Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Gap

There's a gap. So often I don't live out the things I say I believe. I know that trials of different sizes come into my life to help me grow, but many times I live as if I expect God to ‘fix’ all of my problems. Sometimes I pout. Can anyone relate?

After a challenging evening in our church youth program last night, I returned home to find that my once light-beige living room carpet was now decorated with mod splashes of mango nail polish. It was an accident. My daughter, Riley, hadn’t realized that the cap to the nail polish was loose. When she reached for the bottle, the applicator remained in her hand, while the bottle slipped to the floor leaving a tell-tale trail of orange nail polish. At first, I was too shocked to speak.

We tried our cure-all for carpet stains, Nature’s Miracle. Coming highly recommended from our pet store, it has removed just about any kind of stain imaginable, from those little ‘surprises’ our cat leaves behind, to ink from a dry-erase marker. The stuff is truly incredible. Surely it would do its thing and return my carpet to normal! But it didn’t…not this time.

Anger began to set in as I realized the nail polish on my carpet was here to stay. I couldn’t believe how careless Riley had been. I let her know I was none too pleased. I told her how expensive it would be to replace the carpet. New carpet was definitely not in the budget.

As my blood pressure began to return to normal, I realized that I had a choice. Learn from this little trial or remain angry. It truly was an accident, preventable, but an accident none the less. The relationship I have with my daughter is far more important than the attachment I have to my carpet. Family trumps ‘things’ every time!

Although the stain is a permanent reminder of this trial, we both came away with lessons learned. Riley, determined to be more careful. Me, determined to keep my mouth shut until I can speak the truth in love and not anger (Ephesians 4:15). In both of our cases, God’s truth was evident. He is much more concerned about bringing glory to Himself and changing us, than solving all of our problems.

When I look back on the trials I’ve experienced in life, I can identify them as the times that I’ve grown the most. Not that I’m asking for trials, but the faithfulness of God is clearly seen during seasons when I’m focused solely on Him. He is always faithful, I’m just not always mindful of His faithfulness. If I never experienced a trial, I’m afraid I wouldn’t realize my desperate need for His guidance and direction. Words from the book of first Chronicles put everything into proper perspective, “Seek the Lord and his strength, seek his face continually” (1 Chronicles 16:11; KJV).

How wise I am when I choose to live with the knowledge that there are things in my life that need to be changed. I haven’t arrived yet. I’m a work in progress. Therefore, God is not going to ‘fix’ all of my problems. Each problem is necessary to spur on the transformation process that draws me one step closer to being conformed to the image of Christ.

Can you think of a trial that drew you closer to Christ? I’d love to hear about it, after all, we’re on this journey together!


  1. I can relate. I had an excruciating week in early December. In a matter of three days our basketball hoop had shattered our van window (below zero out of course) and I'd sliced my hand opening cat food--four stitches.

    Initially I was no fun to be around, but I was amazed at how quickly God solved the problems. There's no point in stewing over things that already happened.

  2. My kids have dumped paint, "supposedly" invisible ink, fake blood and of course have the dogs... We just keep in mind that we'll probably replace the carpet someday in the future, when we have the money. God has definitely kept our cool on more than one occasion. What's done is done.

  3. You handled this so well despite your initial reaction. I know your daughter will always remember how much you loved her--more than the carpet:)
    I've had one long trial for over two years with unemployment but I think, I pray, we are seeing the doors open again!

  4. I'm learning, although not as fast as I'd like, to pray and then trust God to answer. All my pity parties and worrying won't change a single thing.

    I do what I know to do and then leave the rest in God's hands (just like you did).

    Susan :)

  5. I like your phrase, "The Gap." Bruce Waltke, writer of a 2 vol. commentary set on Proverbs, says the delay between a promise God gives us and the fulfillment of the promise is called "the Gap." God may promise us contentment when we are patient. The period of time it takes for us to begin working on our patience and achieving contentment is the gap.

    You have written of it in a similar way, and it is a good way of communicating to people the journey we are on. It is a journey of character growth. You did a great job of sharing this story and what we can learn from it.

    Have you read John Ortberg's "The Life You've Alway Wanted"? He has a story in there about a sofa stain (which he caused), and then says, "We have all stained the sofa."

    Good post.

  6. The part where you said your relationship with your daughter was far more important than the attachment to the carpet is what caught my eye. We have all been there at one time or another.

  7. I definitely can relate. God has definitely used my trials to bring me closer to Him. It's made me thankful for them, even if it was incredibly painful at the time.

  8. For me it has been praying my children to salvation, and retaining open communication with them about it, even their objections. Now that they are 21 & 22 it is important for me to respect their beliefs, even if I disagree. Especially if I want them to respect mine, and hopefully win them over. It has been a challenge for me to leave it in God's hands and continue to release them to him. It is teaching me to trust in a new way.

  9. Thank you for your honesty in sharing this episode of life with the Morgans. God is always refining us with His lessons! When we weigh relationships on one hand against anything else, we always see what is MOST important. The difference is that not too many people openly confess the ugliness which we all go through to learn the lesson. In Australia we call that being 'fair-dinkum'.

    I had a lovely rant one time when a tradesman put a dint in our new mantlepiece as he was installing it. The builder in charge of our new home quickly shut me down by telling me to get it together and asked me to put things into perspective. He was right. It was Sept 11, 2001.
    It's a lesson I remember each time I dust over the fireplace with its, now, very insignificant indentation.


  10. Really, everyday there is an episode that draws me closer. He allows the chaos sometimes to gather my focus on him.

  11. Maria, you know the trial that has brought me closer to HIM. My Christopher. I learned that I MUST depend on God to bring us though. Nothing else can. No doctors, medicine, only the MASTER.

    Sorry about the carpet. But hey Maria, I've held a lot of pity parties in my honor. *grin* Sometimes it seems like that's all we can do. Until we DROP to our knees and remember our SAVIOR. Happy weekend my cherished friend. =)

  12. What is this! Last week I had to bite my tongue as my husband made a "spot" on the carpet doing something with the fire in the fireplace.

    Yes, it was an accident. No, he didn't mean to. But OUCH. It's there for good.

    Controlling words and irritation are a couple of big tests, right?

    Come see me again!

  13. Jill - Thanks for sharing! And for the reminder that there really is no point in wasting our energy playing "if only," with things that have already happened. Glad to hear God worked everything out with your van window and hand (ouch!). God bless!

    Val - Sounds like you've had your share of carpet mishaps!! It's great when enough time goes by that we can actually laugh about these incidents! Good job putting things in perspective and keeping your cool! Blessings to you and your family!

    Terri - Thanks for your sweet encouragement! I'm adding your job request to my prayer list, knowing that God will provide exactly what you need! Looking forward to your praise report! God bless and have a great weekend!

    Susan - Thanks for sharing a godly pattern to follow: pray, do what we can do, leave the rest in God's hands. I'm going to review this often!! God bless you abundantly!

    Warren - Thanks for the words of encouragement and the wonderful resources you've shared. I've not read John Ortberg's book, but the story about the sofa stain has piqued my curiosity!! I like the 'gap' definition given by Bruce Waltke, as well. I can relate to your example, too! God bless you and your family! Have a wonderful weekend!

  14. Aliene - In the big scheme of things, the carpet doesn't even weigh in! Thanks for your encouragement, Aliene! Have a blessed weekend!

    Kristen - I've definitely not gotten to the point of being able to count my trials, 'all joy'(James). I like your perspective - because God has drawn you closer in times of trial, you are thankful for them! Have a fabulous weekend and God bless!

    Carla - Thanks for sharing your heart! Sounds like your faith is definitely being stretched. What words of wisdom. God will bless you for your obedience! I'll be praying for salvation for your children. God's richest blessings to you!

    Dorothy - I so appreciate your words of encouragement! Thank you so much for sharing your story, too! Little 'things' pale in comparison to those involving people. At the moment, we feel so justified in our anger, yet when we look at it from a relationship standpoint, whatever made us mad seems pretty insignificant. Your 9-11 story is a great example.

    God bless you and your family!! :)

    Tamika - Allowing the chaos to help you focus on Christ is fantastic! Keep your gaze on the Master! Happy weekend and God bless!

    Robyn - What a sweet comment! I know the health issues that Christopher deals with have drawn you close to the Lord in a very special way. I know He will continue to see you through! You're absolutely right that it's when we "DROP to our knees and remember our SAVIOR" that we have truly done all we can! Happy weekend to you, too, my sweet friend!

    Diana - Too funny that we both had carpet incidents within the same week! Just to let you know, my husband has done the same thing (the burn mark was pretty small and totally insignificant after I cut a tiny amount of the carpet out!!)I'm still working on controlling my words and irritations...I think it will be a life-long process! Have a wonderfully blessed weekend and a warm fire in your fireplace!! ;)

  15. There are too many to list, but here's a couple:

    My youngest sister being tragically killed.
    Going through a difficult divorce.

    Just joined to follow your blog and look forward to getting to know you.
    Blessings and prayers, andrea

  16. Oh yes, I can relate. Although I tend to rant not pout! I really need to learn to bite my tongue and pray before I open my mouth.

    Btw, we're having a challenge at the kjv blog directory, trying to visit all the members this month. Hope you have time to stop by and check it out.

  17. Andrea - Welcome! Thank you so much for stopping by and for following! Also wanted to thank you for sharing your heart. Know that I will be lifting you up in prayer for the difficult situations you mentioned. I look forward to getting to know you! God bless you abundantly!

    Deborah - Thanks for your honesty!! So often, that's my response, too. Thanks for the heads up about the challenge. I look forward to participating!! God bless you!:)