It always amazes me the way that God so lovingly and thoughtfully uses my everyday life as an example of his love for me. Those are the moments that I cherish. Those are the times where my day slows down just a bit and I am enveloped in the presence of God. His voice, His wisdom, and His care feel almost tangible in those times.
Most frequently, I have those moments at work. It’s amazing how quiet everything gets, how assured I feel, how unrushed I am and how peaceful my being is when The Lord speaks to me there. I find this particularly remarkable because of my profession.
You see, I am a Preschool Teacher.
And if you’ve ever been in the presence of one 3 year old you know that “quiet, assured, unrushed, and peaceful” don’t quite describe the day so feeling that way with 15 of them is almost blasphemous.
But it happens. And in those moments I learn so much more than just what is being revealed to me by God.
I learn that God is present at every moment in my life. Every single one. I learn that there is nothing that escapes Him and He uses every experience, even the ordinary and the mundane, for my good and if I just pay attention I can see that He is at work even when I’m at work.
Throughout the day my preschoolers are involved in a myriad of activities. They build with blocks, they build with Legos, they complete puzzles and they cook in our pretend kitchen until it’s time to clean up. One thing that happens during cleanup time, without fail, is they ask me to help them put things away. When I do help them, I make it a point to tell them that we are cleaning together and as long as they’re cleaning I will help. At some point during cleanup they usually give me a handful of whatever they’ve been playing with so that I can help put it away. Maybe it’s Legos or blocks, maybe it’s puzzle pieces, it could be plastic fruit from the kitchen but whatever it is, it’s always too much for their tiny little hands to hold on to. Some panic out of fear of dropping them and they exclaim “Janay! Help please!” Others test their limits and when I ask if they need help they say “No, I got it!”
And at cleanup time when the classroom is a little crazy,
When my children may have forgotten their inside voices,
When I’m trying to remember where doll clothes go,
When I’m on my knees looking for that last puzzle piece,
When I’m the least available for an encounter with God, He interrupts my teaching to make me the student.
“Give it to me” He quietly whispers.
“I’ll take it from you” He assures.
“Come to me for rest” He unrushes.
“You can’t handle it” He peacefully insists.
And for a moment I get to see what God sees when He looks at me. The overwhelmed me.
Sometimes I beseech The Master for His help knowing what I’m carrying is far too much. I panic when I realize how much I’ve really acquired and I look to my Dad to relieve me. When I pour out all of my problems and my pain, what seemed like too much for me was nothing to God. Then the scripture comes alive in me that urges me to cast “all [my] care upon him, for he careth for [me]” (I Peter 5 verse 7).
Other times I’m obstinate like my preschoolers. When God is willing to step in and help me I reply with a quick “No, I got it!” and I reject My Help.
Sometimes it’s because the help doesn’t look like I thought it would– maybe it’s from a person and my pride won’t let me accept it. Maybe I want to do it my way and not God’s way so I choose my own path because a 22 year old knows more than The Creator of the universe, right?
Sometimes I think I deserve to be overwhelmed– maybe I put myself in a rough position and the Devil and I are having a field day with condemnation.
This is your fault.
No one told you to do that.
You made such a poor choice.
You have to handle this one.
And sometimes I almost forget– innocently, naïvely– that I serve such a mighty God. It’s a cliché but one that resonates so true and echoes throughout all of eternity. This is the same God who spoke and it was, who created everything from nothing, who sent Love into a world full of hate and One who can handle what I cannot.
One of my preschoolers was putting away some wooden blocks and as he struggled to carry the large planks I offered him my help. He replied “No, I’m so strong!” And as I watched him wobble to put them on the shelf I realized that I too take on the “I’m strong” complex. It escapes me that I was neither designed nor created to keep what overpowers me. So plainly God tells me what He told Paul in 2 Corinthians 12 verse 9: “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Eventually, the reason for my “no” –be it pride, condemnation, or forgetfulness– comes to the forefront. And as God addresses my underlying issue, the often overwhelmed me and the sometimes underused God have an exchange. It’s an exchange that allows me to get to the root of my problems and to learn to put my trust in My Heavenly Father.
Reader, there is NOTHING too hard for God. There is nothing He cannot and will not handle for you. No matter where you find yourself The Lord is willing to carry you and your problems to a place that is quiet, a place that is assured, a place that is unrushed and a place that is peaceful.
I journey to the place daily.
So the next time it’s time to put away the toys in my classroom and two tiny hands are filled to capacity, I’ll thank God for the ability to give Him what’s too heavy for me and I’ll thank Him for a lesson I won’t soon forget.
As much as I love teaching my students, I can’t help but love learning from The Master more. His infinite wisdom is one that reaches beyond any classroom and is so present–even at cleanup time.