After touring the exhibits, we went to the James River Cafe, which, if you haven't been there, you need to go. Now. Don't worry you can read my blog on your smartphone, so just go ahead and go to the cafe. Order an Italian soda (they're my favorite) and sit by the window. You will love it.
We went to the cafe and my kids were evidently starving because they ran to the counter and began ordering before I even made it down the hallway. Gracey was in front of the self-serve sandwich refrigerator grabbing a sandwich with one hand and reaching for a bag of kettle chips with the other. As I got my bearings, I tried to direct her attention elsewhere. She usually doesn't like sandwiches unless it's a grilled cheese and even then hardly eats half of it.
But, no. She wasn't having any of it. There she stood clutching that little plastic container to her chest as if her life depended on ordering and eating that sandwich. I told her again and again that she could still have the chips, but she could order something else like the cheese panini.
"Panini is a fancy word for grilled cheese sandwich, Gracey. You looooove grilled cheese. You know how mommy sometimes makes them on the fancy sandwich grill, that's a pani-"
"I want this sandwich!" She interrupted me. Then she saw the pastries on the other side of the case. Of course, she chose the peanut butter chocolate scone. Again, I showed her the more kid-friendly dinosaur sugar cookies but no, she'd made her choice. And just to be sure I wouldn't switch them out on her, she held them tightly, not letting go of them even for the cashier.
So, I forked out the $10 for Gracey's lunch and resigned myself to defeat.
She ate all the chips. I knew she would. And she ate 3/4 of the sandwich. No surprise there. And she ate 2/3 of the scone. What do you know? And she finished most of the juice.
About that time, the family next to us got their food. Boy did that cheese panini look good to Gracey as it walked by and sat down in front of another little girl one table away.
Now, there are many lessons that could be taken from this story. But here's the one that God told me later as I prayed about something else going on in our lives.
What am I holding onto so tightly that I can't accept the other gifts God has for me?
When in my life, have I stood there clutching that thing I thought was so good to my chest, saying, "No, this is what I want" when God has stood next to me saying, "But you'll really love this over here if you'd just let me give it to you"?
Playing back that image of Gracey by the counter, I realized I've done it a lot. I've held onto things that were good things, or maybe even good for me, but were not actually God's best for me. I've cradled them like a precious baby not to be put down, cherished them as a most treasured possession. And all the while watching others receive God's best and wondering why I haven't.
Because I just wouldn't let go of that stupid sandwich and trust God to give me something better, something meant just for me, something He knows would fulfill my purpose and bring Him glory.