There is a treasure in our house, something that is priceless to us. No, it isn’t a famous painting, or a piece of valuable jewelry, or an expensive sports car. As a matter of fact, if you saw this item, you might think it was destined for the donation bin at Goodwill or perhaps the trash heap. It doesn’t look like much, but it holds a special place in our family story and in the formation of a little girl’s faith.
When Molly, our oldest, was three years old, we were going through a time of major transition. We had recently decided to move from Colorado to Southern California for my husband’s job, and we were also expecting our second child. Our house was for sale and our plans were laid to make the move in a few months’ time. One weekend, we decided to take Molly to the Homecoming Parade at the Colorado State University campus. We loaded up the stroller and all of our first-child accoutrements (you travel much lighter with subsequent kids!) and headed downtown. Along for the ride was Molly’s special stuffed animal, the donkey from Winnie-the-Pooh. As those of you who are Pooh fans will doubtless know, his real name is Eeyore. In our family, however, he has long been known as “Dadoo”, dubbed by Molly as one of her first words. Somehow, the name stuck and we still catch ourselves calling Eeyore “Dadoo” and receiving strange looks from those outside the family. Dadoo was a gift to Molly from her daddy and I, and he has watched over her from her earliest days in the hospital crib. Dadoo went everywhere with Molly, from church to the grocery store to naptime to Grandma’s house. So, in typical Molly fashion, he also accompanied us this day to the parade.
Several hours later, we packed up to go home. The plan was to leave a very tired and pregnant Mom home to take a nap, while Daddy and Molly went to the football game (this arrangement made everyone happy!). Upon arriving home, however, as they were preparing to leave for the game, a little voice suddenly asked, “Where’s my Dadoo?” After a frantic search of the car, the stroller and the backpack did not turn up a certain little donkey, Molly began to cry in earnest. We tried to assure her that we would find him, but as our eyes met over the top of her head, our faces showed something near panic. We finally convinced Molly to leave for the game, assuring her that Mommy would go back to the campus and search high and low until Dadoo was found.
I raced back to campus and commenced searching. I walked every inch of the path we had taken…once, twice, three times. Tears began rolling down my cheeks as I silently conversed with God. “Please, Lord, Molly needs this donkey. She’s never slept a night without him in her whole life. Everything is changing, God…she’s leaving her home, her grandparents, adding a new baby to the family. Now is NOT the time to lose her security object. I’m such a terrible mother…I should have checked the stroller before we left. Please, God, please…let me find this silly donkey.” My stomach knotted and my heart sank as I searched everywhere, over and over again, with no success. I searched as long as I could until my pregnant body could walk no more. I drove home in tears, pleading with God for help in finding this very important donkey.
When my little girl raced into the house that evening, with hope shining in her eyes and said, “Where’s Dadoo, Mommy?”, it was all I could do to tell her that my search had been unsuccessful. I watched as her face fell, her eyes spilled over with tears and she collapsed in my arms. “What are we gonna do, Mommy? I can’t sleep without my Dadoo…Daddy, what if I never see him again?” I looked up at Alan and saw my own anguish reflected on his face. I never thought to see my husband almost at the point of tears over a lost stuffed toy, but his daughter’s pain was breaking his heart. We rocked and consoled her and then we gathered to pray. We pleaded with God to bring Dadoo home, and honestly, I didn’t feel silly at all bothering the Creator of the Universe with our seemingly insignificant request. I listened to Molly pour out her heart to God and I worried…what if God didn’t bring Dadoo home? What would that do to her sweet, childlike faith? We put her to bed and went to bed ourselves, completely depressed.
Over the next couple of days, I kept hearing a refrain in my head. We had recently been singing a song at church that came from Jeremiah 32 and said, “Is anything too difficult for Thee?” Instead of those words, I kept hearing “Is anything too trivial for Thee?” We prayed and we tried to comfort our inconsolable daughter and we finally came up with a wild idea…to put a classified ad in the newspaper. We knew it was a long shot. After all, who would possibly pick up such a ragged stuffed animal and then actually look in the “Lost” section of the newspaper? But we were desperate…our precious little girl was miserable, barely eating and crying herself to sleep each night. I picked up the phone to call the local paper, and as I began reading the ad to the woman on the other end of the phone, she suddenly interrupted me. Stumbling over her words in her excitement, she proceeded to tell me that she had just taken another call…from a woman placing an ad in the “Found” section. You guessed it—she had found Molly’s Dadoo and recognized it as well-loved, not ragged. We quickly called this woman and listened as she described finding Dadoo. She said, “I could tell it was really loved and just kept thinking about that child out there who was missing it.” She refused any reward and urged us to come right over and pick him up.
Molly’s joy at being reunited with Dadoo was matched by our joy in watching her. She was overcome with gratitude to God for “bringing Dadoo home” and kept saying, “He really did it…He really brought Dadoo home!” Our hearts were overwhelmed at the goodness of God—that He really cared about a sad little girl and her little lost donkey. None of us have ever forgotten that week or the faith lessons we learned. We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that nothing is too trivial in the lives of His children, and that He even cares about ragged, stuffed donkeys named Dadoo.
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