For those of you who got the short version of this this morning (yes - that WAS the short version!!), here's the full story.
It all started because I thought I needed a "real" sugar and creamer set for the marathon party Benefit I was hosting last Monday. It was a party for roughly 100 of my closest friends. :) And if you read my former post about my hermit-like nature, you'll know that this is certainly said tongue-in-cheek. Back to the creamer set...I don't own one. And I saw this as a good excuse to make the "investment". As I was browsing the creamer & sugar set isle of my local Home Goods, I quickly determined that I didn't need a creamer & sugar set for this party. I have a 55 cup coffeemaker cranking out coffee. A creamer pitcher ready to accommodate a generous, say, 5 cups of coffee would have to be refilled about 10 times during the party. I recalled having just gotten my cup o' brew at the local, ahem, gas station and they had that thermos with the lever that pops up on top, dispensing half & half. I think to myself - I need one of those! Push that lever and it dispenses the perfect amount of steaming (or cold) beverage into the cup. I run over to Target to find this nifty device. The package says that it will keep my creamer cold for 24 hours. Yipee! I took my thermos home and dreamed of all the ways I'll put this amazing purchase to use. I carefully pulled it out of the corrugated box. I popped up the lever on the top and watched with amazement. I wondered how someone could invent such an ingenious product. I began unscrew the top to this mysterious contraption, only to find that the "insulated glass interior lining" was crushed into a million pieces. To be frank, I was disappointed. So - I did what any respectable adult does when faced with this kind of adversity. I sat down and cried like a baby. If my kids had been watching me at that very moment, they would have suggested something like "Mom, just return it to the store...they'll give you a new one!" I know this, so I realize that this cry was for more than a broken thermos. When I opened that thermos, I realized that it looked like me on the inside. I had been burning the candle at both ends and within the safe package of "busy-ness" I appeared to be flawless. You see - I do and accomplish a lot in a short amount of time. And I truly feel okay for a while. Then, all of the sudden...as if out of nowhere...it hits me. I feel overwhelmed. I feel hopeless and despairing. I feel like I want to go to bed and not wake up until my "crisis" is over. I'm wondering why I seem to be taking care of everyone else and "no one" is taking care of me. I'm in a bad place. What's funny about me is that I have the ability to take a lot. But when I hit the lows...they are usually very, very low. And to be honest, my meltdowns can be quite a bit unpredictable, which drives my family crazy. Clearly, this is not ideal for me either.
As I amazingly cried over a broken thermos, my tears evolved to crying over my broken heart. Those words, "Mommy...you can just return it," kept ringing in my head. And so, with all my pieces in hand, I opened the Word of God and I read. I gave him my broken pieces and asked if I could exchange it for a new, unbroken Spirit. As I searched for joy in the pages I found hope in the midst of despair. I read these words from 2 Corinthians 9:12-15 "The service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God's people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" Little by little throughout that night and into the next day, I could feel the strength to pursue the tasks ahead of me.
Looking back, I can't believe that I didn't give that thermos a shake on the way to the checkout and hear all those broken pieces tumbling around inside. I don't know how God works in these things, but maybe He closed my ears to hearing those shattered pieces because he had something to say to my heart. I'm grateful for the lesson that God taught me. I'm happy to report that both the thermos and my heart were returned and replaced for new, unbroken versions. And the benefit was a huge success. As an ending "lesson learned" side note...if you ever find yourself wondering if you need a large thermos of half & half for 55 cups of coffee - You don't. It's a little overkill! :)