Once upon a time, there was a Dad and a Mom who had two children, ages 2 and 5. Those children were loved – but they were a handful! They got up early and stayed up late. They loved to jump on their beds and on the couch. They fussed a lot when they didn’t get their way. And they couldn’t remember to obey what they were told from one moment to the next. At night you could find Dad and Mom exhausted, and in a daze sitting on the couch. “Our kids are wearing us out!” they would say.
One day the family went to Pizza Hut for lunch. As the mother went back and forth to the food bar, fixing first one plate and then another, the father watched the kids and tried to keep them in their seats. When mom went to get their drinks she noticed that her kids had captured the attention of a man sitting at a corner table. He especially kept watching the little girl.
As the mother passed the table, the man politely asked, “How old is your daughter?”
“She’s two,” replied the frazzled mother. “And she sure is a handful! She really keeps me running! There’s never a dull or quiet moment with her around.” The man only smiled.
Finally, after the children were situated, the mother went back to get her own plate (Dad always insisted on being last). She bumped into the same man again, the one from the corner table. “When is your daughter’s birthday?” he asked.
With a questioning look, the mother replied, “March 26th” (For men don’t usually pay attention to such details about a stranger’s children.)
“I had a little girl,” the man went on. “She was born April 26th, and would be about the age of your little girl. We lost her to cancer in September. I always notice little girls this age, and wonder what it would be like …”
By now, the mother’s eyes had filled with tears. She remembered how much she had complained about the stresses of having a two-year-old. Now the trials didn’t seem so bad, compared to the blessings.
When she got back to the table, she told her husband what had happened. They both looked down at their plates. Food seemed so unimportant, as they realized the seriousness of their mistake. Kissing their two lively kids, they made a silent promise to themselves and to God. “We will not let the frustrations outweigh the joy; we will count our children as blessings every day.”
They remembered what God had said, “Children are a heritage from the Lord…Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them” (Psalm 127:3-5) and “do all things without murmuring or complaining” (Philippians 2:14-15).
(From Mike – Cherie and I together wrote this after having experienced it over 25 years ago. Parents, never forget that your children are yours for a while, so they may be God’s forever.)