“God, teach me lessons for living so I can stay the course. Give me insight so I can do what you tell me— my whole life one long, obedient response. Guide me down the road of your commandments; I love traveling this freeway! Give me an appetite for your words of wisdom, and not for piling up loot”—Psalm 119:33-35 (MSG).
It took four tries before my four-year-old granddaughter and I could get the walls of our gingerbread house to remain standing. It should have been an easy task but the instructions were lacking in detail. And I’m no carpenter—even with sugar frosting.
Finally, on the fourth try, and with lots of extra icing, we were able to accomplish what seemed to be an impossible task. The gingerbread house took four hands—and we could have used two more—but we exhaled a sigh of relief when the structure remained standing.
I purchased the kit two days after Christmas when it was marked down to $2. It was a bargain because it also included everything needed to construct the little cottage: gingerbread cookies in the shape of walls and a roof, a package of frosting, candy decorations, and some gingerbread men. Even though our final product didn’t closely resemble the picture on the front of the box, the lessons I learned as we worked and laughed together were more valuable.
The First Lesson is Crucial
In Psalm 27:1a, we read the following: “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain (NIV).
This was the first scripture that came to mind when the gingerbread walls kept falling over. I’d followed the written and illustrated instructions but some details were omitted. No mention was made of holding the walls together for at least two minutes after spreading the frosting mortar on the edges of each piece—bottom and sides—until it was time to add the roof. Without a firm foundation to begin with, the house couldn’t stand.
Reading, studying, and meditating on scriptures is the crucial foundation for our spiritual walk. If we give the Lord the first fruits of our day, He can accomplish His purposes through us. He prepares the way when we build on firm ground—His Holy Word.
The Second Lesson is Also Important
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (NIV).
By the time the gingerbread walls fell down the third time, I was ready to quit. I was also muttering under my breath about the writer who composed the instructions and left out important details. My patience was also waning.
My patience level is so much better than it used to be. That day, however, I realized how much joy I was experiencing with my granddaughter. Even though we faced trials as we worked together, the giggles from my granddaughter lightened my heart and changed my outlook.
The Final Lesson
I confess to being a recovering perfectionist. In the past, I would have been disappointed because the finished gingerbread house didn’t come close to resembling the photo on the cover of the box. I also wouldn’t have shared a photo of the finished product comparing it with the picture on the box (See photo) for fear of being judged.
Constructing and decorating a perfect gingerbread is not one of my gifts. God has blessed me with other talents that I use for His glory. I no longer fear being judged by others. What I do know is God is working in my life to conform me into the image of Jesus. None of us is perfect. He doesn’t expect us to be. However, we’re perfect in Christ who died for our sins.
Who knew $2 could provide not only lessons but a bonding experience for a grandmother and granddaughter? What lessons are you learning today? Seek God and ask Him to reveal the lessons in ordinary everyday life.
After a 30-year teaching career, Carol Round found redirection as a Christian columnist, author and inspirational speaker. She is the author of nine books, all available at Amazon.com. See her website at www.carolaround.com for more information.