Sunday, March 11, 2012

Guilty as Charged

Romans 8:6
The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.

When my son, Daniel, is just about a year old, I go back to work.

I don't want to.  I long to stay home and just be mommy.

But, economic concerns at the time dictate otherwise.

It is comforting to know that Daniel is cared for by family and friends while I'm at work.  I am relieved to not have to place him in an impersonal day care facility.

Still, I feel guilty.  Very guilty . . .

I miss him so much during the day.  Think about him all the time.

And, though I like my job, I can't wait to get home each day to be with him.

I want, somehow, to make it up to him.

When I deposit my first paycheck in the bank during my lunch break, I have an inspiration.

Why not buy Daniel a new toy?  He'll be so surprised.  So pleased!

I duck into the nearby Five and Dime and make a beeline for the toy section.  Immediately, I spot the perfect gift:  A sturdy, bright-yellow, tough-plastic dump truck.  Daniel likes nothing better than playing with the few cars and trucks he already has.

I tuck the truck under my arm and head happily to the cashier.

Oh, how he will love this!  I can't wait to see the look on his face!

I am not disappointed.

When I present Daniel with the truck, his eyes are as round as saucers and a huge smile spreads across his face.

"Tank oo," he says, hugging my legs.

Needless to say, I am gratified.  And, some of the guilt I feel for leaving him is assuaged.  At least, temporarily.

It is four paychecks and four toys later when I realize my mistake.

I'm sending my son the wrong message.

Teaching him that material things can make him happy.  Make up for my absence from him.

Can substitute for love . . . 

When they can't.  And, never will.

That payday, I bring home what counts.

A hug.  A kiss.  And, an "I love you, Daniel".

To my joy and relief, he is perfectly satisfied with that.
Have you ever allowed the fleshly desire for material things get in the way of your spiritual focus?

Will you pray with me?
Let our minds and hearts be ever governed by Your Holy Spirit, Father.  Do not allow the lure of earthly possessions to keep us from knowing true peace and life in Your love.  Lead us not into temptation.  Amen.

Psalms 93, 91 or 34
Genesis 44:1-17
Romans 8:1-10
John 5:25-29  


  1. Hi, Martha! ~

    This is a powerful story! I agree, and feel it in every fiber of my being! Thank you for all that you are!! XOXO

    1. Thank you, Linda, for stopping by today!
      Glad the story resonated with you. It was, indeed, a great lesson learned for me.
      Blessings to you!

  2. Replies
    1. So glad you liked it, Ann!
      Thanks for stopping by!
      Blessings to you and to your sweet, little family! :)

  3. I do agree Martha, material things holds their attention just for some is the love we show each other that matters.
    Nice post.

    1. Yes, Janaki, it's our love that always makes the difference. Nothing material can substitute for that.
      Thanks so much for stopping by!

  4. That is a very inspiring story! We shouldn't require material gifts to feel blessed. :)

    1. You are so right, Rachel! Material gifts can't make up for real love.
      Glad you liked the story and thanks so much for coming by today!

  5. I love this, Martha! I have a cousin, whose mother and grandmother give him every material possession a three year old could possible want, and it makes me a little sad. He gets plenty of love, too, but part of me wonders if he'll be more disappointed if there's ever a time that he may not get something, than if he had gotten just a few things to begin with...

    But you've hit on such an important point. We give for ourselves as much as for others. I know my cousins mother and grandparents are giving to him because they need to. It's hard to say no to that.

    Good reason to always accept someone's gift. It's not necessarily about us :)

    1. Thanks for coming by today, J. R.!
      I like what you pointed out here - that sometimes people give out of a need to do so. And, we should accept all gifts graciously.
      I hope, too, that your little cousin won't turn out "spoiled". :( I realized that's exactly what I was doing with Daniel and knew the outcome would not be a happy one. We have to say "no" to our children sometimes for them to understand that life is not their oyster and teach them the intangible values such as love.
      Blessings to you!

    2. Hehe, life is their oyster, it's just that "getting things" is not life :D

  6. Since I don't have kids. I tend to lavish my nieces and the other children as well with so many gifts. It's not so much coping with what I couldn't share like time because we do have time. But i think it's a self expression of joy of having them around.

    But I do see what you mean in terms with my sister's relationship with her daughter. It causes me and my mom some suffering but, oh well, should I judge her? I'm truly sorry for the child though, she does get the wrong message.

    I pray with you Martha. It isn't easy to point out mistakes and admit them... God be our strength.

    1. Yes, Melissa, this was a mistake I was so glad God helped me to be able to see and to begin to give my son what truly counted.
      There is such joy in giving gifts, and we so want to do this for the ones we love. If all is done in a sensible manner, there is no harm in it. It is in the over-doing or doing so out of an inner feeling of inadequacy where we get into trouble.
      Yes, my dear, let us always pray for God to be our strength!
      Loved your comments here so much!
      Blessings always!

  7. Hello Martha.
    We are not parents, but there was a time a few years ago when my wife & I would buy each other presents for all the holidays and then some. It was getting to be ridiculous, because some of them never lasted & were only for that moment. As the bookkeeper in the family, one day, my wife totaled up how much we had spent over the course of the years & it was totally shocking...that was a wakeup call for both of us. Since then, we've let it be known to family & friends that we no longer do gift giving (although we do it once in a while) & are happy just writing each other little notes & letters all the time. It's much more personal & heartwarming to see the look on her face when she finds a surprise note that I'd tucked away somewhere. If anything, it has brought us even closer.

    I grew up poor & gifts were a rarity for us, but one thing I'll always remember is my mother's love & her hugs...even today, I know what she smells & feels like...that to me is priceless. I'm glad you realized your error & the wrong message you were sending to Daniel. Sometimes, we have to do wrong in order to get it right (smile).
    Lovely post.

    Thanks for sharing & for taking the time to visit. Loved your comment on my recent post. Have a great week ahead, my dear! ♥

    1. Thank you, Andy, for stopping by and taking the time to leave such a wonderful comment!
      I like what you and your wife decided to do. Danny and I are pretty much in the same place. Instead of Christmas gifts, we take a trip to the mountains and share time together - better than any material present!
      And, what sweet memories of your mother! The love and tenderness she showed you will, indeed, dwell in your heart forever.
      So glad you liked this post and know I always look forward to reading yours!
      Many blessings!

  8. I am always such a negative girl in response to your posts, but never the less I must say this. I was raised by a father who would only spend any money on his own needs and wants. I mean we had security, home food ect., but gifts were out of the question and affection was a rarity as well. As a result of this I over lavished my children with frivolities they didn't need or want, I was dirt poor and would spend my last penny on something to make them smile. I soon figured out the happy medium and they never went a day without a hug and an I love you from their mother. Something I missed so very much.

    1. Thank you, Jan, for stopping by and sharing your experience growing up and in raising your own children. My heart goes out to you that you didn't have the love or affection or even the little things that mean so much to children. Yet, you became, yourself, a truly loving and caring parent who found that "happy medium" with your children.
      I so admire you, Jan! You have such courage and such a beautiful heart!
      Blessings to you, my dear!


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