Surprising

When we were at Disney World last week, Jaana immediately fell in love with a toy. A glorious Cinderella castle. She saw it everywhere we went, and asked for it every single time. We had known about this toy ahead of time (our niece got one a few years ago), and we had a plan. My in-laws were going to buy it for her birthday, and have it sent to her from Cinderella. Each time she saw and begged and begged for the castle, we had to tell her we couldn’t buy it, that it cost too much money right now. She was a pitiful, pouting mess every single time she heard no. But after a few minutes of sulking, she’d bounce back and move on. (Until she was reminded by seeing it again…and the cycle continued).

One of the days at Disney, we ate lunch with the princesses. During the lunch, all the “princesses” were given a Wishing Star and a Wand, and told to hold the wand over the star while making a wish and saying “Bippity Boppity Boo” with their eyes closed. When they opened their eyes, there were lights bouncing and twinkling all over the ceiling. They were told their wishes would come true, but not to tell anyone what they wished for.
Jaana’s birthday was yesterday, and her Papa called her in the morning to tell her he had a present for her. He said it was sent to their house from Disney World, and that it was a big box. She wondered all day what it could be. He told her there were messages written all over the box to her — “Happy Birthday, Princess Jaana” and “Jaana’s Wish” and “We Love You.” She talked about it all day long.

Gamma & Papa came over last night to let her open her present. They sat it in front of her, and she marveled at all the messages written to her, and the size of the box. It was so grandiose for her. Then the box was opened and she saw the castle, her Cinderella castle, being pulled out. The look on her face will forever be etched on my heart. It was of complete and utter joy, disbelief and amazement. She shrieked. She kept saying, “Cinderella sent it to me! How did she know??” We all watched with tears in our eyes and joy overflowing in our hearts in watching our little girl’s dreams come true. She came over to me and said, “Mommy, you know what? I think Tinkerbell must have been hiding on our table during the lunch when I was making my wish and told Cinderella! Can you believe it??”

God really hammers the concept of discipline and saying no home once you become a parent. Until I had Jaana, I didn’t really understand delayed gratification versus instant gratification, and I had a hard time when I heard no. But when things happen like last night, God reminds of some very important truths:

“He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.”
(Zeph 3:17)

“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more
will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
(Matt 7:11)

“God’s voice thunders in marvelous ways; he does great things beyond our understanding”
(Job 37:5)

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,
according to his power that is at work within us.”
(Eph 3:20)

The best part about the gift was that it was much more than Jaana expected. She was expecting just the castle. She had no idea that it lights up. She had no idea that it comes with topiaries, a grandfather clock, furniture. She had no idea she’d get a whole set of princesses and princes, complete with a coach. It completely exceeded her expectations. Every new discovery of what came with it was met with more joy and shouting. She would have been content with just the castle…but it came with more than she could have hoped.

The biggest joy for us was to watch Jaana’s joy and exuberance over her gift. Had she received it when she asked for it, she would have loved it — but her joy would not have been contained, not eruptive. She would have appreciated it, but it wouldn’t have thrilled her to the point of shrieking. Sometimes, when we say no to her immediately, it’s so we can rejoice over watching when she finally gets a yes. Sometimes we just want to see her thrilled to absolute death. It makes our hearts happy. It gives us pleasure to see her surprised and excited. And every single time we witness that, God reminds me he is that same way as my Father. He loves to surprise me. He loves to thrill me. He purposely says no immediately at times, so he can rejoice over me with singing when it’s time for the yes. He is a good Father in heaven, who gives good gifts to those who ask him.

What I love most about this thrill for my girl is that every time she plays with her castle, she will be reminded of the joy of the surprise. She will have remembrance of it. With each princess that dances in it, she will think back to the thrill of receiving the gift. And I believe that’s what God loves about it, too. That although the yes was delayed, when it finally does come to pass, I will never forget it. It will be etched on my heart and mind and soul forever. That when I think back on the gift, or the fulfillment of the dream, I will remember the thrill, the joy and the absolute astonishment. And as I do that, he will be laughing, singing and rejoicing too, pleased with the good gift he gave his daughter.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” (Psalm 146:2)

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