I am constantly trying to see the Lord in all that I do in a day. He teaches us all the time, and I don’t want to miss a lesson from Him. So, so often I understand His character through watching my children and taking note of the way my heart, as their mother, responds to them. Because if I know how to give them good gifts, how much more so does our Heavenly Father? (Matthew 7:11). So I let Him teach ME about Him through parenting.
One particular morning…”errand morning” to be precise…my little girl had just had it. She had been on the edge all morning, but when we rolled our little Costco cart out of the building and towards the car, the receipt (you know–the one where the kind old man had drawn a portrait of my daughter on the back with a marker, curly hair and all?) was taken captive by the tornado happening in the parking lot. She had had her heart SET on taking that receipt home…cutting it into pieces and gluing it onto construction paper. She had plans. She had dreams. And all of them were blown into oblivion with that huge gust of wind. She totally and completely fell utterly apart. And as I attempted to unload our groceries into the back, all the while clinging to that enormous Costco-sized watermelon with all my might in hopes that it would keep me anchored, my darling daughter had her face plastered against the car window, shouting out suggestions through heaving sobs of how I could “just chase after the receipt.”
It was literally so windy I was afraid WE were going to blow away, and against my better judgment I attempted to try and explain to her how far away China was and how, at the rate the wind was blowing, her receipt was surely already there.
“BUT WE CAN JUST GO THERE!!!!” she sobbed.
“We would have to take a plane, and then our groceries would go bad.”
“WELL YOU CAN JUST CALL THE POLICE!! PLEASE, MOM!! JUST CALL THE POLICE!!!” she begged.
How do you gently explain to your crushed 3 year old that her receipt is not important enough to call the police for? Oh my. So she cried hysterically all the way to the place where we pick up our milk. I tried to reason with her and sympathize with her for a few minutes and then I just stopped talking, quieted myself, and let her cry. Because, come on, she was devastated and therefore totally unreasonable. And I get that. It just didn’t feel like a moment to correct her. She was refusing to be comforted by me. How many times have I been too busy pumping my fists and shouting suggestions at God that I have refused to be comforted by Him? That was an insightful question to ask myself.
We arrived and I unbuckled my red, swollen-faced little girl, grabbed our milk box, and we walked inside. I set the box down and…
There, stuck to our milk box, WAS A COSTCO RECEIPT. With a curly-haired little girl drawn on the back. I had to blink about 700 times but it really was there. I checked the items and they were items I buy, but not items I had purchased on that particular day. But still…it was a virtually identical Costco receipt. I knelt down, showed Selah the receipt and talked to her of the Lord’s mercies towards her. That there was no way I could have orchestrated that, but God did. That God knows her heart and her desires and He cares about them…because He cares about her. Her receipt may not have been important enough to a police man, but it was important enough to God. So there I was, talking to her, but more than anything I was talking to me, because I desperately need to understand that lesson. That when I am screaming and crying and hysterically shouting at God, and He is silent, that that doesn’t mean He doesn’t have a plan. It’s just not time to find the receipt yet.
So then we headed to the next grocery store to get the few items we need from there. And Selah decided she MUST sit in the blue car cart. I mean, it was a matter of life and death. I explained to her for the third time that we only needed 3 items and we had to hurry if we were going to get the items, drop our groceries off at home and make it to Elliott’s preschool to pick him up on time (thankfully we didn’t have to take a detour to China anymore!). And she lost it. Sobbing and hysterically crying all the way into King Soopers. She had finally calmed down by the time we got to the cream cheese and we made our way to the check out as I checked the time for the billionth time since setting foot in the store.
After paying, the teller slipped a penny across the counter. “Would she like to ride the horse?
“The HORSE?” I asked.
He looked at me, dumbfounded. “Yes, the HORSE…you know? The penny horse? The penny horse is the only reason people shop here!” We had been to that store dozens of times and not once had anyone mentioned this horse that was apparently the main attraction and certainly had I never been given a penny to ride it! I looked in the direction of his pointing finger to see a brown toy electronic horse, with a “1c” sign hastily scribbled on with spray paint. I will admit, we are not “grocery store ride” people. I have never even glanced twice at one of those things, but I will say that 1 penny wasn’t a bad deal at all! My mind raced with the fact that my little one had been hysterical for the better part of the last hour and that she certainly didn’t “deserve” a ride on the penny horse and that we didn’t have two minutes to waste in this particular moment…when…
Mercy. I could see God’s mercy. Not getting what we deserve. God seemed to be going out of His way to give my emotionally-unstable little girl new mercies that morning. And I certainly wasn’t going to get in His way. I gave up my agenda and bent down, for the second time that morning, and explained to Selah how the kind man had given her a penny to ride the horse, but how really it was God giving her yet another new mercy. She listened intently as I preached my little sermon and when I asked if she would like to ride the horse, she stared back at me with those big blue eyes, mouth open in wonder, and slowly nodded her head up and down. Because sometimes His mercies come in the shape of recovered Costco receipts and penny horses.
Thank you, Lord, for all of our new mercies this week. I refuse to miss seeing YOU and your heart for us in the little moments of life:
And last, but not least. Elliott’s hunger for reading is just exploding. He’s reading so much!! He and Brian read the Bible every night and a couple of weeks ago he just started sounding out the books of the bible. So Brian went through them with him and the rest is history. Check out our little man!!
Your turn. What new mercies has God given you this week?