Got Baking Soda?

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This week has been what I would call a baking soda week.  Sometimes when you’re eating a really delicious cookie, all of a sudden you bite down on a mouthful of baking soda.  No matter how marvelous that cookie tasted one moment ago, even the memory of it is temporarily spoiled by that one bitter bite.  Friday started it off.  We excitedly took a train into the city and blissfully enjoyed a day with the three older kids, while Grandma watched the younger two.
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We saw the light show at Macy’s, then headed to the Franklin Institute where Nadine and I saw the Titanic exhibit, while the boys watched the Hobbit. 2012-12-13
Elijah got to blow up a balloon with fire.  He was a great sport during the chemistry class.
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We hopped on buses, took tons of pictures, and enjoyed every second.
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I noticed a flag at half-mast, but since we are disconnected while out and about, I had no idea what had been happening in CT while we happily rode the train.  It was a bitter bite to swallow once I read the news that night.

Then Sunday rolled around, and I excitedly got my special Christmas outfit on, threw clothes on the kids that hopefully weren’t too torn or stained (it’s inevitable on Sunday mornings that these articles of clothing surface the most) and Matthew made me a nice big cup of hot tea to take in the car.  We had five minutes to get to church since the kids were singing, and as we happily started to pull away from the curb, what would happen?  Why, of course: the handle of my mug broke completely off and the entire cup of scalding tea (now it is no longer hot, it is scalding) spilled all over my specially-picked-out dress.  The tears immediately sprung, no, gushed out of my eyes.  I took my handle-less mug, yanked open the van door, slammed it (yes, I struggle with this even still), stomped up to the front porch crying… then stomped back down the stairs and sort-of intelligibly told Matt to get the kids to church on time and come back and get me.

That was really bitter on a morning that started off so incredibly sweet.  However, I am blessed to own more than one outfit, and so thankfully was able to still go to church, albeit late, and hear our children sing their sweet hearts out for Jesus.  The bitterness faded.

Then all of a sudden we were plunged into the week before Christmas.  How did this happen?  I’m loving the late-night sewing sessions, but the time is really going too fast for my liking.  I had a very bitter moment today when the long hours of Christmas preparations were “spoiled” after somebody saw my secret stash of presents.  Something about it just got to me so much that every single last ounce of sweetness turned into a bitter, unable-to-swallow pill.  I lost it.  The snotty mess that I was turned into even more of a mess when I experienced yet again the deep forgiveness children offer to their sinful parents.  God has quite a way of reflecting His grace through our kids.

God is actually in the business of turning bitter into sweet.  It’s not His purpose for our lives to be bitter and full of despondency   In Exodus 15, when the Israelites came to the bitter waters of Marah, God provided a way to sweeten the water and meet their need.  He also causes beauty to rise from ashes and mourning to turn into dancing.  His specialty is turning what others meant for evil, into good.  So often we focus in on that one bitter bite.  Yet we must remember: there is a reason for every sadness, every trial, every hurt, every tear.  We might not know it on this side of eternity, but we have to trust our Father because He is good.  God is good because that is who He is, not because of what He does or does not do.  He never tires of our tears and in fact He holds them all in a bottle.  (Psalm 56:8)  This week I thought maybe that bottle would be close to overflowing.  Yet He never stops unfolding grace upon grace on this child of His.
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