“Life isn’t fair!” she sobbed from the backseat, holding her broken balloon. “I wanted to show my daddy!”
And in that moment my stifling hot minivan became a place of ministry to both of us.
We were sitting in the van following PWOC, a wonderful military related fellowship and bible study program.
They have fantastic childcare with bible lessons for our children. I’m not sure what part the balloons played in their lesson, but my sweet girl had been SO excited to show me her ‘hugantic’ balloon.
She blew it up all by herself and had the biggest balloon in her class!
What she couldn’t understand was how inflating her balloon to that size had weakened its structure. Sure enough, moments after getting seated, a tiny hole appeared and then another, and the balloon began to deflate before her eyes.
“Why did MY balloon break? The other kids’ balloons didn’t break!” She wailed.
In a way that only a young child’s heart can, it broke with disappointment. Tears poured down her cheeks and she shook with sobs. She held the tiny balloon corpse in her palm as if begging me to resuscitate it.
Despite being unable to perform balloon CPR, I had such compassion for her broken heart. I immediately remembered a post from Minivan Ministries about teaching our children to bring their needs to God in prayer.
So I told her to just start praying. Talk to God like He is right here with us. Tell Him how you feel and ask Him to help you. With her tiny little voice still breaking between shallow breaths and sobs, she prayed.
“Dear God, I am really disappointed. I wanted to show my daddy my balloon and it broke. And it isn’t fair. Please help me get my feelings under control. I am so sad.”
A few moments later, “Mom, it didn’t work!” She said, still clearly upset.
Honey, you can’t pray like it’s magic. You have to let God work in your heart. Sometimes, he doesn’t change the situation, but changes us in it.Prayer doesn't work like magic. Sometimes God doesn't change the situation, but changes us. Click To Tweet
“But life isn’t fair,” she said again.
and I said, “You’re right. It isn’t. And aren’t we so grateful for that?”
All the kids got balloons. Some kids had balloons that were perfectly inflated. A few balloons had already popped explosively. Some kids had sad, little, barely inflated balloons. One tiny girl adorably was still walking around sputtering with all her might into a stubbornly flat balloon. No two were the same.
And I immediately saw myself.
Life isn’t fair! Why don’t I have the perfect house, family, body, life?
We all get balloons, but they aren’t the same because we all make different choices and because God has different plans for each of us.
My imperfect body has taught me humility. I’ve learned find my comfort and identity in Christ alone. My imperfect house has reminded me that my eternal home is the one I need to focus on. My imperfect family has reminded me how much I have still to learn about grace and how to love.
I was reminded how wonderful it is that life isn’t fair.How wonderful it is that life isn't fair, that God extends His grace and love when we don't deserve them. Click To Tweet
I began the drive home and explained,
Oh, my sweet love, we celebrate that life isn’t fair because Jesus paid our price. God’s grace and forgiveness are things we don’t deserve because of our sin, and yet He gives them freely because of His great love for us.
As we talked, I could hear the tone in her voice change. Her disappointment faded, and she realized that it wasn’t truly the end of the world.
But that wasn’t the end of the story either.
I texted my husband about how disappointed she had been about showing him her HUGE balloon. He was going to be home after she went to bed, and I wanted to share this bittersweet moment with him.
When he did get home, he barely said hello, rushing past me towards her room. A few minutes later, he came out smiling.
“What did you do?” I asked.
“I bought her a jumbo balloon. She just finished blowing it up.”
And it’s ORANGE! she shouted from her room. Orange is her favorite color.
What a good father!
Minutes before closing, after a very long day, he raced into our local store to buy her a balloon.
I cannot tell you how that moment ministered to my heart. I saw God working in her life, giving her back a moment she lost (and a new balloon), answering her minivan prayers through her dad.
Watching my husband love her like that was a gift from my Father for me because I pray over their sweet relationship.If this is how a human father loves his children, how much more will He have good gifts for us! Click To Tweet
I also heard God reminding me if this is how a human father loves his children, how much more will He have good gifts for us.
Matthew 7:11 ESV / If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
And I’m so grateful that life isn’t fair.