Tears and Tonka Trucks

While I’m out this week, I’ve lined up some serious ‘guest posters’ this week. I’ve gotten to know Keri over the last 8 months via blogging. She lives in the Greater Seattle area with her husband and three boys. She loves to read, watch movies, listen to new music, and blog. You can find her at her blog Pop Parables and Twitter.

Photo credit: Steve Johnson (Creative Commons)

One morning, I was frantically scrubbing away at the dishes, overwhelmed with the numerous tasks involved with maintaining a household.

Enter Lukas, stage left, my {almost} 5 year old.

With tears streaming down his face, he eeks out the words, “I can’t find my garbage truck.”  The pain of the loss stabs him in the chest.

He steadies himself, sucks in all the air in his 3 foot space, and summons his big boy face.

“Will you help me find it, Mommy?”

In frustration I muttered something about kids in Africa never losing their toys.  And, really, how can someone misplace something that is eighteen inches long, six inches wide, bright orange, that screams “Tonka Sanitation Ready for Pick Up…Tonka Sanitation Ready for Pick Up!”

Through gritted teeth I respond, “Well, did you look for it?”

“I did, Mommy!  I did!”  {Now we’ve entered full on ugly cry mode, and are rapidly approaching melt down.}

“Well, you’ve got other trucks, why don’t you play with another truck?  Mommy’s busy right now.  I can help you find it later.”

He leaves the kitchen, chin to chest, shoulders drooped.

Happy to return to my task at hand, I turn the faucet back on.

Then, God nudged my heart.

He reminded me of David’s plea when he was captured by the Philistines,

You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?  {Psalm 56:8}

Here’s the image David’s painting:  our Heavenly Father is a collector.

He is with me at each turn, seizing the moments that can be used to create an anthology of His work in me.

He captures each tear, collects them, drop by drop, recognizing the value in each individual globule, gently placing them in His bottle.

And, when the bottle is full, He says, “I can do something with this.”

He has the panoramic view of my life, when I get stymied by the myopic.

He offers me a new perspective, filled with His grace, mercy, patience, and love.

::

I turned the faucet back off, and went in search of my son.

Of course, the garbage truck was sitting in the middle of the living room.

“Lukas, I found it!  I found it!”

“Mommy, you did!”  He wraps his gangly arms around my waist.

“Thanks, Mommy.  I just didn’t see it there.”

Fresh eyes, that’s all he needed.

::

How has His fresh perspective changed a situation in your life?

 

38 Comments

  • Ryan

    September 9, 2011

    Great perspective on making those little moments count. I have an infant who doesn’t yet know what toys are but I will still try to make the most of the moments we have together. When he gets a little older this will remind me to put down my own ambitions of have a great relationship.

    This also reminded me of the Mary and Martha story where Jesus wants to spend time with them while Martha feels the need to do chores. Sometimes it’s worth delaying the chores to develop the relationship. (story in Luke 10)

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Oh, sweet babyhood! Those are precious times, Ryan.

      And, man, I have so much trouble NOT being a Martha. When there is so much to be done in a household of 5, it’s easy to choose the tasks and the to-do list over quality time with the family. It’s a balancing act for sure.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Nice to “meet” you. :)

      Reply
      • Ryan

        September 9, 2011

        Thanks for the reply, Keri. I’ll add your blog to my reading list. Looking forward to more insights.

        Reply
  • arny

    September 9, 2011

    Keri….I love it! I love family stories..which is why I write about them all the time too!

    I think you just painted the picture perfectly about God collecting ever single drop of tear…

    Thanks for reminding us …He cares…and is aware of us…
    We matter to HIM!

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Arny…to be honest, I really did not think I would ever blog about my boys. I was so scared of being labelled a “Mommy Blogger”. But, I just can’t ignore the amount of things I learn about our Heavenly Father as I journey through parenthood.

      He sees every single tear, and they DO matter to Him. Not in the, “Oh, poor baby” sense. But, in the sense that He can do something with our tears-something that can make a display of His glory. That’s what it’s all about for me.

      Reply
      • arny

        September 9, 2011

        “But, I just can’t ignore the amount of things I learn about our Heavenly Father as I journey through parenthood.”

        You said it sister!

        Reply
  • Jon

    September 9, 2011

    Wow..love this post Keri!

    Perspective definitely changes everything, especially when it’s from above. I know for me, I can get so caught up with problems (i.e. looking for a job right now), but then I look at it in a different way, and realize God knows what He’s doing. I know I often pray God give me Your eyes, let me see things Your way (I’m thinking of Brandon Heath’s song)…less of me, more of Him.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Jon…you understood exactly what I was trying to get at in this post. I certainly know what it means to have my eyes stuck on me and the temporal, rather than on Him, His plans, and the eternal.

      I will certainly pray for your job situation. It’s rough out there, but He always provides, always, always, always.

      {LOVE that song, bro}

      p.s. Thought of you and Dustin last night as I was rockin out to NeedtoBreathe at the secret Seattle show!! It was absolutely fabulous-probably only about 100 people there! Wish you guys coulda been there. :)

      Reply
      • Dustin

        September 13, 2011

        Ahh, so jealous.

        Then I remember that my wife bought us tickets to one of their GA shows in November. I’m stoked. :)

        Reply
  • Moe

    September 9, 2011

    I am convinced that God uses small children to teach us a different perspective of life. I have learned so much from my kids. I love their simplicity, their trust, their perspective that we parents can do everything and that they never question our love.

    I have seen God everyday in the life of my children, and often, I behave just like them… except in a more mature way. #crazy

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Why am I not surprised, Moe!? ;)

      There is so much that I have learned about the Father’s love since becoming a Supermomma. I feel like there is so much I didn’t quite comprehend about His sacrifice and His unfailing love before I became a parent. Truly a blessing…most of the time. :)

      Reply
      • Moe

        September 9, 2011

        Someone once told me “when you become a dad, you’ll learn much more about God as a Father”. I brushed him off. As if! I am a student of the Bible. He was so right. A Father’s love is learned by being a father (or a parent). #deep

        Reply
        • Keri

          September 9, 2011

          Careful, when things get too deep, people drown! AGHHHHH

          Reply
  • John

    September 9, 2011

    Sometimes things happen or my life takes a certain direction that I didn’t expect. In those times it’s tempting to complain and cry and ask God why He has let me down. But I have to look at things from His perspective and that changes things. When I know that it’s all part of a bigger picture, then I am able to embrace the unexpected.

    Great post Keri.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      YES! God sees the big picture of my life. He knows the end product. He knows what everything will lead up to-the good and the bad. And, that is why I MUST trust Him. Because He promises to bring it all together for my good and His glory. I’m so passionate about that part of the Gospel because it gives me so much hope in the hard times. I don’t know how people do it without Him to guide the way.

      Thanks so much for reading and sharing your thoughts, John. :)

      Reply
  • Tony J. Alicea

    September 9, 2011

    Perspective changes everything. I think that’s why we can keep coming back to the same verse in the Bible and see something new each time. Our perspective changes based on what we’ve lived through. Those words are fresh breath into your situation each time you come back with a different lens with which to view it.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Don’t you love that about His Word?! That happens to me so often with the old school hymns, too. Having learned them as a child, they didn’t have the most meaning for me back then. But, now “here I raise my Ebenezer” actually makes sense! LOL

      Reply
  • Loren Pinilis

    September 9, 2011

    I’ve learned so much about God by being a father.
    To me, it’s made me realize what’s important and what’s not. Like my son is upset because of the way his cherry tomatoes are cut on his plate, and I think about how silly and child-like it is to worry about that when there’s a cruel world of mortgages, crime, and disease out there. Then I wonder if God is up in heaven wondering why I’m worried about such silly things as mortgages, crime, and disease instead of the things that matter for eternity.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Oh, Loren, I have had that same thought on so many occasions. I’m humbled to know that even in my whiny, immature moments, He’s patient and gentle enough to show me the Truth. Well, sometimes He’s not gentle, but always loving. :)

      Reply
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  • Jason Wert

    September 9, 2011

    It’s amazing how often I learn a lesson from God using the kids. And it also amazes me how many times something can be right in front of their freakin’ faces and they just don’t see it! :)

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Yeah, because there is NEVER EVER EVER something right in from of my face that I don’t see. Never happens. Nuh uh. {That’s why I’m glad for community to point it out to me.}

      Reply
  • Jim F

    September 9, 2011

    I would know nothing if it were not for my kids and them helping me see things in life from new perspectives.

    Excellent Post.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 9, 2011

      Isn’t it funny how we think we know so much before we have children? I know I thought I had a lot of things figured out. DOH! That’s the other thing about parenthood, the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know-same with faith, huh?

      Thanks so much for reading, Jim. I’ve seen you around these parts and it’s really nice to “meet” you. :)

      Reply
      • Jim F

        September 9, 2011

        Nice to meet you as well and thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods today and commenting.

        Reply
        • Dustin

          September 13, 2011

          Jim is a stand-up guy. Stop by his neck of the woods more often. :)

          Reply
  • Brandon

    September 9, 2011

    Great post! Thanks for sharing it!

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 10, 2011

      Thanks for taking time to read, Brandon. :)

      Reply
  • Cindy Holman

    September 9, 2011

    Great post Keri – MANY TIMES I’ve said to my husband, “I need your fresh eyes to help me with this problem on the computer” and it really does help to have someone else look and search when I am too weary to do any more. I understand how your son felt. It’s overwhelming sometimes – and when I’m overwhelmed in life or in a situation – I sometimes feel a little nudge from God, showing me a new and fresh way to look at the problem – and a way out.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 10, 2011

      Cindy…that reminds me of the time I “lost” my license after we had entered security at the airport. I was freaking out that I would not be able to board the plane. I was looking in all of our bags, almost in tears, as my 3 kids were running circles around our 5 carry-ons and 3 carseats. It was NOT fun. They let me board the plane anyway, and as soon as we got on the plane, my Mom checked my wallet. And, there was my license! Of all places-in my wallet! Ahahahahaha I was just overwhelmed by traveling with 3 kinds under 4 to think straight. So grateful I can depend on God’s perspective instead of my own, which is often clouded by things that don’t even matter.

      Reply
      • Cindy Holman

        September 11, 2011

        So true! Great story – I’m so glad you found it – man – I would be FREAKING OUT too!!

        Reply
  • seekingpastor

    September 12, 2011

    Helped me to see problems and trials as opportunities for faith to grow.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 13, 2011

      Oooh, that’s a good one, Matt! That is one of the greatest lessons of our faith-that trials are for growth, not complaining, griping or victimizing. It is through His strength that we are made new!

      Reply
  • jenn

    September 12, 2011

    So this makes me feel a little bit guilty about all the times I get annoyed because Shiloh can’t find something that is right in front of her. I guess it’s a kid thing.

    Maybe next time (which will probably be tomorrow morning – seriously this is an EVERYDAY thing) I will remember this post and show her a little grace. I’m glad God is more patient with me than I am with others.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 13, 2011

      Oh, boy, I’m the last mom on earth that should be making anyone feel guilty!

      But, yes, I too am so grateful for His patience that comes from His love.

      Reply
  • Luther Wesley

    September 13, 2011

    Those little moments are special are they not? We home school our kids and life presents many opportunities to teach the Gospel to our little ones.

    I personally, through having a family, have learned much of grace and what our Heavenly Father has shown us.

    Reply
    • Keri

      September 13, 2011

      Before we had kids, being married for 6 years and living with the same person day in and day out taught me a lot about grace, too. The picture I get as a parent has furthered that understanding. It’s a different angle on it.

      Reply
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