With five females living in the same house, it can often take some serious effort and a few miracles from Heaven to get out the door on time. There is often juggling and yelling and gnashing of teeth, but eventually we are all buckled in and on our way. Everyone may or may not have matching shoes. Everyone may or may not have shoes at all. But I have learned that in order to get everyone out to the Mom-Mobile, it often requires sending them out one at a time, as they are ready. Here's what happens if I do not take the "You're Ready, Get In The Car NOW" approach:
#1, #2 and #3 are ready and waiting in the vicinity of the front door. I finally wrangle #4, sit on her and velcro her shoes. I look up to find that #2 has forgotten an overly-loved stuffed animal that MUST go with us or it's feelings will be hurt and has gone upstairs to get it. I walk into the laundry room to grab my purse and keys, yelling to #2 to "Get down here! We have to go!" and return to find that #3 has disappeared to fill a bag with Barbies and Littlest Pet Shops and any other plastic treasures that will make me scream the next time I clean out my car. #2 returns. #4 walks up to me whining of "poo" and smells like something has died. I lay her down. Take her shoes off. Change her diaper, alligator-style. #1 has decided that she hasn't eaten in 16 years and has gone to get a snack. Wrangling shoes back on #4, I see #3 come down with a suitcase and 2 backpacks because this trip to the bank may take the rest of her life. #1 comes out of the pantry, everyone complains that they are STARVING and I am now shoving multiple, pre-packaged, high-fructose corn syrup snacks into my purse just to shut them up. #2 complains that #3 has one of her My Littlest Petshop puppies, #1 decides that it's not fair that she doesn't have luggage, I lose my will to live, threaten to sell everything we own at the next church garage sale and promise that we'll all move to Haiti next week if they don't get in the car. #4 hands me her shoes again. I crumble into a ball of tears.
*Note: This is just to run to the bank, grocery store, Walgreens, etc. Getting out the door for church is a whole different ballgame as I have to look half-way presentable, not because anyone cares, but because I'm totally prideful that way and occasionally the guy who preaches talks about me, and everyone looks and it's best if I found makeup that day. Going to the grandparents requires it's own blog. Going on vacation takes weeks of everyone standing by the door being "ready."
I hope this effectively explains 2 things:
1. Why I'm late to EVERYTHING (Husband and Grandmothers, please take special note.)
2. Why I have implemented the "You're Ready, Get In The Car NOW" approach to car loading.
Recently, as I was implementing said approach, I walked outside to buckle in an ever-wriggly, patience-draining toddler. Her oldest two sisters were already in the car and that left #3 in the house gathering the last of everything she owns. I came back in the house after what was apparently a 45 second eternity to find her hysterical. In the short time that I had been out at the car, she had convinced her little 5 year old brain that I had left her, forgotten about her, that she was all alone in a big, empty house with nothing to keep her company but the dog and the kidnapper that was going to abduct her while I was on my cross-country trip to the post office. With a great amount of frustrated compassion (a particular emotion that only mothers can understand) I knelt down and hugged her. As she sobbed into my shoulder, my words of comfort went something like this:
"Rhylee, have I ever left you?"
"Have I ever forgotten you?"
"Have I ever lost you?"
"Rhylee, I'm not going to forget you. I wouldn't leave without you. I won't ever leave you alone."
Did my 5 year track record mean nothing to her? Did the fact that I had NEVER left her alone, forgotten her or lost her count for anything? Apparently not during that tiny window of time that she had convinced herself otherwise.
(Here is where I will mention that I will NOT be able to use this line of defense with #4 as she has INDEED been forgotten at church before. Luckily, she was still a baby and her dad was there, so really, I was just taking a little road trip without her. And my sight-seeing adventure only lasted 1/4 mile before I realized my car was too quiet and went back to get her.)
Sometimes I think we as adults are a lot like my 5 year old. We panic. We have certain expectations of how the Lord will answer us when we have a need. We have expectations of when He will do it or where He will come through, and sometimes we're wrong. You see, Rhylee was expecting that I would be waiting at the bottom of the stairs for her so that she could see me when she rounded the staircase. She expected that I would take her hand and walk her to the car and buckle her in and all would be right in her world. What she expected didn't happen. Not because I wasn't going to come through but because that's not how I chose to get her to the car.
I think the disciples felt one of those moments of panic at this time of year. Their Messiah was crucified. He died. He was buried and everything they had put their trust in seemed to have disappeared. Their hope was lost. Their faith was wavering. For 3 days. And what a long, agonizing three days those must have been! Can you imagine? "But, Lord, you said you would never leave us or forsake us, but you died! You're gone! We trusted you! You left us! What are we going to do now?" And then Jesus walked through the door. He told them to touch His hands, His feet, His side. He was there. He hadn't left them after all, but He also didn't fulfill His promises the way they had expected Him to. It only took a few events, it only took a few days for all of the credibility He had built over years to come into question.
What does God's track record count for for you? Has He ever NOT come through for you? When did He ever REALLY leave you? He may not have answered how or when or where you thought He would, but He always answers. He never leaves. He never forsakes. If your faith is wavering this Easter season, reach out to Him. Touch His hands, feel His sides. Let His track record, His perfect ability to follow through, count for something. Trust His timing. Trust His way.
And by all means, don't leave your 5 year old in the house for 45 seconds or you may have to trust Him for therapy down the road!