by Chara Donahue
“Would you like some coffee with that creamer?” My husband asks with a teasing tone I have come to love.
I have always had a sweet tooth, and all my coffee creamer choices confirm that reality.
Coffee had always been too bitter for me, and I never saw the need for it. Then three months into our third baby’s arrival, I became determined to figure out how to sweeten the increasingly necessary caffeine delivery system. I preferred the acrid drink to the zombie-like version of myself that too-often lurked through my home, attempting to entertain toddlers and nurse a newborn.
Now as the mother of four, I’ve become a coffee creamer connoisseur. Sadly though—I feel like more of the bitterness of life (not just coffee) is beginning to make its way into my house. My children’s bodies are changing, and so are their attitudes, and I am left wondering “How do I bring back the innocence, the wide-eyed joy?” How do I bring back the sweet?
Now I’m becoming determined to fight to keep my kids from the poison of bitterness; unlike the coffee bean that can be ground, soaked, and seasoned to offer energy and enjoyment, a harsh bitter heart offers nothing.
But how can I teach my children to fight off the bitterness that’s always waiting to brew, as they encounter disappointment in life? I have no delusions that I will be able to protect them from all the evils that our world boasts. And now, right now, before more substantial wounds hit, I must teach them what we do as people seeking to honor God, when we are tempted to let bitterness build walls of false protection around our hurting hearts. The best I can do is point them to God and everything he has equipped me with. Once again I feel the call to model well, disciple, and train my littles, pulling at my apron strings yoga pants. So what must be overflowing from my cup, beyond the espresso found in my hand each morning?
I have heard that coffee is actually healthy for you, but it is nowhere close to providing the kinds of health benefits that forgiving those who have wronged you has. Kids happen to be quite proficient at letting go and offering something close to grace, but this doesn’t mean this will continue as they grow and learn the damaging skill of holding grudges. I figure now is the time to teach them about the poison of unforgiveness, and the fierceness with which we must purge it from our systems.
Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:32 ESV
A thankful attitude will warm hearts better than any little bean. It helps us to see the gifts surrounding us, whether the circumstances are mundane or magnificent. The most content people I know are those who have the wisdom to see what they truly have. They also have learned to multiply their joy by expressing their gratitude in praise to the giver of all good gifts.
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Life doesn’t always go as planned. Some mornings java juicers refuse to brew, people we counted on let us down, and the circumstance of life presses tightly. We search for understanding, scramble for control, and craft extraordinary plans, and they all fail us at some point but…but…we are loved by a God who never fails. Even when we cannot see a path, we can trust in His goodness to provide one. It is one of my deepest hopes, and most earnest prayers that my children learn to trust the greatest love ever known, for it is in that they will find the supernatural strength available to ward off the caustic distortions of truth that lead us into despair when they collide with sorrow.
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. ~Psalm 9:10
I thank God that he lets coffee grow, and that He watches over my little ones as they do the same. If I could smear them with a saccharine salve to guarantee the sweetness would stay, I would; but it isn’t a honeyed infusion they need, it’s a Savior. One who forgives. One who gives good gifts. The One who is a trustworthy sovereign. Jesus.
Chara Donahue is a wife, stay at home mom of four, and a teacher/counselor at her church in Oregon. She holds a MSEd from Corban University and is passionate about seeing people set free through God’s truths. She can often be found with her nose in a book and coffee in hand, but enjoys freelance writing and speaking to women when the kids are out playing with dad. You can find more from Chara at Anchored Voices or on Twitter @CharaDonahue.
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