caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Something Got Me Bad

(I feel the need to make a disclaimer that the following blog post contains a word that may cause some people to be squeamish. I want to respect this, since I too, have my own word that I despise. My lifelong friend and college roommate had huge issues with this word. Sweet J, if you are reading, you have been warned!)

Benjamin. (No, that is obviously not the word I was referring to!)

Sigh. My darling middle child is such a precious boy. He is kind, affectionate, and I kid you not when I say he has the biggest heart ever! As loving and cuddly as he is, don’t get me wrong, he is all boy. If he isn’t sword fighting like a Power Ranger, then he is playing a sport, any sport (very well I might add!) or freely allowing his bodily noises to flow without hesitation, like only a little boy or grown man can!

For all of Benjamin’s endearing qualities, I must admit that, like his mother, he is a bit absent minded at times. These are just a few examples of “Benjamin moments”.

While getting ready for a bath one night, he pulled his pants down and said, “Huh. I forgot to put on underwear today, Mama.” How the kid made it through the entire day without noticing that he’s going commando, is remarkable, and all too familiar to me. Not the commando part –  I notice my underwear. But, I don’t notice many other details.

While driving to Florida to see the kid’s great-grandmother, we decided to stay overnight in Mississippi. Benjamin was so excited to get to wherever we were going. A joyful traveler, he kept saying he couldn’t wait to meet “the nice lady”. I assumed he meant his great-grandmother, but as it turns out, I was wrong. When questioned who he was excited to meet, he exclaimed “Mama, I can’t wait to meet Ms. Ississippi!” That’s right, he was beyond excited to meet a state that he thought was a lady. He later asked if Mr. Sippi was going to be there too!

He often can’t find his shoes when they are right next to him. And I cannot count the number of times he has been joyfully “surprised” to see a squirrel in our yard. We have almost a hundred and fifty oak trees in our yard and perhaps half as many squirrels. We see them constantly, but to him, it’s always a pleasant surprise.

Before I go further, I feel inclined to mention that Benjamin is a very smart boy. He knew all his letters and numbers before he was three. He has been finding rhyming words forever and his teachers sing his academic praises. But, what he has in intelligence and precious-ness, he lacks in common sense, sometimes.

This story I am about to share is the epitome of that truth.

We were playing in the backyard recently on one of the many! un-seasonably warm “Texas winter” days. The kids were in t-shirts and shorts and having a blast soaking up the sixty-five degree weather. Then, I heard Benjamin start to fuss.

“Mama, something got me bad!”

I look up to see him lifting up his shirt, wincing and scratching at his chest. I wouldn’t put it past our mosquitoes to have stuck it out through December, but I was a bit surprised. Hoping not to see a spider bite, I lifted up his shirt and said “Show me where, buddy!”

“Right there, Mama!” he exclaimed, somewhat frantically as he pointed to an itty bitty red splotch around his nipple.

‘What buddy, I don’t see anything except where you were scratching yourself.”

“Maammaaa…right there!!!”

Then, it hit me.

My sweet yet utterly unobservant boy was pointing at his. own. nipple.

Pause. “Um, that isn’t a bite, buddy, that’s your nipple.”

Utter confusion came across his face as he looked up at me with an innocent look of bewilderment.

“It’s ok Benjamin, look, you have another one.” I said, as I pulled up the other side of his t-shirt for him to see.

Sheer panic came across his face.

He looked down at his body as if he’d just discovered a third arm that he’d never noticed before.

Then, in an attempt to ease his little brother’s fears, my oldest boy chimed in, “It’s okay Benjmain, I have them too!” He lifted up his own shirt to reveal, that he too, in fact, had two nipples.

Benjamin gasped!

Jacob and I giggled.

“Buddy, it’s okay, that’s how God made you. You have always had them.”

Still quite confused, he looked at me for help, “Mama, do you have them too?”

Friend, this is officially where the show and tell part of the story ended.

“Yes buddy, I do. Everyone does.”

“Whyyy!?”

“Well, that is how Mamas feed their babies. Isn’t it amazing how God made us that way!”

“But why do boys have to have them?”

I got nothin’.

“Sweetheart, I have no idea. I guess only God knows why He chose to make boys that way too. You can ask him someday if you want! But for now, don’t panic, you are just fine!”

My sweet, sweet Benjamin.

The child can read but he didn’t know he had nipples.

It is bad enough that he is five years old and hadn’t realized this, but to make matters worse, we spent every waking moment of the summer in the pool or playing outside shirtless. “We” shirtless, being the boys, of course! So, it’s not like the kid hasn’t had the opportunity to notice his nipples. I’d even give him credit for never looking downward, if it weren’t for his big brother and Daddy in the pool with him. Nipples in plain sight.

Although I can’t really accuse Benjamin, because I have been pretty unaware of things in my world too! My best friend notices when someone she sees once a week at church changes their nail polish color. I, however, failed to notice when Ryan took down the huge American flag that hung above our front door – a year ago! I think some people are wired to pay more attention to details. But, I guarantee you; we are all supposed to be aware.

I’m not sure about you, friend, but I fail to notice other more serious things that should be quite obvious.

Hmmm, like my own sin, for instance.

Ya, I went there.

I have had plenty of times where I have seen sin in others and been fully able to recognize it. Yet, I rarely felt like it took the time to look down at my own self to see the very same thing. Jesus said quite a bit about the heart behind this –

Luke 6:37 “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

Oh how quickly I place that robe on and reside over others in my mind. The Judge Caroline show could put Judge Judy out of business, I’m sad to say.

Matthew 7:3-5 “”Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

I happen to love how the Amplified version of the Bible says it. Shocking, I know. Anyway – it clearly relates these two objects perfectly in verse three – “Why do you stare from without at the very small particle that is in your brother’s eye but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye?”

Ha! Beam. Of. Timber.

I love it! God’s Word cracks me up sometimes! Ever had a beam of timber in your eye, friend? I can conservatively say I’ve built a log cabin or two hundred.

Not only that, but I have been in flat out denial about my sin. For instance, if Ryan and I get into a “spirited discussion” about something and he says that’s hurtful, I have been known to take that as a full out invitation to get him back. We know each other’s Achilles heals. Often we try to avoid them. But, then sometimes, we aim directly at ‘em with all we’ve got.  I leave the situation appalled at his behavior, his hurtful words, his ugly heart, and choose not to look at any of those same things in myself.

Luke 6:29, 31-33,35 “If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic… Do to others as you would have them do to you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that… But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back…”

I don’t believe that Jesus thought anger was sin. Jesus got angry. (See Matthew 11:15-17) Like my wonderful pastor says, “There’s a good mad and a bad mad.” Here’s the key –

Psalm 4:4 “In your anger do not sin; when you are on your beds, search your hearts and be silent.”

Ephesians 4:26-27 “”In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

See what happens when you sin in your anger…you give the devil a foothold. I don’t know about you, friend, but I have a hard enough time fighting him off without giving him any extra headway, thank you very much.

And then there’s the favorite among us “good” Christians. It’s the whole idea of ranking sin. We are so good at that.

It’s not like I murder, beat my kids or rob banks – I’m good.

Ok sure, I may curse every once in a while, but it’s not like I cheat on my taxes or something.

It’s just a little white lie, no big deal.

Ya sure, I gossip, but that’s not that bad. Besides, we gotta pray for her, because did you hear what she did?

Ya right, friend. It doesn’t work like that. A sin…is a sin… is a sin. Period.

Something as “simple” and “innocent” as gossip seem relatively harmless. But, see here who gossips are listed with –

Romans 1:29 “They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

Romans 6:23 put sit plainly – “the wages of sin is death.”

Whether you rob a bank or tell a lie – you have separated yourself from God and require the redemption of Jesus’ blood to pay for that sin. Yes, I understand that some sins are done purposefully and some without knowledge. I agree that some sins carry greater weight in our lives simply because of their consequences. But, let’s not encourage ourselves because we may “seem” to not be as far from God as the next person, because really, friend, far is far. Sin is sin.

Then, there’s the quieter sins. The ones that don’t shine as brightly outwardly – like judging others…or envying others…or lusting over others. These sins happen in our minds and in our hearts.

Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

1 Samuel 16:7 “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

Psalm 139:2 “You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.”

And this one always gets me – Matthew 23:25-26 “”Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.”

So, dear friend, what shall we do?

I say we seek authenticity now. Quit acting like we don’t sin. I will tell you just a few of the things I struggle with are pride, worry and fear, and a judgmental heart. There you have it. Not going to sugar coat that for you. I’m calling a sin a sin. Period. I want to just claim that “it got me bad”, confess that thing, and move the heck on! Don’t you?

The great news is that God knows our hearts, good and bad. He knows when we are truly repentant and He knows when you are just giving it lip service. He knows when we have a heart to honor Him but, in our flesh, we just blow it.

Let’s do what Peter suggests “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

Let’s let the Holy Spirit do his job and convict us “of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment” (John 16:8)

Nipples for some reason have to be a part of all of us forever. But, friend…sin does not.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Thank you, Lord!

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