Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Applesauce and the Blame Game

I was in a frantic scramble to turn apples into sauce before any more rotted. The clock was ticking, my time limited, and each movement needed to count.

A row of jars stood on the counter, awaiting lids. As I stretched to reach over the jars, one jar toppled. Applesauce splashed across the counter, down my dress, dripping to the floor.

I looked quickly for broken glass and grabbed a towel to stop any further mess. Although grateful to find the jar unbroken, I found myself looking around in irritation.

But I was alone. No one was in the kitchen but me. With shock, I realized I was searching for someone to blame. I shudder to think what words would have escaped if the usual bevy of children had been at my elbow. I heard their happy voices playing in a nearby room. This time, there was nothing but my own clumsiness to blame.

For the next several hours, while washing apples, stirring pots, squeezing sauce, and scrubbing pans, I had much to ponder. How often do I lash out at my helpers when an accident happens? Do I always blame others in times of difficulty, big or small? Do I never stop to consider that maybe I am the one to blame?

The reaction is as old as our Grandmother Eve. I blame the serpent. The children You gave me. My husband. Or the house, the weather, my aching back, the economy, her, him, them, it...endless the things, people, and circumstances at the focus of my anger.

What if I turned my accusing finger inward? If I said, "I have sinned. I was impatient. I knocked over the jar. I spoke unkindly. Please forgive me." Would my heart then be lighter, the burden lifted? If I turned my frustrations into songs of joy, would I find the “joy of the Lord is my strength”? Could I carry my burden, the endless tasks, the time limits, the uncomfortable circumstances to my Father and there find the promised rest?

Some days it seems impossible to find the time to sit at Jesus' feet, this needful thing that Mary chose. But I can choose to spend time in His Word and tune my heart to His voice. If I want to stop blaming my circumstances, I need to start working on the person I can change.


Then when applesauce spills, may only loving words escape.

16 comments :

  1. If we're honest, I think we all tend to do this unfortunately. Your post was a good reminder that I needed to hear today. Thanks.

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  2. I know that I am guilty of this. You have given me something to ponder today. Thank you!

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  3. Thank you for reminding us that seeking Jesus first will settle our hearts. I always try to seek His precious face when I feel the struggles of life creeping in.
    I'm so thankful He is always there to keep me in check with my attitude.
    God bless
    Jeanna

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  4. God just recently (this week) convicted me of this VERY thing!! Thank you for sharing honestly. :)

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  5. Beautifully written Gina. I could have written the same thing...how humbling. Thank you for sharing and being honest!

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  6. May I eat some of your humble pie as well? It's easy to give excuses for our sinful actions and I caught myself doing this same thing yesterday with my oldest daughter. I heard myself giving an excuse as I confessed losing my patience due to the stress of a tight schedule that day. It revealed a lot about my heart which was sad indeed. Then during the last 24 hours, I saw the same sin pop up in my girls (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, especially when a poor example is being set).

    I'm preaching to myself here and rehearsing some thoughts... this all led to a discussion in our home that Christ is the only one who can help us conquer our own sinful hearts and that by recognizing it, we have taken the first step in obtaining victory with His help. Just as a young man must make it a practice to divert his eyes from an immodest young lady and think of something else, so too must we make a choice to put off impatience and put on self-restraint (or whatever antidote is appropriate). What I find amazing is that each time we obey and do this, we find ourselves strengthened more and more in Christ!

    You mentioned being in the Word and going to bed earlier... I couldn't agree more! The heart is willing but the flesh is weak; and my flesh always seems weakest when I'm tired. This too could become an excuse, but getting enough rest on a regular basis would allow for holy habits to develop so that even when we are tired, hopefully our first thought would be to catch our own sinful heart before it lashes out unrestrained!

    I'll be praying for you today! Would you do the same for me??! I long to be strong in Christ and transformed not just in deed but in heart!

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  7. BTW, I don't mean to minimize the transforming power of the Word which renews the mind! (Romans 12:2)

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  8. Gina,
    While I love the honesty and reflection of this post I hate it too, because it hits too close to home. The impatience that arises in homeschooling, my lack of grace when "helpful" kids create more work than doing it myself. Even my accusations at God himself as I struggle to adjust to a new child in our life that came with 6 years of negative orphanage behaviors and the "Lord do you really think I'm up for this". Then when I sit quietly in the very early morning having to ask Him to remove in me all that makes me respond this way.
    I'm so thankful for His grace, I just need to learn how to extend it with those He's placed closest to me. You aren't alone and in a strange way I find it comforting to know I'm not either.

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  9. Oh, I can relate to this post! What I've learned (but have not perfected!) is how liberating it can be to accept responsibility for my thinking, responses, and reactions. Maybe a distinction is to not inflict blame on yourself but rather embrace responsibility for yourself.

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  10. oh I recognize this too! And I set such a terrible example for my children when I don't take responsibility for my carelessness, temper, or selfishness. . . .sighhhh. The crucible of homelife.

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  11. Ahh I know how you feel and the worst part of it is "I'm sorry mummy, I wont do it again." Just breaks my heart, knowing I was at fault and in heat I lashed out :(

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  12. Thanks for the great post & something I need to work on in my life too-why is it so easy to blame my children for something that was my fault. :( And I've gotten sloppy with getting up early in the morning too lately & then have to hurry my children around & it makes all of us grumpy.

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  13. Hi Gina,
    This was a much needed post. It was painful to read but oh so true.Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom with us.
    Blessings,
    Mrs.E

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  14. I've been struggling with myself lately so I loved this post your words are so encouraging ,honest and pure.Thank you for a Blessing today!I pray your week will be filled with Joy.

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  15. Thank you so much for this post and your open-ness!! :o)
    Valerie

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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