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Independence Day
By Lynette Carpenter

It was one of those mornings! My frustrations were mounding up as high as the piles of dirty laundry littering the floor. Breakfast dishes were cluttering the table. Tylerís first grade math papers were scattered around. Corey, who was in the midst of teething, was crying for Mommy to comfort him, and for goodness sakes, to wipe his nose!

In the middle of all the chaos, my 2-year-old daughter came hopping down the stairs. I sighed when I saw how she was dressed.

"Amy," I said, "your shirt is on backwards, and inside out."

"Backwards?" she repeated.

"Yes, let Mommy help you fix it."

Ooh, I bit my lip Ö did I just say, "help?" I thought by now I would have learned that with little Miss Independence, words like assist, aid, or lend a hand, work much better than "HELP!"

Immediately, she withdrew. "No, Amy do it!"

With everything else that needed to be done, I figured what would it hurt to let her try? So I let her go, and went about my work.

She stood there in the kitchen, as I loaded the dishwasher, and began to pull her shirt off. I noticed that she had her arm coming out of the neck hole, and I had to chuckle at how she walked in circles trying to stretch her little arms around her body.

"No, Amy honey, you need to take your shirt off OVER your head," I told her.

Turning her back to me, she again informed me, "Amy do it!"

Corey hollered some more, so I went to fix him a bottle. Stopping by Tyler, I checked his schoolwork, then headed up the stairs to lay Corey in his bed. When I returned to the kitchen, Amy was just pulling her shirt down around her knees. Carefully, she brought her feet up through the neck hole and out of the shirt.

"See, Mommy," she proclaimed, "Amy do it!"

"Yes," I said, as I gazed at the stretched-out neckline of her t-shirt. "Now, put it on OVER your head, and make sure the tag is in the back."

She went to work right away, and after some struggle, she had the shirt on properly. Looking pleased at her accomplishment, she turned and picked up her socks!

SIGH Ö I had witnessed enough mornings of watching her put her socks on to know how this would go.

Needing to go to the grocery store, I stepped in. Ignoring her displeasure, I put her socks and shoes on her feet, and sent her out to the van.

As I went about my work later that afternoon, I was thinking about my dilemma with Amy. Some people tell me, "Just be thankful that she is independent. Guide her in the right direction, and she will go far." Others, I am sure, are wondering why I donít just apply the rod of correction, and insist that she allow my help.

I began to wonder what God thought.

Then it hit me! I realized that God must sometimes feel like I do when I am standing there watching Amy, longing to offer my assistance, knowing how much easier life would be for her, if she would let me help her.

"Is God doing that with me right now?" I wondered. Normally, I had my devotions in the morning, but with a teething baby, laundry, and breakfast dishes, I had pushed off my time with God.

John 15:5 came to my mind. "Apart from me, you can do nothing."

I stopped folding the laundry and went for my Bible.

Soon I understood what God was trying to tell me. He has all the power to help me with my struggles, whether itís as simple as "putting on my socks" or something much bigger.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 1:25: "For the foolishness of God is wiser than manís wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than manís strength."

How foolish I have been so many times, running in circles trying to do things with my own strength, when my Father, who is all powerful, is just waiting, wanting to help me.

My little Amy wasted nearly an hour doing something that would have taken a minute, had she allowed my assistance. Finally, I had to step in when I had other things I wanted her to do.

God has a plan for my life. If I try to do things on my own, without His help, I get stuck in a rut, and canít move on to the bigger and better plans that He has for me. Without Him, I can do nothing. My endeavors amount to little in comparison to what God has for me.

Returning to my laundry basket, I asked God to HELP me today, no matter what I was trying to do.

I smiled at Amy as she walked into the living room to see what I was doing. But I began to laugh when she stooped to pick up her doll. Thatís when I noticedÖ her skirt was inside out.
Lynette Carpenter is a young mother of three beautiful children--Tyler, Amy and Corey. She has been married to Tim for 8 years. Through all the ups and downs they have faced, Lynette says that God has brought them closer to Him and to each other. You can write to Lynette through the Letters page of this magazine.