So, I have a guilty pleasure…no, it’s not the Bachelor or American Idol. It’s not cheese or chips, or gambling. I don’t smoke, drink, or swear. But I do like to play online games. Pretty sad, huh? Now, I have about a million things to cram in my day, and arguably these are an enormous waste of time. They really are. But some days, they are my reward…my way de-stressing after a busy day and calming my brain down (do you hear all that justification!?)
Today, just this afternoon, in the midst of my guilty pleasure, God spoke loud and clear…and made me and my kids laugh out loud.
Anyways, one of my new favorite games is called Candy Crush Saga on facebook, or as it is known in our house, “The Saga.” Each board has a different task to complete either in a predetermined amount of moves or time. You complete the tasks by swapping the colored candy-looking objects around making a row of three, four, or five alike. It sounds so simplistic, and really it is, but the challenges get more and more difficult as you go, and well, it gets quite addicting.
Now, my hubby used to play video games a lot, and loves role playing games. I grew up with the original Nintendo and fell in love with puzzle-type games, like Dr. Mario. Our poor children were predisposed to video game fascination, so we have to be very careful about how much screen time we all have! I generally only indulge in my guilty pleasure once the wee little ones are asleep at night and the two older ones are on their way to be tucked in. Of course, the bright colored candy screen objects caught their attention one night, and my husband and two older boys were sucked in right along with me.
And so, the next few nights, sandwiched between teeth brushing and story time, my boys would cheer me on in the ever-so-important game of Candy Crush Saga. It became a fun 10 minute little ritual…until I got stuck on board 65. With only 5 lives allotted at a time, I stayed at board 65 for weeks. Every night, we gathered to see mommy quickly lose all of her lives, time and time again. It was impossible. I didn’t even get close. Still, faithfully, we log on to Candy Crush Saga thinking maybe, just maybe, I can beat the board.
This morning, we finished our chores and our school work early. This could be due to the fact that a new early riser in the house who has enjoyed waking up her mama at 5:30 a.m. all week. We had so much extra time that I even retold some extra Bible stories in my own words, which my kids love because I try to make them a little funny to keep their attention. One of my 4-year-olds favorites is the parable of the persistent widow, or the sistent widder, as he calls it. He told me this morning that the sistent widder was on his heart, so we talked through that one in addition to Joseph, Job, and Abraham.
Being a creature of schedule, I wasn’t sure what to do with the hour of extra time between school and lunch. I started searching for craft material, seeing as Miss Rooster was snoozing, when my boys asked “Could you play the Saga?” Even my two year old excitedly hopped in my lap, hoping to catch a glimpse of this fabled game he hears about. I figured I would lose my 5 lives in 10 minutes or less and then we could move on to our craft.
Faster than usual, I blew through 4 of my 5 lives. It was then that my 4 year old informed me that he started praying that I beat this board a few days ago. My 6 year old excitedly said, “That’s a great idea! Let’s pray!” Me, being the wonderful, spiritual mother that I am, shamefully replied “Well, go ahead, but I’m thinking Jesus probably doesn’t care much if we ever beat this board on this silly game.” This is one of those times when I am actually glad that they ignored me. They said a quick prayer and I pressed start. Wouldn’t you know it? I beat the board…with 10 moves to spare. They both got so excited, my oldest started to cry, and immediately they thanked God.
I could so easily explain this away. I had been playing this darn thing for weeks, I should have been able to beat it. I could easily call this a coincidence. But what I’m choosing to call it was a huge lesson for my kids…and me. God does care about the little things. We spend so much time in our family talking about children around the world who don’t have mommies or daddies, or clean water, or food. We serve in places where people need compassion and care. We are trying so hard to open our kids’ eyes to see the world around them through God’s eyes. But what I have failed to do as a mom is tell my kids how limitless, awesome, caring, detail-oriented and fun God is. I still look at life this way: why would God answer a prayer about a dumb game while someone somewhere is dying from starvation? My six year old said this, just as this thought was going through my brain: we can pray as many prayers as we want. There’s no limit. And He can answer any ones He wants, because He’s God.
They immediately wanted to call daddy and tell them that we aren’t stuck on that board in the Saga…but they told him that I didn’t beat it, but God did. It made me laugh. God really gave me a good laugh. He reminded me that He is much bigger than I daily think him to be, and He reminded me by playing a game with me. He showed my kids and I that while we are sitting here wasting time, entertaining our brains for a few minutes, He is sitting here with us, enjoying watching us having fun.
The icing on the cake was hearing my boys tell my husband “God is so fun…and funny.” You know what? He is. We are made in his image…and we are fun and funny sometimes. The Bible refers to the fact that God laughs, dances, and sings over us. I too often forget that!
Who knew that a midday game of Candy Crush Saga could bring such breakthrough and renew a heart of joy? I sure didn’t expect that one, but I’m glad He chose to speak to us in such a fun way today!