This morning I was getting ready to head to Sioux Falls for a "girls lunch" with some ladies from my church. Gabriel came upstairs and wanted a banana. I told him that we didn't have any and offered him the left over Trix cereal he had on the counter in a container.
He got very upset with my idea and started saying that I should not offer him Trix when he wants fruit. I should give him fruit. The he says "and mom we are watching "your show" all day long". Now today this was the farthest thing from the truth. We had in fact watched Gabriel do a little Wii bowling and then had cartoons on. So I tell him that he wasn't telling the truth and that he shouldn't be dishonest.
The next thing I know Gabriel is getting on his coat and boots. I asked him what he was doing and he proceeded to tell me that he was going to find a new family! "Mom if you can't be respect to me then I am going to find a new family to live with!"
This made me laugh but I wanted to see where this would go next. I told him that I was sorry that he felt that way and that I loved him but I understood that he was upset. I was pretty sure that he wasn't going to really "run away" so I told him that he probably better get his hat and gloves too. That it was cold outside and he needed to stay warm.
He told me that he was going to bring his valentines with and he was going to ride his bike to the airport and get on a plane and fly to an island. He said there would be lots of games on the island...and candy too.
I said it sounded like a lovely place and said that I would really miss him, but it was his choice. He said that he was going to Paradise Falls (from the movie UP if you wondered). He then went into the kitchen to a drawing on our refridgerator and drew a stick picture of himself with a circle and a line through it. He came back to me and said "Mom you know what that means? I drew a picture of me with a line through it and that means that I am not in this house anymore!"
I asked if he was going to take his blanket with him - he didn't look amused that I wasn't begging him to stay. He stood there for a few minutes and just looked at me. I could tell that he didn't want to leave. I could tell that he really wanted to stay. But I just looked at him.
And then he says "Oh wait mom! I forgot....Paradise Falls is closed until Thursday! I will stay here until it is open again. How does that sound mom, does that make you happy?"
I told him that I was very glad to hear that he had chosen to stay. That I would have missed him very much and was so happy that he didn't want to leave. He gave me a big hug and ran downstairs.
And I started thinking about this situation and thought isn't this like my relationship with God has often been? When I think that things aren't going my way, or easily I often want to run from His family. I want to find my own "Paradise Falls" because there will be games and candy and fun there and not the pressures of this life, my life.
I am sure that I know what is best for me and I get on my "bike" and do the driving - take control of things and often make bad choices and big mistakes. I forget that it is "cold outside" and that I need someone to show me the right way to go - to protect me.
And often I am frustrated that He isn't begging me to stop making the wrong choices. But instead what He does do is let me make choices on my own. God gave me free will and He allows me to decide what my next move is.
But He is always there ready to lead me if I am willing to ask for the direction. If I am willing to start seeing the beauty that is right in front of me instead of always seeking out the next "Paradise Falls". God has given me more than I need and more than I deserve right here in His family.
So as you are faced with situations that make you question if the grass is greener on the other side....remember that God's perfect family is always there, waiting for us to see that "Paradise Falls" is closed, hoping that we will take our coat off and sit awhile in His presence. May He bless you with His grace tonight!