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Pencil Paranoia
by Kay Brown
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Pencil Paranoia

By Kay Brown

One day, I would like to find a pencil! Obediently, a nifty little pencil holder stands by my telephone, yet within it I invariably find items like melting
tubes of Chapstick, leadless mechanical pencils and deceased AAA batteries.
There are never useable pencils in that can. Ever. Does this happen to
anyone else, or is this just my own, private little nightmare?

Increasingly, it is becoming one of the great mysteries of my universe why
there are never writing implements in that cute little receptacle. None of
my six children can enlighten me as to why all of my pencils disappear into
thin air. Years ago, I wisely stopped asking my husband about insignificant problems like missing pencils. He is much too busy trying to figure out how to feed all of us.

I really do not ask for much! All my dishes are cracked, my shampoo bottles
are full of water and my linens are beyond hopeless. I have quite nobly
accepted it all. Is it silly to ask the Lord to show me why I cannot
maintain a supply of pencils? This dilemma will probably remain a mystery
until I am with Him in heaven. Honestly, along with questions that are more appropriate, I am planning to ask God why pencils never stayed in my holder.

There must be reason. There is always a reason. If there is not a reason,
part of my life has no real meaning.

Every single day, I deposit new pencils in the cup and distribute the odd
assortment of items that have magically accumulated in their place. It is not a difficult task, but it is almost impossible to do it without seething about the
culprits that habitually commit this annoying crime. I must admit I usually
harbor a slight amount of resentment.

Ah ha! Maybe this missing pencil phenomenon can teach me something about maintaining Godís peace in my life.

'Slight resentment' has definitely been stealing my peace. This morning, as I
sulkily prowled through my home looking for pencils, my beady eyes landed on a small, harmless girl. She was quietly drawing in her sketchbook - with a

Triumphant at last, I cried, "You! Where did that pencil come from?"

Her wide, innocent eyes met mine, "Oh, it was in my drawer, Mommy, see? It'
s the 'Jesus Loves You!' pencil you gave me at Sunday School."

ď Oh," I hate it when they unintentionally convict me.

Caring for a large number of young children quickly exposes oneís selfish nature. Activities you probably take for granted now, like eating, sleeping and going to the bathroom, become extremely precious. Becoming frustrated, frenzied and freaked-out is natural. Not ever going over the edge means either one has achieved sainthood or is taking serious amounts of Valium. Taking mood-altering medications is cheating.

Continuously, God uses my children to expose the selfishness of my heart.
In this particular case, I was convicted of my sin and I have chosen to
repent. I will replace pencils for Jesus! From now on, I refuse to allow
this inconvenience to be a silly, insidious hindrance to my spiritual
growth. I can dwell on Christ and His goodness, instead.

Whew, I feel better!

Serving God is not limited to obvious 'ministry moments.í It is of vital
interest to the Lord how we respond to inconvenience, irritation and
inconsideration as we serve Him. He knows we have a tendency to obsess when we have been offended. He also knows that we have to get beyond being
personally offended to be of much use to Him.

To serious Christians, 'The Big Deal' is that the little stuff should never
become 'The Big Deal.'

God never delights in watching us throw our little fits, and as we luxuriate
in these tiny, yet sinful tantrums, we separate ourselves from Him.
Experiencing His peace requires us to choose to immediately forgive about a
million personal offenses. God's peace is so delicious, so rare and so
magnificent; it is foolish for us to get upset about silly things like
stolen pencils.

Besides, at my house, that little nifty notepad is always missing, anyway.

Read more articles by Kay Brown or search for other articles by topic below.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Sherri Ward 22 Jun 2005
Thank you for writing this! Today I was going to do a little ironing, which never gets done, and a little writing - instead I had an unexpected early morning visitor followed by the unplanned arrival of twin two-year-old granddaughters to be babysat. I liked especially what you said about God not being limited to obvious 'ministry moments', and wanting to know how we will handle inconvenience and so on. As I focus on Him and continue to turn the reigns over to Him, I find these unplanned days get easier - and I wouldn't miss the joy of being with my grandbabies anyway!
Karen Treharne 12 Dec 2004
Great read, Kay. I love "It is of vital interest to the Lord how we respond to inconvenience, irritation and inconsideration..." How true that must be. How could we possibly represent Him when we do not display His attitude of love? A wonderful message. You might want to change "sulkily prowled" to something like "prowled and sulked around". While "sulkily" may be a fine word, it's one that the reader stumbles over in the story. At least I stumbled a little. Yours in Christ, ladybug Karen


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