Friday, February 13, 2009

Just An Earthly Possession

As the daughter of a pastor's wife who entertained frequently, I often watched this scene unfold. A young mother with small children would be visiting when a child would reach for one of the few knickknacks on a living room table. A look of panic on her face, the mother would rush to the child's side and distract him only to find him headed for another of Mom's "pretties". My mom would just laugh and tell her not to worry. "Those are only earthly possessions," was her favorite line. Though the mother looked a bit relieved, I could tell she thought Mom was only being polite. The truth was Mom meant exactly what she said. She served guests on her best china if they were 1 year old or 101 years old. She allowed me, her klutzy accident-prone daughter to set the table and reassured me if I chipped or broke something with her famous words, "It's only an earthly possession."

I've often thought that sometimes relationships with those closest to us are as fragile as Mom's crystal. We prize our best dishes or our collection of (you fill in the blank), and if our children or anyone else dares to touch them or (horror of horrors!) break them we are quick to shatter the glass of their self-worth by showing our aggravation. What is more important--those children God has entrusted to our care and called "an heritage of the Lord" or our grandmother's silver? That husband that God has given us to love and to cherish or that collection of "pretties"?

I'm thankful for the example of my mother and her loose hold on material things. We received for our wedding a set of hurricane lamps which I proudly set on the coffee table (before we had children to split open their upper lip on it--it has now gone the way of most of my "pretties"). They were from a dear sainted lady in our church and meant a lot to me because of her. My new husband and I were goofing off as young lovers do, and he backed into the table knocking one of my precious lamps on the floor. It was very decidedly broken, but after the slightest hint of disappointment flitted through my mind, my mother's words came to mind. He was very apologetic and cleaned up the broken glass, but I was ever after thankful that there were no angry words to sweep up and that there was no shattered heart to mend.

I still remember my fine collection of tea pots and teacups lining the microwave stand in our kitchen. A few of them are still there, but many of them met their demise when my over-zealous child "helped" Mommy by closing the drawer of the microwave stand a bit too hard. As we swept up the broken pieces together, I had the chance to train my child in the difference between breaking something in anger and a genuine accident. There have been a few times when my children in anger broke something, and to be sure my husband nor I excused the anger. However, that relationship must be the most important thing before any material thing we possess!

If you're picturing me as a calm, serene mother who never gets upset with my children or husband, then I'm sorry for the illusion. I am in no way perfect, but the Lord is teaching me each day to be more like Him. Thank you, Mom, for living before me the reality of standing before a Holy God someday not clutching our prized dishes or knickknacks but the hands of our husbands and children. Fellow mother, they are the only ones we can take with us! Let's drop the trinkets of the world and hold more tightly to those dearest and nearest to us.


  1. A really great post. This is my first visit to your blog. I plan to add it to my favorite list of homemaking websites.

  2. This is a lovely post with a lovely message. Your mother set a fine example for you.

  3. Awesome post! It is all too easy to "freak out" over the broken pretties. But it is too true that our children and husbands are much more important that the pretties or old books!

    Thanks for this reminder:-)

  4. Jen-Jen,

    I love this post. I've always said that when things break. It's a disappointment, but get over it. My parents have always made a fuss about their things and are still careful when kids come to our house. I'm more liberal about it.

    When something breaks and someone makes a fuss I say to them, has someone died? There are thousands of Christians suffering around the world who have had to run for their lives and leave there homes. There are millions of starving people and then you make a fuss over a small thing and that usually shuts them up.

    I love having all the kids we have visit my house, if they break something, I just throw it out and get on having fun:-)Life is too short to stress about minor things.

    I rate your mum, she has good spiritual sight!

  5. Yes, she is a wonderful mom! I'm very blessed to have the parents I do.

  6. What a wonderful lesson! Thank you for the reminder. It is something I try to teach my children, but sometimes I forget in the heat of the moment and later I do regret it.

  7. What a timely and beautiful message, Lady Jen. Enjoy a lovely weekend with your family!

  8. A very wise mom you have. She sees what truly matters! :o) Great post!