Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Spoonful of Sugar

A Spoonful of Sugar

(From several years ago)

It happened a while ago, but it’s only now that I am willing to admit that it ever occurred.

I lost my temper.

I suppose I could take the time to tell you how naughty the kids were while we were buying groceries that day, but it wouldn’t lessen my shame.  I could go into detail describing how tired and hungry I was,  and how loudly two of my four children were crying in the store.  Then there’s always the frustration I felt when the other two kept begging for Superman and Cinderella flip phones that were sure to get lost before we even reached our driveway.  I could even try to describe the way it felt like my body was hovering above me in the check out line watching as Corey melted into a puddle of tears on the floor and Kobe attempted to climb out of the cart.  I might even be tempted to explain how I stood smiling as I  struggled to remain calm as I dug through the gum wrappers and wet Kleenex in my purse in search of my wallet.  I could tell you about the exhaustion I felt on the drive home, the time spent unloading the kids from the van and, finally, hauling all the groceries into the kitchen as the children whined for reasons I don’t remember.

But then I would just be making excuses.  And, frankly, I don’t deserve any excuses.  I should have known better.  I should’ve kept my cool.  I should’ve counted to ten.   I should have made some chamomile tea.  Anything!  Anything, but what I did. 

Instead, I let my frustration get the best of me.  I had had it!  I grabbed the nearest thing, which was unfortunately powdered sugar, and slammed  the bag down in front of me. Hard. 

I tried to stop myself!  I knew what would happen, but once the bag was in the air, I was fully committed and there was no going back.  After that, only a picture could fully describe what happened next. 

The bag of powdered sugar exploded upon impact, sending a cloud of fine white dust everywhere.  And I do mean everywhere.

In that moment, time stood still in the Carpenter home.  Tyler looked up from the bag of groceries he was digging through, Amy peeked her head around the corner from the dining room, Corey stopped his whining from his place under the table, and Kobe sat back in amazement from where he had been hanging onto my pant leg.  For the first time since the kids had crawled out of bed that morning, there was quiet - except for the cricket singing outside my window.

As I stood in front of my children, blinking powdered sugar out of my eyes, I was immediately filled with shame.   My goal as a mother has always been to emulate Jesus to my children, and boy, had I just failed.  I wished I could hit rewind and start this day over.  Instead, I was left with white counters, appliances, floor and hair.  Even my utensil basket was covered in sugar. 

It’s been over a year since that not-so-sweet experience, yet even now I can still find powdered sugar when I least expect it.  Just the other day, while scrubbing my counter, I noticed a powdery white substance clinging to the underside corner of my cabinet, and again I was filled with shame about that frustrating morning so long ago.

Sin is like that.  We let it crop up in our lives without stopping it or making a choice to turn away from it altogether.    Once sin consumes us, we make poor choices that we wouldn’t have otherwise, and it leaves us to deal with the shame as our world crashes down around us.

Thankfully, God forgives us, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t consequences.  The remaining powdered sugar hidden in my kitchen is proof of that.   It’s a lesson to me to never let sin take control in my life.  Cleaning up the mess it leaves behind is no fun! 

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