Since I was a little girl, I have loved puzzles. One of my favorite moments was when my dad would bring me home a puzzle.
In my daily life, I look for pieces of life. You know, things that inextricably fit together. On a good day, I’ll put those pieces together and have an “aha” or a praiseworthy moment. Other times I’ll be chastened because it’s obvious God is trying to teach me something.
Oh boy, if you have been following my blog lately, it should be apparent that we have had a lot of “puzzling” moments! OY!
And so I thought I’d share with you some awesome pieces I put together today.
Months ago, I attended a Winter Sports Meeting at my OS’s school. Not particularly thrilling or dynamic but I paid attention when the principle cautioned parents of basketball players to purchase a mouth guard for their athletes.
After a few games, I had legitimate fears of Ike’s teeth flying all over the court and immediately purchased the mouth guard. Ike was threatened within an inch of his life if he didn’t wear it while playing. Yet there was one game where he forgot the mouth guard completely and many others where that mouth guard has been perched partially out of his mouth providing absolutely no protection for his pearly whites. My eyes would bulge out of my head and he would experience my wrath from the bleachers if I didn’t see the mouth guard exactly where it needed to be. We affectionately call them motherly death rays…
Then we had our “humbling moments” and our Apology Tour. On Friday night, after Isaac was fast asleep, I decided to future torture myself by folding a load of laundry. I opened the dryer door and what did I see staring right at me? Yes, Isaac’s mouth guard. (This photo is a dramatic re-enactment.)
At first I felt like Satan was poking me in the eye. Like the Devil was saying “Haha, Looo–ser! Some mom you are! I guess you won’t be needing that mouth guard anymore now will you? Hmmmm?” I could see the Father of Lies snickering and doing some serious knee-slapping revelling in the misery of our sadness and disappointment. Jerk.
Along with the clean clothes, I held the mouth guard and truly felt a profound sadness clutching it in my mama’s hands. It represented embarrassment, shame, hopes dashed, hurt and fear. I wanted to throw it out.
But as the weekend pro- gressed, we could see some rays of hope. Ike was repentant and willing to make amends. Parents were willing to forgive and offer mercy. Three generations – grandmother, daughter, brothers, sons, father all held hands Saturday morning and prayed out loud, one after another for all aspects of this situation. And the mouth guard stayed away from the trash.
There are other puzzle pieces I might share in future posts regarding these recent incidents but I truly believe that the Lord placed that mouth guard in the dryer as a reminder to me.
Psalm 141:3 Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.
Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
Ephesians 5:4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
In every day, Ike (and me and maybe even you, no offense) need to wear a mouth guard. Maybe not an ugly plastic one but one that protects us and others from unkind words, filthy talk and gossip. My orange hair, freckle-face teenage OS confessed to me that nasty words fly out easier on the basketball court. No duh! Now we have yet another reason his mouth guard must remain in the position where it was designed. From the bleachers, I am on the look-out making sure my OS’s mouth guard is where it’s supposed to be.
Puzzle pieces everywhere. When this whole thing started, I thought the nice mom calling me was placing an order for an apron – WRONG! But I am ever thankful for what she ultimately gave me – refining moments which are teaching us as we relentlessly, endlessly love each other and our Lord.