Yesterday, a glorious idea came to me: My kids are getting along great, I’m going to take a bubble bath. For most moms like me, reading a good book in a hot bath is a luxury. I grabbed my book, added faint music and peppermint oil, and felt ready for a peaceful 30 minutes.
The moment my feet touched the warm water, my youngest two children started arguing. I assumed it would end in a minute or so. It kept on. I waited for my oldest to jump in and handle it, but the bickering ensued. I turned the music up a little louder, because good moms do that sometimes, but the kids kept on. My head pounded with the sound of their quarreling. Bath dream over.
After I got dressed, I went downstairs and my youngest daughter asked, “Mommy can I cuddle with you?” Normally, I’d say, “Of course!” But unresolved tension claimed it’s place in the room. I couldn’t shake the feeling if I let her climb into my lap it may appear I was taking her side. I am FOR both of them and FOR unity. What I wanted to say, was “Go make it right with your brother, then come back to me.”
Immediately I thought of Matthew 5:23-24 when Jesus says, “So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
Peace is elusive when unresolved tension lingers in the house.
I sat both my kids down and shared Romans 15:1-7 from my morning reading. The passage speaks of serving one another, living in harmony, and welcoming each other. After talking to them about their quarrelling, I encouraged them to speak out loud to one another: “I will try my best to serve you, live in harmony with you, and welcome you. Will you please forgive me?” Then I told them to hug it out. Asking for forgiveness requires humility, and hugs crumble walls. The tension lifted like rising steam, while their lips formed subtle smiles. It feels good to be light, free from the heaviness of bitterness.
The weight is lifted. Unity stands at the door of our home, welcoming peace back in. Now, I invite them in my lap, both of them.
That evening I listened to them laugh together, which is music to my ears. This morning, when I woke up, PJ wasn’t in her room. It turns out she snuck into her brothers room last night, creating a makeshift bed right beside his.
The altar represents a place of prayer, offerings, worship – a place to exchange with God. But in the instance of unresolved tension between His children, God says “First go make it right. Then come back.” I understand this verse a little better now. It doesn’t feel quite right if my child sits in my lap while glaring at her brother. Maybe the nudge of the Father’s heart, is not just for my kids this week, but for God’s grown up children too.
Child of God, go make it right. Then come back. Invite the right kind of house guests; humility, forgiveness, and unity. Pull open the blinds, let the light of peace fill the house of God and the house of your heart. Then climb into your Father’s lap and enjoy living light and free.
I’d say this is better than a bubble bath, any day of the week.