A Tantrum Trumped By Love

In many ways it felt like an ordinary Saturday’s run to the grocery store, but it was anything but ordinary. It’s not every Saturday I go to the funeral of a sweet mentor and friend, yet that is where I had been prior to this grocery run. It isn’t ordinary for me to wear a black skirt and high heels to grab food for the week either. As I tackled the task in my heels I weaved my way through tons of shoppers and filled my cart with fresh produce.

I was almost finished with collecting the items on my list when I was startled and shocked. Directly in front of me was a father shopping with his daughter by his side. Not that unusual, right? The young gal was about my height, an adolescent with brown hair wearing a bright fuchsia colored ski coat and jeans. I did notice her bright jacket, but what drew my attention was her volume and behavior.

Right there in the aisle, I witnessed her screaming at her dad and kicking him extremely hard in the shins. He kept moving forward. She then came from behind and kicked him in the butt. Boom! A direct hit. She yelled, “I want these and these!” as she pulled chips from the shelves. Next she swung her head to the side and banged it with force against her father’s shoulder. She continued to holler at him as they both rounded the corner to go down another aisle to the dairy section. I saw him grimace, but he never said a word to her or chastise her in any way.

I was frozen for a moment, disturbed at what I had just seen. Not sure what to do I simply  began to pray. I made my way to another section of the store and noticed people were also aware of the disruption. One gentleman grabbed a jar of pickles and said, “Someone is having a melt-down!” A woman pushed her cart just in front of me and nodded to him in agreement. “Yup, someone is NOT happy.” I could still hear the young gal making a ruckus a few aisles over.

People stood in the lanes and some gathered at the end caps to figure out what was going on. As I headed toward the check out lanes I saw the father trying to get his daughter into a lane. As I waited to check out, I did my best to catch the eyes of the dad.  I wanted him to see my eyes of love rather than judgment.  I chose the shortest lane just two lanes away from the commotion and couldn’t help notice all the folks staring as the girl’s volume increased.

I watched as the father put his left and right hand around the girl and onto the cart’s handle corralling her in place. He kept her contained and safe. She burst out and pounded her hands against the cart handle repeatedly and then threw her head back against her Dad’s sternum, screaming about something. I was trying not to stare and continued to pray. No matter how perplexed or frustrated the people around him grew, he seemed patient and calm, even unaffected by her behavior. He was such an example of patience and self-control. I pushed my cart out into the parking lot. Compared to the chaos in the grocery store it was quiet enough to hear the click of my heels on the pavement.

The next few days I got to thinking about the whole encounter. I thought about it from the Father’s perspective. What is true in the natural is true in the spiritual realm. As much as I’d hate to admit it, I know I can behave this way especially in times when I want my way or think I know better than He. Do I kick and scream and fight against the heavenly Father who lovingly continues to walk alongside me?  He doesn’t act like He doesn’t know me or is ashamed to be with me.  He keeps me in his protective grip as I buck against him.  My Father knows best and I need to trust His pathways as He leads me through (the aisles of) life.

“The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”  Psalm 103:8

“As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”  Psalm 103:13-14

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Uncertainty and the fog

It was an early morning, still dark out when the alarm rang. I dressed quickly and headed out for a coffee date. My car seemed reluctant to get moving so early. I could relate still a bit groggy myself. The roads were a tad wet, but I reached my destination before six amazed it only took me minutes. The conversation and company were what I expected, delightful.

My return trip home was not quite as delightful.  I drove the exact route I had traveled earlier. Now, however fog was so thick in places I could barely see the road or the cars in front me. It was almost like driving in a blizzard. I fumbled for the switch to make certain my headlights were on. Okay, they’re on. Phew! 

I was grateful for oncoming traffic lights because each approaching car confirmed I was still on the highway. A bit startled, I slowed down because I happened upon a truck suddenly. The driver had been there, the whole time of course ,without my notice, but the thick the fog had obstructed my view. I gripped the wheel and I thought of life. Sometimes we have no idea what is right up ahead until it comes into view. The future seems foggy at times. Uncertainty tends to bring with it hesitation or anxiety. But does it have to?

It was then when God impressed a few truths to my heart. I chuckled a bit because never once during the foggy drive home did I consider stopping. I simply pressed ahead. Nor did I freak out, I can’t see my way! I bet this road no longer takes me home. This fog will never clear. I’m convinced I’ll never see the sun again. No. I knew the roads and trusted and kept on driving. I could see where I was just as I needed to make each turn. I even considered the Wisconsin weather- If you don’t like the weather wait a few hours it will change.

I know I never need to dread or become anxious of my foggy future because God will be out in front of me. I can break off fear because He goes before me and prepares in advance the things I’m to do. God promises: to give me strength, that he will be with me and He is accomplishing his purposes.

(Promise-God will give you strength.) Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I’m with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

(Promise- God will be with you.) Joshua 1:9 have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

(Promise- God is accomplishing his purposes.) Isaiah 46:10-11 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please.’  From the east I summon the bird of prey; from a far off land, a man to fulfill my purpose. What I have said, that will I bring about; what I have planned, that will I do.

No need for you to fear a foggy future either, he goes before you too. Let’s break off dread, anxiety and fear in Jesus name! He goes before us always so we can keep on traveling the road marked out for us.