Upstairs Water

“I want downstairs water!!  I don’t want upstairs water!”

I laughed out loud as my daughter described her three year old’s tantrum and resulting repeated discipline tonight.  I remembered my daughter at that age – fiercely holding to her resolve that she was thirsty..but absolutely refusing  water I offered her from the bathroom sink.  Only kitchen water would do!!  She would not back down until she was absolutely and completely convinced (at times after hours of being disciplined…yes, seriously hours!) that she could not win the battle.   Wow, those battles were intense and required lots of prayer and a forehead of flint!  I often gained courage from God’s words to Ezekiel :  Ezekiel 3:7-9

    But the house of Israel is not willing to listen to you because they are not willing to listen to me, for the whole house of Israel is hardened and obstinate. [8] But I will make you as unyielding and hardened as they are. [9] I will make your forehead like the hardest stone, harder than flint. Do not be afraid of them or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house.”

It’s not much fun at the time, but as I look back at my own children and as I watch my grandchildren now,  I can laugh at their propensity to think something that they can’t have is so much better than what is offered and available to them.  “I want it my way, thank you.”

As I look over at the scene in front of me I see the “same song, different verse”  displayed.  Our puppy, Denver, has a wonderful and comfortable pillow-lined crate.  Blackie (our little dog) had seemed jealous of his crate, often climbing in and taking over the space.  So, being a compassionate doggie parent I recently purchased a small doggie bed for Blackie.  He was thrilled and immediately tucked himself in.  Until….he got up for a moment and then….. Denver wanted Blackie’s new bed and plopped right on down.  Blackie just stared at him with an accompanying snarl.

As I mulled over a toddler’s stubborn desire for something other than what was offered and my pup’s desire for what the other had – I was reminded of how easy it can be to be discontent with what is offered to us and put in front of us.  It’s so easy to be discontent…about the weather, our work, our health, and all kinds of things offered to us and in front of us.  Surely downstairs water is much better, and the other dog’s bed is much more comfortable.  When I am discontent I’m afraid it looks too much like the above toddler and doggy scenarios.  That is when I must remind myself of scriptures like Psalm 23:1-2

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  [2] He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,…

Proverbs 19:23      The fear of the Lord leads to life:  Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Philip. 4:11-12     I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. [12] I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

1 Tim. 6:6    But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Hebrews 13:5  Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,  “Never will I leave you;  never will I forsake you.”

May I always be grateful for upstairs water!

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  1. Shari Simpson-Cabelin

    I’ve had this exact conversation with my kids. And I will share a quote I learned recently and can’t stop repeating, “No whining on the yacht”.

    We have so many blessings. You’re one of them. 🙂

    • jeanieshaw

      That’s a good quote. Will remember. You are a blessing as well. 🙂

  2. Carolyn Harrell

    Not only do I always love and learn from your insights, let me say that the English teacher in me loves your style. Upstairs water as the last line…ah, metaphor for God, living water…at least to me. Also, the April 24 post (I think it was) about your presentation and bathroom plea for God’s help spoke volumes to me and helped me through my presentation a few days later…Although my presentation wasn’t as big a deal as yours, my dependance on God was/is. Love you and so enjoy living your life with you via your blog. c

    • jeanieshaw

      Love you so much. Miss you. Your encouragement means a lot. I wish I could say I had thought of that line as a metaphor. It just happened that way :-). Hope you have a fun birthday and have a happy Mother’s Day.

  3. Shirley Cruz

    I truly enjoyed what you shared, it is so easy for us to forget that all that we have comes from God…sometimes it may not be what we want, but what we need. And there is a purpose to it. Thank you Jeanie!

    • jeanieshaw

      Thanks for the encouragement Shirley. Was great to see you.


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About Jeanie Shaw

After retiring from forty-five years in full-time ministry, Jeanie Shaw went back to school to earn her master’s and doctorate in spiritual formation and discipleship. She also serves as a certified Christian life coach who loves helping people discover the joy, peace, and purpose that come from finding and following God’s plan for their lives. She has taught classes and workshops all over the world and has written numerous books. She has four grown children, eight grandchildren, and a golden retriever who thinks he is human. When she is not reading, writing, coaching, teaching, or enjoying her family she might be found walking along rivers, learning new lessons about life.

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