For spring break we went on a youth trip and brought our two little girls with us. We went to Six Flags and this was a first for my youngest daughter. To see both of their faces light up with excitement was priceless. We rode every kid ride twice and even rode a couple of “big kid” rides. We danced with the characters (from afar) and took pictures with the Amazing Wonder Woman (my daughter never realized she did not wear pants until we actually met her face-to-face).
In the evening we ventured off where all of the competitive games were and their prizes were HUGE! Immediately my girls spotted the unicorn from “Despicable Me” and in their cutest girly manner asked my husband to “PLEEAASEEE!” win them the unicorn. I instantly saw my husband’s heart melt and away we went to shoot water in the tiny bulls eye. Now, my husband is a sports guy; he can play anything and everything. So already I was planning which student would have to ride on top of the van on the way home thanks to this GIANT white and pink unicorn (kidding kids…and parents). Of course, he won! But instead of the unicorn, she gave us this hideous, tiny, scary purple owl that was not displayed anywhere. The girl then began to explain that if we pay again and win, we can trade the scary Harry Potter owl for a medium unicorn, which can then be traded for the giant one once you pay a third time and win. INSANE!!! My husband looks at me and says “I’m not paying all that money for a pony.” However, our 6-year old and 3-year old girls could not understand all of this. All they knew was that their hero daddy won, yet they still did not have U-NI (they’d named it at this point). They were standing there…smiles on their face…just waiting. I think it would have helped at this point if they threw a fit, because at least there would be some justification for the mutant owl. But they are being sooo good! He just looks at them, looks at me, then tells the girl he will play one more time to trade! And guess what…HE WINS!!! YEAAAAA Daddy!!! He traded the hideous owl for the beautiful unicorn! And it was the medium-sized one…so EVERYONE got to ride in the van! 🙂
As I stood back watching all of this play out, I felt the Lord speak quietly to my heart. He said, “I too will trade your ashes and give you beauty.” You see, the Lord is in the trading business too. Except with God, I don’t have to pay and pay and pay to get something bigger in return. I only need to give Him my fears, my failures, my insecurities, my pain, my offense and all the other “burned ashes” in my life. Then, ever so gently He will trade them for Boldness, Confidence in Him, Grace, Mercy, Love and Healing in my heart! In Isaiah 63:3 it says, “He will give you beauty for ashes, joy for mourning, and peace for despair.” So I challenge you today. Trade the owls in your life for the beautiful unicorn!!!