"whatcha doin' mom?"
"oh, mommy's spreading pine straw," i replied.
"bella help." it was more of a statement then a question. it usually is with this one.
"well honey, sure, you can help me...but the pine straw is kinda prickly...it might hurt your hands." i explained.
she watched me a little bit longer and then disappeared back into the house. it was a good 15 minutes later before she reappeared. this time ready for the task. she came running down the driveway in her sundress and bare feet with the biggest smile on her face. "look mom!" she exclaimed, holding up her hands as she ran. and there she was my littlest thing with her fancy white dress up gloves on. "we match!" she smiled. i smiled too. no, that's not completely correct. i didn't just smile, i sat down in the grass and laughed and laughed and laughed. oh, how i love this girl. no telling where she had to look for these fine little lady gloves. but there she was in her white satin gloves with pretty pink bows and all ready for some yard work. ready to help her mom. ready to dig in and assist.
i let her help, but obviously these gloves didn't really keep her hands from feeling the prick of sharp pine straw. as cute as she was in them, they just weren't enough. thin and flimsy, they didn't provide the protection needed. they didn't quite cut it. kind of like when God is working in our lives and we feel the need to jump in and help. am i reaching here? maybe. but it struck me that so often i come running in my white satin gloves and bare feet announcing, "look God, i 'm here!" planning on participating in my ill-equipped and incapable way. thinking the entire time, "He needs me. He really needs me." he doesn't. He really doesn't. but, just like with bella, i know He wants me around. He wants me to watch Him work. occasionally He asks me to take part, but often He desires His daughter only to be quiet, be close, and be still.
He is working all the time though. He'll include me in the process, for sure. but does He need my help? He's God, after all. funny how often i forget what that means. we get in trouble - okay, i get in trouble - sometimes thinking that i always have to weigh in on everything He's doing. like the God of the universe is just waiting for my tiny hands and two cents. and oh, how prepared i am to fill Him in ... just in case. there are moments when i want to help things along, speed things up, smooth things over. and yet, i am pretty sure what He wants most is for me to sit back in the grass and watch for a bit. not meddle. not fix. not dig in.
when we try to take things into our own hands we often end up feeling the prick of something sharp - our vulnerable hands, perhaps, not meant for the task. i know this sounds weak and kind of dependent... and for those of us that pride ourselves on our strength and independence, this can be hard. i know - i am one of those prideful, fix-it-myself types. but, i have learned, (am learning), (continue to learn) often being dependent on God takes a whole different kind of strength. i really do want to be that kind of strong. sometimes i have to take off my meddling little dress up gloves and just open my bare hands to Him. just Him. only Him.
"now to HIM who is ABLE to do immeasurably
MORE than all we ask or imagine, according to
HIS POWER that is at WORK within us..." ~ ephesians 3:20
"but He said to me, "MY GRACE is SUFFICIENT for you,
for MY POWER is made perfect in weakness."
therefore i will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me." 2 corinthians 12:9