Monday, 13 July 2020

M Michele's Musings

Red Ruffled Underpants

Have you experienced one of those age old lessons through the hand of discipline that teach you something for a lifetime?  When I was a little girl I had one of those lessons and it has stayed with me all the days of my life.  Though I was very young, this lesson was so real to me that to this day I have not forgotten it.  At the time the lesson was hard to take and quite embarrassing yet it was necessary and I believe I am a better person for it today.  That is what discipline is all about.  Though we may not always understand discipline or like it, discipline is necessary.  Discipline is born out of deep love from your parents and from God as you learn to walk in Him.   

 

   And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son,

     despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the

     Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God

     dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?  But if ye be without

     chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye illegitimate sons, and not sons.  Furthermore we have 

     had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in

     subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their

     own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.  Now no chastening for

     the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of

     righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.                                                      Heb 12:5-11

 

It was my fourth or fifth birthday party and my mom had invited family, friends and neighbors to join the event.  A few days before the party, I remember one of the neighbors asking me what I wanted for my birthday and I told her that I wanted a doll.  She kindly nodded her head, smiled and said “Uhm, we shall see.”  Well, I took that answer for a definite “yes.”  I can remember being excited, anticipation filling my heart.  I remember the excitement of opening my presents; waiting until it was time to open the present from my neighbor only to discover that the box contained not a doll but a pair of red-ruffled underwear.  I didn’t notice that they really were quite a beautiful pair of soft and silky underpants (quite the style when I was little); I was mad to say the very least!  There in front of all to see, I threw down the box, began to stomp my feet, crying and accusing the giver “you promised me a doll!” 

Looking back I can imagine my mom’s embarrassment at her young daughter’s angry outburst.  How I must have hurt that dear neighbor’s feelings.  However, my mom quickly took control and brought me to my bedroom, spanked me and explained that my behavior was unacceptable.  She then marched me back in the living room in front of all those staring eyes to apologize to that dear woman and thank her for the present.  Embarrassment of the highest degree! 

Though a hard lesson at the time I am now thankful that I learned it.  What I did was so wrong and hurtful and I would never want to do that to anyone ever again.  I am thankful for the discipline that my mom metered out that day; discipline that put me on the path toward being kinder and appreciative.  I am thankful that my mom did not accept my bad behavior and made me apologize.  To this day I accept presents with grace and appreciation taking care not to hurt the giver’s feelings.  Gifts should always be appreciated because they are freely given with the hope of blessing someone.

Hopefully, throughout life, we will have many such lessons.  If we allow them to change us for the better those lessons will be valuable in our lives.  Lessons such as this one will cause us to be better people so that we can be a light in the darkness.  These lessons are all pieces of the puzzle that makes us unique and who we are as individuals.  When we become God’s children he disciplines us as His children.  He disciplines us out of His great love for us.  The Bible tells us in Hebrews 12:5b “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:” because as Hebrews 12:10b-11 states there is always a greater purpose in the discipline “but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.”

Another very interesting and sort of funny thing happened with this present I was so unappreciative of receiving.  At some point, I learned to love those red-ruffled underpants.  They became my ‘underwear of choice’ and I wore those red-ruffled underpants at every opportunity given to me.  I wore them until the ruffles were falling off and they were threadbare.  Finally, mom had to take control again and say, “Michele, I really think it is time to let these go!”  I remember that fateful day as she pulled them from my drawer and held them up for me to take stock and really see them; I had to admit they had seen better days.  It was time to let them go once and for all.  How did something so upsetting to me at first become so valuable in the end?  Simply put, I had a change of heart toward that gift and it all started with discipline. 

We can liken this story to the greatest gift ever given to us by God.  His name is Jesus and He is the Only Begotten Son of the Father.   John 3:16 tells us “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Jesus is a prime example of a gift not always appreciated or accepted. Yet, He was a gift freely given for us that we might have eternal life in Him.  Not all appreciate and accept Jesus, much like I treated those red-ruffled underpants.  However, isn’t it awesome that His love for us, His most prized creation, is so great that He continues to reach out to us in love always reminding us that the gift is still there to accept.  Often we will take our gifts back if someone is unappreciative but not God.  And once we come to accept this precious gift from the Father that was freely given we come to love Him and appreciate Him and wonder how we ever lived without Him. 

Unlike those red-ruffled underwear Jesus will never wear out or grow old, our love for Him grows continuously as we learn to know Him more and more.  Yes, He is the greatest gift ever given.  I pray and hope that we don’t callously turn His gift of love away.  The gift has been freely given, the debt paid but we must accept it.  If I had never accepted that gift of the red-ruffled underwear, if I had never chose to put them on and wear them, I would never had learned to appreciate and love the gift that was so freely given by that dear neighbor woman.  It is the same with accepting the gift of Jesus Christ.  Christmas is a time in which we celebrate the gift of God to us, Jesus Christ.  This Christmas may we be more aware of what a special gift Jesus is to us.  May we take the time to acknowledge and appreciate this wonderful gift.  May the gift of His life fill our hearts with wonder, love, hope, joy and may blessings fall to you and your home.  Truly, Jesus is the Reason for the Season; all of Christmas with its trimmings and gift giving started first with God and His most precious gift to us, Jesus!

Love in Christ, Michele

Columnist: Michele Abshire

 

Michele Abshire is a housewife, mother, grandmother, and full time legal assistant. She has been published in Lake Charles, Louisiana publications, Christian Star Newspaper and Gumbeaux Magazine.  

Michele began writing notes of encouragement to people God put on her heart which led her in the direction of writing short encouraging stories, letters, essays and analogies.  This quickly became a ministry for her.  

Michele's vision is to reach people with encouraging messages that will lift their heart and bring joy for sorrow and hope for discouragement. Michele enjoys your feedback so leave a comment in the form at the bottom of the page or email her at  micheles.musings@gmail.com

 

 

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