I was having a pity party. Sitting alone on a short stool in our bedroom, almost literally facing a corner, I was feeling sorry for myself.

I had slept just three hours the night before, on either side of a 3 a.m. cry out to God about why. Why had this happened. Why had that happened. Why did it feel like the enemy had a target on my back. And, then, this: Why, as I cried, did He move our grandkids five hours away. After all, they were my joy! In moments like this, in the middle of any difficult circumstance, these two-year-old and six-year-old gems just made my heart sing. Every time. Without fail. No matter what. All I had to do was be with them. Pure joy.

I was telling our daughter about my pity party later that day. Admittedly, I didn’t call it that. I just mentioned a conversation I had with God, of course. After all, what 60-year-old mother would admit to her very adult, capable, professional daughter that she’d had a pity party...especially about something as small on the scale of life as her grandchildren moving 300 miles away? When I told her that I couldn’t understand why God would move the one pure joy in my life, she became quiet. I don’t really know how one knows on a phone call, before a word is spoken, that the tone has changed, but I did.

Her response was kind and gentle not accusatory or damning. “Mom,” she said, “don’t take this the wrong way [a bit of a pause], but isn’t that like making them sort of an idol?”

Now, the pause was on my end. Earlier that morning, I’d opened an online devotional and the first words that blinked on to the screen were these:

You shall have no other gods before Me.

Exodus 20:3

No other gods. None. Nothing is to be more important in your life than I AM. Not your work. Not your spouse. Not your family. Not your ministry. Not your grandchildren. Not anywhere you shepherd.

Through tears I responded, “Yes, sweetheart, that’s why His response to me was, ‘I AM to be your pure joy.’” Immediate conviction. These sweet little ones may have started to become more than they were intended to be in my life. They were on the brink of becoming an idol, an object of extreme devotion, a false god, and He was using this circumstance to reveal that to me.

I AM the Bread of Life. I AM the True Vine. I AM the Light of the World. I AM the Good Shepherd. I AM your true joy. I AM is enough…

Are there any other gods in your life you need to confront?