She Saw That It Was Gouda

Sometimes everyone in my home is screaming at me, and the laundry swallows the couch in an act of hostility unexpected from underwear. There are two roads to go down when this happens, and typically I chose the one that involves angry, maniacal feelings about the entire world crumbling because the socks haven’t been folded. It is always hard to be nice when people are wiping their snot on your pants and sobbing hysterically because you are out of crackers.

“There’s always a choice, dearie.” –Rumpelstiltskin, Once Upon A Time

So I yell at small people when they spill juice on the rug. I feel helpless and angry and trapped in a world of string cheese carcasses and smelly bathrooms. This world can make a woman curse small legos with all passion and seriousness. You know you’ve fallen low when legos incur the wrath usually reserved for ax murderers.

Recently I’ve chosen a different path. Not because I’m some super mom, but because the first path was making everyone miserable. I have been choosing the path of gentleness and kindness. It’s hard, but the results are worth it. So now when people scream at me or the socks plot a hostile takeover of the house, I wait. I sit on the sock pile and sip chai tea lattes, trusting things will get done…eventually.

This new path often leads to nice things like homemade quiche with Gouda because special cheese fixes grumpy hearts. This road seeks out the lovely, delicious corners of life, even in the face of dog barf and sleepless nights. This path means stopping in the middle of chaos to think about what God wants me to do. He always wants me to love, and sometimes that involves bacon. I’m also very grateful God involves cheese in his plans for me. His yoke is easy and his burden is…delicious.

The path to peace is a choice.

It’s amazing how unnatural the second road is for me, even with cheese. Often I feel like I’m having an out of body experience, hovering over chaos, waiting for peace to find me and put out the fire.

Disasters happen. The child has missed the potty by a mile and the bathroom is drowning in an unfortunate accident. I stand there, silent, waiting…and after what seems like an eternity, I can move again without my head exploding. I think the trick is to ignore your gut. The trick is to not rush forward until the Spirit catches you.

“Will is to grace as the horse is to the rider” –Saint Augustine

This is how I show my children what God is like. They are, after all, children. They act like little maniacs, they can’t find their shoes, they need a juice box when you’re 12 minutes late, they can’t sleep without twenty eight hugs and a glass of water. They will possibly redecorate your couch with markers. But what these children need are what we all need. We all need someone to stand there quietly and wipe up our messes, to hug us when the world is short of juice, to be patient when we search for shoes and such. We all need fancy cheese and chai sometimes.

We all need grace.

And as God’s messenger, my mouth usually trips me up, and the legos in my house are cursed. It is my humble goal to leave the cursing with the legos and instead follow the hard path that requires less action and more trust.

Pass the Gouda.

18 thoughts on “She Saw That It Was Gouda

  1. I was just thinking about you earlier today, wondering how you were, and then you post this. It's exactly what I needed to read this Tuesday evening – the longest part of my week. My children are running a much and yelling happily but very loudly, and now I feel less guilty giving myself a time out. 🙂
    Now if I can just remember all I've read here and apply at least some of it tomorrow…


  2. That is beautiful. As a mom who still struggles with screaming fits even though my children are 10 and 12 (my fits, not theirs), I needed this reminder.

    Thanks for being honest and inspiring.


  3. Joanna,

    “The path to peace is a choice.” “The trick is to not rush forward until the Spirit catches you.”

    Hmmm, wow. I'm sipping coffee over here, with the socks safely imprisoned under a pile of clean laundry, realizing the truth of those phrases. “The path to peace is a choice, and the trick is to not rush forward until the Spirit catches you.”

    Thank you, Abba, for Joanna, and her family and for this insight you gave her and us.

    have a great week, Cheese friend. (Have you ever tried Beaufort cheese?! It's like emmantale, and is my favorite.)
    Jennifer Dougan


  4. Oh. I wish I had realized ALL of this when mine were little. I try now to show instead of teach, but it is hard to do. But definitely easier with bacon . . . and cheese.


  5. Joanne, your readership grew a bit today – I am out of the toddler stage in my house but we still have lego. And friends in the midst of everything you've described. And I got to bless my friends by sharing this post on Facebook – I can't tell you how many said your words encouraged them. Thank you!
    (And my personal fave cheese is Boursin.)


  6. I think the trick is to ignore your gut. The trick is to not rush forward until the Spirit catches you.

    oh boy i am painting that on the walls!!! HOW I SO LOVE YOUR BLOG!

    ps…i woke up to dog barf this morning and tilly threw a dirty nappy on my head while i was on my hands and knees scooping it up!


  7. JoAnn, I just really love what you say here. It is life and it is good. I mean gouda. I have made so many bad choices with my children (oldest is 14, youngest is 7) and I THANK GOD that He really does want to change me. He really really does. And He does. And He is and He will.


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