Monday, August 22, 2011

The Parable of the Coinstar Machine

It was time to roll the change. The coin jar had been collecting dust, in addition to several year's worth of coins. And...our mini-vacation over Labor Day Weekend is right around the corner...could use more dough for that too. So, what's a girl to do? Head to our local Coinstar machine, of course! No more rolling change for me. Time is too precious these days.

My teenager was not too keen on seeing her middle-aged mother walking into our local grocery store with this jug of coins in her arms. But, she tagged along, nevertheless. Inside the store, I spotted the lean, mean, green machine that was going to turn my years of toil into greenbacks. I quickly read the instructions and just started dumping the coins.

The chinking and gurgling noises began. The machine was counting. Everything was going along smoothly until we got to the $6.00 mark (not too far into my coin jar mind you). Suddenly, my daughter pointed out that coins were spilling out from the machine and all over the floor! The message on the machine's computer screen then read, "the machine is now full". What do you mean full? I just started. It took me a moment to fully understand the ramification of what just occurred. In the meantime, I continued to try to pour coins down the machine. As a result...I just jammed it.

At first, I tried to fix it myself. I started digging my coins out of the by one. I soon realized it was going to take me all night at this rate. But, I wasn't about to walk away at that point. I had to fix it! Then, one of the managers came up to help. He opened every nook and cranny of the machine that he had access to, but nothing got him into the area of the machine where the coins were actually housed (and where my were jammed). Only the Coinstar machine owner/operator could access that area.

Finally, after about 20 minutes of creating a scene, embarrassing my teenager, wasting the manager's time, and capturing the attention of every cashier on duty...I walked away. I simply said to the store manager, "Well, I obviously can't fix it. You obviously can't fix it. We'll just have to wait on the owner to fix it."

About 10 minutes later, as I was getting into my car, laughing over this whole "stupid scene" with my daughter, the Holy Spirit whispered...

That's how it is with your grief, my daughter. You've been trying to "fix it" by taking matters into your own hands. Sometimes, you've even involved others to try and "fix you". But, it's time to "walk away" and let Me work. I'm your "owner/operator". I made you. I know how you tick. I know the people that I plan to use in your healing. Now, just walk away...step aside...let me do the fixing.

Right, as always. I'm a "fixer", by nature. If I can't fix myself, I'll try to fix somebody else. And I journey Grief Road, I've tried to find others to fix me, so to speak. But, all too often, I've been trying to figure it out on my own. I can't anymore. I'm not saying that God won't use people to assist with my healing. He will, and He has, and I need people now more than ever to come alongside me. But, I'm going to leave the orchestrating up to Him. I've jammed everything up...and, I can't fix me anymore.


  1. I do love how God uses everyday situations to speak to us through.

    I can relate to everything you said.

    When my Dad died I tried to fix me but by going the opposite route; I isolated myself, I subconsciously decided that the God who took my Daddy from me without the opportunity to reconile couldn't possibly fix my brokenness, so I needed to do it myself by temporarily living without really living if that makes any sense.

    And I had one of those God-speaking-to-me moments too where He told me I could not do this by myself/my way; except mine was on the bathroom floor while being sick during my first pregnancy. I had been trying to take care of myself when in reality I needed a lot of help due to being severely ill my first trimester and God reminded me in that same way I needed a lot of help-from Him to grieve my Dad's death and to move forward in my life.

    And praise God He is true to His promises; that was 2 years ago and I am a lot stronger regarding my Dad's death than I was during the time I'm describing.

    And because He is no respector of persons, and He is the same God yesterday, today and forever so I am confident He will do the same for you.

    Lots of Jesus love coming your way beautiful sister.

  2. Powerful...we can't fix anything but oh how He can.

  3. Great illustration. Thanks for sharing. Prayers continuing to the True FIXER of us. I wrote something once about the cruciFIXion. It was the only way we are truly fixed for eternity. He'll fix it right. Love ya!

  4. Thank you for the sweet and encouraging comments friends! You are the greatest!

  5. Wow! I needed this one! I've been trying to fix something. Then I hand it over to God. Then I try to fix it again. It's just not working. This parable is for me, too!

  6. Wonderful post Leah! I was always wanting to fix all around me, my family. I need to wait and LET God help me. Thanks!!

  7. WOW! This is exactly one of the things we learn in Celebrate Recovery - we can't fix ourselves OR anyone else - only God can. What a wonderful post!

    Thank you for being willing to share :)