Reaching for God’s Hand

I am generally a very reluctant shopper, but I love taking Emma shopping! She’s six. Still small enough to un-self-consciously reach for my hand as we walk. It melts my heart when she does that and at that moment I’d give her the world if I could.

We’re off on our “girls’ day.” One of my favorite family traditions for the girls’ birthday or Christmas gifts is the promise of lunch or a late breakfast and then a shopping trip. Just MomMac and whatever girl is being honored. It’s such a precious time to focus completely on them and we’ve had some great conversations. It started years ago with a birthday trip for Kim to pick out flowers for her yard and then for Kellee and me to celebrate our November birthdays with new Fontinini items for each other. We used to laugh that we felt sorry for the sales person that had to keep track of who was paying for what for whom.

“OK, Emma. You can pick out a new outfit or a toy, but not both. Which?”

“Dress,” decisively. (That’s my girl!)

“So where do you want to go?”

“Mall,” even more decisively.

“Wanna eat first or shop first?”

“I wanna go to that bouncy thingy.”

Aha! The true motive surfaces. Well, it’s her trip, so…

“How about we get your shopping out of the way first? Then you can play until you get hungry.”

Good plan. Emma has had very definite ideas of what she likes since she was tiny, so we quickly find just the right dress and then just the right shoes to go with it. Now we’re ready for the real FUN! It’s seven dollars well spent, I think as I watch her flit exuberantly from ball pit to trampoline to batting cage and back again. Surely these mall-based “bounce houses” have been a real boon to the plastic ball market.

“Watch me, Gwamma!” (Note to self: no matter how much fun she’s having, she still needs the security of knowing I’m there.) I’m watching, and experiencing that squirming, bouncing, giggling mass of two- to eight-year-olds and moving from chair to chair so I can keep my eye on the little blond in the middle of it all is exhausting. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Finally we’re hungry, so we head for Chick-fil-A (of course). Then it’s back to the bouncy thingy, with a couple stops along the way to ride the merry-go-round and big race car . (I’m thinking the designers of these malls are marketing geniuses.)

I’m a little surprised there’s no argument when I finally have to call time to go.

“OK,” she responds good-naturedly as she slips off the requisite socks (“Put them in your bag, Emma. We had to buy them.”) and into her bright pink, light-up flip flops. (Please stop growing up so fast, sweet girl. I’m far from ready to let you go!)

Headed home, I watch blue eyes quickly growing heavy in my rear-view mirror and think how sweetly God uses days like this to demonstrate His “father-ness” to us.

Does His heart melt when we trustingly, un-self-consciously slip our hand into His? And as we flit from place to place and bounce and jostle others and find new rides to try, does He keep His eye on us in the middle of it all? I think yes. And when He tells us “no” to one more, too expensive ride and we can’t really understand why (“But you have seven dollars, don’t you, Gwamma?”), does He patiently wait for us to just accept His “no?” I’ve seen it more times than I’d like to confess. I know it makes Him smile when we finally embrace His love and simply find joy in the journey, though. And here’s the icing on that chocolate chunk cookie we just had to have: He’s already given us the world.

So how about you? Are you seeking His face in the middle of it all? Are you keeping your hand in His, especially in the good times? Are you trusting His “no” and finding the joy of just being His child? What has He been teaching you in the midst of chaos? I’d love to hear your story. I’d love to pray for you.

One comment on “Reaching for God’s Hand

  • Brady Gobin

    June 25, 2016 at 10:52 am

    Nice!

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