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Donuts and Disobedience

Our church offers free donut holes and
coffee at the end of every service, and believe you me, it’s
the highlight of the girls’ weekly worship experience.
They’ll tear out of the service and stand salivating on the
table until I come up and give them the A-OK. Somehow I descended
down that slippery slope, and now they expect the donut hole every

Unless, of course, their behavior is less than exemplary during the
service. We operate on the choices-and-consequences discipline
plan, and they know that the consequence of bad choices Sunday
morning will most likely result in the loss of one of their most
precious privileges – the donut hole, the sugary light at the
end of the preaching tunnel. So usually, they try to be patient and
attentive and obedient during and around the service, and in return
they get a little bite of heaven.

This past Sunday was a rough morning for
Cora, and unfortunately she lost her donut hole – right at
the end of the service. I’d tried hard to help her through
her bad choices, even taking a break in the middle of the service,
but she simply seemed unrepentant and unphased by the inevitable
movement forward into donut-less-ness. Until, of course, I took
away the donut hole. Then began the wailing and weeping and
gnashing of teeth.

The entire way out of the sanctuary people were stopping to ask her
if she was alright. Some folks thought she’d lost her mom,
she was crying so hard, and one woman, upon hearing that Cora had
lost her donut, said brightly, “Well, sugar, don’t you
cry! I can get you another one!”

This did not help.

Cora finally calmed down, resigned to her loss, and we got into the
car. Once in, I announced to Maddie that we would celebrate the
fact that Maddie went through the whole week last week without
losing a single magnet on her responsibility chart, and that Maddie
could pick how we would celebrate. She thought long and hard, then
said she’d like to stop to buy donuts on the way home for
after lunch.

I agreed, and off we went, and Cora mustered up her courage to ask,
“Mommy, can I get a donut at the donut shop?”

I looked at her in the mirror and said, “Yes, honey, you can.
We are celebrating with Maddie, and this is how she’s chosen
to do that, and you’re included. You lost your donut at
church, not the right to celebrate with us.”

Then my four-year-old turned to Cora and said solemnly,
“Cora, you didn’t do anything to earn this donut. Mommy
is showing you grace, even in your disobedience, so we can
celebrate that, too!”

And right there, my Maddie somehow grasped and summed up our
salvation. In disobedience and donut holes.


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