What Time Is It?

My education formally stopped with my college bachelor’s degree. However, since becoming a parent I feel as if I should be receiving continuing eduction credits. I’m earning a PhD in L.I.F.E. The syllabus is all over the place. Subjects and tests vary from day to day… ok, minute to minute. But there’s something about being a Mom that’s haphazardly educational. Sometimes all I have to do is listen to the things that come out of my own mouth as I’m teaching my children. I accidentally make statements that resonate in my brain and teach me more about life. If only I could get extra credit somewhere!

I’ve known that being a parent is helpful in teaching. You see I grew up as a pastor’s kid. My parents had two sermon illustrations…. er, I mean kids… and I grew accustomed to hearing about how my brother and my comments or actions would turn into a teachable moment from the platform. Now I’ve got three little life exhibits of my own. They teach me so much.

Just this week my youngest child has been posing a question to me. And if you’re a parent, or if you’ve ever spent significant time with a two-year-old, you know that toddlers are champions at posing questions. They have question posing stamina that can outlast any willing subject.

My little girl has been repeatedly asking me, “What time is it?”

Now, mind you, she just turned two and she has absolutely no concept of how a clock functions or what the time even means. I could answer her with the literal time, military time, or say it’s two bananas past a cantaloupe and she’d be none the wiser. So the fact that she keeps asking me what time it is has become sort of funny… and a tad bit annoying.

I started by answering her straight. She kept asking. I changed over to sarcasm asking her if she had something on her calendar or an appointment she didn’t want to miss. She kept asking. Finally, I became inpatient and uttered, “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

And there it is.

There’s one of those educational statements that I accidentally pulled from my maternal arsenal. “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

Hmmm… I think I’ve heard that one before. I’ve heard it from my earthly father and I’ve understood it from my Heavenly Father. In my life, when things happen that I don’t understand, I become a champion question poser. With persistence and frustration I call out to God saying, “Why?” “Who?” “When?” “What?!”

And I know a statement sometimes needs to come into play. A reminder from my Heavenly Father that, “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

Job certainly learned this lesson. If you read about him in the book of Job in the Old Testament you see a man whose life gets tragically turned upside down. He loses his children, livestock and health. He spends chapters angry with God and he poses the question of “Why.” Later in chapter 38, God responds by posing some questions of His own.

Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:

“Who is this that obscures my plans
    with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?
On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone—
while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?

“Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,
when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,
10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,
11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

And it goes on and on… Basically God is telling Job, “If I told you it wouldn’t make sense to you anyway!”

I know that my little girl doesn’t really need to know what time it is because I’ve got it taken care of. I know where she needs to be and what she needs to do. I’m the keeper of the clock in our relationship and she just has to go with the flow. Wow, again, what a correlation to my relationship with my Heavenly Father. He’s the “keeper of clock” if there ever was one! He’s got it taken care of. He knows what I need to do and when and all I have to do is go with it… and trust Him.

Thankfully God is not inpatient or easily worn down by our questions. He’s stable. He not only knows the answer but He’s Truth itself. He’s got it covered. As He tells Job, it’s waaaay bigger than my feeble little mind could understand. I just have to go about my childlike faith and trust Him. I’ve got the easy end of the deal.

So, the next time my toddler asks me what time it is I’m going to take the time to thank God for being in control. He continues to teach me more about life and about Himself through the children He’s given me. And I know that in this continuing education I’m getting I’m going to get some answers wrong and I won’t get all perfect scores. But I’m going to stay in the program and be open to what He’s teaching and where He’s leading.

Who knows, I might just graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Waiting for the Other Shoe to Drop

I stood frozen, unblinking and holding my breath. I felt anxious, unsettled and nervous. I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. …and it did. It was a size 5 boys black dress shoe to be exact and it fell from our second-story landing onto ceramic tile below.

You see, I had heard what I surmised to be the first shoe dropping.

tthhhhhhhhhHHUUMPPPPPP!!

And in that super-speed Mommy brain mode that can think faster than the Road Runner can get away from Wile E. Coyote, I knew what had happened. It was a Sunday morning and our seven-year-old son was getting dressed for church. I knew I had laid out his black dress shoes. I also knew that since recently moving into this home, with an open second-story landing, that our son has a new found interest in gravity. I thought I had made it clear that no “hard objects” were to be dropped below, but apparently with seven-year-old boys you need to be a bit more specific.

So I waited. I waited for the other shoe to drop. And as I said, it did. It thumped as loud as the first and the sound reverberated off the tile floor. Yes, I caught up to my poor son in about as much time as it took for the shoe to fall and we reviewed the “landing rule.” Dropping hard objects is not good for the walls, floor, objects being dropped, or little sisters who happen to be standing below. Lesson learned, and so we moved on with our Sunday morning.

We moved on, but as I was blow-drying my hair I thought about it some more. I had literally just waited for the other shoe to drop. I do it figuratively so often that it was interesting to actually experience it for real!

Yes, I sometimes use that phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop” when trying to explain to my hubby or a friend how I deal with fear of the unknown. I’ve told them that sometimes I struggle. I struggle with fearing what big, hard trial will happen next in my life.

I’ve had some whoppers of a shoe drop in my past and I’ve faced some difficult situations. I’m thankful that my God has been so faithful and now things are looking up and moving forward. But when that’s the case, when things are going well, I sometimes find myself standing there…frozen, unblinking and holding my breath. I feel anxious, unsettled and nervous. I’m waiting for that figurative other shoe to drop. Oh, I wish I wouldn’t!

So here’s what I’ve tried to do about it. I’ve had to remind myself of two things.

1. The other shoe IS going to drop.

I know, it’s a bummer, but we all know it’s true. This life is full of disappointment, hardships and trial. No one is exempt. Wow, aren’t I Susie Sunshine! 🙂

But, the second point helps:

2. I believe in and serve an Almighty God who never allows a “shoe to drop” without it passing through his Sovereign, Merciful hands.

Wheh! When I remember point number two and when I look back at God’s faithfulness, provision, unconditional love, mercy, grace and hope during my difficult times I can start to move and blink again. I can even take a deep breath knowing that no matter what shoe drops, HE is in control.

Fact is, I don’t know what or when the next shoe will be. I hope it’s a flip-flop or something light if one has to drop at all, but I don’t get to make that choice. I do, however, get to choose how I’ll live in the meantime.

Am I going to waste my time worrying about the future and being frozen with fear… or am I going to live joyfully and fully while trusting in my Sovereign Lord?

Who knew a boy’s dress shoe could have a profound impact on my thinking? …Come to think of it, I hope that’s the only place it makes impact in the future!