us, makes a way for us, and guides us with His eye. He’ll never let us on our own to walk when the way seems to hard for us. We simply need to follow Him.
Denise understood in an instant what it means to “follow Mommy” with the simple definition she was given. But even after all those years, Mommy is still learning what it really means to follow the One who knows the way, tramples down the weeds, has the end in sight, and picks her up in His everlasting Father arms when her strength is gone. Sometimes the road is long and hard; but God is faithful!!! … And that’s why Mommy can follow Him!…and we did make it home – groceries and all – without incident!