Thursday, July 29, 2010

Have a Mary day...

My middle daughter will soon be sixteen.  Wasn't it yesterday she raced around the living room in her slippered sleeper? I am joyful and sad at the same time. My beautiful girl is smart, funny and compassionate. But my baby, my baby is left to my precious memories and photographs.

When she was a toddler, I strapped her into the cart at the drugstore so I could look through the birthday cards. Soon she grabbed every card on the racks, opening them up, quickly shutting them and stuffing them back into their slots, not very neatly I might add. I was mortified wondering how many cards were ruined and what was she thinking? As I went to scold her, God flashed me some understanding and I realized she was copying me. I stopped myself from berating her and simply watched in amazement. She was having a great time doing what her mom was doing, and he spared me from ruining her moment of joy.

Another time I brought the laundry upstairs and placed the neat pile on a chair in the living room. Within minutes my little cherub was shaking the folded towels, and throwing them into piles on the floor. Acting up? Deliberately undoing what Mom had done? No, not any of these things, she was copying her mother doing laundry. All she’d ever seem me do was separate the clothing. She displayed a great amount of intelligence – here was a pile of clothing and that meant time to sort it. Copying, imitating, mimicking are all so very necessary to growing up. I wonder how many times we berate our children for doing things that seem wrong, when all they are doing is trying to follow in our footsteps?
One time I found a friend of mine scrubbing my bathroom sink. I asked if my sink was really all that bad. Sheepishly he told me his mom insisted the sink be cleaned after every visit to the washroom and now as an adult, he couldn’t seem to let the habit go, even when it wasn’t necessary. It was a cruel reminder of the damage I can do as a parent. No wonder God advises us to be temperate in all things. There’s nothing wrong with a clean sink but this person was slammed to the point they relived the childhood incident continuously as an adult.

I cringe to think I almost berated my precious baby for jamming cards into store racks or messing up my laundry pile. At some point I had my wits about me long enough to realize it was my driveness trying to replicate my sin in my children and I was able to stop it with God's help.  It's only by the Grace of God we can see these things because they masquerade as such worthy goals like peace in your home, or training your children to be good Christians, or godly discipline; you often see this with bible memory verses...  need I say more?  Little Johnny knows every verse in the book of Psalms but he flinches when it's his turn to recite and he can't keep his eyes off the floor or mom's wooden spoon. 

The old man is dead and beating him into submission makes, well, a mess.  Oh, the floor will be clean enough to use as a dinner plate, and you can have guests over unexpectedly and even bible studies and pass the religious cleanliness test, but the mess is still there... on the inside... in the heart.  You can scrub the outside till it sparkles like the sun but the heart will out, there's a few verses about that.   

There's actually a saying in Christian circles about training the heart.  I didn't realize how insidious that is until tonight as I'm writing this blog post.  We really have to let God give us discernment, and quit trying to do it all ourselves.  Chapter and verse for training the heart?  No folks, there isn't one.  Guard the heart, prepare the heart to worship but even our worship is not our own, he has to help us.  The best we can do is believe unto; he has to bridge the gap.

So if the dishes didn't get washed today, and you didn't train little Johnny to take out the trash on time, and you forgot to have devotions, I think it's ok.  We've been delivered from the god who whips us all into shape.  Jesus busted his act 2000 years ago. 

If your house is falling apart, it may be a sure sign that your heart isn't - because only Mary's will spend time at the feet of Jesus, while Martha's insist that everyone DO something.

You go ahead and have a Mary day.  She chose the "needful" or necessary thing, he says, because nothing else matters.

photo credits:


  1. What a wise lady you are! I loved your post. If she takes after you, your sweet daughter is going to be a blessing to everyone she meets.

  2. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. When you set a snare, you bait it with something attractive for your prey. There is nothing more attractive to a well meaning Christian as a good work.

  4. Oh, Linda, thank you! You are such a kind and dear friend. :)

    Hi Natasha, I'm posting a note on my bathroom mirror reminding me to have a Mary day, especially while preparing for school...God's delivering me from regret, hallelujah! :)

  5. That is so true, Paul. Thanks for sharing!

  6. This is the second time reading this, the first being over a year ago. You are still teaching me Karen, reminding me about that "one thing" needed. I can still hear you and I am thankful for your counsel. I am sure I'll be back for a third.

  7. Karen,
    you must have been a truly amazing woman to have gotten to know by Paul and those closest to you.

    one Beautiful Day, I will know you too. :)


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