You know those moments when you stand back and say to yourself, This isn’t my life. I don’t know who’s life this is, but it sure ain’t mine. Yes, those moments when crying would take too much energy, so you just have to laugh. That was me on Saturday night, resisting the urge to put into practice the good ol’ “Spare the rod, spoil the child” scripture as a legitimate excuse to beat my children in public.
Here’s the backstory:
On Saturday night after teaching at church, we decided to take the kids to get ice cream. This seemed like a small, but significant way to celebrate what Jesus did at the first of three services. It was a joyous occasion with family coming to visit, friends and coworkers showing up, and of course, a church full of people who wanted to worship.
Buuuuuuuut apparently Parker and Ryen didn’t get the memo that when we are in public WE ACT NORMAL! A simple trip to get ice cream turned into civil disobedience between an 8 year-old and a 10 year-old fighting over who got more ice cream in their cup. This meltdown left me standing five feet away from Matt staring at my family shaking my head in disgust and pretending I didn’t know them. You know, all the normal things people do when children have sobbing fits over ice cream.
We finally made it to a table [read: I found a table far from any civilized human being within earshot] and Matt regrouped our flailing team. Reason #928,471 I love my husband:
- He wants to salvage a moment and have a teaching lesson
- I want to melt through the cracks of the pavement and pretend I don’t know these hellions
While tears and snot trickled into the cups of overflowing ice cream, Matt explained that they each received the same amount of ice cream. It may look different, but it was served equally. “Furthermore,” he explained, “me and B aren’t eating any ice cream so this WHOLE bucket is yours. If you want more, I have more than you could eat. Please stop complaining about what is fair.”
In this moment I was struck with a profound reality. So many times I feel like Ryen, my emotional, needy, and dramatic 8 year-old. She feels like her brother Parker gets more because he’s older, taller, and bigger. But as parents who love them both, we ensure that our decisions are fair. They may look different, but decisions are equal.
Matt asked the kids two questions and in a weird way, it was like God was asking me the same thing:
- Have I ever not given you what you needed?
- When have you asked something of me and I didn’t have enough?
Sometimes God asks us to share–whether its time, money, resources, or attention–and we throw tantrums because it looks like other people have more, get more, or do more. But like Matt asked the kids, I feel like God asks us the same thing: When have you not had enough? I am providing for you and if you use up what I give you, I HAVE THIS WHOLE BUCKET FOR YOU.
We serve a God who is more than enough. So instead of comparing the size of our cups and the ice cream we think we don’t have, can we celebrate what we have and know that there’s more from where that came from.
You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream. Don’t worry, He has more than enough.
[If you wanted to catch this past weekend’s service, check out the video.]