Today was western day at Adelade’s school. She loves western day because one of her favorite things in all the world is horses. Oh, how she wishes we had a horse in our backyard! At one point I think she almost had my parents convinced that they needed to buy a miniature pony for her to visit when she comes to their house. So, needless to say, when the girl has an opportunity to dress up like a cowgirl, she wants to go all out.
We had planned her outfit. She was going to wear a plaid shirt, a red cowgirl hat (with braids, of course), a neckerchief from Katy K’s in Nashville, skinny jeans, and, the cherry on her sundae, the icing on her cake–her brown suede kickback heeled cowgirl boots. Yee haw! She was going to look like a riding, roping superstar!
When it came time to slip on those awesome cowgirl boots, it was something like the scene in Cinderella when the stepsisters are furiously working to squeeze their gigantic feet into the tiny glass slipper. We pulled. We pushed. We reassured each other that the boots still fit. We tried a different angle. We checked the size on the sole of the shoe. We shoved her overgrown foot in there as hard as we could, with no regard for pain, clearly denying the shape of a foot, with that pesky heel sticking out there. But, it was all for not. The shoe simply didn’t fit anymore.
Even after I had given up, she kept trying, tears streaming down her cheeks, desperately pulling on the bootstraps, determined that she would smash her foot into the boot somehow. I finally took the boots, set them aside, and presented her silver Converse sneakers. Not exactly the look she was going for. I perched that little red cowgirl hat on top of her blonde braids and watched my sad little cowgirl, with tears still flowing, gather her backpack and lunchbag and head for the door.
And I thought about how often that life is like this. We are so filled with expectation. We have plans. We look forward to things working out the way we believe they should. We get everything lined up, and just when we think that things are about to be perfect, the darn shoe just doesn’t fit anymore. We ought to be healthy, but we’re sick. We should be happily married, but we’re struggling just to stay together. We thought our children would make us proud, but they’re embarrassing us. We were sure the house would sell, but no one’s interested. We believed we were overcoming that addiction, but now we’re right back where we started. We tried. We failed. We gave. We got nothing in return. And we feel like sitting down for a good cry, but we have to keep going because life just doesn’t wait for us to have a good breakdown.
One thing I try to remember during those I-need-a-breakdown moments is that God is not surprised by anything that happens. Sure, we made our plans, but the Bible tells us that we can make all the plans we want to–God determines our every step. That makes me feel better. I like knowing that He sees not only what I’m going through but how what I’m going through matters to His kingdom. He sees the big picture, and He works things out for good. Always good. Even when we only see what’s bad.
Well, Adelade survived her crisis. While Chad drove her to school, he convinced her that she was actually going to be the coolest cowgirl at school today because she was no ordinary cowgirl. She was The Silver Sneaker Cowgirl. She liked that. The sniffling stopped. A little smile appeared. She was going to make it. And that didn’t surprise God at all.