During this last half term in U.K. schools, I was privileged to spend the day with one of my spiritual grand children. We watched a movie, went round to an arcade and then she kept going on about wanting to go to ‘build a bear workshop’ in the shopping mall. Now, I’ve been to this shopping mall numerous times and I’ve never seen the shop before; but my granddaughter told me to pick a map so we could find the shop. The level of insistent was great, that I had never noticed before.

We got in and I saw a large number of children and a very colourful shop; ok, so we were definitely in the right place. As I walked through the door, one of the assistants knew I was confused and asked me if I needed assistance; which I did. I was told that we should pick a bear (to buy!) and then walk round the shop, going from one station to the other to stuff the bear, pick a name, a voice, glitter etc for the bear! First, I was thinking we were going into a play centre, so I thought we would sit down and she would build a bear and we would go; not knowing it was ‘buy a bear!’ I kept telling myself it wasn’t about the money, but I was feeling as if the shop’s intention is to entice children and force parents into appeasing the children because they’ve seen all these eye level appealing things for their ‘perfect bear’.

My granddaughter was asked to name the bear and even got a birth certificate for it!! All this alarmed me but I had to keep going from station to station – we were in a line and at this point it was difficult to turn round and walk out; first, what do you tell your child and second everyone would be wondering why you can’t spend on your child; so you’re likely to be judged as uncaring!!
We finally got to a place where I had to put my foot down. My granddaughter picked a glittery pink dress and shoes for her bear! I went, ‘oh no…I refuse to buy a dress and heeled shoes for a 4 legged bear!!!’ I said to her, ‘no we don’t want that’ but she said to me ‘grandma’ yes I do want that, you don’t have to, don’t worry: it’s for my bear not yours!’ How was I to explain to her?! So I started all over again that I would definitely be happy to buy her or even her doll a glittery dress and shoes, but surely not a 4 legged bear! She reluctantly but nicely followed me as I chose to buy a bag instead and I told her I got the bag for her and not the bear.

By the time we got to the checkout desk, I was a genuinely shocked grandma and even blamed the cashier and said that I thought the shop was unfair to children and parents. To which he answered me by asking; oh, would you like a membership card for a discount next time? I said oh NO; there wouldn’t be a next time now I know what this is all about. I looked around and realised that other parents were happily going from station to station having a good time and happily flashing their credit cards… what’s the difference between them and myself I thought? Expectation & Preparation!

When you expect something, you’re prepared for it and able to handle it better than someone who is completely unprepared.

One of the beautiful scriptures that helps with this issue of preparedness and expectation is

Joshua 3:5
Joshua told the people, prepare yourselves for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders amongst you.

God wanted to visit His people so He could launch them into what He had prepared for them ahead, they needed to get ready so they could experience and enjoy His visitation and the associated blessings. Expectation always leads to preparation and then the result that follows is not a surprise. At Gateway Chapel, this year is our year of Divine Visitation and we expect God’s visitation in every area of our lives and are not surprised as the miracles keep pouring in.

The other parents in the shop knew what to expect and prepared for it, so they joyfully went from stand to stand, whereas I surely wasn’t prepared enough and didn’t enjoy the experience – I’m not even certain my spiritual granddaughter enjoyed it either – hopefully she will not remember her experience with her dramatic grandma in the shop!

Prepare to experience great things from God this year and your dreams will surely come to pass according to His will in Jesus name

God is on your side!

PB

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