What is stretching? The pulling. The loosening. Before athletes play, they stretch to prepare muscles for the work, the journey ahead. Stretching, the daily discipline. Part of the process we need. Not stretching before a run or a physical game results in sore muscles and sometimes injury.
Recently, I have been pondering stretching. I do not like stretching. As a teen, I would often forget and start the run without the stretch. Now as a mom God has been taking me on a stretching journey.
When our second child was a baby she was tongue-tied. Every four hours around the clock I had to stretch her little tongue. It was intense. The lifting up and pulling that made her and I both cry. The stretching that now has given her a loose and movable tongue.
Our third child was born with torticollis. His neck muscles were so tight he couldn’t look to the right. We have once again been on a stretching journey. Working his neck muscles getting them to places they have never been. Now at six months, he has full range of motion.
As I reflect tears moisten my eyes. The stretching. The ache and pain. Remembering and doing. In the moment it was difficult. Awaking my four-month-old in the middle of the night to stretch her tongue and hear her ear-piercing, heartbreaking screen. To encourage my son to move his head in ways that felt unnatural to him. These painful stretching moments were followed by healing and new motion. Had we not gone through the process of stretching there would be other struggles.
God stretches us to bring us to places we would never go on our own. God asks us to prepare our muscles along this journey. The disciplines in the now save us from greater struggle later. Stretching isn’t for the pain of now but for the hope of the future.
We are athletes in this journey of faith life. Stretching for the daily hills and valleys we cannot yet see.
Isaiah 58:11 The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. NLT
Proverbs 16:9 A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps. NKJV