Celebrating birthdays is a must.
We finally got around to having more family in town to celebrate John, which he’d never ask for. Would avoid attention to himself if he could.
Not in this family.
The grands had helped with the preparations. There were balloons and laughter, our goofy family birthday song and a cooperative blowing out of candles.
We’re a messy family. There’s a genetic predisposition to taking shoes off and leaving them in places they shouldn’t be. I’ve been dealing with this reality for years. Little hazards no one expects.
Which is what happened to Isley.
She was carrying her dessert bowl into the kitchen when she tripped over a pair of sandals.
She fell forward and dropped the bowl. Which shattered on the tile into a bazillion shards.
Jumped up immediately.
I didn’t even realize I was screaming. I’m scary loud.
I had visions of shredded soles and blood everywhere as I picked her up from the middle of the mess.
No deep cuts, but I scared her sufficiently to make her cry. Shaky, trembling sobs that wracked her body.
I held her close, my heart pounding as I angled her feet toward Debbie to check for shards.
“You really scared her, Mom.”
Scared her? What about me? I thought we’d have to get a blood transfusion because of broken ceramics.
“She thinks you’re mad because she broke your bowl.”
My youngest daughter pulls no punches.
I felt like a jerk.
“You’re more important than any old bowl, honey. I don’t care about broken dishes. I care about you. You scared me. I thought your feet would be cut to smithereens.”
She wouldn’t settle easily in my arms. Sobs turned to hiccups, but the trembling continued.
Not one of my finer moments. She didn’t really understand that I was just trying to protect her.
I don’t want anyone to think I’m more concerned about things than people.
I do understand fear. Disappointment. Wondering if someone’s mad at me for something I did. Isley was scared. I sounded like she’d made me angry.
I can feel that way about God.
Hard situations sometimes feel like the disapproving voice of God. That I’ve done something wrong and now I’m gonna get it. A cosmic spanking in the form of grave disappointment, loss or unfair circumstances.
That’s not how He works. My life experience isn’t a reflection of Him or His character. It’s part of living in a broken world. A place that’s not my home.
Doesn’t keep me from feeling like I’ve angered Him. That I’m on His bad side and need to do something to make up for my foolish behavior.
That’s all backwards. He came to offer grace because I can’t make up for my bad behavior. I won’t do life right, no matter how hard I try, how many rules I uphold, how good I can be.
His grace is enough to cover my mistakes. My dropped dishes. Often the difficulties in life are His way of protecting me from something even worse.
Dropped dishes aren’t the end of the world.
A lost life is.
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