But I obeyed.
I hadn't picked up a paintbrush in a while and my paint wasn't in the best condition, so I had to work through it for an annoying amount of precious time. Finally I get up the first layer, which clearly needs a second coat. Ugh. As I'm rolling the roller across the wall going as fast as I can without sprinkling the rest of the room with bright teal colored paint, I think to myself (yes, speaking to you God), "Now how am I doing anything to advance the Kingdom of God? I know I do random things when I'm not feeling well, and I certainly wasn't feeling well, but there were things on the forefront of my mind that I could tackle that was more Kingdom building." I think God was teaching me a lesson by showing me other things that I "thought" were more worthy than this.
But I obeyed.
I cleaned up the mess I made; I could not push past the one wall (I will try to finish tomorrow). But, it was up; it was a very good start. I had to return something at Kohl's, and I thought, "Lilli". I knew she needed a few cute shirts and tank tops and a bathing suit, so I thumbed through the clothes finding a decent amount of gifts. I bought Reese two dresses, because I could not exclude her. The interesting thing about this is that typically I make it even between the two, but I was focused on God telling me to shower "Lilli" with love.
So I obeyed.
My girls are always asking me for white paper. I finally gave up buying construction paper, because it's useless for drawing in my house. I was at Ikea the other day and bought the girls a roll of white paper and a stand that allowed you to roll it out and tear it off nicely. With my girls in mind, especially Lilli, I put that together and set it up for them. It's funny because this is totally a Reese thing, but again God put Lilli to the front of my mind. Truly, I thought it was because of her birthday, as if we hadn't done enough. That was a ludicrous thought because truly we were extravagant (Altizer extravagant). Lilli has told her friends that we were no fun, and well she's kind of right. But we were fun for her birthday!! God, did she really need more? What I didn't realize at the time, was that it wasn't about Matt and me. This was God's gift; this was Him lavishing His love over Lilli.
I drove to the bus stop just like any other ordinary day, even putting my day out of my mind. As I'm standing there talking to another mom, I see my girls fly by me headed towards home. This has NEVER happened! I was a little stunned and had to cut my conversation to head back in my vehicle to meet my children at the door. Lilli was hysterically crying.
"Mom, all of the other kids who got safety patrol got their badges today. They were bragging about it, and Corina and I were the only ones who didn't get it."
You see, Lilli had done her part to get into the safety patrol. Her writing was so good, I almost emailed her teaching telling her I absolutely did not help this child. So, to say she didn't get in, I think I was the most shocked. Lilli prayed for it daily, and I prayed with her. But God said not right now. I read the paper that explained all that they took into account in choosing the patrols. It was that last word that made my stomach turn. "Attendance". And another word rolled off my tongue, not thinking of the consequences. "Lyme". Lilli had to miss 2 weeks of school for her tonsils amongst many other days due to Lyme. Explaining this disappointment would take a supernatural response. I desperately needed the Holy Spirit's guidance.
As I'm explaining disappointments in life, I'm thinking, man this is the last thing she wants to hear. She's not thinking about future; she's thinking now. I stopped, my face lit up, and I said, "Lilli, I've got a surprise for you." I dragged her, tears and all, to her room to show her the fresh coat of teal paint covering her accent wall.
My Holy Spirit counseled response:
"Lilli, there's a reason that God said no to this right now, and we may not know why right now, but we will one day." I explained to her about my entire day revolved around her. I told her that God's heart was to lavish her with His LOVE. So I obeyed him and I painted your room. Then, I dragged her downstairs showing her all of her fun new clothes and her paper for drawing. "Lilli, how many days of your entire bus career have you gotten off so upset that you ran past me directly to our home? None other than today!" God knew you would be upset, and He just wants you to know, He loves you and He's got something bigger. He's teaching you something and He's preparing you for something great! This is a moment of learning to trust God, because you can't see past this right now.
This may not seem like a big deal to most, but it was big to her. And that's all that mattered.
Jesus was a step ahead of me, and if I hadn't listened, I may have been able to give her a worldly response that was empty. But by obeying the Holy Spirit, I truly believe that what was accomplished was God's plan. God is teaching Lilli to trust Him. We are now talking about baptism and she's eager to know more. I'm excited for this little girl's future. I realize that she's 10 and I have only 8 years to instill the Lord into her life. Now that's true Kingdom building.
Painting a room, picking up toys monotonously, making beds again and again, packing lunches, driving kids around, praying every night even though you just want to turn out the light, reading, and most importantly...
Just being there.
God wants us to love them, like Jesus would love them.
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."