Sitting in the child-sized chair of the playroom, I braided the blue pony’s hair. Anna sent her pony flying through the air, with a bouquet of imaginary flowers.
“Here you go!” Anna offered in her best, high-pitched pony voice. “Here are flowers for my friend!”
The ponies then took flying lessons, painted their toenails, and trotted to the Pizza Ranch on the other side of the room for dinner.
My, how long had it been?
How long had it been since I’d just sat down here in this room and played with her? When was the last time I’d picked up a Little Pony?
I’ve been down this road before. Just three months ago, I posted an entry here at GDWJ about the stuff that had overtaken my life. I pledged to be “intentional” about cutting some stuff out of my schedule.
I wrote this entry on Nov. 17, 2008:
“What do I need to change, Lord?” I asked Him. His answer came immediately: You’re too busy.
God’s prompting came through loud and clear three months ago. At a retreat, a pastor friend named Bob asked us to pray about being “intentional.” After the retreat another pastor friend, Ken, suggested I say no to a few things, even “church” things. His words ring in my mind: “There are lots of good things, Jennifer. Choose only the best things.” (Are you beginning to get the feeling that God has placed a few pastors in my life for a reason — just to make sure the message is getting through?)
Another pastor friend, Kelly, once asked me what I was doing to grow closer to God, and I listed for her a series of church activities and Bible studies that I was leading. It was becoming clear that I was constantly approaching God by doing things for Him, rather than just entering into His presence for the sake of the relationship. Something was out-of-balance.
So I committed to make some tough choices three months ago.
But almost three months later, my calendar looked fuller than ever.
Fast forward to February 2009. I asked Anna the other day, “What do you think Mommy does all day long?” Her response: “You work all day and never play with me.”
A four-year-old’s revelation wasn’t so far from the truth. How long had it been since I’d combed Barbie’s hair, ordered a hot dog from Anna’s kitchen, diapered a Cabbage Patch kid?
Which found me in my own pastor’s office last week. Pastor John is a dear soul, and I’m thankful for his guidance. I had just committed to two more ministries in one week’s time, and John called me in to his office: It’s OK to say no, he reminded me. And with his blessing, I backed out of a big commitment, reminded that my main Mission Field is the one at home.
My Mission Field looks like this: It’s a carpeted floor covered with Ponies, and Polly Pockets, and kid-sized Bibles, and Fruit Loops.
I’m also reminded that the little people in my Mission Field are so forgiving. They remind me that God’s mercies are new every morning. (Lamentations 3:22-24).
Anna forgave me so easily.
“Mommy, I love playing Ponies with you.” she told me last night, “And you love playing Ponies with me, too, don’t you?”
Yes, Anna, I do.
You’ll have to excuse me now. I have a date in the playroom with a four-year-old.