Allie loves the movie Tangled, but this word took on whole new meaning recently. While at Bible study, the children gathered. Some played with Legos and blocks, while Allie decided upon deceivingly cute Bunchems — colorful little doodads that, bunched together, create all sorts of fun shapes. If, however, said manipulatives find their way into a child’s hair, all the fun flies out the window. Indeed, this is one thing I learned at Bible study.

Taking Allie directly to a beauty salon, I attempted to overcome worry and more than a hint of frustration with visions of the cute, though very short, summer hairdo Allie would sport. She pleaded in the car, stating she’d rather cut the hair than have me fight to free those feisty toys. The beautician, however — whose name we discovered was Dawn — took one look at the mess and told us there was simply nothing she could do. “I really can’t cut the hair because it would leave a significant bald spot,” Dawn declared. “Honey, my advise — go home and work the hair free a little at a time.” She demonstrated, handing me a comb — then offered one more suggestion. “Pop popcorn and turn on a movie. Distraction’s your best weapon.”

So, sitting on the edge of the couch with Allie on the floor in front of me, I stared wide-eyed at the knotted nest before me. How ever? But surprisingly, as I began, anxiety dissipated. Before long I was lost in thought — even the TV, though a successful distraction for Allie, unnoticed. Wielding comb and detangler (a pair of scissors nearby, just in case), I worked. And not a surprise, as I dealt with my daughter’s head, Jesus dealt with my heart. I heard —

Haven’t you been asking Me to ripen the Fruit of the Spirit in you?

Indeed, I’d been praying that, and now I sensed my living room was holy ground. A peace settled — the clock counting down minutes as a matted mess worked patience in no time. Irritability was overcome with kindness with each gentle tug and tease of my comb. Though there’d been the desire to yank out those blasted Bunchems, I refrained — demonstrating self-control. Despite the temptation to quit, I celebrated the first two liberated toys from Allie’s locks — choosing instead to persevere, faithful to complete the task. Infectious joy spilled out and over when the show made my girl giggle, and it dawned on me — God’s goodness was everywhere. And all this, in just the few moments it took to untangle her hair. Love for my daughter welled up as I squeezed her shoulders, whispering, “All done.”

Later, as I picked a mess of berries for dinner, I discovered anew — ripened fruit hanging heavy. With fingers stained purple, I thanked Him for answered prayer, in the unexpected — yes, even tangled — places.