The smell of French fries lingered while squeals and laughter filled the air. We were quarantined and confined behind the glass doors which separated those who must dine amidst colorful ball filled pits and twisty slides.
We nibbled on green side salads while stealing one or two of the grease entrenched goodies left uneaten by our distracted dates. The social norm of don’t talk to strangers was now exchanged for “play nice with your new friends…”
All was lovely until one mom decided it was “time to go.” Every mom in the room involuntarily stiffened and without saying a word we collectively pooled our strength, resolve and determination as a joint offering to the mommy in question. Together we stand, mommies of preschoolers Unite!
A novice she was not as her tactics were clearly well planned. Having previously withheld the coveted plastic wrapped toy, she now offered it as a bribe to leave. The daughter, no novice herself, had somehow already caught wind to what was going down and as soon as her dirty bottomed feet hit the floor we caught only a glimpse as she scurried back up the impossibly steep climbing tube never intended for anyone over the age of 25 or taller than 3 ½ feet.
With raised eyebrows a forced Cinderella pitched voice that had undertones of “if you don’t come right this second you are really gonna get it” escaped from the mom. With bravado and spunk the four year old faced off with her mother through the thick plastic of the highest tube bubble and giggled. One could faintly hear the whistling of Old Western dueling music in the background.
Desperation spread across the mother’s face. The child was in control of when they were going to leave; she knew it, the child knew it and every mommy in there knew it. All tact aside the frustrated mom began to lose composure. First, counting in the ominous tone; One….two….three…. She could have counted to one hundred, the girl was indifferent. Then “If you don’t come right now I am going to throw away your toy.” For a second this caught a fearful glimpse but her daughter quickly decided the power in her possession was more enticing than a pint sized plastic pony. Finally, the mother, obviously infuriated and powerless had reached her limit and said in a tone indicating that she had already won, “okay, FINE, I’m leaving.” She aloofly walked out of the door and pinned herself against the wall on the other side out of sight to her daughter.
After a minute or two the four year old looked a great deal smaller as the question of “was mommy serious” turned to the recognizable fear of “mommy was serious.” Frantically scuttling out of the tubes and down the slide she was crying and hysterical as she ran out of the play land screaming “Mommy! Mommy!”
There have been many times when I have resembled that stubborn child, remaining in a standoff of obedience with the Lord. In these times I am so very thankful that He never threatens me with abandonment. Instead He is longsuffering and waits patiently for me to choose obedience…as long as it takes. Even when my own disobedience causes me pain He comforts me and loves me through it. Romans 2:4 states Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance? I am thankful that my Abba will never leave or forsake me. No matter what.
Father, thank you for your compassionate mercy. Thank you for loving me and never abandoning me even in the midst of disobedience.