The Worry Jar

“Look what I made today in Sunday School Mommy!”

My daughter excitedly ran towards me as we stood in the church lobby. She stretched out her little hand to reveal to me her latest creation and said, “It’s a ‘worry jar’ and I want you to have it.”

memory jar1

I peered down at the tiny jar with the tissue paper glued all over it and did all of the appropriate ‘ooohhhing’ and ‘ahhhhhing’ before replying, “thank you so much sweetie, I just love it!”

As I turned to show it off to the rest of the family I thought, “I think I’m going to need a bigger ‘worry jar’ than this!”

You see, for most of my life worrying has been akin to breathing. My husband used to say that if I could get paid to worry we would be millionaires!

memory jar2

When we got home from church my sweet girl went right into our room and placed the ‘worry jar’ on my nightstand. “So you’ll see it every day Mommy”, she said.

And I did.

I saw it every day.

For the first few days I couldn’t stop myself from feeling that it was almost mocking me. Reminding me that all of my worries, my fears and my concerns would never be able to fit within it’s small space.

memory jar3

What about my deep, almost paralyzing, fear that something will happen to my husband or my children?

That’s WAY too big for such a tiny jar!

What about that fractured relationship that seems so far beyond repair?

It needs 20 jars!

What about those moments when I’m almost certain that I am falling short in my role as a mom?

That needs an entire ‘worry room’ not just a jar!

One day I noticed that the ‘worry jar’ had been filled with some of the rose petals my daughter had collected off the ground while on our walk. Can you tell that my girl is a giver? She loves nothing more than to give gifts to practically everyone with whom she comes in contact.

memory jar4

I said loudly, “Now, I wonder how on earth these rose petals got here!” And she came into the room grinning from ear to ear. “I thought your jar needed filling up Mommy”, she said.

But, I knew the truth. My jar was already filled up. In fact, it was overflowing with worry.

Worry had become my way of thinking that somehow I had control over everything in my life.

And this false sense of control meant that I didn’t need to turn to the One who really is in control.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and mind in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

memory jar5

As my daughter left the room I noticed that she had turned the jar around. You see, that tissue paper was only glued to one side.

The other side had a little scrap of paper, lovingly cut out by little 6 year old fingers.

And I read the words written on that scrap of paper, intended to be part of a Sunday school lesson for 1st graders, as though I was reading them for the very first time.

In that moment, I realized the truth about my ‘worry jar’.

It doesn’t need to be any bigger.

In fact, I don’t need one at all!

memory jar 6

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Matthew 6:25-27

And, the answer is NO! No, I can’t add an hour to my life by worrying. No, I can’t protect my family from everything that is bad in the world. No, I can’t fix that fractured relationship all on my own. No, I can’t let my fear that I’m not being the best mom in the whole world paralyze me in my parenting.

But what I CAN do is put my trust and my hope in the One who not only made the heavens and the earth but also knows the number of hairs on my head.

Does putting my trust in Him mean that nothing bad will ever happen or that all of my relationships will be perfect or that I will win the mother of the year award? Of course not.

What it does mean is that He will always be with me. He’ll be with me in the glorious mountain-top moments and He’ll be with me in the painful valley moments.

And what about my ‘worry jar’? Well, just because I realized I don’t really NEED it doesn’t mean I won’t keep it. After all, it was given to me by my most favorite girl in the whole world.

memory jar1

I even still keep it on my nightstand.

But now I see a jar with no lid. No lid to hold in those worries while they swirl and simmer.

Now, I see freedom.

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Comments

  1. Denise Adorian says

    So very uplifting.We all need to be reminded of this daily in Our walk with Christ.No mz=atter Our age or circumstance-Grandma Denise

  2. says

    I cannot express enough of how beautiful this post is…I have always been a worrier…my hubby, well, I need to follow his lead as his philosophy is that worrying does not do anything to the situation…only takes your “breath” away…Thanks for the verses .. I have already written down Philippians 4:6-7 and placed it on my desk next to my perspective inspiration…Have a wonderful day!
    Shirley@Housepitality Designs recently posted..Chickens in a Box {Antique French Wood Box}My Profile

    • says

      Oh you and I are just kindred spirits in more ways than one aren’t we Shirley? Worrying definitely takes my breath away and your husband is so right about that! Thank you so much for sharing your heart with me and for leaving this encouraging comment! :-)
      Vanessa
      Vanessa recently posted..The Worry JarMy Profile

  3. says

    My mother-in-law worries about absolutely EVERYTHING. She is a very Godly woman and she has read and re-read those verses. I tell her “just to get out of the rocking chair!” Worry is like a rocking chair, you rock and rock and get absolutely nowhere. She smiles everytime I say it.

  4. Willie Mitchell says

    I need to think of this every day. Thanks for the reminder. The old saying, “out of the mouths of babes” is SO true. They can get to us when no one else can.

  5. says

    Beautiful and a terrific reminder that life is to be embraced not feared. As one who’s been through dark places I know and claim that God walks beside me and loves me despite my worries. Love ‘ya!

  6. says

    Vanessa…this is exactly what our Lord has been speaking to me about too.
    I don’t have a jar, but I’m sure I could fill a bin with the amount of times I’ve worried about my family.
    Bless that little one of yours and bless God for His constant care and solutions to our worries and cares.
    Hugs!

    All my heart,
    Deborah xo
    Deborah Carlson recently posted..Season of whitesMy Profile

  7. says

    I know sometimes people post as quests on others blogs. Would you possibly be willing to do so with this Post. The willingness of this child to want to help and your responses could speak to so many more, and I would love for my followers to be a few of them. I don’t know how to do, but maybe you could talk me thru it if you agreed.
    thank you,
    and Blessings
    Tonia
    tonia conner recently posted..Finally Finished.My Profile

  8. Carol Reddin says

    Beautifully said, Vanessa! You know you learned the “art” of worrying from a master teacher – ME! This post speaks to my heart! Mom

  9. vicky says

    I am a fellow millionaire. Thanks for the reminder. I talk with my other worrier friends and they assure me it is not a lack of faith. Who are we kidding??

  10. Julia says

    What a precious gift from your little “giver” – a reminder that we all do have worries, but we just need to trust God more – Thank you for that reminder this morning! Blessings today for you and your family!

  11. Genny says

    Love your post! It’s as if I had written this about my life! I have felt and still feel all the same worries as you! Thank you so much for this!

  12. Julia G. says

    Vanessa – you have a very wise little girl that God is using to remind all of us that He Cares for Us! Thank you for sharing your heart today – and please thank that Sunday School teacher for giving her/his time to teach God’s truths to your little one. Blessing to you and your family.

  13. Anita Ward says

    This is sooooo me, what a sweet and giving daughter you have! Leave that worry jar open and don’t keep collecting them cause it’s so much harder to do when you get older!!!!! Take it from one who knows!!!

  14. Rachel says

    Thank you so much for this! I have a wonderful, giving daughter also, but she has been literally getting sick with worry. I’ve been divorced her whole life, so when she has to go between her dad’s house and mine, she is very anxious. She loves us both but can’t bear being apart from us when she’s at the other house. We’ve tried praying and having a special song to sing; drawing pictures or listening to music. I think a worry jar will be the perfect thing for her. Something she can see (I’ll put verses on the outside too). She is only 7 but is so desperate to feel God tangibly in her life. Can’t wait to make this for her. Thanks!

    • says

      Oh Rachel you sound like such an amazing mom! It’s so hard to watch our kids hurting isn’t it? But the way you are approaching helping your sweet, tender-hearted girl shows how very much you love her and want her to know that God loves her even more! Thank you so much for sharing this with me and I will be keeping both of you in my prayers. :-)
      Vanessa

  15. Bridget says

    Isn’t it funny how “HE” works. What a great message! Maybe we all need a jar to remind us of the message. Thanks for sharing!

    By the way, y’all look fabulous in the new picture!

  16. Sara says

    This is so true and so well written. I really needed to read this, this week. Well, most weeks. :). Thank you for the reminder!!

  17. says

    This post was exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you so much for sharing. God has an amazing way of reaching us just when we need it most doesn’t He?

  18. says

    Wow! This is a timely topic as we are under severe thunderstorm warnings. Yes, it’s nerve-racking to wait for the time to go lie down in the walk-in closet under our family room staircase. Prayer really does comfort me; epecially, the times I’ve had to get inside that closet when my husband was not home. It’s been a rough night in Alabama and Tennessee.

    Vanessa, thanks for your sweet reminder.

    Helen
    Helen recently posted..An Evening Of ShoppingMy Profile

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