Psalm 91:11 – 12 (HCSB) “For He will give His angels orders concerning you, to protect you in all your ways. They will support you with their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”
It’s so comforting to know that Jesus sends his angels to watch over us. We all walk through various “seasons” in our life. Some good and others we feel are downright impossible. As a Christian, I know I can rejoice and find peace during the more difficult times because I know the God who created the universe loves me with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), has a purpose for my life (Jeremiah 29:11),and will use the tough times to bring good according to his purposes (Romans 8:28). Because I know this, I can be comforted in the fact that I’m being guarded during the tough times by His heavenly angels.
In December of 2010, I believe with all my heart God chose to reveal the words of Psalm 91:11 to me by sending an angel to help me in a time of desperate need. I had gone into Target for what was supposed to be a “reward” purchase for my 5 year old son. That week, he successfully completed 5 days of getting ready for school on time, and stayed on “green light” at school. My son’s behavior was improving, and the trip to Target was the motivator. Well that was at least until we began to negotiate the rules of the reward.
I told my son he could choose from any toy $10 or under. I felt this was a reasonable price to reward his efforts for listening to both me and his teacher. As he started to carefully scan the shelves for the perfect toy, his eyes quickly went to what was right in front of him or below him on the bottom shelves. I encouraged him to look for a toy on the upper shelves because they were all in his reward price range. That will fact didn’t seem to matter, his eyes were drawn to the bigger toys right in front of him on the shelf. Retailers are great marketers, putting the most expensive toys at a 5 year old’s eye level is a brilliant sales tactic (of course as a mother of a very strong-willed child I have to disagree.)
As he searched, he pointed to things that were clearly out of the reward limit. Each time, I encouraged him with a toy within his spending range. The more I showed him acceptable toys, the angrier he became. He wanted something different, more expensive. He didn’t want what I was showing him. He wanted a bigger reward. At this point his behavior became something not worth ANY reward. Seeing enough, I told him we were leaving immediately and to follow me out of the store. It would have been so nice if he would have just cooperated. But he didn’t. His tantrum got worse and he began to yell and scream. I would love to tell you that I remained calm and walked my tantrum-driven child out of the store – but I didn’t. My blood pressure shot through the roof. I needed help and I needed it right then!
I stood there not having a clue what to do so I turned to the best parent I knew for advice. “Father, I have no idea what to do in this situation. I don’t want to respond to his anger with anger. I can’t control his hitting and kicking me – he’s too strong for me to pick up and carry out of here. Help me because I have no clue.”
After the quick prayer, I began what seemed to be a full-fledged pilgrimage to the front of the store. Every step I took I thought “Lord please help me to my car so I can get this kid home and I will deal with him there.” My son stood there, mid-isle, yelling at the top of his lungs for me. I just kept walking and praying. When I got too far from my son’s comfort zone, he ran after me always keeping me in eye shot. This 60 second walk from the toy isle to the front of the store seemed like a trek across the Sahara desert. Finally, I could see an end of the journey…the automatic doors were opening and my car was just across the crosswalk in the parking lot.
In a last ditch effort to stop me from getting out of the store, my son attached himself to my leg and wouldn’t let go. Walking, as you can well imagine, was next to impossible. I sent up another quick prayer “Lord…again I have no clue here. I need your help right now.” With every ounce of energy I could muster, I began to drag my son toward the automatic doors. Stopping just before the sidewalk, I asked him to get up and walk to the car warning him that if I had to drag him across the pavement, it ruin his clothes and give him a bad case of road rash. He didn’t flinch.
As I stood there, 5 year old still attached, I tried to calm myself down by people watching. All types of thoughts ran through my head. I felt inadequate as a parent, completely out of control, and like everyone was looking at me. I wanted to cry. I wanted to scream. I really wanted to leave Target and never return. Negativity swirled. “Lord, please help!”
I believe He did just that. In the next few moments, my attention was distracted from my current “situation” by a man exiting Target carrying a single gallon of milk. “Huh? Who goes to Target for one gallon of milk? On a good day, I can’t get out of Target for less than $100?” My eyes followed this man across the crosswalk and into the parking lot. “Odd.” My focus returned to my son but the thought lingered.
I tried once again to get my son to the car but before I could respond to his outburst, I heard “Ma’am, do you need help with something?” turning I came face to face with the gallon-of-milk guy. (Yes – he was still holding the jug of milk.)
“I noticed you were having a hard time, can I stand with your son so you can go get your car?” The words coming out of this man’s mouth were so filled with compassion. The situation turned from pure chaos to peace in an instant. I didn’t even give his offer a thought “that would be so helpful, thank you.” With that, I broke free from the 5-year old appendage and walked the remaining 15 steps to my car. It didn’t dawn on me that I was leaving my child in the hands of a complete stranger. There was peace…unexplainable peace.
The man didn’t lay one finger on my son. He just stood there…gallon of milk in hand…trying to talk to him. When I pulled up with the car, I jumped out to open the rear door. The man helped my son into the car and before he shut the door he said “Son, you need to listen to your mother, understand? Moms always know what’s best for us, ok?” With that, he shut the door.