During a recent grocery shopping trip to Sam's Club, we decided to order some pizza for lunch at the small restaurant within the store. I took our three children to the table to wait while David ordered our lunch. Wubs, Bella and JJ are very familiar with Sam's Club because they come shopping with me once a month so I can purchase snacks for our church. But this particular shopping trip was a treat, because we were out with daddy, just spending the day together and running errands. It felt like the perfect family day. Until...
David sat down at our table and said, "I ordered our pizza and I ended up getting a whole one. We can take home our leftovers. They said it will be ready in a few minutes." We passed out napkins and drinks. We laughed at JJ, who was playing peekaboo with a napkin. We were waiting patiently. Well, all of us, except for Bella. She was choosing to pout, sigh loudly, and scowl. Bella, our little girl who loves routine, was thrown off by the idea of waiting for her pizza. We typically order pizza by the slice when it's just mommy and the children on our monthly shopping trips, so when David returned to our table empty-handed, she was m.a.d.
I didn't want to allow Bella's behavior to dampen our happy day, so I decided to ignore her obvious attempts to show us her discontentment. I continued to include her in our conversation and I even tried to snuggle her closer to my seat. It wasn't working. She was angry and she wouldn't budge. David and I exchanged 'the look' and I said, "I'm going to take Bella to the bathroom."
As I walked to the bathroom with our youngest daughter, the Holy Spirit was telling me not to spank her. Instead, lavish her with grace and change her heart, not just her outward behavior. I had no idea what I was going to say to Bella, but once I locked the stall door and knelt down beside her, the Lord filled my mouth:
"Bella, why did we come to the bathroom?"
(chin to her chest) "Because I was bad and I was poutin'. "
"And why were you pouting?"
"Because I'm hungry."
"Baby, look at mommy. Remember how you wanted a piece of cheese pizza? (I used my hands to make a V-shape, like a slice of pizza.) Well, our daddy ordered us a whole pizza. (I made a big circle using my arms.) Even though you only asked for one piece of pizza, daddy wanted to bless us and buy us a whoooole pizza. And it is going to be so so yummy! But instead of saying, 'Thank you daddy,' you were mad. Do you understand that daddy was trying to bless you? "
Bella nodded and her eyes filled with tears.
"We couldn't see the pizza that daddy bought us because it was cooking in the oven. But we need to trust that daddy loves us and he is always going to do what is best for our family. Wouldn't you rather have a whooole pizza, instead of just one slice?"
"I'm sorry, mommy!" Bella hugged me tight and began to cry. I rocked her in my arms and kissed her sweet face. Oh, how I love the fruit of a repentant heart!
"I forgive you, honey. And guess what? I love you! And daddy loves you! And Jesus loves you most of all! Even when you choose to sin, we always, always love you. Are you ready to go back to our table with a happy heart?"
And with that, I carried my precious baby girl in my arms back to the table. Just in time for pizza! We prayed and enjoyed our lunch together. (And it was a good thing that David ordered an entire pizza, too! It was nearly gone in no time! wink.)
You know, the Lord taught me so much from that interaction with Bella. How many times have I pouted when I haven't gotten what I wanted? How many times have I been mad at God when I asked for one thing and He gave me something different? And yet, the Lord always knows what is best and He has given me (abundantly) more that I could ever request. When Bella couldn't see the pizza, she was mad. But lunch was coming, and it was more than she could imagine! I was reminded of 2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." I am praying that I will trust God more, especially during those times when I cannot understand or see His plans.
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love."- Ephesians 4:2