We were going to be late . . . again. I still had to get my 4-year-old daughter into the car, drive to my son’s elementary school, walk across the vast parking lot, and pick him up—all in 10 minutes. To make matters worse, my daughter wasn’t cooperating . . . again.
“Here, let me just put your boots on for you,” I urged her.
“No! I can do it myself!” she shouted.
“Fine,” I said.
I gave in knowing there would be more battles in simply getting my daughter into the car. Yet I felt the heat bubble within me—just as it always does when my feisty daughter contests me. The stress tiptoed up my neck and shoulders until it felt like it was going to pop. The anger within me finally simmered too hot. “Just get in the car!” I yelled into her innocent face.
Raindrop tears skipped down her pink cheeks.
I took a few colossal breaths and finally got my crying daughter into the car. After a minute, she calmed down, too. So, I used the drive to quickly run my to-do list through my head. Who I had to drive to soccer practice, what I was cooking for dinner, and things that were going on at school. Then I thought about the heaviness of how life had been feeling. Yes, in the short drive to my son’s school, I let my mind take over my heart. Between family and job troubles, deadlines, and the news headlines—I grew hopeless. But somehow, as my mind sprinted with worry, my daughter calmly recited her letters from a purple Sofia book.
We circled my son’s parking lot. I had to park in the way back—no surprise there. I put the car in park and got my daughter out of her car seat. I wanted to carry her and hold her close. “I’m sorry I yelled,” I told her as I kissed her cheek.
“It’s OK, Mommy,” she said. “But I want to walk by myself.”
I laughed and let her down to the ground. She held my hand as we walked through the sunny parking lot. We heard the bell ring. Yup, we were already late—might as well take our time now, I thought. She picked up a pebble and put it in her pocket. We strolled in silence. But then she stopped walking right when we got to the sidewalk to the school. She looked up at me with her long eyelashes, gazing at me with her hands on her hips. She said, “God’s bigger than you, you know.”
After a stunned pause, I said, “He sure is.”
The rest of that evening I thought about that little nugget of wisdom. God is bigger than me. I just needed my tiny, tenacious daughter to remind me of that.
All of the stresses in our life, big and small—we don’t have to carry those. Life’s burdens don’t have to climb up our backs and sit in our necks like boulders. God, the guy who’s way bigger than we are, can help us with the job stuff, the family stuff, and even the heavy stuff. We don’t have to let it sit inside of us until we blow up at our own kids because of it. We don’t have to do it alone. And we shouldn’t.
I’ve been throwing my hands up in the air and getting down on my knees much more after my daughter uttered those words. I admit, to God and to everyone, that I have weak moments and that I need help from Him. I pray for patience (for my daughter, you bet) and perspective. I pray for guidance and for a more giving spirit. And I give thanks, too.
I’m grateful that my independent daughter told me off that day. I deserved it. I hope she always gives me this kind of perspective when I need it most. She’ll grow up knowing that I am galaxies away from perfection and that I depend on God to help me through each day. Because, yes, God is indeed bigger than me, bigger than my daughter, and bigger than all of us. All we have to do is remember that.