Life is like a strawberry smoothie, I told my kids. It's sweet, delicious, and pink.
Sometimes we feel its seeds on our tongues.
Sometimes it's too cold.
Sometimes it isn't sweet enough.
But it's always good.
For a while, when my kids were younger, I used the title above as a family slogan. Because God once showed himself to us in a strawberry smoothie.
When you have eight kids, it isn't always a good idea to let them go rogue when dining, which is to say, whenever we were out to eat, my husband usually did the ordering for the group. Trips to Hardees, on those rare mornings when we weren't having breakfast at home, meant he'd pull up at the drive-through ordering screen and order ten sausage and egg biscuit sandwiches amidst cheering and grumbling in equal measure and I was undoubtedly the biggest groaner. Inwardly, of course. Any disappointment I might have felt in my meal selection was offset by the relief I felt in not having to cook for the hoard myself.
As the kids got older, my husband let them deviate occasionally, IF they had their own pocket money to spend. Sometimes, they were able to buy themselves an add-on, as long as their siblings didn't mind. In other words, when the kids first started making their own purchases, they had to share, so no one felt left out. After a while, since so many of them enjoyed the liberty of being able to purchase something extra for themselves, they were keen on encouraging their siblings to do so without the pressure of having to divide the loot each time.
On one such morning our fourteen-year-old son, Connor, stood behind his father as he finished placing an order for the group, deciding that a strawberry smoothie would be the best way to spend a little of his cash. But when it was his turn to move forward, he remembered he had none left. The night before he'd given every cent he had to care for children in a third world country with malaria. When the girls and I had asked him if he wanted to contribute with us, he had enthusiastically given us all he had, even when I told him he didn't have to turn over all the money he had earned caring for our neighbors' horses, which, given his age, was considerable.
So, there he was, realizing there could be no strawberry smoothie that day, and of course, I had no idea what had been going through his head but I had noticed smoothies on the restaurant's marquis, knowing he'd want one, when an employee stepped out from behind a counter and looked at me, asking me if I'd like a strawberry smoothie. They'd made an extra one and it would go to waste if I didn't take it.
Well, of course I took it. Strawberry smoothies were Connor's favorite thing in the world! "Thank you," I said. "I have a son who would love that!" (Family rules aside in that moment.) And I turned and handed the smoothie to Connor, then standing beside me.
The timing was brilliant to Connor's mind.
It was topped with whipped cream.
When he shared what his his thoughts had been as that smoothie made its way to him, I wasn't a bit surprised. It's the way God rolls. It was the perfect illustration for Connor and his siblings that day.
When you are generous, God's generosity increases.
When you take care of people, God takes care of you.
He might even give you a strawberry smoothie! With sweet whipped cream!