March 18, 2015
The date: Monday night.
The situation: Hattie was crying. Again.
The location: Her bed, where she had to stay until she could get it together.
The scenario: Illogical tears. Again.
Me: “Hattie, you’ve got to get control of your emotions. You are getting far too upset over the smallest things tonight.”
(And every night. If anyone has any advice on dealing with a child who cries for 15 minutes over a situation like, say, this: “Edy said I didn’t have a crayon, but I did!” I’m all ears.)
Hattie: Sniffle, cry. Sniffle, cry.
Me: “Darling, you can’t control what other people say, but you can control how you respond. Edy and Christian were not being kind, but we have to learn to forgive people when…” (I’ll spare you the rest, but imagine eloquent words of wisdom to follow.)
Hattie, listening intently: Sniffle, cry. Sniffle. “Mommy?”
Hattie: “Do you have any foods you don’t like?”
Me, caught off-guard: “Umm…not really, sweetie. Do you?”
Hattie, completely calm: “Yes. Those peas with that sauce you made tonight.”
I’m beginning to suspect she staged the whole thing, just to voice a complaint about my cooking. Edy and Christian may have even been in on it.
Well played, Children. Well played.
We’ve had some dinner time battles around here lately. You know the type, right?
Mom spends (what feels like) hours cooking a delicious and healthy meal because she is a wonderful and considerate human being, and the kids complain. Mom explains that children around the world eat far less and far worse than this on a daily basis, and no one living under this roof has any right to complain. Kids complain. Mom warns that complaining Kids will eat the meal or get nothing else tonight. Kids still do not eat, and Mom breathes fire. Mom gives up and retreats to the pantry. Leftover Valentine’s candy and Starburst Jellybeans console her. (This is all hypothetical, of course.)
But Mom will try again tomorrow because she is fabulous.
Tomorrow she gets a note like this:
Mom wins, and all’s well again. Until dinner, that is.
Years ago, someone gave me a devotion book for mothers. I can’t remember whom. The cover is ugly and because I am vain and childish that meant it earned itself a spot on my bookshelf for several months. When I finally pulled it down and read a few lines, I was amazed. The ugly book was actually full of wisdom. Who’d a thunk it?
There’s a particular passage inside that has stuck with me over the years. It says, “A soul, who made rapid progress in her understanding of the Lord, was once asked the secret of her easy advancement. She replied, “Mind the checks.”
Yeah, it’s a little old-English-y, but the point is good. Pay attention to the little warnings God gives. That small, quiet voice can be trusted, and those gentle checks are meant to spare us much deeper pain later.
If only we’ll listen.
So I heard God these last few weeks. Or, at least, I noticed where he was checking me.
Four times, on four separate occasions, from four different women, I heard references to the story of Korah in the Old Testament.
Yeah, this could be coincidence. Or maybe not…
If you’re not familiar, Korah is the fellow who led a rebellion of priests against Moses and his brother, Aaron. Korah was a wee bit of a complainer and didn’t like the job God had given Moses, a seeming “more holy” position than his own. So after some whining here and complaining there, the ground opened up beneath him and swallowed Korah, his household and all his stuff. And that was the end of that.
Moral of the story: God does not like complainers.
Mind the checks.
I am tempted to whine about the weather today. (Spring is such a tease, isn’t it?) Or about the industrial-strength heartburn that keeps me up at night, and how no one likes my food. Or maybe about how my allergies are acting up and I’m about to have a baby and I don’t have time for sinus pressure, God.
I am tempted, but then there are those checks.
Where I am quick to be frustrated with my kids and their complaints, God cautions me through them. “See what ungratefulness looks like? You don’t appreciate it either, do you?” Where my mood tends to spiral as quickly as the clouds collect, God says, “Is this not still the day I have made?” When I am overly busy and brought low by sickness, God says, “Just a reminder, dear, you can’t handle this life even when you’re well. Let me be in charge, eh?”
God is exceptionally patient.
His checks are gentle.
His warnings are good.
His nature is kind.
Mind the checks, friends. (Because the ground does occasionally open up.)
Now, anyone want to come over for dinner? I have this delicious recipe for snow peas…
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