Monday, 5 December 2011
The Giant Leaf Pile Under the Swing, or, What My Kids Taught Me About God’s Character
During Benjamin’s nap last weekend, I had let my kids have some screen time, which they typically use to watch Pokemon episodes on the computer (I know what you’re thinking: Pokemon is still a thing? I don’t know. Ask my kids).
But I also limit their screen time, so at the appointed time I told them it was time to shut it off, and also it was time to come outside. I’m not sure if it was the screen time, the end of daylight saving time, or just the Crabbiest Time of the Day, but it all hit the fan.
“BUT I DON’T WANNA GO OUTSIDE!! IT’S COLD! WHAT WILL WE DO OUT THERE? IT’S BORING!” stomp stomp stomp *cry cry cry* “WHY DO WE ALWAYS HAVE TO DO WHAT YOU SAY?!” stomp stomp stomp “WAAAAAA!”
But here was the thing that kept me calm as I reasoned with them and kept encouraging them to just come outside, it will be OK: I knew what was waiting for them out there.
I had raked a huge pile of leaves right in front of their tree swing, so they could get going and then leap off at the height of their swing, sail through the air and land in the leaf pile.
I allow them to have screen time, because I know they enjoy it, but I also limit it because I know it’s not the best thing for them long-term. Besides, I had something better planned for them.
“WHY CAN’T I JUST STAY IN HERE? I WANT TO DECIDE! WHY WON’T YOU EVER LET ME HAVE MY WAY?” *whine whine whine sulk sulk sulk*
You don’t even know what’s waiting for you, I thought. You don’t know the amazing thing I have planned. I didn’t tell them because I wanted them to push through their bad attitudes, to obey even without the promise of something better. I wanted them to trust me.
And that’s when God touched me on the shoulder, in the most tender and loving way possible, and said, Mmm-hmmm. I realized then: He was holding up a mirror.
– – – –
I like to have control over things. My default is to run around, trying to manage circumstances so things turn out just the way I want them. So often, I’m just not open to God’s gentle nudges because I’m just holding on so tight, frantic to steer this ship the way I think it’s supposed to go. (That’s why He generally has to shake me awake, or put up a HUGE roadblock to make it obvious.)
But if I just trusted him, if I really believed what I know to be true — that he has good planned for me — then maybe I could let go, just a little. Because in reality, He has shown me over and over and over again that the beauty he can bring about is always, always better than what I had in mind. Even when it looks like loss, and even when it feels like failure.
When I get a little time and distance I can see His hand, and I give thanks it went this way after all.
– – – –
So when God says, so gently, It’s time to give this up now, Kim, I hope I can remember the leaf pile day with my own kids, the knowledge in my mind that I had something better for them, my intentions for their good, even if it was hard, even if they fought it.
Because he’s also whispering, just wait. Just wait and see what I have for you. I have to believe and trust that it’s going to be waaay better than another Pokemon episode.