By Maggie Ingram

On the afternoon before the first day of school, the final hours of summer before we cleaned up to go to our meet-the-teacher night, my 6-year-old burst through the front door completely distraught about something.

I could not understand him through the sobs. I put his sweaty, dirty face in my hands and talked slowly and quietly to him until he finally calmed down.

The chains had slipped off his new bike. It was in the 90s outside. I knew the chains would be covered in grease. I wasn’t sure how long it would take to fix or if I would even be able to. He ran back outside to the front yard, and I sighed.

I made a halfhearted attempt at putting the chains back on the crank spokes. It was hot and they were greasy and I very quickly gave up, telling him he’d have to wait on his dad. As I was washing my hands, the Spirit gently spoke to my heart. “It’s his last day of summer. Go fix it.”

I immediately dried my hands and headed back to the front yard. Within a few minutes, we had fixed the bike, and I received a hearty thank you and a tight hug. As I watched my soon-to-be first grader pedal down the street, I heartily thanked God for His tenderness with me in a moment of weakness and laziness.

The Father reminded me that eventually, my children’s problems wouldn’t be as easily fixed as a slipped bike chain. One day, their problems will take more time and more wisdom. They’ll have situations that will require me to get my hands dirty as I deal with not only their sins, but also my own sins that God reveals to me as I walk with them.

First John 3:1 says, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” My deepest desire for my kids is that they will know Christ as their Savior, and love and serve Him. I want to be a parent who points them to Christ, but I am weak. God’s grace is sufficient for me, and in Him I find strength.

As we dive into fall and our schedules shift to schoolwork and extracurricular activities, I need to remember these moments are building blocks for my kids—and for me. They may be small moments, but together, they will build who my kids become. I am so thankful for the moments in my own walk with Christ that are steadily building a deeper relationship with Him.

Eventually, my children will trade their bikes for cars, their bedrooms for college dorms, and their childhood homes for houses of their own. I pray that God continues to take my own face in His palms and tenderly reminds me that I am His child, my sins are forgiven, and I can come boldly to His throne.