This devotion from Elisabeth Elliot was in my inbox last Friday, and I have been pondering over it ever since.
We like things to go smoothly and as planned. Very often unexpected things intervene, and our plans go awry. We think we've got "problems." There is another level at which everything that happens is being engineered. "God has no problems," Corrie ten Boom said, "only plans." When ours are interrupted, his are not. His plans are proceeding exactly as scheduled, moving us always (including those minutes or hours or years which seem most useless or wasted or unendurable) "toward the goal of true maturity" (Rom 12:2 JBP). Believe God. Turn the interruptions over to Him. He is at the controls.
I like structure and routine, especially when it comes to my day with my kids. My son particularly needs to know when and how things are going to happen or he doesn't cope well (he even needs to know how many pages are in a chapter before he starts reading it!). However, it's a rare day in our house when my plans aren't "interrupted" or changed, usually by my daughter. She still hasn't learned the self-control she needs to keep out of things and can make a mess faster (and more thoroughly) than anyone I've ever known. She also has a remarkable gift for knowing the exact moment that her curiosity will be the most inconvenient and irksome for me.
I have been asking God to give me patience for the daily chaos that seems to be the norm around our house, but maybe it's not so much patience that I need as much a new perspective. I know that her character and love for Christ are so much more important than learning her alphabet or getting housework done, but I don't act like it when I get angry or impatient with her for squirting toothpaste all over the sink (and walls, and mirror, and floor...) or some other such "interruption." I pray He will give me the grace I need to see these interruptions in a new light, to see them as a Divine appointment to show love and grace and mercy to my sweet little girl and perhaps to train her in the way she should go.