Jane loves calling people on the phone. Last week this ritual opened a painful glimpse into my own childish soul.
Several times a day she will take my phone and say, "I want to call anyone." Occasionally we will narrow that down to a specific person, I will find their number, and she will call and turn on speaker phone. And last week she chose Aunt Shanna.
At one point in the conversation I said, "Jane, do you want to tell Aunt Shanna what you did today?" and Jane said, "I didn't go on a bike ride and I didn't eat graham crackers. Mom said no." Ouch. I was thinking something more along the lines of how you went to preschool and we read books and colored...
Jane loves to ride her tricycle and she was really sad that we didn't take it out that day, but that was only because there were trucks and trailers blocking our whole street from the company who mows the lawns. And we forgot to buy graham crackers at the store, so we didn't have any. But that part of the story was left out, along with everything we DID do that day. Including opening her drawers and finding clean clothes (somewhat) folded inside, and opening the pantry and finding it full of food.
It is so easy to be blinded by what we don't have or what we can't do. In one sentence Jane taught a sermon on human nature, on my nature.
I imagine God overhearing my conversations. Am I leaving out His side of the story?
When I tell others what I did that day, week, year, or lifetime am I focused on the things I didn't do or the things I did? When I pray do I let God know all the things I don't have or thank him for all the things I do?
It's so easy to see life from such a childish view. How often do we hear, think and say things like "I can't get pregnant. God said no." "I didn't get the job I deserved. God said no." "I never married. God said no." "My grandpa wasn't healed. God said no."
What about God's side of the story?
What about the reason He said no. (He has one. Even if we don't understand. Even if we never know what it is in this life. And it is, absolutely, for our best good.) What about all the times He says yes? What about all the things we CAN do, all the things we DO have?
I was having a particularly difficult day a few weeks ago. God overheard conversations that sounded like this: My kids are out of control and pushing me beyond my limits. Miguel's schedule is grueling and taking a toll on us all. I can't keep up with the dishes and laundry and just picking up the house. At one point the conversation was directed and Him and I think I even told Him, "I can't do this anymore!"
And do you know what He said? I was ready for Him to agree that my life is so hard and everyone should feel bad for me because of all the things I don't have and all the things I can't do. And maybe He would even take away all the hard things! But instead He reminded me, "You have kids. You have a husband, and his schedule is demanding because he is in a prestigious training program that will open doors for the rest of your lives. And you have a house with a whole room just for toys, and heating and air conditioning and indoor plumbing and a car in the garage." He reminded me of His side of the story. And what a glorious story it is!
I hope I will always remember, in my thoughts and my conversations, that God is listening and His story is grander and more complete than the tiny piece of it I see. I pray for my vision to be expanded so I can see things from His view and remember the good things. And I hope, as Paul exhorts, that I will be an example of the believers in word and in conversation (1 Timothy 4:12).