There we were sitting at Dunkin Donuts and a 4-year-old boy sits fidgeting in the small booth next to us. He is waiting for his ice cream cone. We carry on with our conversation minding our business when suddenly I notice from the corner of my eye, a little head full of angelic, blonde hair bobbing up and down, he is now licking his arm! Sadly, his cone had fallen and hit his arm, he knew he couldn’t eat the cone that was on the floor so he proceeded to lick what was left, off his little arm. His parents got him another cone and as they began to settle into their seat to enjoy their iced coffee, the fidgety carefree, little boy knocks over his mother’s iced coffee. It was a mess! Some splashed on me and it was all over the floor and booth. It would have been laughable but the air got thick with the awkwardness of the situation. My heart broke for the parents as they struggled to clean as much as they could and move their son into a place where he wouldn’t cause any more trouble. He ended up in a corner of the store, waiting with his eyes wide open, probably wondering, “What just happened?”
As I meditated on this situation I remembered that parenting in general is messy and sometimes awkward. But growing up is messy too. Our spiritual walk can be very much like this scenario. One minute we are being obedient to our parents, sitting still waiting for our treat, then we get excited in the process as we receive and drop, misplace, mishandle the blessings. We get messy. We lose our cool. We get desperate and like this little boy who resorted to licking his arm, we try to find whatever we can to satisfy our need, hunger or desire. We look silly some times. We become out of control. God gives us second chances and starts over with us, we begin our course again only to get fidgety and knock things over in our lives. For some of us the process is long and repetitive until we find ourselves in a corner wondering, “what just happened?”.
Those corners that we come to are places of reflection, places where we recalculate and think about what just happened. It’s the secret place of our heart reserved for God. It’s a place of correction and repentance. Have you been there lately? We’ve all seen it, some kids just don’t stay there very long. They want out, right away! The parent has to pin them down to that “Time-Out”. But we know that those times are necessary.
That sweet mom looked so stressed out. I went to her after a few minutes and asked her if I could give her a hug. She melted into my arms and began to cry as I prayed for her. Parenting is not easy. As a matter of fact, sometimes it can be a down-right nightmare. It may seem like you will never get past this stage, but it will pass, and as I told the mother of this 4-year-old, 10 years from now you are going to look back at all this and laugh!
beloved, you are growing up. Whether you are the child or the parent, we are all in a continuous demand to grow. The process is hard. The process is messy. But if you stay the course, have ears to hear instruction and allow the Lord to redeem you in the secret place, I promise you, one day, you will look back at all of this with a full heart and laugh!
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