How’s Your Fish Bowl?


Children love fairs and carnivals.  The atmosphere is ecstatic.  It draws their attention and draws them in like flies.  The game area was always an area to be avoided with my mom, she viewed them as scams, hard to win.  I always wanted to play.  So when my daughter at age five wanted to toss the coin and win the little goldfish I let her play.  A few coins later she had her goldfish.   We set it up in her bedroom on the dresser.  I cautioned her to be careful and not knock it over.  She was so proud of her fish.  She finally calmed down and I turned off the light for the night.

I always awoke way before everyone and  peaked in early to check on my daughter.  There on the dresser sat the bowl and the goldfish was belly up and floating.  Arrghh, now I had to deal with a dead fish?  What would I tell her?  I hurriedly dressed and ran down to the 24 hour WalMart, bought a fish and returned fast enough to replace before she awoke.  “Whew, escaped that one I thought”, patting myself on the back.   Off to school she went.  That night we went through the same bedtime routine and finally she told the fish goodnight and we settled in for the night.  Next morning, as usual I stuck my head in and THERE WAS THE GOLDFISH, BELLY UP AND FLOATING.  “Oh, no, really?”  Once again, being the coward I was then, I hurriedly rush to WalMart and returned with yet another goldfish.  Whew.  Got by again.  This was crazy.  The fish was okay all day.  Looked like things were going to be okay.  Off to bed.  mac28_deadgoldfish01_wideEarly the next morning I hear this loud cry, “MY GOLDFISH!”.  I jumped out of bed, dazed that someone awoke before me.  Running across the hall into her room there stood my daughter in front of the bowl, staring at the goldfish belly up and floating.  I hugged my little girl and tried to comfort her.  What I had dreaded I finally had to face.  After all the shielding I had tried, I still had to face the inevitable. I tried to explain how everything dies.  But, for a small child death is always hard to understand.  With tears streaming down her face she looked up to me with the saddest confused eyes and said, “mommy I don’t understand why he had to die.  I loved him so much.  Every night I took him out and told him so as I petted him.”

We laugh about it now.  But, isn’t that the way we all are?  We put our life in a glass bowl and we love it with tender loving care.  We want it all perfect and comfortable. We pet it and even sometimes smother it … causing what we love the most to die.  There are those around us that will even try to fix all our problems like I tried with my daughter.

Life, it has ups and downs; good times and bad times.  God wants to teach us, sometimes in the good times and other times in the bad.  Everything is a lesson that will make us more like Him. When you become a Christian you change.

2 Corinthians 5:1(NLT) 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

To change you have to learn about Him.  You have to go through things in life to grow physically and you must go through things to change spiritually.  Do not avoid these times, do not try to “pad and protect” yourself from the lessons.  Do not whine and ask “why?”, ask “why am I here in this place Lord, what do you want me to learn?”

Psalm 25:4-5(HCSB) Make Your ways known to me, Lord; teach me Your paths.Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation;I wait for You all day long.”

Psalm 86:11(ESV)11 Teach me Your way, O Lord,that I may walk in Your truth;unite my heart to fear Your name.”

Proverbs 3:5-6(NASB)5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”

Instead of avoiding look to Him and say, “here am I Lord, teach me.”

Don’t Go To Bed Mad


Don't Go To Bed MAD!

I really do not remember when I was taught the concept, however, I do know I always taught my girls to ‘never go to bed mad’.  Walking out of the room and cooling down before you say something you will regret is one thing, but, allowing it to fester and develop in to real ‘soul’ problems between one another is sin.  It also can be very hard to live with should a tragedy strike before you resolve an issue.  Remember, words out of the mouth cannot go back in any easier than pushing toothpaste back in the tube.

Today is my middle brother Bobby’s birthday.  He was killed in a plane crash in 1997.  Earlier that day he called me about something to do with the new church our families were helping start.  It was a good talk, we laughed and we said “love you” .   (I have an earlier blog post about helping children through HARD TIMES).  I have always been so thankful that we talked that morning.  Two hours later I received the phone call that his plane had catastrophic engine failure and crashed.  He was gone in a blink of an eye.

Growing up Bobby picked on me, A LOT!  It is safe to say we did not get along and I did not always like him.  As adults he actually apologized, I let go of my hard feelings and we became very close and I am so glad.  It made me want to make sure my girls, Rebekah and Victoria, did not go through this problem.  I wanted them to be close.  I had the threat of, “if you two keep arguing I will make you sit facing each other, knees touching, holding hands and smiling for five minutes” as a tool.  If they stopped smiling in that five minutes I would add a minute.  (I actually used this in elementary school classrooms to stop bickering girls.  It really works.)

Bobby was a young 49 years old.  He was a strong Christian, a trustee in the new church and very active in his community.  The future looked great for him.  He was living the good life, very successful and well liked.  It is hard when the good die young.   Victoria lost a close friend to cancer at 9 years old.  One of my nephews died of a brain tumor in his 30’s.  No one knows what tomorrow holds; we are not even guaranteed the rest of today.  It is important to keep your accounts ‘short’ and to teach your children to do so as well (remember they are watching).  I am glad that through the years  I taught my girls to  resolve issues and never ‘go to bed mad’ as much as is humanly possible.

God’s word says:

Ephesians 4:26 (NIV)

“In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry…”

There will be some accounts that they can not resolve.  However, they should have their side in order with God’s word.  They should not go to bed angry.  Teach them to ‘let it go’.  Growing up in our church on New Year’s we had a Watch Night Service.   Everyone was given a piece of bread and about 15 minutes before midnight we spent the time going among the members giving each other a piece of bread of our bread and telling them we loved them.  It was a ‘love feast’.  The idea was to use the time to bury hatchets, apologize and leave the ‘old’ in the old year and start the New Year on right terms.

Keep your accounts short.  Your kids are watching.  If they see or know your anger towards someone, make sure they see or hear you make it right.  Do you have any phone calls or visits you need to make?