A little over a week ago, on what is typically our busiest day, the kids and I had a few adjustments to our schedule. It was Monday, the day we normally meet our Classical Conversations group and have gymnastics class. We also needed to fit in a trip to the store and a visit to the library. In the hustle and bustle of the morning I forgot to give my son his allergy medications and by mid-day he had a headache and was developing a rash. I made a decision to ditch the plans for the store and to head home to give him meds and let him and my toddler rest for a little while.
After my toddler fell fast asleep, I decided not try to wake her to rush off to gymnastics, but instead take it as a sign that maybe we all needed to take a breather. The extra time allowed me to make a few necessary phone calls, but they seemed to suck some of the life out of me in the end. When my son emerged feeling better, I decided I wanted to get out of the house, so we would make our trip to the library when my toddler finished her nap. I wanted a change of scenery and a treat.
Normally, we have a snack after my toddler’s nap. My son seems to have an internal timer that will not allow him to miss it. He started asking for something to eat at 3 o’clock as he always does. I told him I would rather just head out the door as soon as possible because we needed to get to the library. They were instructed to pack their library bags and get ready to go. He whined. We left anyway. You would have thought I hadn’t fed the kid in days! I refused to let that deter me from my plan for the afternoon.
There is a Starbuck’s located close to the library branch we use and when I pulled into the parking lot, my oldest two were so surprised and excited I thought they were going to jump out of their seats! Heading to Starbuck’s was out of the ordinary and a splurge for us. They both started saying at the same time, “That’s why you said we couldn’t have a snack…you knew you were going to surprise us!…You knew…you knew you had planned something special!”.
Once inside they couldn’t stop talking about how I wouldn’t let them have a snack at home because I knew I had something better planned. My son then said, “Why didn’t you just tell us Mommy? I wouldn’t have whined about a snack”. I responded by saying, “I shouldn’t have to tell you. Sometimes I just want to surprise you and bless you. That’s why you should simply trust Mommy and obey. You never know what I might have for you”. When I said those words they fell so heavy on my own heart I didn’t know what to do. I find myself whining about different situations far too often and God’s saying just trust me and obey. I know what I have planned for you (Jeremiah 29:11). He does things I simply don’t understand and I wasn’t made to understand. Sometimes He simply wants us to trust what He says we should do (Proverbs 3:5-6).
My big kids told me the snack I had chosen was so much better than what they would have chosen for themselves at home. Wow! My heart was hit again. What God chooses for me is always better than what I could choose for myself. I know this. My life looks nothing like the neat little plan I had. I have proof of His faithfulness in so many areas of my life and still I fight to obey, just like my children. How many times has my Heavenly Father had to drag me along while I whined saying, “No, I don’t want to go!” and he was thinking, “Just get your stuff together and do as I say?” How many times has he wanted to bless me, but I refused to simply obey because I couldn’t see what he was doing? How many times has said to me you only need to trust me and obey, but I’ve been too stubborn or scared. I wanted to surprise my kids with warm milk for the afternoon. God wants to bless me with life!(John10:10) How much more does He have for me or you if we would simply follow wherever He leads? Sometimes He is just waiting for us to stop talking or doing what we’re doing and OBEY. If we don’t listen and go along we might miss our blessing.
When I shared my thoughts with my children, my oldest commented how it was like the time they lost an opportunity to go to one of their favorite places_ the bookstore. My son heard me say, “Get dressed so we can go to the store.” He pitched a fit because he thought we were going to the grocery store or shopping somewhere he didn’t want to go. He didn’t realize I was trying to take them to a place they love. Because of his bad attitude, the treat or blessing I had planned was taken away. How many times have I stomped my feet at God and said, “Lord, I don’t want to go there or do what you’re asking not knowing the “surprise” God has waiting for me? I’m still kicking and screaming about my move to Georgia even though I know He wants to bless me in ways I cannot imagine.
God, forgive me. Thank you for the ways you use my time with my children to remind me of your love for me. I want to abide in you and walk in obedience (John 15:7). Let me obey you the way I want my children to obey me. Strike that. How much more should I obey you? You do much more for me than I can ever do for my children. You are calling me to train my children to walk in obedience to your voice and mine. In order to do that, they must see my life as a living testimony. As the song says, “Trust and obey, there’s no other way…”