Monday, June 21, 2010

A few thoughts on some spilt milk...

Last week I was making Mac and Cheese for Alyssa, my four-year-old, and she wanted to help. Not wanting to dash her passion for “cooking” I said, “Of course you can help!” Well, the problem with that is there’s really not a whole lot to do besides boiling the water, putting in the noodles, draining, and adding the cheese and milk. And, the majority of these steps involve standing over a hot pan and stove. So, naturally, I wanted to be extremely careful as she “helped” me pour in the noodles, stir them up so they didn’t stick, and so on. I mean, learning to work around a hot stove is important but it’s not really one of those skills you want your pre-schooler to acquire by making mistakes and winding up with a severe burn! Admittedly, I’m a little overly cautious in these situations.

Finally we had successfully boiled the water and the noodles, drained the water, deposited the noodles back into the pan and all we had to do was pour in the milk and the cheese…we were SO close to being done. I told Alyssa I could finish up while she sat at the table but she was determined to see the lunch mission through to the end. Again, not wanting to thwart a chef in the making, I said, “OK, get back up on your stool, CAREFULLY, don’t touch anything, Mommy will help you pour the milk into the pot.” She followed directions precisely. But, Mommy’s arm got in the way. Somehow between trying to help her climb back up on her perch, trying to protect her from the hot stove, and trying to hold the ¼ cup of milk up and out of the way I misjudged something. I didn’t realize I was holding my arm too low over her head and when my sweet girl stood all the way up on the stool she had no way of knowing that she would bump – ever so slightly – into the arm holding the milk. And that’s all it took. It was just one quarter of a cup of milk…and my daughter had just barely bumped my arm…it was really more of a gentle nudge…just a small amount of liquid came out of a very small container…and yet – it seemed to go EVERYWHERE!

Milk splashed onto the hot stove top, immediately scalding. Drops of milk hit the counters, the floor, the sink, the utensils that sit next to the stove. I stood there in disbelief for a brief moment; shocked at how far reaching the damage appeared to be. Of course Alyssa thought it was her fault and I had to assure her that although Mommy needed her to go in the other room for a few minutes so the mess could be cleaned up, it wasn't a mess that she had caused. Then I went to work mopping up. A good 5-10 minutes later, I was finally done and still in amazement. The measuring cup sitting innocently on the counter was still practically full and my mind still couldn't grasp how so little milk could have splattered so far and wide! How could such a small bump on the arm cause this incredibly small amount of liquid to cover so much territory?

That's when the AHA moment finally hit me. (At least if I had to clean up burnt milk from my stove top I could actually get something out of it, right?) Just then I realized that's exactly what happens in life. I thought of the place in the Bible when Jesus says, "Out of the abundance of the heart (the) mouth speaks!" And I thought of all the times I'd listened to men and women talking on this passage about how whatever a container is filled with is exactly what will pour out if it spills over. The reminders that what you fill your heart with is what will spill out any time you hit even a little bump in the road. But on this day I learned something more. I knew that when we hit bumps in life whatever's inside of us - good or bad; positive or negative; fair or foul - is exactly what will come out...BUT the AHA came when I realized that even if it's a teeny tiny amount of what's inside of us that does spill can still go EVERYWHERE! Even one kind or unkind word can go a long way and make a big difference in someone else's day or in their overall impression of who we are and what we're made of. Or, more importantly, one word can sometimes rescue or destroy a person who has come to a critical point in life. In Proverbs we read that a harsh word (A Harsh Word - even just one) stirs up anger while a gentle answer can diffuse a situation. We can never really know how big an impact even the smallest frown or snippy reply can make. Or, on the other hand, how much joy a quick smile or short kind word can bring. And, we can never know how many people can be impacted by such a seemingly insignificant act. A small splash can hit a lot of spots! And, sometimes the spots can't all be wiped clean!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fears to Faith

I've been going through the book Real Moms Real Jesus by Jill Savage with some friends on Wednesday nights. Last night one of the discussion questions centered on the fears that we have that we need to hand over to God, believing He is in control and will bring about the best possible outcome for everyone involved. I have a couple of fears that came to mind immediately. #1 - My loved ones who don't know God...what will happen to them? Will they make an eternal-life saving choice before it's too late? In many cases I've been asked to back off and am trying to respect that request. But, many times the absence of opportunity to discuss leads to lots of opportunities to worry. Not good! Jesus tells us not to worry. But, does He mean even about this? Yes, I think, definitely. It's so hard though. Prayer is my only option here. I know that sounds ridiculous even as I type it. Prayer is the most powerful option. It gets me out of the way and leaves room for the Lord of the Universe to work. I know I know I know I KNOW! But, oh what a temptation it is to worry and fear. #2 - It's too late to have another baby...hasn't happened in the year or so that we've been trying...I'm gonna be 40 in a couple of weeks so even if we get pregnant there are so many risks! I know so many friends who have struggled with infertility or secondary infertility. Never thought I'd have trouble getting pregnant after having our precious girl four years ago. I CANNOT CONTROL THIS...even with counting the days on the calendar and taking every "opportunity" we can. Life is a miracle, it's a choice by God to decide to give us a precious gift. So far, we've only received that gift once and that may be all (unless we adopt someday of course). But, oh how I WANT to be in control. I want to be pregnant...with a boy...who would be born happy, healthy, with no defects. Why do I feel so guilty for wanting that so badly? Why do I get my hopes up every month just to be disappointed? I believe this is a kind of fear...a fear of something NOT happening...really that's the case with both of my fears isn't it? But, God KNOWS...God LOVES...God CARES!
So, there you have it, my struggle to let my God turn my fears into faith! Thanks for challenge, Mrs. Savage!
~ Jill
PS - One of the Carpet Installers just told me I'm thinking too hard! Ha ha! ;)