It was a typical afternoon; final school bell rings and at about 3:15 p.m. in walks my most favorite kindergartener, Sonia. Her beaming smile makes me anticipate what she is holding in her hands, a little plastic jar with a white lid. Inside I see what appears to be a few insects. She walks over to me and excitedly proclaims, “Look, Mrs. Reeder, ladybugs!” I throw my hands up with surprise as her smile widens. “Wow, now you have a pet. And they are beautiful lady bugs,” I respond. “Did you name them?” I ask. “Yes”, she replies, “this one is sparkles, this one is princess”. She continued to tell me the names of each little insect in the clear plastic jar. I can tell from the look on her mom, Melissa’s face, she is not as excited as we are. It wasn’t until the next day I found out why.
First thing that next morning, Melissa walks in shaking her head. “Those ladybugs. I knew it was a bad idea to give them to a five year old”, she said. I couldn’t imagine why she felt that way until she told me the story. When Sonia got home she showed them to her grandmother. “G-ma, look what I got today, ladybugs!” G-ma no doubt with a smile on her face and warmth in her heart hugged her sweet little granddaughter as she viewed the contents of the jar. Then Sonia received probably the most puzzling statement she has heard in her short life, “Let’s go outside and let them go.” Sonia with a furrowed brow said, “No, they are my ladybugs. I am not letting them go.” A wise women who has raised three of her own children and no doubt been in this place before, tells Sonia to go sit in her closet and talk to God about that. She explains that’s how the ladybugs feel, like they are trapped in a closet and to ask God if that’s how He wants them to feel. With shoulders slumped and a tearful face, Sonia goes to her closet. Mom and G-ma can hear the precious little sniffles and mumblings between irregular breaths as she talks to God. She emerges from the closet and reluctantly reports, “Ok, I will let them go. Because God told me to.” They take her outside and gingerly open the jar to let her new best friends escape to the world from which they came.
As typical with young minds, they quickly forget and move on to the next distraction in their day. After dinner, G-ma suggests they go for a bike ride. Sonia and her little sister gets their bikes and goes outside just as the sun begins to set. It’s a beautiful evening and G-ma knows it will be a quick ride because their little legs can’t handle much. On their way back home, Sonia abruptly stops and points to her shoulder. “G-ma, look!” There on her sleeve was a ladybug. She asks her grandmother, “Do you think it is sparkles”? To which the wise grandmother responds, “Yes, I do. I think she came back to thank you for letting her go free”.
As Melissa tells me this story, my heart is overwhelmed. How precious is the life of a small child, so innocent and honest. Then, conviction comes over me. I hear my heavenly Father whisper in my ear, “You have ladybugs in a jar too Tina. There are things in your life I have asked you to let go of. You have put dreams, relationships and people in a jar. It’s time you open that jar and trust me.” Wow. How is it that the story of a little girl and her insects can convict the heart of a middle-aged widow? Because The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, Psalm 103:8. Thank you Holy Spirit for teaching me to trust You more through the heart of a five year old and her plastic jar of bugs. Please give me the courage to open the jar and let go like Sonia did.