by Steph Fink
Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. Psalm 51:16-17 (Message)
Earlier this week, I blew it. I mean I just all out plum blew it. It started with me addressing my offspring, loudly, from my soap box and ended in three Finks in tears. Not. pretty. The very next day, I almost missed another very big opportunity because I’m impatient, imperfect and at times, utterly impossible. Broken.
The boys and I shopped in Dollar Depot to get some bulk gift bags and a few props for an upcoming speaking engagement. We collected our treasures quickly and walked single file through the skinny Dollar Depot aisle to the cashier. That is, until Cal’s shirt caught one of the emerald colored vases. “SMASH!” It shattered to pieces on the floor. Silently, my mind raced into drama-queen-soap-box-mode – It’s always something. How difficult is it to get a few bags and a baby doll prop? Just one easy errand has to turn into work. Blah…blah…blah.
“Ohhhhhhhhhh……why did I do that?!?! I’m so sorry. I’m going to clean it up.” Cal said through tear-filled eyes. Jake immediately bent down, “I’ll pick it up. I’ll pay for this Cal.”
This didn’t happen because Cal horsed around. He marched in baby duck fashion behind his momma duck. And even if he did, which he didn’t, he didn’t need to see what another (adult) temper tantrum looked like. He already spectated a major one the previous day. What my baby needed to see is how to handle brokenness. The vase break was an accident. A pure accident and he looked distraught. The pain in his eyes helped me keep my biscuits and gravy together. My little boy needed me to be his leader, not his shamer. I wanted to make the moment count.
I calmed stated, “Don’t worry, bud. Accidents happen all the time.” I picked up the broken pieces, relieved God helped me let the initial wave of emotional irritation pass in silence. Touched by both Cal’s remorse and Jake’s compassion, I reiterated, “Babe, it was just an accident. ” After I paid for vase, (and no it wasn’t $1, it was $4 which could have been another reason to get on the soap box) I saw there was a much bigger “something” at stake. I saw purpose in both my and the vases’ brokenness.
Once out of the store and on the sidewalk, I squatted down to the kids level and asked, “Cal, did you have the money to pay for that vase?”
“No, but I can pay you back when we get home Momma,” a still upset Cal replied.
“I don’t want your money, honey. That’s not what I mean. This was just an accident. I meant, do you have the money right now, to pay for that vase?”
“So there’s no way you could have paid for that vase, right?”
“Jake, you said in there that you wanted to pay for this accident. That was so kind of you! Do you have the money right now to pay for the vase?”
“No, I don’t have it with me Mom.”
“Guys, this is similar to what Jesus did for you and me. Jesus paid a cost, His life, for us. There is no possible way we can or could have paid that price. He paid a big price just because He loves us. Remember that okay? I’m not mad about the vase. Accidents happen. I paid for the vase just cause I love you. Jesus paid the price for our sins…just cause He loves us. Pretty awesome, huh?”
We ended our sidewalk chat with a group hug and a very broken Momma that silently worshiped, “Thank you Lord!” for helping this broken and very imperfect Momma see that there is purpose in brokenness. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Listen, I don’t share this story to paint a picture that I’ve got my parenting act together. I just told you, I so don’t. I’ve missed countless opportunities to show grace, love, forgiveness and gentleness because my agenda got a little dented or smashed to pieces. The day before the Dollar Depot the boys saw an overtired, frustrated Mom stand on her soapbox and declare in a most unkind manner selfishness will. not. be. tolerated. Um, hello crazy lady, yelling at your kids is selfish. Teaching, guiding, leading, and rendering both hugs and consequences aren’t.
When you feel broken, remember it’s not the end of the story; it’s the beginning of something much more awesome. Brokenness has purpose.