Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Washed Up Fruit!

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”
Galatians 5:22

My fruits of the Spirit today are more like a fruit smoothie that’s been sitting in the hot car for the day. Hmmm, at least that’s what I found this afternoon in my son’s cup holder in the car. It was his breakfast that was only half gone and what was once a frozen, yummy sweet treat is now a hot mess with a thick dried film that has morphed into a unidentified solid.
We’ve been discussing fruits of the Spirit in our children’s Sunday school program. Last Sunday we discussed “JOY”.  It’s amazing how much more I process and learn scriptures when having to teach them to younger children. It really gives you a new perspective on scriptures you have read before or even have taken for granted. Our group talked about the difference between being happy and having joy. Happiness is based on circumstances and ebbs and flows depending on the day, hour or minute and what fires we may or may not be putting out at the time. Joy on the other hand is directly from God and our relationship with Jesus.  Our Joy is not merely a fleeting emotion, but rather it is a state of being.
I often find myself ankle deep in “life” and allow the tidal wave of emotions to take over and jump into the driver’s seat rather than resting in my joy. Truly, I could probably pick any day; however, today was especially fitting for this example. It’s like a tower built with Cooper’s wooden blocks, it starts to get really shaky the higher it gets before it eventually topples over in a heap.
Our tower and tidal wave for today began when Parker forgot her homework at school. The first small block is laid down and unbeknownst to me, the waters are slowly beginning to move. Her frustration began an unending stream of tears that lead into the next reason she was so upset, her color was changed in class today. Another block has just been added. Moments later, we are now running into piano lessons (and when I say running, I really mean sprinting because Parker has a new found fear of thunderstorms). Parker is coming unglued by the moment and more blocks are laid down. We are now leaving the piano lesson and Cooper decides to make the most of the large rain puddle left behind from the storm (a little trick Daddy taught him). Now you might expect me to say that this was another block; however, I was actually (through gritted teeth) trying to be very cool with it that is at least until he found the muddy end of the puddle and is now covered head to toe in mud. Please bring forth the next block and the waters are beginning to rise. Next we arrive home with deep breaths and as I am trying to help Cooper take off his muddy clothes before entering the house, the vacuum cleaner he was using to balance himself on falls on my head. After I recovered from the stars and regained composure, it was time to lay another block and the waters are now becoming agitated. We enter our home only to discover that our dog, who like Parker is terrified of thunder, has broken out of the kitchen where I had her detained. Prior to her “jail break” she threw her food all over the kitchen in protest. Yep, you guessed it, throw another one on top and roll up your pants, because the water is rising and it’s rising quickly.
I quickly scan the rooms to make sure the dog is ok after her prison break only to discover that she has completely torn up the carpet and padding in the corner of our master bedroom  (i.e. that is why she was detained in the first place). I think the saying; “I don’t know what happened, I just SNAPPED” is so true in these situations. It was if I could hear the walls to the damn break under the pressure of the rising water and the teetering block tower. Let the rushing water begin.
As the tidal wave comes bounding through it is often my fruits of the Spirit that are the first thing to be washed away in the rushing waters. My words and actions no longer have anything to do with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness or self-control. How quickly they are washed out and I am now hung up to dry. Humph. Back to where I started.
The blocks may not be very significant or troublesome on their own. In fact, they’re silly, tiny and meaningless events on their own. It’s often the culmination of all the “insignificant” things though that are enough to take any person down. I wish I had a good definitive answer that made it all into a perfect little package but instead I am reminded that life is messy and not always picture perfect. Good times and bad times will come and go with the rise and the fall of the waters but my life vest remains constant, my relationship to Jesus. It is the gifts of the Holy Spirit that secure my life vest and keep me afloat. My fruit continues to grow just as I do and although my fruit may sometimes smell rotten or seem nonexistent, I will “Rejoice in Lord” (Philippians 3:1) and “considerate it pure joy whenever we face trials (a.k.a motherhood) of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” (James 1:2-3). **
And just to show you that it can always get better, I must sign off now as my dog just threw up behind me from all the carpet she tried to eat earlier. Really? I don’t even think I could’ve made something up as good as that type of ending. Life vests on? Check!

**Love the book of James! I highly recommend that you dig out your Bible
 (my favorite way is with a cup of coffee in hand and a quiet house).
Look up the book of James with the verses from above, James 1:2-3 and keep reading through verse 7. So many studies and blogs just on these few verses alone.

 I am prayerfully considering and even welcome your prayers on a suggestion from a dear friend. I am thinking about starting a once a week Bible study through this blog. I am not sure of details or particulars as for now I am just sitting, waiting, and listening.

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