Shoes. Purses. Nail Polish. Kitchen Gadgets. Books. What is your weakness? Chocolate? My mom loves dishes and purses. My grandma loved yarn. My neighbor, she has bins of scrapbooking materials. Me? Plants and tea. Not just any tea. Loose leaf, imported tea. Remember yesterday’s post?
As a new, exhausted mom, I convinced my husband I needed a morning off each week or I would go crazy. It really wasn’t about convincing because it was true. My husband worked for a campus ministry at the time and could give me a morning off. I happily settled into a routine of relaxing at Gong Fu tea house with my Bible, my journal and a warm drink. Tea Houses were a new to Iowa at the time, and the owners delighted me with stories of their world travel to find these rare teas, information on proper brewing techniques and stories of how culture and fellowship happened around the world around this humble drink. I started blaming the Boston Tea Party for our country’s obsession with coffee. And I learned to decompress with my Lord during those two sweet hours while becoming a tea snob. No more prepacked tea bags for me.
Years later, I returned to bag teas because the exotic loose leaf varieties were not available in the small towns we kept moving to, Then, on a fatal visit home I went to a mall in Chicago where I discovered a new and growing chain called Teavanna. Free smells and free samples of at least half a dozen teas decorated the pretty store. The pull of memories of relaxing with the Lord while drinking great tea made a purchase inevitable. The girls and I rushed around oohing, sniffing, and tasting. The salespeople were relentless but the prices? Not in the budget. I bought just a small bag of jasmine pearls.
The chain grew, but not enough to consider a store in my working class town. While visiting my parents, I found another Teavanna in their local mall. I actually went to the mall, with my kids, to visit Teavanna. We sampled and got hypnotized by the lovely smells and the smooth talking salesman. The girls begged for a blooming tea (watch the tea ball bloom as it seeps), watermelon mint chiller was divine, monkey-picked oolong sounded quaint especially if it was monkey -picked. We had fun. I was intoxicated with tea dreams and watching my girls enjoy one of my loves. I left with more tea than my budget permitted. A LOT more.
Guilt came in waves as we left the mall. My girls had just witnessed me being a hypocrite. I spent money I didn’t have. I believed the lie that things (or drink) could satisfy some longing. Even as I began to see the sin I tried to justify my purchase because I wanted that tea. I told myself I couldn’t return bulk food items the mall was closing. We had to leave town first thing in the morning. Just in case, since the girls heard the final bill, I told them not to say anything to their dad or my parents. They knew I never spent that much money on food.
Internal alarm bells were sounding. How mad would my husband be? Maybe I just wouldn’t tell him. Anytime you are avoiding telling your husband something, you better repent and fix things. If you are ashamed of your purchases, clearly you made a mistake. Hiding the purchase is never the answer.
It took a few days. First, I confessed to my girls my sin. My desires overcame my pocketbook. I asked my girls to not let me go in Teavanna again. They giggled at the thought of restricting mom. But we avoid the store for now. I had some personal birthday money that I used to pay for the tea and restock the family budget. Then the girls asked what dad had said. But I hadn’t told him yet.
My dear hubby stayed calm when I confessed to him, a few weeks later. He isn’t one to indulge in material possessions and could not relate to my faltering, but he was kind anyway.
If you were reading this in my presence, I would turn red with embarrassment. I still struggle to recognize myself in this story. But I believe, and hope, that sharing my mistakes with my children and modeling the process of repentance is important. If we hide or ignore all the internal sins from our kids, they will only understand how to paint the tomb white.
What about you? Have your kids ever witnessed you doing or saying something you shouldn’t?