A sleepover at grandma’s was on the horizon and my kids could hardly contain themselves. My four year-old daughter eagerly asked me if she could pack her own suitcase.
I thought for a moment, and realized the kids would be at grandma’s house for two days, likely not leaving her house for any outings. So any ridiculous outfit selections would remain confined to the house.
“Sure, sweetie. Go for it.” Off she went. I heard drawers opening and closing. She was laser-focused, deliberately selecting the perfect items like a miniature stylist. She carefully gathered everything she thought she would need for the next two days.
Awhile later I came to survey her suitcase contents. Here is what I found:
- 2 swimsuits
- 1 wetsuit
- 1 leotard
- 2 teddy bears
- 0 pants
- 0 shirts
My little girl beamed as she stood beside her pile of everything she didn’t need.
The pile of what she thought she “needed” was so adorably off, that I had to be careful to not laugh audibly.
“Caroline. Do you think maybe you will need some pants?”
“OOH! Pants! Yes!”
She scurried to grab a few pairs of pants. Again, she was very pleased with herself.
“Anything missing? How about some shirts?”
“Ooh! Yes!” And she ran to gather the pinkest shirts available.
We nestled her stack into her backpack. But as the night wore on, I kept smiling, remembering the juxtaposition between what my baby girl needed, and what she thought she needed. As I ruminated, it suddenly hit me that we are more similar than I’d like to admit.
How often in my own life, I internally plan out what I think I need. Usually it involves comfort, ease and security. I stand before my calendar, the “suitcase” of my plans. For the last year, I would have said I needed:
- 1 kid-less vacation to Hawaii with my husband
- 1 family trip to Disneyland
- 2 nannies
- 1 million dollars
And as usual, the Lord redirected my feeble attempts at creating my own earthly kingdom. He’s always breaking down what I think I need, showing me again that the only thing I need is what I can never lose: Himself.
So instead of my grand plans for what I thought we needed, in the last year we witnessed:
- 3 new foster children placed in our home temporarily
- 0 nannies
- 1 broken arm
- 1 phenomenal Dad (and my hero) leave this earth for heaven
Nothing about any of that was comfortable or easy. But you know what? His grace was sufficient for all of it. In all of the hard, uncomfortable times, God grew our faith, our joy and endurance. He grew our hope, rooting our hearts in the things of heaven. He lovingly showed us glimpses of the kind of comfort and security that actually last. He rearranged my desires, showing me the difference between what I think I need, and what I actually need.
What a loving Father.
We can trust the God who spoke the world into existence, dotting the sky with celestial fireballs. We can trust the God who put breath in our lungs, and knit our babies together in our wombs. We can trust Him to order our days, months and years with exactly what we need.
How have you seen this play out in your own life? What would you pack your proverbial suitcase with, and what has God given you instead? Share in the comments below!
Molly DeFrank is a mom and foster mom to five kids under ten. She writes about faith and motherhood—the hilarious and the hard; the fun and the maddening; the beauty and the blunders. She loves to share encouragement and laughter with women just like her. You can find her on Facebook, Instagram, or her website, www.mollydefrank.com.