We were almost late for the orthodontist today. I had confirmed the appointment through email. I got a text reminder last week and again this morning. I put the cute little reminder sticker up on the calendar. But none of this matters.
Here is what really matters: Right after breakfast, my two youngest children were asking for lunch. Sometimes they really are hungry (rarely!), and sometimes they really are bored (today!) But here’s the thing … I truly believe these were gentle reminders from my Heavenly Father that I had a place to be and should have been preparing to go.
Instead, I did my workout. I spent more time than necessary preparing baby clothes for a consignment sale (parting is such sweet sorrow!) and I scrolled through Facebook. I put in a load of laundry. I played a game of Guess Who? Each activity brought another plea/complaint for lunch.
I should have listened. Because even though they weren’t hungry two hours ago, they sure enough should be now. I methodically started putting together peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I rinsed blueberries. And somewhere in there, I passed by the calendar, that neon pink circle catching the corner of my eye, but it didn’t register right then. I didn’t realize it until I walked away. Then it hit me. I glanced at the clock. Forty minutes to eat and get there. Then I did something completely out of character. I took a deep breath and thanked the Lord for his gentle reminders.
If he were anything like me, there would have been loud, inharmonious reminders. (Probably some yelling, if I’m honest.) But his ways are higher than my ways, and he chose my little ones to bring me the message my heart needed. It was so much more than a reminder that we had an appointment. It was a lesson I’ve desperately needed to learn for about 9 years now, if not longer!
The lesson is that gentleness is a much more effective motivator than anger. If he had reminded me MY WAY that we were going to be late for that appointment, I may have spent that 20-minute lunch rushing my children with unkind words in unkind tones that we were behind schedule (as if it were even their fault!).
But in his sovereignty, his gently placed reminders were more like candle flickers along a path leading to a clandestine rendezvous. I met him there, and he was able to show me gentleness. I was encouraged to pass on that lesson to my children; so after the blessing for our lunch, I asked them to eat quickly because we had an appointment that I had forgotten and we needed to leave as soon as we could. They responded in the best way possible. Lunches were eaten, we loaded into the car, and we made it to the orthodontist with two minutes to spare.
My heart is heavy with gratefulness this afternoon that the Lord took his time this morning to be gentle with me. I can’t say that I will always remember this lesson or that my flesh and old habits won’t win out and cause me to crazy-rush my little ones sometimes.
But they have a Heavenly Father who loves them more than I do. And his gentle reminders will be there to teach them, just as they were for me.
I pray that I get better at using gentle reminders, too, because they might find it easier to recognize his when they’re used to hearing mine.
Nikki Ghezzi lives in rural Pennsylvania (but Georgia is always on her mind!) with her husband and four little ones. She loves to create, whether it’s baking, painting or sewing, and she’s still wishing for a puppy.