Anna and the Purple Ring

After three days of staying home sick, watching about 74 episodes of "The Backyardigans" and doing almost nothing else, Anna announced, "I can't find my purple ring." What?

"I can't find my purple ring," she repeated, with a bit more urgency. Usually that sort of statement is preceded by someone actually looking for an object and coming up empty-handed…but apparently, those rules don't apply when you're two. As out-of-the-blue as it seemed, Anna immediately needed to have this purple ring that she "couldn't find."

My husband and I suddenly found ourselves on a scavenger hunt, tearing through diaper bags and tiny pretend purses, looking for this missing gem. (We know all too well how an evening can end when some much-desired object is not found.) The really tough part was that we weren't even sure what we were looking for.

Purple ring? I don't remember any purple ring.

With Anna, that description could probably fit any number of things. Was she referring to a purple Barbie bracelet? A long-ago eaten purple ring pop? A purple circle? A picture of a purple circle? Or was she looking for an actual purple ring? I was skeptical about the latter. I didn't remember buying her any purple rings. I had bought her a tiny diamond ring once for $80 (which we lost before it ever encircled her little finger) …but having learned my lesson, there were no purple rings that I knew of.

She seemed sure that she had one, so I decided to look in the drawer where I keep all her little girl jewelry and trinkets. Just to say that I looked. And wouldn't you know it…right at the bottom of the pile, tucked into a corner, was a gaudy hard plastic purple ring with a big sparkly flower on it. It may as well have been pure gold. "Yay! You found it, Mommy! You found my purple ring!" It was one of those rare moments when the look on your kid's face makes you feel like a superhero. I had no recollection of seeing that ring before, and I still don't know where it came from. And of course, she didn't really need it. But it made her happy…and all's well that ends well, right? Mission accomplished. Then, as Anna contently shoved the purple ring onto her finger, she looked up at me and said, in all seriousness, "I've been worried about this."

You've been worried about this??

"First of all," I wanted to say, "You're TWO. You shouldn't even know how to use 'worried' in a sentence!"

"Secondly," I thought to myself. "Why would you worry about this cheap little piece of plastic that probably came out of a storefront vending machine? Don't you know that if we hadn't found it, I could've easily replaced it? Or better yet, I would have provided you with something much, much nicer?"

That's when I had one of those "Oh" moments. As in, "Oh. Now I get it, Lord."

I wonder how many times I have suddenly decided that I needed some random thing right now…and started begging God to provide it for me. "Please God. I want that job. You know, THAT one that I just read the ad for five minutes ago…it's my dreamiest dream job ever, and I NEED it NOW!"

"That house, Lord! It's our perfect house. It has the perfect floor plan with the perfect backyard in the perfect neighborhood. If our house doesn't sell in time to allow us to buy THAT one, we might as well forget the whole thing…"

And then I worry about it. Whatever the "it" happens to be. Just like Anna and the purple ring.

While the whole time, God's probably sitting up there thinking, "Really? You're worried about that one? Because I could give you something much better if you just wait a little while…"

Lord, thank you for teaching me not to act on impulse desires and to stop begging for instant gratification. I don't want the ugly purple ring. I want your perfect provision.

Kate Hayes is the proud mom of two funny little kids who also happens to be a professional writer and brand new children’s book author. She blogs “for fun” about her faith and her family’s adventures in New England at www.adventuresinparenting.me. Kate also starts every single day with a Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte, non-fat WITH whip, thank you very much. Essential.