“No, Mimi, I don’t want them up here,” was the reply, as they were tossed back down. “Mason. Please don’t touch the mushrooms again,” I repeated, a little less calm, as I once more placed them in the basket. Once again, they were picked up, tossed over, and I heard, “I said I want them down here!!” Now, not as calm, and with a new level of insistence, I firmly said: “I want them up here. Now stop. Do not touch the mushrooms again.” That’s when the mayhem began: it only took one more toss, from the little boy who was determined to have his own way, for me to turn and discover the plastic wrap around the mushrooms had broken, scattering mushroom pieces and parts all over the floor of the produce section…and beyond. I was not amused and a little boy sat stunned, eyes wide, staring at his mess. With a deep sigh, and sweat beginning to form on my brow, I said calmly, through gritted teeth: “Now I want you to get down and pick up every single mushroom on this floor.” He wasn’t thrilled with this option because this little three-year-old doesn’t like to touch anything that looks the least bit dirty, and mushrooms look dirty. After a short discussion, he finally hopped down and went to work cleaning up his mess. An employee at the store told me I could leave the mess, and he would get a broom and take care of it. “Nope. He made the mess; he needs to clean up the mess,” I said. Another employee, who had witnessed the entire scene, offered to take the package of mushrooms, so I could get another. I thanked her and then, after a little nudging, the little mushroom destroyer apologized and also offered his thanks. We continued on to complete our shopping adventure. It could only improve from here, right? Well….
We had spent so much time with our mushroom mayhem, our “quick trip” turned into a rather l-o-n-g extended stay; so long, in fact, the one-year-old became increasingly vocal about her own frustration. She was hangry. You know- hungry and angry all rolled together, and this could not be tamed. So, amidst the stares of other shoppers, who thought I was obviously torturing the little lady, I opened a box of crackers and allowed her to plunge her tiny hands in. Which led to another dispute: who was getting more of the tasty treat? Then I began to hear two statements repeat over and over and over again, “I want to walk” and “Emery is touching me.”
I finally entered the checkout line, with a deep sigh and nap time in sight, when I noticed the little darling was now missing one of her boots. Fantastic. My eyes began to scan and search for the little tan boot that had bailed on me. Thankfully, I found it closer than I thought I would, but when I put it back on, she promptly began pulling them off. On, off, on, off. The lady behind me thought she was cute. I might have thought so as well, two hours ago and under different circumstances. I wasn’t laughing: I was sweating. Little beads ran down the side of my face. A hot-flash-gone-over-the-edge type of sweat, as I placed groceries in the cart, picked up booties and reattached them, and kept a three-year-old in the cart. Finally, I heard the blessed cashier say: “You’re all set. If you just sign the box.” (with what I perceived to be a little attitude). I’m not proud of it, but there might have been an edge to my voice when I replied: “You bet I will. Let me just pull out my third arm.” One might think that we could walk out of the store blissfully happy for what we had accomplished, but not so. Silly me. I decided because it was lunchtime, I would just pick up a sub for the kids to share when we returned home. I was under the impression it would make life easier. One could only hope. Until a little someone was told, he would need to get down and pick up his Goofy stuffed animal that he dropped, and the reply was: “I can’t Mimi; I don’t have three arms” which brought an exhibition of the testing of wills for the customers of Subway. Or when that same little someone was told he couldn’t eat the sub in the car, in front of his sister, on the way home. Oh dear. Let me say it again…it was an adventure.
Later, as I replayed the scene to their parents and papa, I appreciated the fact that: 1) I could look back and laugh and 2) gain new understanding of how irritating my tussles with God over my will, and His must be to Him. I am often impressed by the fact that God can love so unconditionally yet, discipline so perfectly. He’s been dealing with children who tussle for-EVER as we fight for control to do what we want, regardless of what He says. I’ve been guilty of throwing many of His instructions out of my basket because I didn’t want to believe they were necessary, important, or trustworthy. When He says, “I want your mouth, your mind, your heart, your pride, your ___________, to be kept in this basket and this is why,” shockingly my reply, at times, has been: “No thanks. I will decide which basket is best for me, and right now I choose to throw them in this basket” and I toss His instructions out. Disobedience and rebellion bring brokenness, and believe me; I’ve been broken a time or two. I’ve discovered how humbling it is to face the consequences of choosing my will over His. He will bring discipline to those He loves and when I’ve tossed something, one too many times, into the other basket, I’ve created quite a mess. Life gets dirty and messy when we begin tossing His instructions out of the basket of His choosing, simply because once we toss the first, it’s like breaking open a package of mushrooms. Mayhem is created.
In the same way the man with the broom volunteered to clean up the mushroom mess, God offers to help me clean up the mess I’ve created through my disobedience to Him; however, there will be no walking away and letting Him do the work for me. I’ll be down on my knees, cleaning up the mess I’ve created, offering the apology, and when I’ve been faithful to do my part, He in return, will offer me the chance to receive the blessing that comes with obedience. “Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him” (Psalm 128:1, NIV).
We must remember that we are children of God (1 John 3:1). A good parent corrects, teaches and trains their children to follow instructions. We must “hear counsel, receive instruction, and accept correction,” so we “may be wise in the time to come” (Proverbs 19:20, AMP).
Repeat after me: I hear counsel; I receive instruction, and I accept correction because I am a child of God. Now, put the mushrooms back where He wants them.