“You’ve been WHERE?” Those are three words I will never forget hearing from my mom when I decided to take a little shopping trip on my own...when I was all of 3 years old! Mom was never one to let me out of her sight, but one afternoon, I found two minutes of freedom and I took full advantage.
We had been sitting in the driveway when the phone rang. Mom ran inside, but not before turning to me and commanding, “Don’t Move.” The next thing I remember, I was walking to the neighborhood store that was six blocks from our home. The older kids in the neighborhood always frequented the store, but they never let me tag along. “You’re too little,” they would scowl. I wasn’t too little to notice the bags of candy they brought home each time they visited the store and I knew that, one day, I would make it there to get my own candy, with or without their help.
This was the day. As mom ran to answer the phone, I made a run for the store. I strolled past neighbors chatting on their driveways and the large dog on someone’s porch. I became afraid at times, but I pressed on. My love of shopping and sweets was well ingrained by age three and nothing would deter me.
When I arrived at the store, I perused the candy aisle. There was SO much to choose from, but one candy bar caught my eye--a beautifully wrapped Baby Ruth. With all its red, white and blue colors, I decided it looked best, so I picked it up, put it in my pocket and walked home.
When I rounded the corner of our street, my mom was standing in the driveway with several of the ladies from our neighborhood. From the look on her face, I knew she had not enjoyed my shopping trip nearly as much as I did. When she spotted me, she ran toward me, grabbed my arm and yelled, “You’ve been WHERE?”
I repeated myself. “I went shopping for candy, Mommy.” At that point, I proudly displayed my beautiful Baby Ruth bar at which point she displayed swift hands and a loving heart. She spanked my behind (which is STILL scriptural), and then sat me down to talk to me about what I had done wrong. We drove back to the store and I humbly gave change to the store clerk in exchange for my Baby Ruth.
The next thing Mom did is what I remember most. She opened a door to the kitchen cabinets, took out a clear glass and dropped the Baby Ruth into the glass. She then sat it on a shelf where I could see it. There it was--bright, shiny, beautiful, but I couldn’t reach it! That Baby Ruth bar sat in that glass so that I could see it for TWO WEEKS! It was a constant reminder of my shopping trip gone wrong.
After two weeks, mom sat me down on the counter, and as the Baby Ruth sat nearby, she, again, talked with me about the importance of obedience. Then, she did the unthinkable. She ATE the Baby Ruth as I sat there and watched her! The entire time she ate, she spoke of forgiveness and that even when we do things that are wrong, God forgives us and makes it go away - JUST LIKE MY CANDY BAR!
I’m not sure I liked that heavenly illustration, but it’s one I will never forget. In that most teachable moment, God, and mom, ingrained something deeply into my heart--OBEDIENCE IS KEY.
Ephesians 6:6 reminds us to serve “not by way of eye service, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.”
Freedom to obey is a gift from God, and we have the choice to be a man-pleaser, or God-pleaser. When we choose God’s ways, we have the promise that He will love us, come to us, and live with us, according to John 14:23 When we fail to choose His ways, we have the promise of His forgiveness when we repent (I John 1:9-10). Once we ask forgiveness, He causes our sins to disappear-just like my Baby Ruth bar.
“We don’t remember days, we remember moments,” someone once said. I don’t recall all of the details about the day I walked to the store, but I will never forget my Baby Ruth moment with mom. As you celebrate this Mother’s Day, remember to recall all the wonderful moments with your mom. And if you are looking for a sweet snack for yourself or the Mom in your life, I hear they LOVE Baby Ruth bars. Happy Mother’s Day!
Shannon Perry is an author, conference speaker, recording artist, TV and radio host. Her TV show "Grace in High Heels" airs twice weekly on the NRB Network and she also hosts a 30 minute talk show every Sunday night on Salem Network's KKHT in Houston, Texas. Shannon holds a Master’s Degree in Education and Counseling and is a Certified Instructor in Parenting Classes and Crisis Counseling. Her new book, The Overlooked Generation is scheduled to release in August. For more information visit www.ShannonPerry.com.