Monday, October 17, 2011

My Heart is Set

Matthew 11:17
"We played the pipe for you,
and you did not dance;
we sang a dirge,
and you did not mourn."

When was the last time you set your heart on something that didn't turn out at all the way you expected? Were you disappointed? Hurt? How did you rebound from the experience?

As adults, our higher-order cognitive skills enable us to cope with and adjust to situations where the end result completely differed from what we had anticipated. Children, however, trapped in the realm of concrete thought, have a tough time understanding why they can't always get what they want. When they play the pipe, they expect us to dance - period!

I recall the time when my daughter, Sarah, then aged four, set her heart on one of those giant cookies from the Great American Cookie Company store in the mall. Brother, Daniel, and she had enjoyed a visit with "Ho-Ho", a most authentic Santa Claus, and were all smiles, chattering gaily about the toys they hoped to find beneath our Christmas tree. Unfortunately, Dad made the tactical error of pausing just long enough at the cookie counter to snag Sarah's attention.

She bounded from my side to his and pressed her hands and nose eagerly against the glass of the tempting display case. I could almost see those wheels spinning in her head.

"Can I have a big cookie, please?" She pleaded.

"It's 'may' I," her father answered, "and, no, you may not."

Now, I knew precisely what was coming next.

"Mommy, may I have a big cookie?"

"You heard your father. Not today."

"But, I want one!" She whined with a stomp of her foot.

"And, I said, 'no'."

"Please, please, Mommy, please?"

"No, no, Sarah, no!"

I grabbed her hand promptly and led her away in the direction Dad and Daniel were already strolling. I expected tears and sniffles to be forthcoming, but nothing could have prepared me for the unwanted drama about to unfold.

Sarah had a meltdown. She wailed and yowled, screamed and cried; nothing I said could soothe her. Even Ho-Ho, passing by us on his break, stopped to ask what was wrong and tried to comfort her. Sarah would have none of it. She was utterly inconsolable.

I continued to drag her along, growing ever more aggravated and mortified, as people stared disapprovingly at the miserable scene we created. By now, I was desperate to catch up with Dad and Daniel. The sooner we could exit the mall, the better.

The two guys had ducked into a toy store. I stood outside with the still screeching, bawling Sarah. They needed to hurry. My last shred of patience was dwindling fast . . .

"Oh, my," said a sweet, well-meaning lady, "has the little girl lost her mother?"

That did it!

I lost it!

"I AM her mother!" I snapped ferociously.

The poor woman beat a hasty retreat. I immediately regretted my unkindness.

Thankfully, husband and son emerged from the store at that moment. With Sarah's temper still in full swing, we dashed for the exit doors.

It was long time before I could bring myself to visit that mall again.


For those of you who have raised children or grandchildren, Sarah's story may have hit home with a hefty blow. Teaching our children how to cope with temptation, to accept our "no" as "no" and our "yes" as "yes", is no easy task.
We need to communicate to them that when we set our hearts on the things and desires of this world, ten to one, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.

Instead, turn the desire of their hearts toward things eternal. Help them come to know the Father and His love for them. Let them know that, when their hearts desire Jesus, He will never let them down.

Psalms 25 or 9, 15
Jeremiah 44:1-14
1 Corinthians 15:30-41
Matthew 11:16-24


  1. Sarah sure thought she could push her luck, didn't she? But how often in the past adult me has behaved like her, Martha - wanting what wasn't meant for me...I had to learn the hard way sometimes..but I finally learned the lesson that God knows what's best for us.. Great post, Martha.

  2. My daughter did that a few times..I still remember..I can also remember being let down more then once the God I counted on...As always....XOXOXOXO

  3. An important message...thank you Martha :)

  4. As parents we have to draw a line where we have to indulge our kids and where not to...unnecessary pampering will lead to tantrums and selfishness.
    Nice post, thanks.

  5. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and taking the time to leave great comments!
    @Corinne - I had many, many hard lessons, too, and adult pouts and tantrums. It is such a relief when we finally realize God knows best.
    @Bonnie - :( - that let-down feeling; I've been there, too.
    @Jessica - Especially since you are in the midst of raising two beautiful ones right now!
    @Janu - Oh, yes, they will push the envelope every time if you let them. Thankfully, my little girl has grown into a lovely woman with a daughter of her own.

    Blessings to you all!

  6. I know exactly how little Sarah felt;-(
    How could you be such a meanie, mommie?
    Just kidding!

  7. @Debra - Basically, Sarah was a sweet little girl who never wanted to draw attention to herself. This made her having a public tantrum all the more memorable for me!
    Thanks for stopping by! :)

  8. i know this will. but my grand mother had her fun with it. her and my mom aunt and foster sister were in sears shopping and the discussion of us kid wanting to have any thing we wanted in the store and my grandmother who was eight at the time sat down in the middle of the isle throwing a temper tantrum kicking her heal on the floor like a two year old wanting some camel popcorn. you should have seem my mom and aunt run to get the popcorn. lol. I like your post it brought back some fun memories god bless

  9. Roy, I'm so glad you liked the post and that it brought back some great memories for you! I can just picture her, temper in full throttle, and your mom and aunt scurrying like crazy to get the popcorn. Boy, can kids ever be an embarrassment sometimes, but mine were worth every minute of it!
    Thanks so much for stopping by today.

  10. my mom and aunt were teasing my grandmother wanting every thing in the store like little kids "mama buy me this or that" and grandma got them big time. lol

  11. my grand mother was eighty years young lol

  12. Lol and a half!!!!! That makes it even more priceless! :)

  13. Every parent has experienced the 'joy' of saying no. Unfortunately it doesn't end with childhood. Equally memorable is the adult child who has a meltdown when told no... I'm not talking childish tantrums but adult size resistance. Parenting never ends... both the rewards and the agony.

  14. Ah yes, the public meltdown. While not a common occurrence, we certainly had it with both our boys a couple times nonetheless. Thankfully, as they've gotten older and are starting to "put the pieces together", we're much more able to place them on the path of seeing past themselves.

    Great post Martha!

    Have a Blessed Day!

  15. Oh my! Been there done that! (Unfortunately a few times!) Tisa

  16. Thank you for taking me down memory lane. My eldest between about 6-8 had hatred of one word, and that was 'no' Its use would have similar outcome to you. At all other times she was an angel but this one word turned her into a monster. After many unsuccessful attempts of all forms of persuasion, 2 years later she ws a reformed character, and has grown up into a very appreciative, non-demanding girl.


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