We were building arks with funky shapes that had interlocking pieces. The pieces and the two- and three-year olds were scattered all over the story rug. We had just studied about Noah’s ark. For the last few minutes of class as we waited for parents, we were busy connecting the squares, circles and triangles. Madilyn, the tiniest of our two-year olds suddenly stood up, stomped her foot and exclaimed, “I tan’t!” then stomped again for emphasis. My young helper, Grace, and I looked at each other with questioning eyes. We didn’t laugh because she was very serious. There had been no pressure to make the ark perfect, no orders to get it done in a certain time frame, yet Madilyn decided she’d had enough. (She’s little, but a force to be reckoned with.)
We eased her back down in the pile and showed her that we would help. (With help everything’s easier!) We held the shapes and she attached one at a time. “You tan, too, do it!” I told her. She just needed bigger hands that knew how the puzzle worked, how it fit together.
Today, I didn’t get my way on something; I didn’t get to do what I wanted, didn’t get to go where I wanted to go. Right then, for just a minute I felt like going all “Madilyn”. I wanted to stomp my foot and have a little hissy fit. I wanted to pout and be all by myself. But…I have stuff to do. I “tan’t” give in to a pity party, no good will come of that. I need to trust that bigger hands than mine know exactly how my puzzle pieces need to fit together.
I painted on a smile, quoted my daily work verses to myself and headed for the door. (I’ve carried three for years on a worn yellow paper: #1- Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, James 1:19. #2-May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You Lord, My Rock and My Redeemer, Psalm 19:14. #3-Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips, Psalm 141:3. You might just need one, but I need all three. Everyday.) I knew God could help me out of this bad mood. I knew He would!
Do you ever feel like stomping your foot at your circumstances when your life puzzle seems too hard to fix on your own? Do you put on a smile and carry on? Do you stomp your whole foot or just one toe? What sets you off? A house you wanted, a missed job opportunity, missed vacation, missed relationship? Has God pushed you to go somewhere or serve in a way that’s different and out of your comfort zone? Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.” So… trust the Lord even when we don’t understand the whole story, see the whole picture or are having trouble getting our puzzle pieces together.
We want to say, “I tan’t!” when God knows differently and says, “You tan! And I will help you!”
Dawn Reed is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.