Lauren and I were looking forward to story time today at the library. Not only was it Leap Day, but the library was celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss. We walked in hand-in-hand with friends, and were greeted by Thing One and Thing Two.

What I wasn’t expecting is that less than 15 minutes later, I would be hauling out a screaming and kicking two-year-old.

Lauren wanted her way, or no way. Her high-pitched screams for a snack while the poor story time librarian was trying to read “The Cat in the Hat”, combined with throwing herself on the ground to emphasize her point, were just some of the high(low)lights.

Instead of getting what she wanted (a snack right there), she got a quick exit from the library. She made sure to voice her displeasure most of the drive home.

Lauren was very unhappy about her untimely exit from story time today

We’ve all thrown a fit at some time or another. As adults, we still lose it. We don’t get our way, our buttons are pushed or we just reach our limit to what we think we can handle. We scream, we cry, we shut down, we try to escape. We want what we want, no matter how irrational. It’s not just the two-year-olds.

I’ve seen (and participated) in spiritual tantrums as well. We pray and pray and cry and plead and beg God to intervene or to give us what we are desperate for. And, God does not give us what we want right when we want it. Then when we realize God isn’t immediately responding to our urgency or in the way that we believe is best, our reactions aren’t always pretty. God may have to remove us from the situation, not only for our sake but for the sake of those around us. God knows when enough is enough. He may need to get us alone, one-on-one with Him, until we can settle down and have the heart to listen and receive.

God is good and loves us so much. He brings us through the tantrums and gives us exactly what we need, when we actually need it. He even provides for our wants, though it might not be the timing and circumstances we had intended.

Ultimately, God’s patience will bring us to a place where we are given the opportunity to allow His peace to reign in our hearts. His arms are open wide so when we no longer have the energy to cry one more tear, we can fall into His tender arms and finally rest.

I did end up giving Lauren that snack once we arrived home, as she was hungry. And within half an hour, she was zonked out in her chair in the living room. Throwing a tantrum takes a lot out of a little girl, after all.

Lauren asleep after a long, trying morning

Come along

Wherever Lauren and I went this morning, a ragtag band of stuffed animals were invited to come along.

The caravan started while playing in Lauren’s room. We were having a “picnic” on the floor, and Lauren’s philosophy was the more the merrier. So, Elmo, Cheer Bear, Rapunzel, and giraffe, puppy and dinosaur friends joined us and the picnic became a party. When we moved the fun to the living room, Lauren decided to bring her friends, too. It took a few trips, but soon they were all settled in watching Super Why.

Lauren hanging out with her stuffed animal friends

Bringing friends along is worth the effort.

It is easy to get caught up in your own life and family and schedule, and soon it all revolves around you. But, God has placed people He cares about deeply all around you, inside and outside of your family, and God intends for you to bring them along.

Most of us understand that as Christians our lives are on display, but much of the time this holds a somewhat negative connotation that causes us to work to protect ourselves or just feel guilty about the reality of where we are in our relationship with Jesus compared to where we think it should be. So instead of getting right with God and shining our light without shame, we work to build curtains inside our fish bowls.

Today, our party started in a messy room, passed through a kitchen with dirty dishes that didn’t make it into the dishwasher last night and landed in the living room where the carpet technically needs vacuumed. And, everyone had a great time! Just as my house will never be completely clean, my life is not perfect. But that doesn’t mean I don’t welcome people over to my home and shouldn’t share the love and good news Christ has given me.

Jesus wants me to bring my friends along as I learn and grow and stumble and succeed in my faith. Through it all, God has promised to never leave me or forsake me, so when I invite friends to join me, even to hang out or to go grocery shopping, they get to be in the company of Jesus. I’ve been amazed at what God can do through a simple text, an invitation in passing or a conversation over dinner at home.

Just as Lauren brought her furry friends around with her this morning, I am praying for God’s guidance to be more intentional about bringing along the people He has placed around me.