In my previous post Dream Shadows, I mentioned that I had been away from home to speak at a women’s conference and when I returned, Roseline responded by completely and totally regressing with her “potty training” (which was quite stressful for me).
The following week, we at last found ourselves at a point in which she had been mostly dry for several days so I decided to reward her with her favorite treat – chocolate.
We live in Franklin, Tennessee and our historical downtown is a lovely place. Main street is lined with unique shops and boutiques, one of which is a new “designer” chocolate shop I had never been in before. Since Ro and I were downtown, I decided this shop would be the perfect place to buy her special treat. Now, if I had known how much one piece of “designer” chocolate costs, I would probably have come up with a different solution. I did not know however, so in the few remaining moments before we went to pick up Jeremiah from pre-school, we stopped in for a piece of chocolate.
When I entered the small shop, there were three people engaged in conversation. The first woman who was very elegant, seemed to be the owner of the shop. She was patiently explaining the process of making the candy as two other women animatedly asked questions and made small talk. I glanced briefly at their walking shoes, fanny packs, and sun visors and immediately pegged them as tourists. (Of course, I of all people know that appearances can be deceiving, so I could be completely wrong.)
I was in a hurry, so I quickly looked at the selection and picked out a piece of chocolate I thought Roseline would enjoy. The owner came to ring up my order as the other two women watched. After the transaction was complete, the owner handed me my bag. My thoughts were solely on Roseline, and as soon as I had my purchase in hand, I reached down into the bag and retrieved her piece of candy.
It was a treat indeed. Each piece of candy in the store is individually packaged in its own clear plastic box. The treat is nestled inside on a bed of decorative, crinkly paper and the each box is topped with its own gold ribbon. I knew it was extravagant, but I am generally quite conservative so, I was delighted to offer my daughter this rare treat. I handed her the small box, and as I did, one of the tourists felt entitled to comment on my gift.
“Oh!” she gushed, her voice dripping with sarcasm. “I wish I was your daughter for a day! Boy, what a lucky little girl!” She said some more things along that line, but I can’t remember the details.
Then, before I even thought about it, and without even looking up, I said…
“Well, if you keep your pants dry, maybe you will get a piece of chocolate too!”
A shocked, faltering chuckle escaped her lips and then stunned silence filled the room as I took Roseline’s hand and headed to the door.
My friends love this story and explode in long, hearty, fall down in the floor laughter when I tell it. I admit, the memory of the incident makes me laugh too. I especially love the part where those three women had absolutely no idea what to say in response. To me…that is funny.
But then, I feel a little regret because I realize that once again my brain has formed some outrageous comment which then slipped out of my mouth before I even knew what was happening. It was another incident in which, like the Spiderman villain Doctor Octopus and his robot arms, my God given talent to use words took over and began to control me, instead of the other way around.
My Pastor puts is somewhat like this: God gives each of us gifts to use in His Kingdom and when we are operating in the Holy Spirit’s power, that is a great thing. But…the moment we began utilizing our gifts in our flesh alone, you had better watch out because there is trouble right around the corner. (That was a paraphrase, by the way.)
I have seen it over and again in my life. One of my gifts is the ability to put words together which is great, if I am doing it with a “consciousness” of God, but it is also the easiest arena for sin to crop up in my life. If I don’t remain “conscious” of God (Jesus called it abiding in Him.) I can cut someone to the quick with my tongue, my computer or pen, before I even think about it.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that what I said to the woman in the chocolate shop was really bad in and of itself, but it did serve as a warning to me…I’d better remain conscious of God. If not, who knows what might come out of my mouth next?
“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”