Friday, February 18, 2011

The ugly meter

Pinocchio had one. An oh-so-unfortunate lie-meter planted directly on his face. Poor kid. Can you imagine taking that to school in the 1st grade? Or for me, having the tree on my face that would have inevitably resulted on carpet-cleaning day? That would not have been pretty. {{shudder}} Today I am wondering if Pinocchio was blessed or cursed by his nose. (And there really is a good reason that I have Pinocchio on my brain. Bear with me.) Let's ponder...

One could say it was a cruel reality for poor Pinoc to have his greatest weakness so publicly displayed for all the world to see. Wasn't that just setting him up for ridicule, having a nose that grew with every untruth he uttered? Couldn't it have been something more subtle like an ingrown toenail or a toothache?

Or, on the other hand, one could say he was fortunate. Tell a lie, see a direct and immediate result. Pinocchio's nose was the instant feedback he needed at just the right time, so that he could stop his perpetual lie-telling. What a great way to learn a new behavior! (I know there are many a day I wish that my own children were graced with a nose the likes of Pinocchio's. It would make my job so much easier!)

The reason I am thinking about Pinocchio today is that just the other day I was praising God that I don't have an "ugly meter" on my face. (No, that is not my way of saying that I think my face is beautiful.) I was driving my muddy van over muddy roads, late as usual for our destination, with a van load of 6 hyper children, and I was glaring at the road as I fumed. I was ticked. I was stressed. My heart rate was at least 227 beats a minute and my jaw was clenched. I was not in a good state.

Why, do you ask?

Because life was being life and my kids were being kids. My husband was out of town. One of the 13-year-olds did not get his breakfast the first time I told him to. Or the 7th. There were crumbs on the floor--again. The sink had dirty breakfast dishes in it and no one had volunteered to do them. The sun was not shining brightly enough to warm the air so I could take a walk, but even if it had I would felt trapped indoors by my hyper brood. My hair did not straighten as well as I like it to. And the icing on the cake was my 3-year-old whining about the poorly placed toe seam on her too-small tights.

It was then that I lost it.

In grand fashion, I whipped the offending tights off of her legs while she wailed, and unforgivingly stuffed her chubby little body into a fresh pair, while she continued to wail. That's what you get for growing!, my actions screamed through my self-justified frenzy. Now let's go to church!

Stellar, Shelly, just stellar. If I was in the running for Mommy of the Year, I am certain my name is now OFF of the list. {{sigh}}

So, as I was driving to town in my awful state, to put on my happy face and tell everyone that life is "busy but good", I felt a familiar nudging of my heart. And suddenly I was thinking about Pinocchio. I was wondering what I would have looked like in that very moment, if I was graced such as Pinocchio. If my face somehow had displayed my ugliness towards my daughter and her siblings.

It was in that instant that I praised the Lord I don't bear an ugly-meter on my face. I admit to you that most of my sins are secret, hidden, masked sins no one knows about until I admit them out loud, and since I am not growing trees or warts or boils on my face every time I sin, I can walk around with a pretty good front on. Now, that is not to say I am perfect and I never sin publicly. I surely do. But, by God and His grace only, I have been transformed by Him into someone who does most of her sinning in her heart. (Not sayin' that is a good thing, either.) I am definitely a work in progress. And I am more grateful that ever that I have a Savior who, for no other reason than His immense power and love, chose to die for me. I deserve nothing else in life other than the salvation He has already given me. Why do I ask for more?

I praised God Sunday that He made me very aware of how ugly I can be sometimes, and I praised Him for choosing to reserve the ugly meters for cartoon characters. Now, if only I could quit sinning altogether, we'd be all set.

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. 1st Peter 3:4&5


Anonymous said...

Oh my good gracious,I'm picking myself up off the floor, stomache
hurting from laughing so hard. Girl, you have got an AMAZING gift. Wisdom just flows like a waterfall as you write about your life. I find myself being more and more indeared to you, as you speak honestly from the heart. Thank you, you just made my day a little brighter.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE IT! I would think most days you would have similar issues and difficulties! It can't be easy raising six children - even when they are all wonderful and loved and blessings in your life most of the time! I have six sometimes - just before and after school. I can not imagine doing that 24/7 - even with breaks while they are in school. I pray that GOD will HUG you warmly for all the LOVE you shower on your children! HUGS from me TOO!
Carol Rudesill

Anonymous said...

That is too good. You are an awesome writer.

Anonymous said...

My 'ugly face' usually appears as soon as I get home from church. All my good intentions and resolutions made during church fly right out the window as soon as Satan meets me at the door of my home :-(

Thanks so much blessing us with the humorous sharing your gift of words!!