With my cozy blanket pulled all around me, I snuggle down into my thrifted sofa and spend time soaking in my surroundings.
Reminders of real-life living touch every corner of our home.
Mismatched socks in a pile, leftover cold coffee waiting to be reheated for the third time, pen marks from my special needs nephew who christened the wall, our fireplace mantel adorned with cuts of fir from our woods, my second-hand piano waiting to be painted something bold and lastly, my eyes settle in on our broken double-paned window.
Tucked away in a back corner of our sitting room, that cracked window still holds a golf ball from years past.
I haven’t thought about that day in years, but I remember it well.
A typical afternoon, our three boys hooted and hollered in the side yard. As I peeked out the window, I saw them all swinging their golf clubs.
“Boys,” I yelled out the back door, “aim your clubs in the opposite direction or someone’s going to break a window.”
Two of the three yelled back in affirmation, while the eldest responded with all the gumption his ten-year-old wisdom could muster, “Mom, there’s no way I will hit the window. Absolutely no way! I know what I’m doing.”
We went back and forth about obedience and choices, but he was sincerely convinced, there was no pending problem.
As I reached the opposite side of the house, I heard it!
Literally minutes after our exchange, that professional golfer hit and shattered the very window of which I had warned.
A few choice words flew from my mouth and I ordered him inside immediately. Livid doesn’t describe my frustration.
“All I asked you to do was point your club in the opposite direction. How difficult is that for you? It’s not. It’s simple.”
“Mom, really, I am sorry. I was so sure that I wouldn’t hit it.”
Years later, that golf ball stills serves as a reminder, a marker of sorts.
2014 is the year to finally replace that hidden window, but as I ponder the life lessons that visual represents, it’s many.
My son didn’t set out to crack this window.
His heart attitude wasn’t, “I will purposely disobey my mother because I want to do wrong,” but rather, it stemmed from a scripture of old, “Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25.)
He acted on his own authority and in the belief that he knew better. Ultimately, his wisdom and knowledge failed him.
As a mother of five, I’m continually discussing Proverbs 3:7 with our children. “Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.” (NIV)
Yet the more I quote it for them, the Lord opens my eyes to how much it’s meant for me (and maybe for you?).
Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with wise, Godly women who continually cause me to think.
Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
While I firmly believe that, I’ve recently seen a subtle shift in some of the views that they’ve shared, and it’s been challenging to step outside their strong collective thinking. Their wisdom, which once stemmed solely from scripture, is now a mixture of choice scriptures and personal feelings that don’t necessarily align with scripture. Their counsel is increasingly given without wanting to offend, but therefore it never quite confronts sin.
Every where I turn, society is challenging believers to look more like the world.
Christians pulling away from the theology that scripture is the inerrant (without error) Word of God, and philosophies assuring us that truth changes. “It’s relative, and of course, a good God wants us all to be happy.”
I look at the golf ball stuck in the shattered glass, cobwebs dusting the edging and am smacked with the reminder, “Wise in my own eyes. Wise in my own eyes.”
Oh, Lord! Are we becoming a generation that is so wise in our own eyes; a society resting on political correctness that we are missing out on your Glory? Do we feel the need to “dress up” the Gospel with our own slant so that it’s more appealing?
I love finding Christ smack dab in the middle of my mess. He is well-acquainted with grief; a man of sorrow, a savior full of compassion. Joy is often found in the midst of heartbreak and sorrow, but this promise of happiness and good fortune that I keep hearing about, I have yet to find in scripture.
As I sit, listen and read, I think back to that day with my son.
He was so sure he was doing the right thing. He earnestly believed what he said to be true, and therein lies the problem. Feelings fail us. Opinions, whether based on spiritual, social, or even political issues, must be vetted through scripture.
As the new year ushers in, I pray that my feelings and opinions never get in the way of His truth.
As the Lord continues to mold me, may I grow in righteousness as my own sin is revealed. I pray my tongue utters wisdom and my mouth speaks boldly what is just without compromise.
Since our golf ball serves as my object of remembrance, maybe we can each pick our own marker for the new year; a tangible object to remind us that true wisdom is found at the foot of the cross. A mark of remembrance to be bold in His truth, compassionate with His love and humbled by His wisdom.
Q4U: Have you ever kept a tangible object as a reminder of an important life lesson or situation? Would you care to share? Is there an area that you’ve been convicted of to speak up boldly for Him?
Shared by: Jen Schmidt, author of Balancing Beauty and Bedlam, lover of quick meal ideas and family traditions.Leave a Comment
Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God says
I did have to chuckle because, I too, had a window that remained cracked for quite some time due to an errant golf ball. I have many reminders around my house that serve to remind me and my grown children of wisdom based on feelings vs. Biblical truth. I have a hole and a water stained mark in my kitchen ceiling that is waiting for my son to pay to have fixed. Instead of not obeying his parents, he and his friends would sneak out onto the flat roof outside his bedroom window and hang out there under the stars. Their continual weight caused the roof to leak – right into my kitchen area. When my son gets “wise” ideas, I point to the hole in the ceiling.
Thanks, Jen, for having the boldness and conviction to stand up for Christians not “soft serving” scripture. What was meant to be a sword has been dulled into a butter knife. I needed the reminder to stay fixed on the Truth!
Jennifer Schmidt says
Bev – cracked window women unite! That is too funny. Those boys of ours, we gotta love them. 😉
Thank you for your continual encouragement. It’s hard to yield against the enemy with a butter knife, yet that’s what too many are choosing. I needed my own reminder.
Blessings to your family this New Year.
Awesome way to put it!!! We have dulled the Word into a butter knife. I am hoping that 2014 becomes my year of making sure that it remains as it should: a sharp Sword of Truth.
I am trying to put the butter knife away. Thanks for sharing this, it was much needed!!
Kris camealy says
Jen, this is such a timely word. I appreciate your willingness to speak the truth and remind us to measure wisdom by the authority of Gods word, rather than our own thoughts and feelings about it. Thank you for standing boldly for truth. Love to you, my friend.
Jennifer Schmidt says
Thank you, sweet friend – it’s a challenging time, for sure and it’s so easy to let our feelings rule our decision making.
Sometimes I’d rather just turn and run rather than confront and when I had to look my dear friend in the eyes and say, “I love you and you will always be a dear friend, but I can not stand by or agree with your decision,” it was so much more painful for her than me.
Thank you Jennifer for standing firmly on the Truth. I always enjoy hearing from you. You are inspiring to me in this crazy world! Blessings to you!!
Shauna Letellier says
In college I traveled to Arizona with a youth group, and on our bus trip I heard Steven Curtis Chapman’s song, “Burn the Ships.” It tells the story of the explorer Cortez who’s men began to complain and worry about their hard life in the new land. He ordered the ships burned to prevent them from deserting and returning to their old life. Chapman likens it to our walk with Christ–“no turning back” as another old song says.
I was convicted of a pattern of sin in my life and knew I needed to “burn the ships.” I asked the Lord for a reminder of my commitment, and there in the middle of the Arizona desert, in a gift shop, I found a pair of sterling silver ship earrings. I bought them.
Sadly, I continued to stumble in that area, and ironically, I lost one of the earrings.
I still have the other one. It serves as a reminder that God takes our sin and our commitments seriously. He also lavishes grace, and leaves reminders that though we stumble, because He lived and died in our place, we are not utterly cast away.
Jen (Balancing Beauty and Bedlam) says
oh Shauna – that is beautiful and such words of truth!!
I remember that song and now I am off to pull it up and be reminded of that same truth. Thank you for sharing.
My reminder is a wedding band I wear on my thumb. It reminds me that when I try to do life on my own I really mess things up (language warning).
Well-written and convicting. If that tangible reminder reminds your son as well as it reminds you, I would have it framed (maybe a frame within a frame? – shattered glass around the ball-within a box frame- such as is mounted for a desk top) and give it to him to keep always. A reminder we don’t know better 🙂 You could have Prov 37:1 mounted behind the ball.
I love this because first of all I am guilty of being wise in my own eyes, but also because it calls us to remember Who the ultimate authority is. It’s really, really hard to stand up for what you know is right when everyone tells you that you are being judgmental or intolerant. But it is entirely possible to stand up for the truth AND be loving and merciful. We don’t have to compromise truth ever.
LOVE this blog! I completely agree that Truth is being watered down. I am up for the challenge to stand firm in God’s Truth and obey him in the hard things. I have a long way to go, but it’s my desire to live a life of obedience…no compromising or feeling the need to worry about being politically correct. I do have a physical reminder in my home that obedience to God is the only way to live a life of peace: a painting I painted 20 years ago after a bout of disobedience that sent my world into a state of chaos. And I mean CHAOS. It’s a daily reminder that I am not wise; GOD IS. Life is messy. Only Jesus can clean it up. And He did this for me. LOVE that God taught me this lesson!
What a challenging story. As a momma of two little ones, I find myself daily struggling with the foundation of my actions and teachings that my husband and I are trying to share with our children. My desperate prayer is that we are able to raise them to see God in who we are and that they would understand the truth of His word as we attempt to understand it, as well. This desire for them to know Christ drives me to know Christ even more.
My physical reminder is a small rock that sits on my desk. On it reads “looking forward” and it’s a reminder of my life verse, Philippians 3:13. I am a person who literally holds on to every negative memory I’ve ever experienced…even if the memory isn’t that big of a deal. So having this rock on my desk reminds me that I can’t change what has happened, but with God’s strength I can focus on what lies ahead and the prize He has called me to.
Melissa Michaels says
So good Jen. So so good.
Beth WIlliams says
Superb post! It is about time that Christians unite and stand up for what is right. If we don’t stand for something we will fall for anything our lame, turkey president & congress try to pass onto us.
My song for this Christmas was “It’s Called Christmas with a Capital C” By Big Fish. It states “You can call it something else but that’s not what it will be–it’s about the birth of Christ and you can’t take that away!”
I am purpose driven lately to make sure Christ is known and that I show Christ in all I do and say. I want to shine like him and show the world the truth! I’m in no way wise in my own eyes! He is the author of my story!
Have a blessed New Year’s celebration and a great 2014! 🙂
Lisette Morgan says
Thank you for sharing Jennifer, and I could’nt agree with you more….and continue to share the thoughts the Holy Spirit impresses on your mind 🙂
Love and blessings
Laurie B. says
Amy Muse says
Thank you, Jen, for sharing. I have come to a place in my life where I am finally able to just love people for who they are rather than judge them for their beliefs. It saddens me to see America turning on the very principles and foundation it was born upon. As Christians, our voice is more important today than it has ever been before. We are truly under spiritual warfare daily. Being a living example is of utmost importance, but I fear it is no longer enough. Posts like yours remind me that I am not alone and we all have a voice.
Timely sharing of truth. I am now inspired to sharpen my knowledge and pray even more than before, about wisdom in sharing God’s truth and not my version of His truth.
Oh, how I need a huge does of that Godly wisdom! So often, I am seeking wisdom, and then–I feel roadblocked and sidetracked and exhausted! Thanks fo rthe reminder that when we take the easy way out, and settle for being ‘wise’ in our own eyes, we actually short-change ourselves with a poor substitute for God’s wisdom.
What a great New Year’s prayer I have now!
The #1 temptation of man is pride. It’s the enemy’s specialty. In the last year I have found new life in humility. In admitting that I don’t know anything! Lol. In admitting that the only reason there is any wisdom in me at all is because the Holy Spirit resides there! Also, the peace that comes when we realize we don’t have to be wise, is intoxicating.
Great post. My symbol just may be a print of his to read when I get off track. 😉
Thank you, thank you for sharing this. My feelings get in the way of so much and I know God is working on me in this area. I don’t want to be politically correct, I want to be correct in following my Father. I’m so thankful for His grace and mercy and the amazing Spirit that continues to guide me.
Powerful and thought provoking message. As ever, you inspire me to think and reflect.
Love it! I have 2 holes in the wall my daughter left. Was painting another bedroom this past summer when my youngest daughter came running up to me very upset about something she did. Since I was in the middle of something, I said I needed to finish what I was doing( and take a breath of Jesus) before I went and see what the problem was. When I finally got there, I saw I her crying hysterically on the bed and 2 holes in the wall. The “breath of Jesus” definitely helped because all I could do is just laugh. I mentioned that it was obviously a horrible flip because the holes were so uneven and laughed even more. Yes, this out of character for me. I’ve always been the screamer first and listen second. She punished herself enough without me, I didn’t need to do anything. I hope I could always remember to take that breath before I speak and focus on what is truely important.
Dawn Camp says
Jen, these are wise, wise words. We had one of those cracked window lessons in our girls’ bedroom; we switched it out with a window in the basement, but we need to replace it, too!
Tammy A~ says
Thank you Jen. I needed this reminder.