Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lessons from a Broken Candle

It was a Sunday night. The family had all gathered in the living room to finish out the evening in quiet rest. As usual, my teenage son asked if we had any "junk." You know what "junk" is. It is junk food. Sweets. Cookies, milkshakes... teen boys are not too picky.

I looked at my husband. I could see in his eyes that he was hopeful for "junk," too. So off to the kitchen I went.

Hmmmm... Brownies. Homemade brownies should do the trick. I grabbed the recipe and whipped them up quick as a snap. As I put the pan in the oven, I heard it.

Clang, crash, shatter.

"What was that?" I asked, slightly afraid of the answer. I overheard my husband, in his calm, collected voice, send a child to their bedroom.

I took a deep breath and went to confirm what I suspected was true. Sure enough, my new candle was knocked off the side table. It hit the stone floor. The floor was merciless to the glass jar.



My heart sank.


I had just gotten this candle a few weeks before in a gift package. It was a beautiful, pumpkin fall smelling candle. A little taste of home in a jar. An irreplaceable, expensive to ship taste of home.

As emotions rushed through, God reminded me of the person I left behind... the person I no longer wanted to be. A gentle whisper invaded my heart. "Here is an opportunity to do it right."



********************

My mind wanders back even now to haunted memories of my former self... the "old man" that hates being told, "No!" That person keeps wanting to creep back in.

I remember as my oldest child was young. He, too, had broken things. Only he was met with instant temper and anger. He had broken my things because of his carelessness. They were precious, irreplaceable things. So irreplaceable... that I cannot even remember what they were now.

My words injured. They stung right to the heart. Not just his little heart, but mine... and God's. An out of control temper. Emotions controlled my tongue and my actions.

I am so ashamed of this past, so why do I share it with you now? Maybe you, too, have struggled with emotions in the driver's seat of your life. I want to share with you how we can both have consistent victories in this area.


Treasure the Things God Treasures.

What moved Jesus to tears? It wasn't broken candles. It was people.

Luke 19:41 "And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, "

God didn't invest His most precious Treasure on material things. Christ died for people.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
People like my children. If we learn to treasure the things God treasures, we will treat them with great care and gentleness so that they will not get broken.



Walk in the Spirit.

Galatians 5:16 "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh."

Victory over our emotions comes from walking in the Spirit. When we lose our temper, we are not walking in the Spirit. And think of the fruit of the Spirit... the last one: temperance.

Matter of fact, all of the fruit of the Spirit applies here. Take a look and think of each one of these in light of losing our tempers and letting our emotions control us:

Gal 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."
Yelling is not a fruit. It's rottenness.

Be Kind.

How can I lose my temper with my children and then turn around and quote this verse when siblings don't get along:


Ephesians 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

Protect Little Hearts.

I cannot help but think of children sitting on my Saviour's lap as He taught and preached.


Mark 9:42 "And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea."
Oh, how our words can cause our children to stumble! Clearly, Jesus treasures children very much, and injuring them is very serious.

 

It's for Your Good and His Glory.


Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

ALL things?! Even broken candles???!!!! Yes, all things.

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven.


Matthew 6:19-21 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. "
It pays to have a loose hold on things in this world. Those things are temporary. We must focus on the eternal. How precious is the treasure laid up in Heaven if our children go with us! I would give up more than a candle for that!

Have FAITH!

When we are correcting our children for sin, if we feel we have to manipulate, yell, verbally injure, or attack them, it shows a lack of faith that the Holy Spirit can and will convict. It also shows that we do not trust that when we share God's Word with our children, His Word has the power to change their hearts.

Hebrews 4:12 "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. "

 Isaiah 55:1 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."

Also, before we go off stabbing our children with God's Word, we need to remember... It's the Sword of the Spirit, not our Sword to jab at the heart. We simply speak it with the desire to rescue and restore out of love. The Spirit is the one who must reach the heart. If we are jabbing blows at the heart, it is really just another form of manipulation... religious manipulation. A lack of faith.


Humble Yourself

I never really thought about applying this passage in the area of parenting, but put your imagination hat on for a minute. Is this not the attitude we have with our children when we discipline them out of anger?

Luke 18:10-12 "Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
I can just imagine...
"Lord, I thank thee that I am not like this child. I don't make mistakes. I don't spill things or break things or sin..."

Get the picture?

How much better to have this attitude in our hearts when we deal with our children:

Luke 18:13 "And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. "We must remember that we are in the same boat as our children. We are sinners that are hopeless without our Saviour. We fail, too. Our children are not our enemies. They are a priceless gift entrusted to us by a gracious God.


**********************
I entered his room upstairs. The candle was broken. The damage to the candle was done. I was determined not to do damage to the precious little heart that sat before me. I sat down on his bed with him. I silently submitted myself to the Lord and asked Him to help me not allow my emotions to control me. I wanted Him to control me.
We talked about how he broke my precious treasure, and how I couldn't get another one here. We talked about what had caused the accident. We talked about how he could keep from having that happen again. Then he asked if he could come out of his room. I told him no. I wasn't sure what to say past that, but he had not sought my forgiveness yet.
So we sat there and stared at each other. Suddenly, he just broke down crying.
"Do you forgive me, Mommy? I am sorry I broke your candle." Tears streamed down his little face, and he crawled up in my lap. I hugged him so tightly.
"I forgive you, Boo Bear. I really did like that candle, but you are more precious to me than any candle. I love you more than a candle." And when I said it, God's arms wrapped me up and hugged me tighter than my arms now held my little boy.
Yes, the candle was broken, but the true irreplaceable things were sitting in my lap... my relationship with my little boy and his precious little heart.

--Charity, Southern Asia



3 comments:

Jen said...

Such a great post and great reminder. I needed this today. Thank you.

Rachel said...

THANK YOU for sharing this. Such a good reminder and challenge that I needed to hear.

Carole said...

Wonderful post! So very, very true.