Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

When the Cabinet Door Breaks

Hi Friends,

Something interesting happened yesterday with my oldest daughter, age 9. Two days ago, I discovered the cabinet door was broken clean off on our entertainment center in the basement. When asked, Bethany said she didn't know what happened. So, of course, Jayna got blamed (after all, she's always getting into things, breaking things, doing some naughty thing). But Jayna (she's 3) said Bet-a-nee did it. So yesterday, I asked Bethany if she broke the cabinet door. She said no ... for about one minute. Then, her face contorted, she started to bawl, and hollered out, "Yes, I did it. I did it." Then, between sobs, she told about how she sat on the door just like we'd told her not to do, and it broke, and she lied, and, and, and . . . and she didn't want to get in trouble. Waaaa....

About this time, I'm trying not to grin from ear to ear. Why? Because I was so happy that the door broke. Not, of course, because I wanted a broken door (in fact, it will be hard to fix), but because of all the lessons I could help Bethany glean from this one incident. It was such a perfect life lesson for a number of things that would be important for her to know, especially as she's getting closer to her teen years. So, for the next several minutes, Bethany and I talked about important issues like:

1) Mommy and Daddy are wise. It's best to do what they say.
2) If you fail in #1 and do something stupid, it's best to fess up right away. Otherwise you end up carrying your mistake around with you.
3) Repent fast. Come quickly to Mommy or Daddy and confess what you've done. Don't make excuses. Just say, I did something dumb. I know you said not to, but I did it anyway, and I'm really sorry.
4) Lying is worse than the original offense. Sitting on the cabinet door may cause broken furniture, but lying causes brokenness inside us. And that's a lot harder to fix. And a lot worse for us. Don't lie.
5) If you fail in #4 and lie, fix the lie with the truth right away. The longer the lie sits inside you, the most damage it does. Get the truth out fast. A lie is like giving yourself a cut - get the medicine of the truth on it fast so it won't get infected and start to ooze and pus (nasty image, isn't it?!). The longer it festers, the sicker it makes us.
6) If you lie, someone else may get in trouble for what you did, and that's not fair. (This was a big one for Bethany because relationships are so important to her.)

Anyway, by the time we got done talking, it was almost as if God had made that door break just to give me the chance to teach Bethany what to do when we make a mistake. It was an awesome time of learning about important, character-forming lessons. So, that's why I had to hide my smile about the broken door. What a rich opportunity!

And it got me thinking - maybe the "broken doors" in my life weren't just about things going wrong. Maybe God put them there so I could learn valuable life lessons too. Maybe I need to see things going wrong as an opportunity to change, learn, and grow. Because I need to learn the same lessons as Bethany:

1) God is wise. It's best to do what He says.
2) Failing #1, confess right away - go to Him fast in prayer and say, "I messed up!"
3) Repent. Say I'm sorry. Don't do it again. Don't make excuses.
4) Don't lie - not to others, and especially not to myself. Embrace the truth even when it's hard to hear and accept.
5) If I fail #4, fix it with the truth fast. Embrace truth as quickly as I can. Don't let the lie fester!
6) How I react to the broken parts of my life matters not only to me, but to others. Others, especially those that I love, are affected by what I do, think, say, and react. My character matters not just to me and God, but to them too.

So, thank God for broken cabinet doors ... in Bethany's life, and in mine too!


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Marlo -

I'm enjoying your posts. Thanks for accepting my friend invitation on Facebook.

Susan :)