Refining silver, rock tumblers, and little girls

Hello! So, it’s been a long time, and for that I apologize. Anytime you leave a blog for long, you come back sheepishly ducking your head into the door cheeks red from the embarrassment. It isn’t that I didn’t have things to say! we all know that’s not the reality. and I’m grateful to those of you who contacted me during my short holiday.

It wasn’t really a holiday, of course. It was MOVING. Oh my word, y’all. I’m never moving again. It’s most unfortunate that our bedrooms are all upstairs because I’m still going to be here when I’m old and those stairs may do me in. BUT, fortunately, my husband is a physical therapist so I’ll have me some live-in help until he’s too old too. (If he were here, this is where he would point out that I’m more than a year older than him, and therefore, will be “old” WAY before he will…sigh. men.)

Anywho, we moved! First, I actually rocked the single mom thing for 5 weeks while he lived here and we stayed at the other house. which reminds me, I need to start making my christmas list early this year and include every single mother I have ever known or met. One day, I’ll blog post about all my incredibly over-organized tips I learned from moving. The color coded duct tape to code boxes to rooms instead of hand labeling? YES. MA’AM.

But today, however, I wanted to share another bit of advice, and ask for yours in return. News flash: I am not perfect. and guess what? my kids sure aren’t either. I may be wrong, but I feel like homeschooling gives us a little more insight into that lately…because, we NEVER leave each other. We do have a lot more space in this house compared to the 950 sq ft in our last house, but people still share bedrooms here. We still have three meals a day together. We still do chores together, school together, and play together. I made the mistake of tallying it up this morning while doing dishes and realized that I do dishes for 3 meals a day, for 5 people. That’s 15 place settings a day. That’s over 100 plates or bowls or whatever that particular meal called for!

I’m not gonna lie….sometimes, that makes me grumpy. and sometimes, sisters who live with each other this much day in and day out get a little grumpy too. Which….makes me grumpy. and the cycle can quickly spin out of control until I am sitting in the living room floor completely losing my cool over board games not put away correctly!!!! ahem. so…we’re not perfect.

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God says in His word so so much about this topic, but my favorite verse on it has always been Malachi 3:3 when is says He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver. A refiner is someone, like a silversmith, who will continually put his work into the fire to boil up the impurities, remove it to work on it, then put it back in again. Over and over again until basically, it is so shiny he can see his reflection in it. See where He was going with that in His word? He continuously places us into the fire, or the difficulties in our lives, to bring out those impurities while he is careful with us, always watching and protecting and never leaving us in too long. He molds and corrects, until the finished product one day will be a masterpiece of His that reflects Him completely.

Beautiful, right? When I first fell in love with this image, I was single and had no children or husband. The words of this promise washed over me and it helped that I was just so darn spiritual. Now, most days I still love the image, but some days, the image of it all makes me cringe. He is faithful to continue His good work in us, even if that’s uncomfortable and means I have to go apologize to my girls for going mommy psycho over board games.

But the truth is, what refines me the most is living in the midst of their sin. In their natural selfishness that says, “I don’t care that I’m not currently playing with it, I still don’t want to share it.” Or with their lack of compassion that means they don’t see me working hard for them already, they still have more demands to make. I feel like I have some of my own sin finally under control, only for the friction of their sin rubbing up against mine enough to unleash it. And boy, is my sin bigger than their’s. It’s like having a bunch of baby cows all in the house being annoying yet slightly cute while they’re messing stuff up. Then eventually, the giant bull comes in charging and breaking everything. …..I really have no idea where the cow to sin analogy came from, but I’m leaving it in. It’s fantastic.

But, the reason their sin can get to me so easily, is because often, I forget that they aren’t perfect. I forget that they are unrefined in their youth. And that’s when I have to pull out my bracelets and wear them around. Last year, I bought myself three bracelets. They are raw stones on a cheap stretchy band. I have one made of raw amethyst, one of sapphire, and one of ruby. They were super cheap. Why? Because they are unrefined and unpurified. If I were to throw them into a tumbler, they could stay in for a looonnggg time and eventually come out as tiny, beautiful, jewels. Then, the world would see them as valuable. But, they are valuable to me right now, because they are the birthstones of my girls. My beautiful, precious unrefined jewels. One day, after a looonnnggg time in this rock tumbler of a home and bigger rock tumbler of a world, they will slowly become refined. But for now, they’ve only just entered the first phase of their tumbling. They beat against one another and me, all day long. And that hurts, and it’s uncomfortable, and annoying. But, weeks and months pass, and I notice a small shiny spot on one of us that wasn’t there before. Someone gave compassion where they previously would not have. Someone shared a toy without being asked. Mama took a deep breath and swallowed her words. And we’re one step closer to reflecting His face.

What about you? What helps you to take a step back and remember to breathe? What reminds you to give grace?

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