Unfortunately, getting that glimpse today came at a cost. It came from seeing shattered remains of some of my most loved items.
We attended a picnic today at an apple orchard less than 5 minutes away with some great families of young children in our church. The weather was PERFECT and it's one of our favorite places. When Bradlee woke up, the first thing out of his mouth was "Is it time? Can I go get my lunch box out of the fridge?" Excitement was in the air as we began to enjoy a tiny glimpse of our FAVORITE season. I love FALL!!!!! (Just don't remind me it ushers in the MISERABLE Illinois winter when for months you see nothing but gray skies and the wind cuts like a knife.)
While I was getting ready to go, I heard a certain little 4 YO squealing at the top of his lungs. He was chasing the big kids and the dog through the living room. He quickly retreated to the safety of our bedroom and SLAMMED the door with EVERY ounce of his strength. That slam shook the adjoining wall so hard that an entire shelf of my most loved "treasures" came crashing down. Shattered. Broken. Irreplaceable. Beyond Repair.
It's JUST things. THINGS are NOT people. There are BIGGER issues to worry about and "stuff" really doesn't compare. However, it hurt. It hurt because of the attachment I have placed on those items. You see, when holidays come around it takes EVERYTHING we have and more to provide appropriate gifts for our children. Gifts to Kevin and I from the kids or to each other are FEW and FAR between. The other holidays and special days fall in the middle of other financially binding times, so it has become normal to only spend a few dollars on each other. When you can generally only spend about $25, finding the PERFECT gift becomes a journey. Kevin has become great about finding things that he KNOWS I will love. They generally have a meaningful Bible verse or reminder about our relationship, family or motherhood on them. Many times I pause to see those items and it gets me through another rough day or helps me to refocus on what is important.
THAT is what was on the shelf that now was on the ground in hundreds of pieces. A physical reminder of WHY we are on the path that we are. A reminder of where we've been, where we are going and what God might just possibly have in store for us. It was also a focal point for me that I found symbolic. THOSE items were important. Those items meant the world to me. Anyone that really knows me knows that little things SPEAK volumes to me and sentimental gifts are what I "need". I'm never going to be one that can go out and see something beautiful in a store and just walk up and buy without thinking about if it fits into the budget. Even the smallest of purchases have to be planned for. I accept that as part of choosing to be at home with our family. IT IS WORTH IT!
The revelation that showed me how I had grown and changed in recent months came from my reaction. I didn't yell. I didn't breakdown. I didn't sit in the floor and cry (even though I REALLY wanted to!). I calmly picked up the large broken pieces, vacuumed up the tiny ones and then gave me child a BIG hug. The hug that said:
- it's OK, accidents happen....even if you may not have been on your best behavior.
- you may have broken almost every last one of my "treasures " in the last 2 years (while the older 2 have only broken 1 or 2 in their entire lives), but you are MUCH bigger of a treasure to me.
- my heart is broken right now, but I see that yours is probably even more so and I'm going to step outside of myself and comfort you
I know that life is changing for me because of that instant reaction. God IS giving me a calmer spirit in the face of heartbreak and adversity. I still mess up more than I get right most days, but I know that I'm heading in the right direction.
I also thought about those broken pieces and how I wonder how God feels when He sees me shatter something. What about when I know what is right, but do something different? Lose my temper? Break someones spirit? Don't fulfill my potential? Hold onto unforgiveness or bitterness? Get caught up in jealousy? Gossip? Bad attitude? Ungratefulness? That list could continue on indefinitely. When He looks down at me and my shattered pieces, I think He "hugs" me with the same forgiveness and comfort that I gave Bradlee. THAT is grace. THAT is forgiveness. THAT is TRUE love. THAT is CHRIST! I'm so very thankful that He sees beyond my wrong actions or inactions and LOVES anyway! Nothing is more beautiful than that. THAT doesn't have to sit on a shelf and be treasured....that LIVES within each of us that call Christ our Savior. THAT will never be broken and shattered in a million pieces.