Never too early to learn how to work…

The Lord is kind and merciful. Me? Not so much.

At the end of a long day, my five-year old offered to carry a small bag of corn flour down to the pantry for me. I gave her a smile of relief and was inwardly rejoicing at such an unprompted, kind gesture. Moments later, I heard desperate cries of “Mama! Help us! We need HELP!” from the bottom of the basement stairs. I ran as fast as I could, imagining the worst. I found two girls, seemingly swimming in half a bag of corn flour, on the basement rug. Apparently, my five-year old spied her three-year old sister and called out, “Here! Catch!” Needless to say, their plan didn’t work. They actually looked like they were having a blast, finger-painting patterns, enjoying the feeling of soft flour between their fingers.

Stop. This is what I should have done first.

Pray. I should have tried this, too.

Love. If I had tried the first two, I might have been inspired with a creative solution that would have: a) cleaned the mess, and b) taught the girls something important.

Instead, the Grumpy Train had left the station and the stresses of a long day fell hard on my shoulders. I snarled at my flour-covered offspring and stomped off to get the vacuum. They sat penitent nearby as I vacuumed up the mess, scowling, thinking about consequences. Then, I stopped. And I prayed. Jesus, can you help me, please? My shoulders relaxed and I took a good look at the offenders. How can this end better?

“Here,” I said, offering one of them the vacuum. Making sure I removed the edge from my voice, I added, “When we make a mess, we say sorry and we clean it up.” The Corn Flower Duo apologized in unison and then took turns grappling with our vacuum. I walked away, sighing.

Stop. Pray. Love. It always works. It always works.