Monday, March 13, 2017

$55 in 9 and a half month

     It's a big day here in our home. Bigger than a book award day. Bigger than birthdays or anniversaries. It's a day our 6-year-old accomplished something neither myself nor CJ have done. It's the day Elisha finally got her long-waited Emma's House Lego set with her hard-earned money. Elisha has been saving money for it for nine and a half months (aka Lego fund). Can you believe it? Nine and a half months of waiting....for a six-year-old.
     Last June, for her birthday, my brother bought Elisha a Lego set. Inside the box was a small pamphlet that showed other Lego sets, and that's where Elisha first fell in love with Emma's House. It was obvious that she could not take her mind off of it, and Elisha told us how much she wanted to have it.
     We are not rich, but we are not poor, either. We don't have debt and we save significant portion of our income. What I'm trying to say is that we could easily afford to buy that Emma's House, and actually we did think about getting it for her as a Christmas present. However, CJ and I agreed we do not want her to become a child with a sense of entitlement and decided we will have Elisha work to save money for it. At that time, we had no idea that this experience will teach so much valuable lessons not only for Elisha but also for CJ and myself.
     About half way into this journey, one evening, CJ and Elisha were reading a newsletter from a missions agency we support. Then, Elisha suddenly broke into tears saying God told her to give $21 from her Lego fund to the agency so that they can purchase a water filter for a family in India. Right there and then, she gave CJ $21 out of her fund, but I had to wonder why she was crying so hard. When I asked her that night on the bed, Elisha said she cried because she wanted to obey God but she did not want to give her Lego money away. What God was trying to teach Elisha and how Elisha was responding to His just melted my heart. As I'm writing this now, I feel like my heart is being filled with thousands of pink butterflies again.
     Also, this journey certainly instilled a good work ethic in her. Elisha worked hard to earn the money: helping with laundry, sweeping garage and patio, pulling out weeds from the yard, helping with sorting/organizing clothes, cleaning up/organizing wherever messy, watering plants, etc. She has learned to look for work that needs to be done around the house, and she has grown to prefer tidiness/cleanness over messiness.
     The other day, I noticed someone organized shoes so neatly on our shoe rack. It turned out Elisha was that beautiful person. I had to compliment her for tidying up the messy shoe rack, even though I never asked her to do so. She has made a habit of always asking if there is anything she can help with. She would say, 'Mama, I will be reading in my room. If you need any help, just whistle, and I will come right over.' How sweet!
     Delayed gratification. According to Wikipedia, it is 'the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward'. So many times, Elisha would ask us if she can see Emma's House on our laptop. She would ask CJ to print out a detailed picture of Emma's House. She memorized what's inside that tiny house...all the details...she dreamed about it...she wanted to build a house like that on top of a hill for me with Lego pieces! Looking at the picture, she studied the house so meticulously and found out there is no staircase leading up to the second floor of the house. What an oversight!
     It was not easy for me to see her having to wait so long, though. I often wondered if I am asking too much for a six-year-old. CJ and I would talk how we ourselves never had to save/earn money for a toy and we would feel so disqualified to demand such a high standard for Elisha. Neither of us said it out loud, but I know we both so wanted to forget the whole thing of 'teaching a lesson or two' and just order Emma's House right there and then.
     Doesn't God often do the same thing for us, making us wait for a long time? When He makes me wait for so long, I would balk for a while but I know there is something He wants me to learn and grow. I would kick and scream demanding an 'immediate' answer, but I know that's the very reason God puts me on hold. Patience. Faith. Trust...I often wonder if I will ever be able to perfect these qualities while here on earth, but then I am reminded that what God wants is to see me 'grow', not necessarily 'perfect' it. More patience. More faith. More trust.
     My 6-year-old never threw tamper tantrum demanding immediate purchase of the Emma's House. She waited and waited while learning priceless lessons, while growing in her character, while growing closer to God. I admire this girl. I admire her patience which allows God's hands to chisel and mold her character. I admire the intimacy she has with her heavenly Father. God, you are doing a great job raising your daughter Elisha! Neither I nor CJ can claim any credit for this girl's beautiful, tender heart.

Everyday is a miracle