Today we went to the zoo. It was a gorgeous Colorado day, and after the week we’ve been having, the sunshine and fresh air were much needed. It wasn’t until we were getting in the car that I noticed Sugar Plum’s shoes. Her “sparkly silver shoes” have been a wardrobe staple for more than a year. I use quotation marks to describe them, because over the last 6 months, they have been anything but sparkly or silver. They have been worn into the ground, well-loved and dirtied. They’re a dingy gray now, with very little of the sparkly sequins left. She still adores them. As she climbed into her car seat, though, I became aware that there are holes in the shoes – actual holes where her big toe hangs out.
(I did debate telling her to go inside and change shoes. But when all 3 children are generally dressed, the house is generally clean and we’re all on the way to the car – no one gets sent back inside without problems.) So off to the zoo we went, with the oldest in shoes with holes.
We’ve been having a lot of hard conversations around our house this week. Conversations about trust and authority and obedience. We’ve been talking about whether or not mommy and daddy are trustworthy, if we want good for our children.
Mostly, these conversations have not gone well. Sugar Plum has lost many of her privileges, many of the things she values most highly. She lost her video game, her iPad time, her baby dolls, her chance at a big girl bed. It hurts. She has screamed and railed and hit and thrown fits. (In fact, her voice is hoarse from all the angry yelling). When we got home from the zoo, I asked her to throw the hole-filled shoes in the trash. Do you think she willingly put her favorite pair of shoes in the garbage? Did she trust that I want good things for her (like sparkly shoes that actually keep her feet warm and actually sparkle)? Of course not. There was more screaming. More angry yelling. More tears and passion and disobedience over that pair of shoes going in the trash.
And it got me to thinking. It’s so easy for me to get offended that my children don’t trust me. They don’t obey me. They don’t believe that when I ask them to give up something they love, it’s with the promise of something better. And yet…only 3 days ago, I sobbed in bed with jealousy. I cried to my husband because “this life isn’t what I wanted.” It’s too hard. I’ve given up so much to be a stay-at-home-mom, to live in this city. I’ve thrown fits about throwing away my dreams, and I haven’t trusted God that what he has given and what he offers is SO MUCH MORE. He’s given me a home full of warm, soft snuggles in exchange for a life of solitary travel. He’s given me a solid, steady marriage in lieu of the drama of dating. He’s given me the promise of building a legacy so much more rich than what I’ve known, if only I will give up my idea of earthly riches.
Giving up the silver, sparkly shoes isn’t easy. They are our familiar, favorite comfort. Those dingy old shoes may have holes, but we know those holes. We know what to expect – even if that expectation is of getting snow on our feet. But what if, one of these days, we could trust that those yucky old shoes are a thing of the past? What if we could trust the Father that giving up those hole-filled shoes was for our protection; what if we trusted there was something better? What if we gave up those shoes – willingly, obediently – because the one who knows us best wants the best for us? Wouldn’t that be something?