Shannon Dittemore



Jazlyn is a climber. She’s my seventeen-month-old dare-devil. My fearless little monster would attempt Everest if you stuck her in front of it. She’ll tackle anything, especially if I’m distracted with–I don’t know–this blog for example.

Her absolute favorite obstacle to mount is the dining room table. In an attempt to eliminate those easy-access footholds, we try to keep the chairs shoved as far under the table as possible, but she’s resourceful, and occasionally makes it to the very top. Her goal, of course, changes depending on which of us was at the table last. If it was her big brother, she’s usually reaching for the left over goldfish growing stale on his plate. If it was me, she’s foaming at the mouth to pound away on the laptop keyboard, and if her dad was the last person to use the dining room table, then Jazlyn is most certainly diving for the haphazard collection of ink pens he’s left there. Occasionally, two or three of us leave things strewn across the table, and the creations she comes up with, given a handful of left-over remnants, would put MacGyver to shame.

So, the other day, as usual, she had made it to the very top (without a signed permission slip, Nana, I promise!). When I caught her, she was stabbing her brother’s left over hot dog slices with one of my husband’s rogue ink pens, and jamming the cold dogs into her mouth with fervor.

“Jazlyn!” I hollared, crossing the room. “Get down from there!”

Of course, I was smiling. It’s awfully hard to be mad at an adorable one-year-old, especially when she’s far braver than I am.

She smiled back. But, I was serious. I couldn’t let her fall! What kind of a mother would I be?

“Get. Down. Jaz,” I said firmly, now just feet away. And, by the way, my one-year-old is brilliant. She knows just what I’m saying. Before I can get there to grab her, she giggles, drops the pen-dog combo, and begins her hasty descent. This is where things went a bit awry. My laptop happened to be sitting in the chair. Bummer. Her pudgy little foot applied just enough weight to make the laptop’s sleek skin slide right off the lacquered chair. Faster than I could move, she landed, BAM!, right on her diapered bum. Thank God for Huggies!

Her big blue eyes filled with tears, and as I moved toward her at the speed of light, she raised her baby-soft arms to me. My failure to prevent this fall, dented my heart and I pulled her little body tight to my chest. We mourned together for several minutes before she wormed out of my arms, ready to try again.

If this isn’t a picture of my spiritual life, I don’t know what is! So many times, I’ve climbed and climbed and climbed, finally making it successfully into God’s presence. After a little fun at the top, I’m ready to hop back down, back to everyday life. Like Jaz, that’s when things usually go wrong for me. The trip down is a hard one. Back to life, back to reality–with just a taste of what God has. If I had the strength to just keep climbing! Or the tenacity to stay where I was for a bit longer! If I had had the patience to wait on God to grab hold of me, just what would happen? In 2 Corinthians 3:18, Paul talks about being transformed into the image of Christ.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory…

I’m learning, as I get older, that we must stay in God’s presence, either pressing forward or patiently waiting for Him to move us from one place of glory to another. It’s when we get hasty and seek to escape His presence that we fall.

But, no. I get all independent and think a little time up top is all I need. I’ll be back, I tell myself, Next Sunday, maybe. The problem with that philosophy is this: The next time I crawl back into His presence, ready for a little fun, I’m nowhere closer to His image than I was on my first ascent. Again, bummer.

I’ve been thinking a lot about change. Change in my life. Change in my family. I want my life to be flush with seasons of pressing in and seasons of patience. Both are difficult to master and I’ll need God’s help to get there. But what I would really like to eliminate are those seasons of hasty impatience. The times I think I can dabble in the presence of God and just return when it’s convenient. I’m tired of falling. I’m tired of failing. And yet, even in those times, Christ is more than enough. He scoops me into His arms and holds me tight. He lets me worship Him through my tears of frustration and pain. And when I wiggle free, ready to try again, I’m sure He’s shaking His head and smiling at me. I bet he’s hoping I’ll wait for Him when I get to the top this time. I bet he wants to transform me from all the “glory” that I currently am (ha!), into the glory that He has for me.

And honestly, that sounds so much better than landing on my rump!



  • Comment by Steph — February 2, 2010 @ 12:05 am

    “Pen-dog combo” AHAHA that made me laugh so hard!

  • Comment by Karen — February 2, 2010 @ 4:38 am

    Love it…. reminds me of her mother’s climbing skills….

  • Comment by Lacey Neuman — February 4, 2010 @ 12:48 am

    I love how your stories are so applicable to my life right now! We have much to learn from child-like wonder and bravery.

  • Comment by anita — February 7, 2010 @ 6:05 pm

    Jaz is a climber, huh?…What a great analogy of our walk with our Lord. I can understand the climb…the excitement, the joy, the accomplishment, the satisfaction, but most of all; the hope, the hope of something greater. Then we get there and look around in awe. But we take our eyes off the hope that brought us here and we fall faster than its taken us to climb.
    We must rise up to that hope and not take our eyes off the Lord. Our hope is in Jesus Christ; our worthiness is in Jesus Christ our Savior.

  • Comment by Shan — February 7, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

    You are so right, Nita! We cannot take our eyes of the Lord or we are sure to fall!

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