Monday, June 11, 2012

Life lessons from the microwave...

My house may not be immaculate, but there are two things that are normally clean in my house, the toilets and the microwave.  It's not like it's some major feat of epic proportion or anything... both toilets and microwaves are small and easily maintained.  And I wouldn't say they are ever perfect, yet that's the two things that drive me most insane in my house when they are dirty, so I strive to stay on top of them.  Anywho...

About a month ago, Madalyn decided to make herself a snack.  Without permission.  Her nana had given her a couple of those single servings of Velveeta shells and cheese in the little microwavable cup.  I had fixed one for her the day before, but I was busy doing something in the garage, and Madalyn decided to help herself.  She's like that.  She needs, needs, needs me all day long, and then in the most inconvenient moments, she decides to help herself.  It certainly keeps things interesting around here.  So, Madalyn comes downstairs to tell me that she needs a little help.. she's made a mess.  I trotted up the stairs following an odor I couldn't quite describe adequately.  A little like burnt popcorn but with a touch of melted Tupperware.  Smoke billowed through the kitchen, and I immediately opened the door and windows to let it out.  You see, my dear sweet little girl opened the little cup of shells and put them in the microwave with no water.  Do you know what pasta does in the microwave with no water?  I do, and it's not pleasant, and I am thankful to still have a house much less a microwave.

Now, my patience level with Madalyn is surprisingly increased since my mother passed away.  It's a phenomenon I cannot explain, but I have a theory that my mother in heaven has something to with it.  It must be of a divine nature.  I couldn't help but laugh as she explained that I was busy and she only wanted a snack.  I had to stress to her, however, that she could not use the microwave without my assistance or approval.

To my dismay, the microwave was a mess.  The inside was stained a yellowish brown and smelled terrible.  I cleaned it as best I could, but the stain had set into the plastic.  I googled and consulted pinterest on ways to clean such issues.  I tried a few things, and both the smell and stain diminished some, but the damage had been done.  My microwave was forever changed, and there was nothing in my power that could be done.

Stuff like that drives me nuts.  When things happen outside of my control.  When my kid breaks something.  When someone scratches my car in the Publix parking lot.  When a visiting child spills their drink on the carpet.  When life stretches outside of my order of things.

I am certainly not a control freak, but there are the little things I do try to control.  And when I lose my grip of them, it pushes me to a weird place.  A place where grace is necessary but not necessarily easy.

Just this morning, I opened up my scarred microwave to find it splattered with potato soup and beefaroni.  The kids had obtained permission, but they had not covered their food, and the evidence was everywhere.  My first reaction was to roll my eyes and sigh.  But then I tried to look at it through their little eyes, ones that are so excited to have a bit of independence, little hands that may have tried to cover the food with a paper towel but not gotten it just right.  And that's where the grace has to flow.  It has to pour all over it and wipe it clean.

I've been thinking about grace a lot lately.  Mainly because I feel like my Father is pouring it down on my head here lately.  Most of my prayers consist of the words I just can't seem to get it all together right now, and I feel Him put His hand on my shoulder and rub it a little.  I feel like a child who just wants to  fix her own snack in the microwave, just a quick little snack, but it's not quite turning out the way I thought.  But God waits in the wings.  He keeps the house from burning down.  He molds me and instructs me with His Word.  He's got more grace than I have Lysol kitchen cleaner, and it's a lovely thought that He cleanses me better than any idea or tip I found on google or pinterest.

The key, I think, to Godly living is demonstrating that grace to others.  Not just to your children and your spouse, but to the teacher at your child's school you don't particularly like or to the mom at the ball park who is acting a fool during the little league game.  And I must admit, it's not an easy task.  Living from a place of grace is not something that comes easy nor is it something the world embraces.  But when we look at a passage from Ephesians, we are instructed on how to live:

Be compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.   {4:32, 5:1-2}

Our imperfect world filled with imperfect people offers us plenty of opportunities to demonstrate such grace to others.  Is it easy?  Nope.  But think of how much better this place would be if a hand full of us gave it a try.

I think my goal this week will be living from a place of grace.  Who wants to join me?

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