At the very beginning of The Game of LIFE,™  there’s the option of “Career Path” or “College Path.” This first square sets the stage for ripple effects to follow as your brightly colored plastic car continues its journey.

Likewise, many important sections of the brain are set in motion, making much of the cadence of future relationships and interactions by age of four years old. The brain’s growth and experiences leading up to this age is paramount and has great, often undersold influences throughout one’s life.

Whoah. Let’s stop right there. That is a lot to take in, and many of you might feel a huge weight with this knowledge, as you think on your own early days or the early days of a loved little one. Hold on, lest we forget there’s a Healer.

The God of all hope made the human brain to remain moldable throughout the entire human life span. Although so much is set in motion in our early years, for those of us who had a motion different than the Lord intended, hear this again—your brain is able to change, and was designed to. In the same way, as you make your way down the game board in LIFE™, you get a chance to make a change later on when you reach the Night School space, even after the formation of those early days.  Thankfully, here’s where we differ from the game—the Lord’s intervention doesn’t depend on us “arriving.” He wants us whole as soon as possible.

When my youngest turned four, I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask. I remember asking myself one night as I stood beside the dishwasher after everyone was asleep… Did she get everything? 

This was compounded by the fact that she was headed for preschool in a matter of weeks. She was a young four-year-old with a summer birthday who had never been to school, and this mother’s heart was taking all of that into account. However, my daughter’s heart was fine. She put on those Patten leather Mary Janes and carried the confidence of the world with her every step.

Still my longing remained to know she was whole and the recipient of everything she needed so far.

The night before school, she said she had a stomachache, which I completely put in the school anxiety category. Never did I dream we were beginning a nightmare of a medical diagnosis that would, thankfully, involve a good prognosis—if you had the patience to wait for pain relief for several weeks and months.

The memory verse our family memorized the year before came to mind:

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”

(James 1:2-4, NIV84).

As the weeks unfolded, I literally watched the question marks in our adult minds dim in the light of the exclamation points and connections my daughter was making in her own faith…in her own brain. She believed wholeheartedly God was taking care of her in the midst of her pain. She was so sure of it, and Josh and I watched her start to fall in love with her Jesus.

We still do not know all of the reasons, but we know she needed this for part of her story.

But for a season we felt like we missed everything. We missed birthday parties, a semester of school, field trips, family gatherings, our beloved church…you name it…we felt like we missed everything. Then the paradox turned to a straight path of clarity. We recalled she needed this.

She needed this so that in a life when her parents want her to have everything, she wouldn’t be lacking in anything.

What if we started thinking in this way? Is there a current situation in your life where you feel you are missing something? Do you find yourself comparing your life to someone else’s in a desire for “everything?” Even a desire for things you label as “good?” Label the situation on a sticky note or piece of paper you have next to you. Now put it in the context of James 1:2-3. While you still may not understand all of the puzzle pieces, trust Him that it is in preparation for your good. He does not withhold good.

In fact, the your road to everything is in not lacking anything (Matthew 6:33).

Courtney Strong lives in Houston, Texas, and is a licensed professional counselor, author and speaker. She and her husband, Josh have been married for twelve years and love raising a young superhero and charming little princess.