She was only five, but she spoke to me in the midst of a classroom full of kindergartners trying to finish a sequencing task.
As one child cried because she didn't know how to use scissors,
this particular, brown-eyed, mussed-up-haired girl looked up and said,
"My finguhs aw stuck togethew."
In the excitement of getting it all right on her test, this sweet little girl had screwed her glue stick right out of its holder.
Trying to shove it back in, she had discovered that squeezing a stick of glue back into its holder is a lot more complicated than getting it out in the first place.
And in the midst of trying to solve her own problem, she now had two.
Sticky fingers and an unusable glue stick.
I wanted to sit down and tell this little girl I knew just how she felt.
I wanted to explain in adult terms just how normal she really was because; honestly, I saw my eyes in the eyes of this young child.
I saw someone longing to please, longing to do a good job, and then realizing that in their eagerness to hear the words, "Great job!" they had wound up stuck.
I want to please God even in my grief.
I want to do well.
I want to demonstrate that I understand exactly what is asked of me,
but sometimes in the excitement of being "all I can be," I find myself overextending my glue stick, leaving me with an empty container and a big mess.
It's hard to restore what I've already emptied.
In the process of trying, I reach tough places much like this little girl........
with my "finguhs stuck togethew."
Suddenly, the task I was doing doesn't seem nearly as urgent as the ungluing of my "finguhs."
And doesn't the devil love when our fingers are glued.
We are so unusable.
So unable to even lift our hands in praise.
My mind wandered as I thought of this little girl's predicament, and then I heard her cute little voice saying to her teacher, "Can I go wash my hands?"
She knew what to do when she was stuck.
She turned to her teacher.
I started this week with a list full of tasks,
and I ended this week realizing that sometimes I am the most difficult task on my list.
I am the mess.
I am the little girl who extended things too far, trying to please everyone.
Stuck in a mess.
At the very same time, I am the glue stick container.
And difficult to refill.
What do I do when my "finguhs are stuck togethew" and my glue stick is empty?
That's been the question on my mind this week.
Even though I didn't really understand until I stood in a kindergarten classroom Friday, and God showed me through the words and actions of this little child.
Isn't that just how God works?
Through glue sticks.
He very clearly said to me, "Tammy, I hold all things together. Your life gets messy when you try to hold it together in your own strength."
So, I snapped a photo of the messy glue stick as the little girl grinned.
She wasn't worried about her unfinished sequencing task for her teacher.
She wasn't even worried about her "finguhs."
She giggled through her mess while I stood beside her, much older and supposedly much wiser, pondering all the messes inside of me.
And then I saw this hanging on the wall.......
I'd seen it many times before,
but today it spoke to me.
I read something new...something I needed to hear.
I think God gets me.
And He forgives me even when my life is noisy and messy.
He sees His children trying to make happy memories in the midst of a noisy, messy world; and I think He smiles even when our hands get stuck together.
Really, it's not so much that we have messes.
It's really, "What do we do when we realize we're stuck?"
Do we sit there and cry?
But eventually, we realize that we only have one option.
No new tasks will be completed before we step away from our mess and head to a place of cleansing.
And after we're cleansed, we pick up a new glue stick.
Maybe we won't open this one with the same kind of gusto, but we open it anyway.
Because in the twisting of the glue stick we show the world that even though life is messy it's worth the risk of sticky fingers.
I've been emptied this week.
And I've been stuck.
So I'm using this weekend to cleanse myself through some much-needed rest and reflection.
Grief caught me off guard Monday when I faced a medical scare.
My heart and mind were flooded with memories of Nick's own journey through ambulance rides, IVs, and cat scans,
and I've been reeling in fresh grief ever since.
It hasn't been pretty, and I've known deep inside that no one could pull me back to a place of healthy existence except for God.
So, I've tried to lay low.
I've tried to only do what had to be done, and I've trusted that somehow, in some way, He would restore my soul.
I haven't been much of a wife, mom, or friend.
Grief has stepped in and been my best friend for a while.
And I've sort-of stopped and allowed him to stay.
I think I needed some time with Grief.
It had been a while since I had cried with him.
And my family has graciously given me the space I've needed to simply allow Him to stay.
But, I'm sensing that he'll be leaving soon, and it will be time to wash my face and climb out of this pit for a while.
If you ever find yourself feeling extremely blue or "stuck," know that God understands, He hears your cries, He loves you, and He longs to lift you out of the pit.
Sometimes, He makes you sit there a while, though, with sticky fingers.
Just so you'll realize how wonderful it is to be rescued and restored!
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord.
A 5 year-old, little girl reminded me of something Friday.
When I am stuck, I need to turn to my Teacher.
Praying you will turn to your Teacher today, even if you find yourself looking up from the bottom of a pit.