I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! For months now, I’ve dreamed of having my sister Lindsay (a/k/a “Aunt Linny”) guest post on our blog. But with having baby number three, moving into a new home, and changing jobs all in the same year, she’s been a wee bit busy! Today, though, my dream finally comes true.
I can’t wait for you to get to know her. Lindsay is a devoted wife and mom of three beautiful children. A former television news anchor in Dallas, she now serves as Director of Media and Public Relations at our church. She’s bright. She’s talented. She’s hilarious. And she’s oh so wise. She dons all of her hats with grace and style, and she’s the best girlfriend a girl could ever ask for!
So without further ado, meet Aunt Linny!
It’s the bane of my existence.
No matter how hard I try, the hampers are never empty, and it’s never all put away. It’s the one task on my to-do list that never seems to get to-done. Ugh.
Thursday afternoons are laundry day around my house. And on one recent Thursday, about 5 o’clock in the afternoon, all but one load was folded and ready to be put away. And that’s when it happened. My daughter came running into the bathroom where I was getting dressed, and she screamed, “Mommy, you’re not going to believe what H did. He ruined all the clothes!”
Confused, I walked to the balcony and peered down at the living room below. There I saw it. The piles of clothes I’d spent hours washing, pressing and folding were thrown all over the room. My typically sweet four-year old son had grown frustrated with his sister over the toy du jour. And he took his frustration out on our laundry.
I’m a huge believer in logical consequences, and the logical consequence that immediately came to mind was to have him re-fold and re-hang the laundry. But let’s face it, folks. Overseeing that would be far more of a consequence for me than for him, and my OCD tendencies when it comes to the laundry would require me to fix it all before putting it away anyway.
I went back to the bathroom where my husband was and told him what happened.
“Go mess up his room,” he said.
“Huh? The one he just cleaned up?”
“Yes. Go mess up his room. Let him feel how frustrated you are so he learns why we don’t destroy other people’s things.”
Calmly, I went to H’s room. Without saying anything, I proceeded to turn over EIGHT bins of toys. Legos, Lincoln Logs. You name it, and it was on the floor.
I then explained that while I was downstairs cleaning up the mess he made, he was going to stay in his room and clean up the mess I made. Alone.
I also told him that I would take away anything that remained on the floor when I returned.
That’s when he lost it.
I think the neighbors probably heard him scream. It was primal.
But in a few minutes, the tears subsided, and it got quiet. And about an hour later, when I went back to his room, this is what I found.
“Of course,” I told him.
It’s the kind of heart change the psalmist writes about in the 67th verse of Chapter 119.
“Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I obey your word. It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.”
I want to be clear. I don’t believe God causes bad things to happen to us as punishment for our sins. That was taken care of on the cross. It’s grace. And it’s sufficient.
But as believers, He wants us to look more like Him so that others might see Him in us. And when we are walking in sin, sometimes the strongest conviction comes when we feel the consequences of our own actions.
Romans 5:3-5 says it like this.
“We rejoice in our sufferings knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope and hope does not put us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the holy spirit who has been given to us.”
That day, my son had a choice to make. He could have sat in his room and wallowed in the mess. But that would have only led to more sorrow.
Instead, he chose to clean up the mess and move forward having learned a painful but important lesson.
What suffering are you enduring today that might produce character and hope tomorrow?