Not long ago RJ got in the car after school and asked if I had bought chocolate. (He is so my child!) I told him no, and he immediately sighed and said, “We haven’t had chocolate in a long time.” I literally stopped what I was doing and looked at him in the rear view mirror before responding, “Really, Dude? You had two buck eyes* in your lunch box. You ate a cupcake at the church lunch yesterday, and Saturday we had dessert because we had friends over.” To his credit he looked at me with a sheepish little smirk, his dimple adding to his innocence, and laughed. “Yeah, but not a candy bar.” (He REALLY is my child!)
That was the end of that exchange and I didn’t give it a second thought until later that week. I sat at down in my room and started complaining to God. Immediately I heard my words to RJ – “Really, Dude?” Yes, God called me dude. He’s cool that way.
I stopped in my tracks and I’m positive I gave God that same sheepish smile I received from RJ – dimple and all. I confessed that I was being grumpy and even a bit spoiled. Then I started naming the many, many things that He has given me. But again I felt like he stopped me mid-sentence. He wanted me to be more specific. He wanted me to go back to my complaint and find the thanks in that. The gratefulness for the absolute, miraculous provisions that he has shown us in the last few months as well as gratefulness for the struggle.
Stop right there.
I can thank him easily enough for the provisions. I may forget sometimes, but when I’m purposefully looking I can see and be reminded of all the ways he really has provided. But can I thank him for the times he has seemed silent? What about for the things that I continue to bring to him and have yet to see the answer to? Or the times I had to let go of my ideas of what I wanted or (cough, cough) “deserved?” Could I be thankful in the middle of the struggle? Could I be thankful at the end of the struggle, when I haven’t received the answer I wanted? Like RJ in his candy bar heart struggle, could I be ok if I didn’t get it?
God is constantly teaching me through my kids. When I looked at RJ that day I was teasing him – not angry or shaming. But I wanted him to see the truth. How much more does my heavenly father love me in a perfect, holy, fierce love? I didn’t feel shame that night – only a bit like a cheeky child being lovingly chastised by her parent. I pictured him with a twinkle in his eye as he pointed out truth.
He is so amazing.
I am thankful for his love for me.
*For those never fortunate enough to live in Ohio, Buck eyes are probably called peanut butter balls to you.