“Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.” Ephesians 4:29 (The Message)
Our family grocery shops every two weeks. During one particular trip, only my daughter chose to go with me so we enjoyed two hours of “girl time,” enlisting the help of the boys when we got home to unpack and put the food away. About ten minutes into it, one child slipped and landed on a grocery bag. Before I could assess the damage, I reminded myself, “I will not get upset. My child is worth far more to me than any wasted food.” Thankfully the damage was fairly minor (smashed donuts which were bought as a treat) and we moved on. However, not five minutes later, another child was throwing the cottage cheese container in the air, missed, and cottage cheese covered the floor, drawers and counter top. My reaction this time? Not quite as loving. While I apologized for my reaction later, reminding my child that I did indeed love him/her more than a container of cottage cheese, I realized I blew an opportunity to speak unconditional love at that moment.
That weekend, I read the latest Karen Kingsbury book, Love Story. In the book she gives an example of how a child played football in the house and broke a water pitcher. The mother lovingly glued the ceramic pieces back together and displayed it proudly for the family – taking the time to teach the lesson that while we all make mistakes, when we repent, God can take our brokenness and turn it into something equally beautiful.
Ouch! Why couldn’t I have done that? That is the type of mother I want to be. One who demonstrates the beauty in brokenness – whether smashed donuts or splattered cottage cheese. One who shows her children that very few mistakes in life can’t be fixed, who welcomes mistakes because she realizes sometimes that’s what it takes for real growth and maturity to bloom. A few days afterward, I was in the car alone with one of our children and I brought up the conversation. I figured it was a good time to let this child know mistakes are welcome in our house as a result of this mom growing herself.
I debated about whether or not to purposefully break one of our pieces of pottery to have an opportunity to glue it back together and remember daily how beautifully broken our house is. However, wisdom told me to give it time. Mistakes will naturally happen and I’ll have the opportunity to show my growth to my kids in more mature response as well as the chance to have a group project of mending the mistake.
My reaction this summer clearly showed my need for growth as a mother. I’m thankful God has given me multiple chances to show my kids the beauty in my brokenness and the value of embracing mistakes as learning experiences.
© Cheri Swalwell 2017