|A (sadly) blurry photo of Ellie and I|
"Mommy, I don't want him to do that."
A simple request. One I had no clue would cut me to the heart.
I was sitting next to Ellie during our 'quiet time' soon after my arrival and observing the family routine. (Every day possible the whole clan practices sitting quietly, singing songs, and reading scripture. If the littles aren't aware or focused enough to worship they still must obey and play quietly.) Little Jeff was playing on the floor, while Ellie, as the oldest sibling, was expected to sit on the chair cooperatively -- a task she usually does joyfully.
The request was made again with more urgency, "Mommy. I really don't want him to do that. May he please not do that?"
"Mom" has 3 other less cooperative kids to help, so Ellie is told that Mommy sees and will take care of it. But Mom doesn't immediately stop the action. Now starting to cry, Ellie tried again:
"Mom, I really don't want Jeff to do that with my toy. I don't want him to! Mom, please stop him. He can't do that! Please stop it!" Now in full panic mode, things were starting to get noisy. As an observer, I noted that Ellie had a legitimate request. Jeff was being mischievous and rather naughty. (dousing a teddy bear slowly and methodically with water from a bottle) He was doing something unhealthy, if not actually truly rebellious. So I turned to the scene unfolding between Ellie and Mom.
My urge was to stand up for Ellie, but I quickly saw that Mom wasn't just teaching Ellie about justice today, she was also teaching her about trust. Mom gave Ellie her full attention and started talking softly to her saying "Don't worry, Mommy will take care of it. Settle down. Please calm yourself, I will take care of it." The 7 year-old kept looking at the sad scene on the floor and whimpering and begging mom to stop it and do something.
Finally Mom said firmly, "Ellie, look at me. Look Mommy in the eye. Ellie, who is in charge? Yes, I am. Do you believe that I will take care of it? Settle down. No, look at me. Do you trust that Mommy will take care of it? I will take care of it, so don't worry about what he is doing and calm down."
I saw the struggle. I felt the struggle. Every word spoken sounded like God. I was Ellie. I am 7. . .. begging God to stop people from doing things I don't like. Frantically asking him to fix something and pawing at him while I just stare sadly at the problem or offending person.
Then He says he sees it. And he'll take care of it. But nothing happens. "You call this taking care or it, God? They're still doing it/It's still happening! And I don't want it! I don't want it! God!" Then, with his arms around me, trying to calm me down like Mom's were around Ellie, he says,
"Look at me. No, look at me. Who's in charge? Do you trust me to take care of it? I see the problem and I will fix it but you need to obey me and calm yourself."
I'm the frantic 7 year old who doesn't want water spilled on her bear. It's not a huge important issue, but it is 'wrong.' And I don't want it. I want God to act now and fix it. But He's got this. And he's in charge.
As soon as Ellie was calmed down Mom tackled the task of stopping the soaking of yon stuffed animal. She took care of it like she promised, and God will too. Be at rest, my soul. Cease your raging. Rest in God.