By Michelle Loveless (with Shannon Popkin)
It had already been a long day in Urgent Care. Now I was in an unusually long line at the pharmacy. I had my three kids with me, whom I had just picked up from school.
They were tired and bored; not a good combination for line-waiting success.
But the line wrapped around next to the toothbrushes, which were keeping the kids entertained. It’s crazy how much marketing pizzazz goes into a brush to scrub your teeth. There were brushes of every color, covered with popular cartoon characters, along with brushes that spin, light up, and play music!
My four-year-old son was in awe of the spinning Batman toothbrush. I was thankful for the diversion, but dreading the moment that he would have to put it down.
We finally reached the counter, and in a stroke of brilliance, I told my son to hand the toothbrush to the ‘payer’. (This is what my kids the cashier, because she is the one you ‘pay’. Logical, right?) He surrendered the precious item, which was a victory in itself, since I wasn’t sure he would ever let it go.
I told him I would ask how much it cost, then make a decision. Well, the decision was easy. The cashier told me it would cost $6! I can get a pack of six toothbrushes for a dollar at the Dollar Store. Being the good steward that I am, there was no way I was paying $6 for that toothbrush.
I paid for the medicine, then started to walk briskly out of the store. My nine-year-old looked at me with wide eyes, knowing what had just happened. I had left behind the toothbrush.
We were all bracing ourselves for the moment that was guaranteed to follow. Then, my son asked. “Did you buy my toothbrush?”
“No,” I replied. “It cost too much money.”
Hysteria broke out.
I do not exaggerate. He started yelling and screaming like a child being chased by a monster. It was horrible. At this point, I knew my only option was to get out as quickly as possible.
“Why did you tell him?” my daughter asked. But, I had to tell him the truth.
I got everyone in the car, with my son still in the midst of a ferocious tantrum. Finally, he took a breath and I started to reason with him. I was unsure if logic could break through to a four-year-old, in an unraveled, frantic state. But I tried a simple explanation.
I said, “Daddy gives me money each week and trusts me to buy the food that our family needs. What if you were hungry and went to the refrigerator for a snack, and instead of apples all you found were toothbrushes? Would you want a toothbrush for your snack?” My son laughed, making the connection.
He still really wanted the toothbrush, but he settled down and actually got it. It was one of life’s small miracles.
It was the same sort of miracle that I need to experience on a regular basis. There are moments when I’m in a completely unraveled, frantic state, wanting something with all of my heart, and not understanding why God won’t give it to me. And that’s when I need to hear God’s voice, breaking through with his simple, calming logic. I need Him to remind me that He will take care of me, and give me what is good for me. I need to hear that He’s thinking ahead, knowing what I will need, and that He’s got a plan. He will provide for me.
When I can truly get this–to the point where I stop fretting and panicking and chafing; even though I still want what I want, it’s a small miracle. One that God wants to perform on a regular basis, in my heart.
For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.
For more by Michelle Loveless, visit her site, Gilded Burlap.