When my three sons’ bicycles all became in need of repair, I grew determined to learn bike repair courtesy of various videos on YouTube. While my husband knows much more about bike repair than I do, I wanted to relieve some of his already overloaded to-do list, as well as save us some money on the potential shop repairs. I figured a “Proverbs 31” woman would get busy with her hands and get these bikes fixed on her own!
Pride Comes Before the … Fail
Oh, how very great I perceive myself to be in my own strength. After the first repair was done, my confidence sky-rocketed! Why didn’t I think to do this before? The next one, not so great though. And in fact, a neighbor had to step in to save the day after I almost caused irreversible damage. But that didn’t stop me. Determined to make all the effort worthwhile, I proceed to not only attempt to repair, but also do a custom paint job on the third bike – which ended up in such a state that not even the neighbor could help. The wheel rim had been distorted to the point where it couldn’t rotate properly. Worse still, the day of the last repair attempt – I actually told my son we didn’t need to pray over our breakfast before we ate that morning. We “just needed to get to the repair!” Where on earth, had this endeavor taken me?
I finally decided to raise the white flag and take the bike to the repair shop where the associate deemed it to be totaled to the dismay of my youngest son. The bike had been a great find at a local second-hand store, and was his delight as a birthday gift. Now it was damaged beyond repair – and I was without provision to get him a new bike. Major mom fail.
We walked around the bicycle shop stalling for a few minutes, while my son, with tears in his eyes, processed that he now had no bike, and knew I didn’t have the financial means to get him a new one. He stood by my side looking at the bike and asked, “Mom, what do we do now?” I let out a sigh, acknowledging to my Heavenly Father that I had messed it all up, and needed to give it back to Him. “We trust God to get you a new bike.”
Throwing out one last desperate request, I explained the situation further to the associate – and to my surprise, a different expression appeared on his face – one that I recognized – one of sheer determination. He quickly took the wheel off the bike, and began to true (align) the wheel, that, to his surprise, was becoming unexplainably straight with much less effort than he anticipated. I watched as he looked somewhat puzzled, and joyfully surprised. My son watched on with just as much shock as the man seemed to be creating amazing results before our eyes, “Mommy, what is happening? I thought the bike couldn’t be fixed?” “Buddy, I think God is fixing your bike.”
True to His Grace & His Strength
Moments later, the associate walked past me, and, just loudly enough for me to hear, confided, “I’m going to fix this bike so your boy can have his birthday back.” As I watched the scene unfold before me, I realized that it was my heart that actually needed to be aligned – and true. God had allowed me to do some “in my own strength”, but when it started to interfere with prioritizing Him, He followed suit and allowed me to continue out of alignment. And just like the wheel, the more I kept spinning, the further distorted I became. It wasn’t until I submitted – out of desperation – that my Daddy reminded me just how easy it was for Him to true up my own heart once more, and all the other “important” aspects of my life as well. I watched as He shifted the associate’s heart right in front of my eyes, and I watched Him restore hope, joy and celebration into the heart of my son as he rode his bike out of the store with the associate looking on, grinning.
On the ride home, my son said to me, “Mommy, I think God was trying to remind us that we can’t do anything without Him.” My son’s heart reflected that his had been more true, more aligned, than my own. To God’s strength alone, be the Glory – and definitely not mine.
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Joanna’s first book, “Fire Women” is scheduled for release and publication this fall. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.