It was my son’s last week of kindergarten in May 2012, I had dropped him off and was on my way to work. As I drove I talked to a friend who was also on her morning commute. As I listened, she vented about the frustrations surrounding her responsibilities and how much time they consumed. For the past several months, she had been working upwards of 60 hours per week which left her exhausted, frustrated, in desperate need of an assistant, and above all else in desperate need to get back to the normalcy of her morning quiet time with God. As I listened I could totally relate to every word she said. At the time, I too had allowed my morning quiet time to slip because of overwhelming circumstances. It seemed that the more hectic everything had become, the further away I had gotten from my quiet time with God. My morning routine hit a road block and instead of getting up early to spending precious moments with God, I hit the snooze button on the alarm clock and rolled over for another hour of sleep.
During our conversation, our venting led us to the conclusion that we both felt like poor examples. Okay, I admit it was a bit of a “pity party” but we knew we weren’t doing what we needed to be doing to stay connected to the Father. Our daily routine had gotten exhausting and we were just too tired to get up early and start our day in our Bibles. As a result, our attitudes and moods changed. We saw things differently. We agreed that we needed to get back to where we were…but how? With that, we hung up the phone feeling a little better that we were able to vent and confirmed the fact that we were not alone. Praise God for the friends he places in our lives.
But how could I get back to where I need to be when I’m doing the best I can in what seems to be overwhelming circumstances?
As I mentioned, this conversation happened during my son’s last week of kindergarten. As part of his year end celebration, parents were invited to join their children for a pizza and ice cream party. After the party, I followed my son to his classroom to collect his belongings. Just as we were leaving, his teacher handed him a sand bucket full of goodies. Little did I know how God would use one of the gifts in the bucket as a gentle reminder of how valuable I am in his eyes.
When we finally made it home, my son and I sat down and began to sift through the goodies in the bucket. He pulled out a little party favor bag with a home-made tag attached. In bold letters I read the tag’s title First Grade Survival Kit. Further scan of the tag listed each gift with a very special meaning. What a thoughtful gift. I began to read the list of gifts and their meaning out loud to my son but didn’t manage to get very far. The words of the first line rendered me speechless so much so that my eyes welled up with tears and I was instantly overcome with emotion.
Of course this didn’t go over very well with my son. He wanted to know what it said, but I couldn’t speak. There in black and white text on orange laminated construction paper stood the gentle reminder I needed I was special to God (John 3:16). Thoughts invaded “No matter my circumstance… I matter to God.” The verse I knew well and as their words ran through my head, I felt God’s love cover me like a warm blanket. He was assuring me everything was okay. He cared about my circumstances. I quickly thought back to the conversation I had with my friend a few hours earlier. We had made the mistake of taking our eyes off of Christ. That was our problem. We allowed current circumstances to shift our focus. We had tried to carry our burdens ourselves and not taken them to Christ. Flooded by emotion, I reached for my cell phone to call my friend. As the phone rang I thought this is a bad idea – she’s at work and won’t be able to talk…I’ll share it later. I ended the call.
“M-O-MMMM!” came a concerned voice sitting next to me. “Why are you crying and what’s wrong with your friend? Why did the card make you cry?” I had to smile at his words. The card had not made me cry, it was the gentle reminder of the words and how far away I had gotten from the truth of them. I tried my best to explain the reason I was crying to my son. I don’t know if he got it or not…but I sure did.
“Can you read what the card says please Mommy?”
“Gladly” I responded.
A penny to remind you that you are valuable. You were bought with a price!
Moving forward, I will look at pennies in an entirely different way. I am valuable and was bought with a price. What was intended to be a reminder for my son is now a reminder for me. I am continually amazed by God and the way he reaches out and remind us of his great love.
Father, Thank you so much for the unique way that you choose to reach out to us. I stand in awe of you and your unconditional, unending love for us. Help us not to forget or take for granted your great love and Jesus’s sacrifice so that we can walk in freedom. Help us to remember to lay our burdens down and look to you every day to give us rest. Amen