"Mom, what am I going to get you for Valentine's Day?"
It was the day before Valentine's Day, and my four-year-old son looked at me in a panic realizing he had not gotten me anything. I assured him I didn't want or need any gifts, but let him know that he could make me a card if he wanted to.
"But, how will I make it all on my own?"
We do preschool at home. Every activity he does, I'm there in some way to guide him through it. Truthfully, he can be really independent with many lessons, but art...art is something he does not do well alone. He often gets discouraged with how his drawings turn out or not being able to create what his brain sees.
"Well, you can think of ideas and let me know what materials you need and if you need help, just ask daddy."
I set him up downstairs with the markers, paper, and scissors he requested then went back up to play with his brother in the playroom.
I could hear him beginning to get frustrated, so I asked if he needed some help. "Yes, I just can't cut this right."
When my husband got downstairs, I could overhear bits and pieces of their conversation. My little sweetheart was cutting a heart and had messed up. He had been trying to glue it back together when daddy had the idea to make a new heart. They would by fold the paper in half by cutting the half of a heart along the fold.
Immediately the protesting began.
"No! I want to make a heart. That's not what I'm making."
My husband patiently insisted they would make a heart when they were done.
"Just watch," he told him. "It will look like a heart when we finish cutting it and open it up."
10 minutes later, my little guy came running up the stairs holding something behind his back with a proud grin on his face.
As if the genuine love from a homemade valentine wasn't enough to touch my heart, later I went back downstairs to find something even more moving. As I got ready to throw away the leftover scraps of paper, I stopped to admire the attempted cutting of a small hand-drawn heart. Next to it another child-drawn heart shape. It was beautiful. His determination was more touching than the actual gift.
Suddenly, God spoke to me through the scraps of paper on the table. I'm a lot like my son at times. I have a plan all drawn up. I try it again and again. I even glue pieces back together when I know I'm not doing things to the best of my ability. Then, when I know it's beyond my control, and I'm sitting in frustration, I call out for daddy's help.
God, in His loving way, always comes to help but sometimes has another plan. He often has a unique way to produce exactly what I wanted. He asks me to trust Him and promises to show me the way. I begin to see His plans and, like my son, want to protest.
"No! That's not what I'm making. I want a heart shape. That's not a heart. I can't see a heart. What do you mean we have to fold my paper in half?"
When I give Him take my hand to guide the scissors and then watch the paper unfold, it's exactly what I wanted... and better. It's bigger. It's more precise. It's something my child-like faith couldn't even imagine because His ways are beyond ours.
That's the beauty of being a child of God. He sees a bigger picture that we cannot. It's hard to trust Him with plans we are determined to see through. But the outcome of letting him rearrange our plans is worth it.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."