Thursday, November 22, 2012

How Owies Teach Me the Best Things

After my grumbling and groaning of the last blog entry, I find it funny that I sit here, befuddled at how my almost-9 Miss G just taught me the truth I've been trying to learn for years, the truth I wrote about in that last grumbling and crying-out blog:

How do we give the hard-praise? When life feels so rock-tough and you feel like you've fallen out of a tree and the ground gives you a good whack on the face, how do you look up and thank God, despite?

Miss G came home from her aunt's house tonight in quite a state. Husband had received a phone call from the kids' mom informing him that she was bringing home a very hysterical Miss G who had taken a tumble and konked heads with her cousin and thus bit her lip quite badly and was bleeding. Miss G cries scary and tortured when even the smallest injury happens so I hated to imagine what she was like at this point.

We were ready when the door opened. Husband ushered her in, took her bags and coat, and told her to get p.j.'s on as I followed her into the bathroom. She was crying badly, especially as she looked at her face in the mirror. Poor baby; her eyes were puffy from crying and just-waking-up-from-exhausted-nap-in-car, her lip was indeed hurt with a dark line beneath and inside with her lower lip puffing out a bit in an unintentional pout. It broke my heart. I held her as she fumbled to button her shirt and though I offered to do it for her, she just kept buttoning. I whispered, "it's okay," in her ear even though I knew it was not okay, the pain and the exhaustion she felt was not okay in my book, anyway, and I desperately wanted to go back in time and race up north and catch her when she did fall out of that tree and fell right on both her cousin and the unwelcoming ground. I'd do anything to take it away.

Trying a different tactic, I asked her to name one yummy food she had tonight and, through quieting sobs, she told me sweet potatoes. I asked her if they had marshmallows on them. She shook her head no. I told her that my Gramma introduced me to that kind and that it was yummy.

Husband brought the only first-aid-type thing we had to help disinfect the interior lip-wound: mouthwash. We knew this would sting badly and the way Miss G reacts when in pain made us want to wail in pain just thinking about it. We explained the whys and hows of the mouthwash to her and how I'd count 1...2...3....and on 3 she'd spit it out and ready? Let's just do it fast, we said. So she tipped a cup-full back and I counted 1...2...3...and she spit it out sound. She turned to a towel and dabbed that face.

She made one slight "yuck" and Husband and I looked at each other as though the world had not, indeed, ended when it was predicted.

I followed Miss G into her room and sat beside her as she laid down.

"I don't know why God would choose me to have this owie," she said, talking the way one does with fat lip.

"Oh, honey, God did not give you this owie," I began.

How do I explain that sometimes God lets bad things happen because sometimes they need we learn or so He is do you explain that, ever hope to explain that to an almost-9-year-old girl who has only known God for 2 years?

Miss G interrupted my thought process as I panicked to make sense of this. She said, "Well, I know that sometimes we get owies because God wants us to pray to Him and to realize that we need Him."

I don't think I spoke or blinked or moved any muscle for 10 seconds. I just sat and stared at her form in the darkness.

Isn't this what always happens lately? I'll be putting her to bed and she will, out of the blue, say some awe-inspiring, sage-like, truth that I think she is way too inexperienced and too young to comprehend.

Husband happened to be in the room and, after the 10-second-awe-look, I met his glance with an astonished smile.

She was basically saying, in her young words which spoke old, wise truth, that she was grateful for the owie so she could pray to God and show that she needed Him.

Would she put it that way? I doubt it. But the irony of her pointing out the way God could be glorified by this hard thing was not lost on me.

She was giving God the hard-praise.

One day after I had written here,

"Does God treasure our hard-praises more than our easy-praises?"

Miss G, my almost-9 year old teacher, was giving me one of her lessons again. And right when I needed it.

God loves our praise. He asks for it many times. And when it's hard? He is so proud of us for pushing past the muck and the mire, pushing past the fat lip and the illness left unanswered, looking past the angry rebellion and seeing the glory that can only be God - how good it is to praise even when we are confused or angry or sad. How good it is to praise when we are hurting.

Miss G praised our God after faceplanting her cousin and the cold November ground.

She will have pain to wake up to and she will visit doctor and perhaps stitches, not sure, but she is praying.

And isn't praying another way to praise as well?

She prays and praises and pays attention to what God is saying when I sometimes close my eyes and ears.

It's a good thing God sends ones like Miss G into my life or else I might not ever learn.

Thanking Him for the hard stuff this night.

Thanking Him for all the blessings I have in my life - today and every day.

Thanking Him that His definition of blessings and mine aren't always the same.

There is beauty in my uncertainty and beauty in His certainty.

Hallelujah and Amen.

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