Playing Candyland

I have a lot of worthwhile goals I am trying to accomplish. The readership for this blog is growing. I have three book projects in the works, one bearing down on me this month. Each of these projects cause me to study the Word and wrestle with God over what He is saying, particularly to His daughters. I WANT to do these things. They bring me joy. They make me think.

Then up walks my 3 year old asking me to play Candyland with him. I love my 3 year old, but I hate Candyland. It doesn’t make me think, and it does not bring me joy. Neither does finding his harmonica or putting together the United States puzzle. Tuesday as I studied Hebrews in preparation for a women’s Bible study that night at a friend’s house, it slowly dawned on me how often I put him off when he asks something of me. I’m a “stay at home” mom. I’m with him the vast majority of the day. But though I’m with him physically, I’m often far away mentally. I am very skilled at occupying him so that I can get my worthwhile projects (the ones that are fulfilling to me) done.

You don’t need to lecture me. I already know the truth. THEY are my worthwhile project. But raising them is such a slow, steady process that I lose sight of the value. I like short-term projects that I can see a worthwhile result after minimal time. I find joy when I can hold the end project in my hands and admire it after the fact. But long-term endurance and perseverance for decades is much harder. And sometimes I am just afraid—I know I can’t control the outcome of this project and fear that the more I invest the bigger my let down when they reject me or the gospel. I’ve experienced enough disappointment in life to know that they may very well one day profoundly disappoint me. So I like projects I can control. That won’t disappoint me.

While studying Hebrews at our Bible study Tuesday night, we were all reminded of the hope that will not disappoint.

Romans 9:33 just as it is written,”BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

Romans 10:11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

In light of that hope which will NOT disappoint me, I can live with my concerns about lesser hopes that may disappoint. No matter how well I attempt to train them, my boys may or may not get in trouble at school, they may or may not make wise choices with girls, they may or may not want to go on mission trips or serve God in ministry. But I know that when I sit at the marriage feast with Jesus and it is all said and done, I will not be disappointed. I don’t really know anything other than that. But I do know that. I will NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.

So I put down the lesser projects that I can control and reengaged with the greater project that I can’t control. Yesterday I played Candyland, set up train tracks, put together a puzzle, watched bike riding in the garage, and explained the story behind the pictures in the children’s Bible. It is all an act of faith with God. I can’t control any of it, and that’s okay. Because whatever happens now, I know I will not be disappointed when I finally see Jesus face to face and take my place beside Him for eternity. All my hopes will be satisfied. All will be well.

7 Responses to Playing Candyland

  1. Anonymous March 13, 2010 at 5:38 pm #

    I am so blessed by this blog! I've subscribed to it now for several months. I wanted to affirm this post – the most important things are often the hardest ones to do. It's encouraging to me to see this step of faith here, to invest in something you don't know the results of, out of an overflow of Christ's love for you. God sees, and He knows!

  2. annieoaklie March 14, 2010 at 5:53 pm #

    thank you for this… it is a real encouragement to me.

  3. Prisca March 15, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    I hate Candyland too. I have to consciously fight my abject, visible irritation when asked to play it (or Hi-Ho Cherry-O, or Chutes and Ladders, or anything else involving a spinner, really). But I can relate to what you are saying, as a stay-at-home mom I feel like I am with my children all the time and yet, I am often not really mentally “with my children.” We all need to refocus on this once in a while. Great post!

  4. Anonymous March 15, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    Great post! Thank you for this reminder! I imagine that many of us stay-at-home moms have the same things going on.
    Jenn A

  5. Rachael Starke March 17, 2010 at 5:02 am #

    My nemesis for a long time was Cranium's Balloon Lagoon. I will be singing that “doot doo doot do do doo do” timer song when I'm eighty and in a rest home. 🙂

    You're not alone. And you're not letting all your study become merely an intellectual exercise. Your kids sense that now; they'll see it later. And that's huge.

  6. Anonymous March 18, 2010 at 1:26 am #

    I am a 52 year old mother of three grown children — well, the youngest is 15 and the oldest 26. I know so well the feelings you talk about. I forced myself to play games but at the same time I treasured my time with my children. You are wise to know that what you do with them now is not a direct line to their happiness or success. They are who they are. I did everything I could, and they took their own paths — some of which I approved of and some of which I did not. But their existence is a blessing and a joy, even when they do not “turn out” as I had planned. And of course, they have their whole lives ahead of them, god willing, to become whomever they will become. Hold your children in the palm of your hand but with open fingers so they can be free. You are a very wise woman for someone so young, and I take great solace in your blog.

  7. Jen March 21, 2010 at 3:43 am #

    I stumbled across your blog – and this particular post is SO timely for me. I also have a 3 year old (and a 2 year old) and am in college ministry so often my mind wanders as well and I've been feeling convicted lately of not being “fully present” with my kids. Thanks for your honesty – we need authenticity in this journey of motherhood and faith and your blog is quite refreshing! I loved this brilliant line:

    “So I put down the lesser projects that I can control and reengaged with the greater project that I can’t control.”