A Jar of Marbles

by | Mar 21, 2020

With a grateful heart…today another policy is in affect at Vanderbilt. We are now allowed to name two Parent Appointed Visitors (PAV) which means that Scott will be able to see Townes! Hallelujah – so thankful. We still can’t be here at the same time as they are limiting overall visitors and we can only change our post one time – meaning once I leave, I can’t return until the next day, BUT, this allows us and other families to have a support system, for the burden not to fall completely on one person’s shoulders and for all the children here for in-patient care to feel the love of their families around them.

I listened to a TedTalk a couple years ago by Brene Brown on Trust (if you haven’t listened or read anything by Brene Brown, I highly recommend her, especially since you may find yourself currently at home…bored). She starts the talk with a story about her daughter who had something difficult happen to her at school and when she told her friends, they didn’t keep it confidential. Her daughter became a target that day; the joking and laughing was so bad that the teacher had to take marbles out of jar to instill order back into the classroom (which for the classroom was a behavioral tool — maybe like the traffic light I remember from my elementary school days – my light was always on green 😊 , although I am sure my parents may remember that differently).

So this morning, I was thinking about the Jar of Marbles…It’s a great illustration of Trust. 

Imagine you just met someone – maybe a new friend, a colleague, a partner, an advisor. It takes time to establish a relationship, to build trust. And for each person you label a Jar of Marbles with their name, you add a marble each time someone does what they say they are going to do, each time you meet them for lunch or coffee, and maybe a couple marbles are added if this person shows up for you in an unexpected way.

But on the flip side, we just as easily (if not more so) remove marbles. If someone cancels a lunch on us once we remove a marble but if they do it 2 times, then several marbles are taken. If an appointment gets rescheduled or we get moved on someone’s calendar more than once, trust and credibility start to diminish.  And don’t we have a tendency to remove several marbles – not just one – when someone disappoints us or doesn’t meet our expectations? 

So with this same concept in mind, is this what we do in our relationship with God? Do we absent mindedly remove our trust marbles from God’s jar, even when our circumstances aren’t his doing. And by doing so before we know it, we find our Savior untrustworthy and we wonder how we got there?   

During this time, it will be easy for us to scroll and get lost down a rabbit hole regarding the Coronavirus. You could watch the news or read an article and feel as if the world is imploding and there is nothing we can do to stop it. The isolation may create anxiety, fear, loneliness. So as we find ourselves trying to make sense of the world’s current circumstance, stay grounded in this truth “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

COVID-19 is not the Lord’s doing. Acts 3:15 says “You have killed the Prince of Life! But God Raised him from the dead and we stand witnesses of this fact.”  Did you catch that? The author of Acts, Luke, called Jesus the Prince of Life, WOW! I have read that so many times and not received that revelation. So ask yourself, does COVID-19 give life? The answer, No…its the opposite and that is how we know, it’s not from him! Now add a few more marbles back to your Jar of Trust!

Together, let’s make a list of the things we can do that remind us of the goodness of our Savior – the hope we have because of him – Easter is coming and with Easter we are reminded not only of the Victory but also darkness.

There were 3 days that seemed unbearable – I imagine these 3 days felt lonely, depressing and dark…maybe you can relate. I imagine, the disciples may have lost hope over these 3 days that their friend, teacher, and Savior may not have been who they thought he was.

I can see it, so imagine this with me, the disciple John – the One Whom Jesus Loved, was charged and trusted with looking after Jesus’ mother, Mary, and yet he found himself back on his fishing boat about to cast a line but first dumping out his Jar of Marbles over the side feeling as if all has been lost… 

But then on the Third Day all that seemed lost was RESTORED because the Tomb was Empty!  

So although we are living in uncertain and difficult times – together let’s remember the power of the Third Day and stay steadfast in our belief that it is coming. 

Below are some great resources for encouragement and community that I have been following along amidst these uncertain times:

www.crosspoint.tv (@crosspoint.tv / @kevinqueen)
www.churchofthehighlands.com (@pastorchrishodges)

For a little humor and joy, check out my friend, @anniefdowns on instagram for her stories or download her “That Sounds Fun” podcasts! She is even doing segments for her “mini BFFs” – your kiddos!

Facetime your friends (do a wine night via group Facetime) – take your dogs on a walk – play games – learn new technology – read a good book – enjoy a movie or Netflix – journal – do your small group via Zoom – connect with your friends and family, its important!

“When they reached the edge of town, Samuel told Saul to send his servant ahead. After the servant was gone, Samuel said, “stay here, for I have received a special message for you from God.” 1 Samuel 9:27 

Jesus has gone ahead of us in all things, so let’s use this time to be still and hear from the Lord. And when we get to the other side – for my family that includes getting home with my son in tow, we will all have a party in celebration of the goodness of our Savior and that he alone is where our trust lies – I plan to keep filling up my jar!

With a grateful heart – 

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