Last week we baked a cake for Gabriel's kindergarten teacher, it was surprise. We planned on driving it over to her house yesterday, and saying "happy birthday". I think I might have been stressed over that, since I don't know her extremely well. I knew it was something I wanted to do, that God wanted me to do, but sometimes those things just aren't easy. So we're getting ready to pack up and head to car when I did the ultimate thing for me, I yelled at my kids. That doesn't always mean that I yell loudly, I just sometimes take on this tone of voice, and I speak down to them. I hate when I do that.
I was trying to instruct Gabe on how to carry the cake so it doesn't fall off the plate. He takes one step out of the kitchen and one of the sunflowers falls to the ground. Sometimes it's so hard to remember that they're just children. They don't need to be treated like adults, or talked to like you would an adult. I could see that my words had crushed him, and even my daughter. That's the thing with kids. You can't yell at one child, without the other one hearing what you're saying and seeing the same flaws in themselves. The trip was not off to a good start to say the least.
So we pull up in front of the teacher's house, and all the kids slowly make their way to the front door. Gabe is still holding the cake, and Ariel's trying to ring the door bell that's actually just a knocker. I was able to muster up a little more patience because we were all on display for the neighborhood to see. I was still really frustrated over the morning, for what reason I still didn't know. We stood there for several minutes and finally realized nobody was coming to the door. I had the dilemma, do I leave the cake or take it back home. After seeing Gabe's tears, I decided to leave the cake on her steps; it was at least a little shady there. I got the kids buckled into the car, and we took off. Gabriel was crying, "I didn't even get to see her. I wanted to see her when I gave her the cake." Zech was screaming because he didn't get to go inside the house. And Ariel was just sitting in the back quietly, a little overwhelmed from the morning, and just waiting for the trip to be over.
As we drove away I couldn't keep my frustrations in any longer. I started to yell out at God. "please help me today! I can't deal with this right now. I don't know what to do with these kids or myself." I started to have second thoughts about leaving the cake behind in the sun, figuring it's not going to be good for anyone to eat so we might as well go pick it up. I told Gabe we would try to knock on the door one last time, but if she wasn't there we would have to just take the cake home and have our own party for Mrs. Mannell.
We made our way around the block, and came back to the front of her house. The cake was gone! The air in that car got so much easier to breathe. The tension was released, and Gabe was happy again. He said, "I knew it! This was God who did that. I prayed all the time that she would find her cake, and God did it. He answered my prayer."
God really did do it! Sometimes you just need to call out to God, and he comes running. I just wish that I remembered to call on God a little sooner. He is always faithful to meet you just where you are. As we made our way home to have lunch I knew that I needed to make a few apologies. Our pastor has a saying that I like to remind myself of when I've done something I'm not proud of. "When you Mess up, Fess up, Clean Up, and THEN MOVE ON." So often it's easier to just wallow in your guilt, instead of actually doing something about it. I sat each of my children down on the couch and explained to them once again that mom isn't perfect. I make mistakes just like they do, and sometimes don't obey God. I shouldn't have yelled or said those mean words to them, and I needed forgiveness. Gabe got some tears in his eyes, and said, "I forgive you." And as soon as he said the words, it was over for him. His next question, "can I go back and play on the computer now?" Children are so forgiving, and they don't hold grudges. I understand completely when God says we must be like a child.
After lunch I told the kids I had a surprise for them. All three kids put a blindfold on and I drove them to McDonalds where we all got ice cream cones. It was a beautiful end to a not so great morning. And as soon as we got home from McDonalds, my cell phone rang. It was Mrs. Mannell calling to say thank you for her birthday cake. She loved it!
Thank you, God, for your forgiveness and your faithfulness. You are always there when I need you. I just have to be willing to call out for help. And you come running. Thank you for my children; they are such a blessing to me. I know I don't deserve them, but I sure do want them. They are a constant reminder of your love for me.