So with all the bolts and training wheels on the asphalt, we headed for a flat surface. I ran along beside the bike, holding onto the back of the seat and yelling directions. Up and down the street we teetered, sometimes going four or give feet without my hand on the seat. The neighbors added their encouragement. "You're doing great, Josh! Keep trying. Don't give up." He didn't. Several times we had to stop and start over. Finally, when my bare feet had had enough, we quit for the day. Josh's face was shining. "I love this, Dad. Tomorrow, I'll do it all by myself."

As I thought about Josh's accomplishment that day, I realized that the reason for his success was my steadying hand on the seat of his bike. He knew I was right there beside him. He trusted me to steady the bike and keep it from falling. The knowledge that I would not leave him or let him fall gave him the courage to keep pedaling.

Our Heavenly Father reaches out His steadying hand of love to us. His Word tells us that even though we may stumble, we will not fall, for the Lord holds us with His hand. When we can rest in the knowledge of His presence and trust in His guiding hand-only then will we have the courage and strength to carry on through the difficult moments in life.

Our families will encounter many ups and downs. It's important as parents that we pass along our ups and downs to our children and share with them how God has provided protection, wisdom and insight over the years. Recall several specific times when God offered you protection and it was evident He was there. Share with them the times when you felt totally alone. Tell those stories to your children because through that process, they will learn how to encounter the Lord and how He might sometimes be there and feel Him and, in other times, it's trusting in faith.

This is a key principle in helping our children prepare for the "real world." Above it all, remember that He does have us in the palm of His hand.