Saturday, May 1, 2010

Battle Scars

Yesterday we had a little incident while I was on the phone.

It was my dad calling from dad who (sorry, Dad!) tends to be rather long-winded. The downstairs cordless phone had died, so there I was in our bedroom on the old-school this-was-awesome-in-the-80s, clear-so-you-can-see-al-the-parts corded phone. My dad had called to ask me what to get Gabriel for his third birthday next week. The birthday boy himself was jumping up and down on our bed yelling while Elliot (1) explored the floor looking for things to put in his mouth. The connection wasn't great between here and Illinois, so I was squeezing the receiver against my ear, holding the bottom part in the air so Elliot wouldn't hang up the call, and giving Gabriel the Gaze of Ice while pressing one finger against my lips. It was then that I saw he had the pasta scoop from the bathroom--

--Time out. Pasta scoop from the bathroom? you might be wondering. (Or if you have kids, you were thinking, Yes. Pasta scoop in the bathroom. Perfectly reasonable.) Um, don't you mean the kitchen? Maybe you keep a pasta scoop in the bathroom as some kind of bath toy for the kids? No, that would be the spatula we keep in the bathroom. The pasta scoop we keep in the bathroom is to fish out whatever items Elliot throws in the toilet when we happen to leave it open. Really, it's quite handy. I would recommend the Bathroom Pasta Scoop for any family with toddlers. Okay, un-time out--

and was banging it on the books on our bed. And then my "uh-huh"s and "hmm"s and "that's interesting"s stopped. Because I saw that Gabriel had jammed the metal scoop ice pick-style into my Bible. The Bible I've had since I was 19, the first one I ever bought for myself, the one that's been with me through thick and thin, the one that snuggled into my backpack those two summers in Europe like a warm blanket from home, the one I've cried over and rejoiced over and underlined till it's blue in the face. MY BIBLE. Ravaged like a dog attacked it.


In that moment, I seriously did not know what to do. Because my dad was going on about a couple he set up in college and how the bride got sick and was in the hospital and fell for an orderly and called it off and....I wasn't about to scream into the phone, "Dad, I have to go! My Bible's been attacked!" Don't want to get him all concerned about some jihad being staged in my bedroom. I did, however, manage to get the Bible away from Gabriel and get off the phone within a few minutes. I corralled Gabriel into my arms and tried to explain as calmly as possible the significance of the book he had damaged. I think I said something like this, "Gabriel. I want to talk to you. This is my Bible. This is God's book that He wrote. It tells us lots of stories about Him and all about how He loves us, and it's the most important book in the world. When you banged it with that scoop, you damaged it, and that makes me very, very upset. Please do not ever do that again." He looked very serious and nodded. At that moment, I was glad I hadn't acted on my first impulse, which had been to throw him onto his star-spangled toddler bed and spank the living daylights out of him. "I'll teach you not to hit my Bible, kid!"

But I was still so angry. Angry not just because of my Bible getting damaged, but about this whole (frankly) crappy week. I hit a guy on a bike with my car. I found a ginormous, terrifying brown spider in my kitchen. I got a bad haircut. My husband got sick. Both my kids have been having screaming fits. I lost both the iPod Touch and one of my favorite earrings. And it all just makes me feel really stinkin' sorry for myself. So this morning in the shower I was ruminating on all the reasons I was mad and focusing on how even my Bible is damaged. And suddenly, the Lord showed me something that totally changed my thinking about it. It was like He said, "Sarah, don't look at it as one more way your week went badly. The marks on your Bible aren't just tears made by the Bathroom Pasta Scoop. They are your battle scars, a symbol of everything you are weathering in your life of raising these boys. Every time you look at your Bible, you can be reminded that I see your sacrifice for your family and that you are surviving."

Lord, thank You for Your grace to show me the truth. Thank you for breaking past my wrong attitudes. Change me to see things as You see them.


  1. I just had a very mild version of one of those weeks, mostly brought on by David being gone and my inability not to stew over things at 11PM when I should be sleeping. Sometimes I think Satan sees these things and thinks, if I just pile things on, maybe she'll crack. Inevitably, though, just enough things happen to push me straight to God--backfires every time. :)

  2. Sarah, I loved this post! You are a great writer. I love reading your thoughts and stories. Thanks for sharing.