Ping Pong Balls

Ping Pong Balls

I am a momma to three boys.  I remember once I was grocery shopping with the three of them (pre-grocery pickup era—and all God’s mommas said, “Hallelujah!”).  An older gentleman saw us and asked, “Are they all yours?”  From the tone of his voice, you’d have sworn I had 15 of them.  I was indignant, offended, and slighted.  But like any good Southern lady, I flashed him my kindest, most polite smile and said, “Yes sir, they sure are.  They definitely keep me on my toes!”

Some time has passed since then.  And today, I often ask myself the same dang question with less indignation, offense or slight… “Are these jokers all mine??”

Alas, they are.  And God help me and my little exhausted momma brain, I sure love those little suckers. 

Hey, friend, why don’t you lean in for a little wisdom?  If you are a momma of more than three, God bless you, you will go straight to heaven.  I’m convinced.  Do not pass GO, there are no more dollars, just straight to the mansion.  If you are a momma of less than three, let me let you in on a little secret…

Ping pong balls.  Listen, I want you to imagine that you climb yourself to the top of a very tall building and then you let go of three tiny ping pong balls.  And then you have to try to track them down.  Can’t you imagine how bizarrely difficult that might be?  Congratulations.  You have just envisioned what it is like to attempt to parent three kids 93% of the time.  Sure, they have their sweet, calm, well-behaved moments.  But most of the time?  Ping pong balls.  Good luck.

Other than the grocery store, I think my children like to show their crazy most in moments of brushing teeth, finding a seat at the table, and getting in the vehicle to leave.  Lord, help us all. 

Not that long ago, we were leaving church.  I was herding them through the parking lot as they ran too fast and then walked too slow and darted off and ventured too far and I tried my hardest just to get us all out alive.  As we got closer to the truck, I opened the door for them to all get in, and they all ran ahead.  They had seen something that caught their attention, and they all ran right past the open door to pursue their find (rocks, because… boys).

Finally, with only a shred of my sanity remaining, I got them all loaded and buckled and settled.  And then I started in on my mom speech.  You know the kind.  You turn to face the back seat and every ounce of wisdom you’ve ever acquired starts flooding out and mid-way through you think, “Holy Moses, I sound just like my mother.”

But the wisdom was there.  And like most of my parenting speeches, I was delivering it to my littles, but the echoes of its meaning were flooding through my own mind. 

“Guys, I need to remind you that the safest place for you is right by my side.  No matter where we are going, I need you to stay close by me.  I was standing there with the door wide open and you missed it.  You ran ahead to do your own thing, and you missed me standing there holding the door open for you.” 

Well, haven’t I certainly been there?  Running ahead on my own path?  Not staying close by my Father’s side?  Missing the best open door because I was too busy chasing after something that had caught my eye?  Guilty, guilty annnnnnd… GUILTY.

And well, maybe you’ve been there too.  It’s easy to find ourselves bouncing around like ping pong balls.  It’s easy to run off without good direction—going too fast or too slow or venturing out too far while we just try to make it out of this thing called life… alive. 

Here’s the thing: the safest place for you is right by your Father’s side.  No matter where you are going, stay close by Him.  He’s likely standing there with the door wide open for your next steps, and you don’t want to miss it.  Don’t run ahead chasing after your own thing.  The door is open, and He is waiting…  


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