Monday, April 11, 2011

Polka Dot Peril

I have become like broken pottery.
Psalm 31:12b

I still remember the day I brought her home, itching to place her on the edge of my kitchen counter. I had found it; something practical, affordable and with red polka dots to boot! She was no ordinary iced tea jug-- she was special! For eight glorious days, her cheery little red spout kept my glass full of iced tea, fruit punch or flavored water of my choice. Then, it happened ...


With a crack of the handle, one gallon of red liquid slipped through my fingers and fell to the floor. Shards of plastic flew; rivers of fruit punch threatened to encroach the carpet. Oy, what a mess! Conflicting thoughts flooded my head as my pink feet ran to the laundry room for towels. Yes, part of me cared about the carpet, but most of me thought keeping little feet (and paws) away from the broken pieces while I cleaned up the demise of my spotted friend. With my oldest helping (from a safe distance) bring supplies to sop up the aftermath, I was able to save the carpet from the infiltration of red dye number 40 (or whatever it was). Armed with my trusty brown paper bag from Trader Joe's, I gathered up the visible remains of my dear little jug. Ever the helper, Alan went around the other side of the house to get my broom and dust pan from the laundry room; making sure his tootsies did not inch into the kitchen until I had finished sweeping. With a final mopping and one more sweeping of the floor, it was done. Letting out a melancholy sigh, I reached for a plastic pitcher and made some iced tea.

I'm not gonna lie, I'm still slightly bummed a day later about my little jug and her Humpty Dumpty-esque ending. While paying the cashier six dollars, I was picturing a summer's worth of use. I am terrible about drinking water alone, but with the help of low calorie flavoring packets to enhance my water, I would keep my body properly hydrated with raspberry green tea, pink lemonade and pomegranate splash-- all in a cheerful, convenient container. But alas, it was not meant to be. The jug is but a memory, as are the six dollars I had spent on something I owned for a mere eight days. If I'm out the cash with nothing to show for it, what's left? Quite a bit, actually ...

Whenever something breaks in this house (which is at least once a month), there is usually a lesson learned and a blessing found amidst the clean-up. I am happy to say that this little mishap is no exception. :)

This experience has certainly taught me a thing or two about plastic jugs-- don't expect too much of those little handles! Had I brought a pitcher of water to the container instead, I wouldn't have three very pink bath towels sitting in Oxyclean right now. When it comes to our daily lives, the same rule applies. Overloading causes disaster wherever it resides. If we have too much on our calendars, unrealistic expectations (for yourself or someone else) or we try to handle life's problems in our own strength, something's going to give way. If we let God guide our decisions, he will fill our lives with exactly what we need, preventing a mess later!

The blessing in my kitchen is, ironically, a clean floor. The threat of a sticky, red mess being tracked all over the house is great motivation for breaking out the mop and cleaning like you mean it! Preventing shards of plastic from poking dear little feet (or paws) is reason enough to sweep thoroughly; complete with moving the garbage can and carefully checking every corner. With a little time and care, the floor ends up looking spick and span-- better than it did before the incident!

When situations in our lives fall apart, we are undoubtedly in need of a good cleaning. God is most certainly in the "cleaning-up" business, but He doesn't stop there. While a shattered jug in my hands is fodder for the landfill, shattered people are never cast aside by God. Broken vessels who place their trust in him become lanterns; sharing His Light with the world!

While I don't always (okay, EVER) enjoy the refining process, being used by God is a privilege that blows my mind on a regular basis! I will continue to crack from time to time, but I know that He has a beautiful plan for me. As I share His light with the world, I am certain to stumble at times; spilling oil all over the place. Cleaning that up is a grueling and tedious task, but praise God, I don't have to do it alone! No matter how many times I break, no matter how many messes I make, He never sees me as beyond repair or snuffs out His Light.

If your life has just hit the floor, know that it has not ended. God loves every jagged little part of you! Wherever you are, however big your mess, it isn't too daunting to Him! If you so much as ask, He will raise you up from the rubble and mold you into something beautiful!

Thank you, LORD, for saving a cracked up container like me! :)

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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