Problems, Prayer, Paradise and a Platypus
Founder, Refined Family
Kerry Tittle is a mother of 10 children and an 20+-year homeschool veteran. She is the founder of Refined Family. Her desire is to honor Christ while comforting others with the comfort she has received from the Lord.
I keep thinking that at some point in my life I am going to quit being surprised at the things God does. He is insanely unpredictable!
I look through the Bible at the odd things He uses in the lives of people. A donkey, pots, trumpets, frogs, locusts………but for me… a platypus?
So what does my life have to do with a platypus?
A few months ago I wrote a blog entitled “Helping the Grieving Child.” I am still overwhelmed by how many different ways children can respond to trauma and grief: depression, acting out, seclusion, fear, violence … just to name a few. Our home was no different. I was appalled by some of our behavior – I mean after all we were supposed to be a Christian home!
Asa was particularly angry. This broke my heart because Asa use to be a very compliant child that never gave any problems. It was as if trauma transformed him into a completely different person.
In the blog I listed storytelling as a way for children to process trials. This was very common for my children anyway …. they are all storytellers. Asa began with a platypus in some funny named river in Australia. That was cute. But as he started telling me about “Flippers” the platypus, I realized he was processing his grief through storytelling!
I have learned that disappointments in life need expression. God’s actions are often incomprehensible to us and we are left with questions. We may affirm that God knows what He is doing, but it often doesn’t make sense to us. So, how do we respond to this tension: God is righteous and just but the circumstances He allows don’t seem to align with that?
God particularly wants us to bring our struggles and questions to Him through prayer. The is a weak area for me. I tend to “logically” conclude that God has spoken and that is final. It feels like the doors have closed on my life, so I stuff the pain and walk away. There seems to be no point in praying about it – my loved ones are gone and they are not coming back.
This type of thinking gives the enemy a foothold and we began to question if God is really good.
David’s cry for help is a perfect example of the type of release that is good for the soul.
Incline your ear, O LORD, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
Preserve my life, for I am godly; save your servant, who trusts in you-you are my God.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all the day.
Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call upon you.
Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace.
David is imploring God for mercy even in times when all looks hopeless. Why? Because he was a man after God’s own heart and he knew that continuing to release that hurt would unite his heart with the only One who could possible offer comfort. Stuffing the hurt and keeping it to yourself will cause you to wander….far.
Flippers is a young platypus who has lost his father and he is struggling with it. He’s angry and he doesn’t know how to handle it, so he talks to his mom. In the course of a moving conversation, Flippers’ mom helps Him better understand the larger plan of God to rescue a fallen world from the curse of sin and deliver the redeemed to paradise. She lifts his eyes from the immediate pain to the bigness of God and His faithful plan.
Flippers convicted me of my unwillingness to share all my hurt with the Father. It also created a great opportunity to talk to my son about prayer. Flippers needed to express the hurt and he was wise to go to his mom. Even more importantly, she pointed him to the Faithful One who loved him most. By releasing our hurt to Him, we move toward Him in a way that will help create a bond like no other.
In one crazy year Flippers went from an idea in my child’s head to a conviction in my heart and, now, a resource to help children think biblically and understand that God has a purpose in our suffering. Flippers also gives your child a glimpse of the paradise to come and the joy that is set before us!
Over the past year we have come to love Flippers! He is family! We want him to be part of your family too!
If you would like to purchase a copy, visit https://www.refinedfamily.org/flippers/.