Anna asked me to take this so I could put it on my computer...
In the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of spending tons and tons of time with my daughters. There have been stretches where we’ve been together all day from beginning to end and I am learning so much! Not only have I found out millions of places in which I needed to grow that I was totally unaware of; (lack of patience, selfishness, the inability to laugh at myself and of course, the unfair expectations I have of a two-year-old who is just doing her best to be a somewhat-human in this world) but I am also finding out that my kids are funnier and more fun than I had ever realized. I feel like we have a tackled a hard situation head-on and have really and truly become better friends.
One thing I’ve learned about my kids is that if I will just shut up and listen, I’ll hear them say the coolest and funniest stuff ever. For instance, Norah calls elevators “alligators” and she calls fingernails (and toenails) “hand-tails.” Every single time I change her, she sticks those feet up in the air and says, “Oooh Dad, see my pretty, purple hand tails?!” Yesterday I was driving the girls around when I heard them talking about a book. I decided to listen in for a minute and it turned out that they were conducting a business deal whereby Norah was going to write the book and Anna would be the illustrator. I finally decided to dive into this conversation, asking Norah what the name of the book would be. She said, “Ummmmm, Caterpillar Juice.” Anna laughed and laughed and we proceeded to grill Norah on the plot and characters of this soon to be classic of children’s fiction.
Well, last week as we were getting in the car on a rainy, gray morning, Anna looked at our flowerbeds and exclaimed, “Oh Dad, our daffodils are so brave!” I chuckled and asked her, “They’re brave? Why are they brave?” She looked up after snapping her seatbelt and said, “Because, they’re blooming in the rain.”
I thought about that for a long time that morning… blooming in the rain. I thought about the tough time our family was going through and how difficult it’s been to hold on to joy through these weeks of hardship. I thought about Paul in Romans 5 saying, “We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit whom He as given us.”
Anna was right. It was brave of those flowers to keep on standing up and bursting with spring color and fervor in the midst of a downpour of gloomy gray, but it wasn’t just brave. It was smart. Those flowers need the rain to grow. In fact, they can’t be beautiful without it. Suffering is productive. Going through hard times teaches us things about God we couldn’t have known otherwise. He proves His character to us when times are hard. He pours out His love into our hearts and we know Him more. Rejoicing in trials is brave and smart, because we (like the daffodils) grow in the pouring rain.
Here's a pre-release illustration from "Caterpillar Juice" in which the caterpillar is actually walking up the side of the glass of apple juice that it will soon fall into. You can also see that everyone in the picture is very sad because of the tears and frowns. Anna is on the left and there is an Easter Egg on the far right. I think one of the other crying people is Norah, but i'm not totally sure which one.
3 years ago