Soup on the Wall, Harsh Words in the Air, and Glory in a Brown Tunic

By on September 15, 2011

By Marcia Moston –

Surely there are instances when it is impossible to hold your tongue; I mean, after all, who could control herself when tomato-based vegetable soup is sliding down the still damp, beige paint of her hall wall?

I never gave self-control a thought as the harsh words flew out of my mouth and stabbed my already distraught daughter—at least not until I heard the still, quiet Voice telling me it was possible, because of Him, because of Christ in me, the hope of glory.

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Since Northern days seldom require air conditioning, we hadn’t installed one in the house I was now repainting, but this day was hot. Sweat drops slid down my face as I scooted along on my knees, determined to finish the baseboards. For hours I had been painting ceiling, walls, and woodwork. Now I was almost finished and couldn’t wait to clean up and admire my handiwork.

Just at that moment, my teenage daughter appeared in the doorway, carrying a bowl of hot soup in her bare hands, with no plate or pot holder to buffer the heat. I looked up in time to see the bowl drop and soup splatter all over the walls I had just painted.

The “red” I was seeing wasn’t soup. Angry, harsh words flew out of my mouth, unstopped by my daughter’s obvious distress. She fled in tears; my husband stood torn between comforting his daughter and calming his wife. The dog ran off to the kitchen.

Since I seemed bent on justifying my fury, my husband slipped off to see how my daughter was doing. After my storm passed, I felt terrible.

She clearly hadn’t meant to spill, and even if she hadn’t thought to wrap the hot bowl in a towel, her misjudgment certainly didn’t warrant that tirade of abuse.

Now, as angry at myself as I had been at my daughter, I mopped soup and cried to the Lord. “It’s impossible to control myself sometimes. The words come out too fast. I’m a terrible Christian.”

I knew the verses, of course, that said I was “crucified with Christ,” and “dead to sin,” and that it was “no longer I that lived, but Christ that lived in me,” but my experience defied what my mind proclaimed. So often I had begged the Lord to open my eyes to not only the reality of His death, but of mine.

Then, quietly, in between sobs and soup, I heard a gentle correction: “It is possible. I have provided a way.” At that moment, I saw the God of the universe living among men, going about His daily tasks, without sin; facing the temptations and trials of life, same as I. Glory in a brown tunic.

And I understood He had provided a way for me to not sin. There was a space between the event and the outburst, a moment in which I could choose to listen to the Holy Spirit and not spew words of death.

I wasn’t a slave to uncontrolled outbursts. He had indeed, “granted to [me] everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called [me] by His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:3).

I swiped at the broth trickling down the wall. To my amazement, it came off clean, leaving no stained reminder of the mess that had been.
Bio: Marcia Moston, winner of the 2010 Women of Faith Writing Contest and Honorable Mention recipient of the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition has been a columnist for the Greenville Journal and contributor to several magazines. Her book, Call of a Coward is to be released in the spring/summer of 2012 by Thomas Nelson. Marcia and her husband live in South Carolina. Visit her at  http://marciamoston.com/.

About mmoston

Marcia Moston, winner of the 2010 Women of Faith Writing Contest and Honorable Mention recipient of the 78th Annual Writer’s Digest Competition has been a columnist for the Greenville Journal and contributor to several magazines. Her book, Call of a Coward is to be released in the spring/summer of 2012 by Thomas Nelson. Marcia and her husband live in South Carolina. Visit her at http//:marciamoston.com.

2 Comments

  1. Marcia

    September 24, 2011 at 7:38 am

    “a space between the event and the outburst” I love it. Simple to remember. Oh-oh, this might come with a test. Yikes. 😉 Do you notice that space getting wider through the years? Our God is so beautiful and patient.
    This is beautifully written. Thank you for sharing.
    Much love,
    Marcia

    • Marcia Moston

      September 25, 2011 at 5:54 pm

      Marcia,
      I DO notice the space getting wider, Hallelujah! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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Soup on the Wall, Harsh Words in the Air, and Glory in a Brown Tunic