The Life Changing Power Of Paperclips

I stumbled across a life changing article recently. It was called “God of the Paperclips”  —  a title so intriguing I put my coffee down, quickly swallowed the last bite of my banana and immediately clicked the link.

What followed was a great perspective on God’s specific interest in every single aspect of our lives, right down to the paperclips. The author, Susan K. Stewart, made a great point when she asked this question. How often do we assume God doesn’t fully care about us? And then offered, “If we, as parents, are interested in every detail of our children’s lives, why wouldn’t He be interested in every detail of ours?”

She broke it down simply.

  1. A Need Is Not A Call — don’t misunderstand someone else’s need for your call. We can’t do everything (what a concept) and it’s easy to misinterpret this; sometimes causing us to become overwhelmed when we choose to pick up someone else’s paperclips.
  2. Ponder Your Motives — Carefully consider the possibility you are being driven by your own guilt or sense of obligation over God’s direction. Then continue to step carefully. God will often only give enough specific directions to only take us to the next step. Then more come in His timing.
  3. Talk With God — Too often our own aimless efforts cause undue stress and loss of joy. The reality often is that we never stop to talk with “the architect of the universe for the blueprint of our little jobs” in the first place.

I agreed with her completely. Certainly it’s easy to get caught up in the ever present craziness of daily life. This alone can cause unnecessary stress that can be removed by  simply scaling back on our own self-directed efforts in favor of the less noisy but more important direction of God.

But I saw something deeper beneath her light hearted lesson and took it one step further. When we commit those small details, even the paperclips, to Him, it is powerful and life changing.

As I read, I was immediately taken back to a time in my life when I was so overwhelmed, so stressed, so broken down, I couldn’t possibly handle even the smallest paperclips in my life.

I was living every parent’s worst nightmare as one of my children fought the battle of her life against addiction. In the beginning, I quickly slid into rescue mode. Surely I could redirect, counsel, advise and pray her back because, of course, it was my job as a parent to save her. And I was prepared to fight with everything I had, whatever the cost.

And for many years that’s exactly what I did.

One by one, I watched as other parents lost their children for good and the fear my child would be next consumed me. Until the day I realized all my efforts to save her were futile. I had been driven by my own guilt (surely I had done/not done something as a parent to cause the situation)  and need for control (I was positive I could fix things), all in the name of saving her; as my own life–right down to the paperclips–fell apart.

Until I had no choice but to let go and place my precious child fully into God’s hands and step back.

Empty handed.

When I did — when I realized my child’s need was not my call, when I understood I was being driven by my own motives and when I ultimately had no where else to go but to the feet of God; everything changed.

So broken, my simple prayer was only two words and the unmistakable response almost as simple.

“Now what?”

“Just take a step.”

And slowly, I began to only pick up the small things. The things that had been so impossible before. The things that belonged only to me.

Today my child is healed. And while I am certain the nightmare is over.  She is the one reminding me to stay focused on JUST taking one simple step at a time, for now.

For always.

Because the real power of restoration, forgiveness and grace begins there. In God’s eyes there really are no big things just small steps of faith taken one at a time while He walks right beside us through all of it. Every detail.

Right down to the paperclips.






About The Author


Lover of reading, writing, sparkly things and whatever purrs, barks or flies. Former helicopter mom, co-dependent and enabler, I am addicted to walking, my family and my iWatch. Teacher by day and writer by night, I am clearly the one learning the most. Keeping it up until I get it right. Choosing joy one day at a time and sharing my journey so others can see why it might not be found if we don’t look for it. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Diana Leagh Matthews | 19th Oct 16

    It’s amazing how we have to be broken to hand the small things over to God. That is how restoration begins. He reminds us that His ways are not our ways. Thank you for sharing part of your testimony.

    • Laura | 19th Oct 16

      Thanks for you insight and support! It’s truly appreciated!

  2. Susan K. Stewart | 19th Oct 16

    I’m blessed, Laura, that you were moved by my article. Thank you for sharing your story. I often still find myself wanting to fix in my family members what only God can do.

    • Laura | 19th Oct 16

      I hope I represented you well, Susan. You blessed me so much with your words. Please feel free to share as I can get all the help I can get with traffic, lol!

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