My mother was not a harsh woman. She was a quiet individual, only comfortable with lifetime friends. While others flew off the handle, Mother kept her peace. But when she wanted to make a point, my mother did so — in poignant one-on-one conversations. I experienced many of those conversations for she had a higher value on who I was to be than who I was.
On the day of the Kool-Aid incident, I knew I’d crossed a line. Even a five-year-old can take a hint. When my mother said, “Go apologize to the grocer,” I knew she meant it.
Minutes earlier, she and I were shopping in a tiny, country store, gathering items we hadn’t butchered or grown ourselves. Eggs and butter remained staples on our list, as we no longer raised chickens and had never kept milk cows. We bought loaf bread and Brer Rabbit molasses for my daddy and, once in a blue moon, Mother indulged me an orange push-up pop from the frozen food section.
This was not one of those days.
With popsicles off the table, I began perusing the eye-level shelves of Dickinson’s Grocery. Soon, I set my sights on a packet of grape drink mix on the beverage aisle. Preschoolers from time immortal have coveted goods in the marketplace and, especially on this day, I proved no different.
Not surprisingly, Mother denied my initial ten-cent request. In my family, this always meant “closed for discussion.” Nevertheless, I continued to stare into the cartoon face of the cheerful purple pitcher on display.
Since there were only three of us in the four-aisle store, a glance told me no one was watching. Mother and Mr. Tex were busy with check-out. My A-line dress had pockets, so with heart pounding, I slipped the flat, drink envelope onto my person.
When I settled beside my mother in the front seat (in an age before car seats), my preschool acumen faultily told me the coast was clear. Pulling the packet out of my pocket, I quietly sat it in my lap, dreaming about enjoying the delicious flavor with the imaginary Kool-Aid Kid at home.
Things didn’t go as planned. The next thing I knew, I was out of our Chevrolet, facing the screened, front door of the grocery. In my terror, I turned back toward the car where Mother remained. But, without mouthing a word, my mother flicked her index finger toward the entrance, indicating I was to go in.
I vividly remember Mr. Dickinson’s face towering above the imposing, wooden counter. With tears streaming down my face, I produced the evidence stammering, “I took this, and I’m sorry.” I grew up a little that day to understand the importance of truthfulness and trustworthiness.
Have you ever looked at God as a father? He too is not a harsh parent. Although He often seems quiet, our Father loves one-on-one conversations with us. God so desires our relationship that He allows difficulties on a physical plane to grow us toward His spiritual sphere.
When we call upon Him from the midst of our circumstances, He answers but often not as we expect. We assume the best answer is a resolution so we can return to comfortable normalcy. He desires to join us in our messiness and do life.
Listen to His heart. “(You) will call upon Me, and I will answer (you); I will be with (you) in trouble” (Psalm 91:15). We want out of the trouble. He wants to accompany us through it. We want to eliminate the stressor. He wants the pressure to mature us.
I’m discovering that as long as I remain satisfied with the temporal, I won’t yearn for the eternal. I see the value of God’s spiritual law, but there is still much of this world in my eyes (Romans 7:14). Only when my physical situation becomes upsetting, do I look beyond myself for relief.
To encourage the flight of her eaglets; a mother eagle rids her nest of soft, down feathers and exposes the thorny base underneath. As the comfort of the nest diminishes, their desire for the air increases. Like the mother eagle, our Heavenly Father often must lessen the warmth of the nest before we are willing to take flight with Him.
One day, we will live forever in the Presence of His glory. In preparation, God gradually transforms us from the inside out, increasing our agitation toward this world and our anticipation toward the next. Drawing our hearts upward, He replaces our appetite for the temporal with that which is eternal. May we become more accustomed to Kingdom life than to the existence of this world, and more thirsty for Living Water than for Kool-Aid.
“Fully embrace God’s correction as part of your training, for He is doing what any loving father does for his children…God corrects us throughout our lives for our good, giving us an invitation to share His Holiness. Now all disciple seems to be more pain than pleasure at the time, yet later it will produce a transformation of character, bringing a harvest of righteousness and peace to those who yield to it” (Hebrews 12:7,10-11 The Passion Translation).