First Friday: Passion and a Paper Towel

And Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your passion…”  Matthew 22:37a ~ The Message

It is only three glorious days into summer break.  And what I had firmly intended to be the best summer ever is quickly manifesting into the most random summer of all time.  And when I say random, I mean random.

Take, for example, a few snapshots of one of our more unfortunate hours…

Snapshot #1:  Where you would find me horribly confused by a board game created by a six-year-old and intended for ages 3 and up.  Apparently, they needed some kind of cap on the “up.”  Suffice it to say, I have hidden the game in a very surreptitious spot to avoid any further embarrassment.

Snapshot #2:  Where you would find my youngest shouting, “One, two, free!!”   And then launching puzzle pieces from approximately 15 different puzzles that I had painstakingly organized the week before.  Sadly, I have no idea how long this went on before I discovered the mishap.

Snapshot #3:  Where you would find my son creatively using an electric toothbrush in lieu of toilet paper.  I realize this needs no further explanation.  And I will choose to refrain from disclosing whose toothbrush was used just to protect the innocent.

Not one of our finer strings of moments, to say the least.

So, it should be of little surprise that the inspiration for this diatribe was itself, completely random.

Just a few hours after the board games, puzzle pieces and toilet paper substitution, a question emerged from my eldest.  I couldn’t really tell you why.  Or the events that preceded it.

But I do remember the question, “Mom, what is passion?”

Quickly, I answered, “Passion is all-consuming emotion, like love.”

My young audience looked a wee bit confused.

So, I did what any normal mom would do, I grabbed a paper towel and lit it on fire.  Yes, you read that correctly.   I set a paper towel on fire. 

Upon seeing the flame, my son let out a bloodcurdling scream which was soon followed by the piercing sound of the smoke alarm.  It was in that moment I realized that I had, perhaps, not thought through the potential hazards of the object lesson.  I was firmly convinced, however, that the point would have been made if things had gotten out of control. 

I could just hear Drew saying in the years to come, “Hey Grace, remember that time mom was teaching us about passion and burned down the house?”

In God’s good mercy, however, I happened to light it right over the sink.  The house was spared.  And the lesson, still somewhat learned.

As the towel finished burning, my daughter looked up from the sink and said, “Hey, mom, I think I know what your passion is…”

I braced myself.  Even cringed a bit.  Truth be told, if you’d looked at what I’d spent my time on over the past few days, her answer could have been anything from our community garage sale to catching up on Season 2 of The Mentalist. 

But she instead graciously answered, “Your kids.”

I smiled and dug a little further, “Anything else?”

“Jesus, your passion is also Jesus.”


“Because just like the fire, He touches every part of you.”

Now, the lump that began to form in my throat was not from pride.  It was from what some would refer to as God’s sorrow.  You see, I knew what really consumed me every day.

Busyness.  Perfection.  Control.

And yet, even in my weakness, Jesus used a seemingly random moment to clearly bring me back to what really makes a day, a month or a season its very best…


So, if like me, your summer has begun with a little bit more lack than luster, take heart that the One who makes your days great is waiting for you to say,

 “Lord, consume me.  Touch every moment, every plan and every part of my life.  Be it this summer, next summer or for all the summers to come. ”

From puzzle piece mayhem to perfectly crafted activities to flame-engulfed paper towels, He can use every moment.  He can use every weakness.  He can use you.

All you have to do is be willing to let Him light the flame.  

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.