I Hate Object Lessons

So I am teaching a marriage retreat this weekend. And if that isn’t scary enough, I got in a huge fight with Chuck this past weekend.  Here is what happened.

We are preparing for Charis’ birthday party Saturday morning. Yes, I said six little girls in their favorite dress up costumes complete with those loud clacking plastic dress up shoes. Did I mention that I have wood floors? And cathedral ceilings? Did I also mention that in some insane moment I purchased those roll out blowers as favors? You know the ones – they coil up into a mouthpiece. You blow into the mouthpiece and the coil rolls out and honks like a duck.

Yeah. Multiply that times 6 and add clacking heels.

Anyway, before all this drama, we were blitzing the house. (I have to say I love how Chuck and I work together. But hold on for the rest of the story.)

Charis was understandably excited and didn’t want to clean her room. So I threw out some merry little quip about “a cheerful heart doeth good like medicine.”  Choose to work with a good attitude, I said.  And we continued our blitz.

But somewhere over the morning, I lost my own cheerful heart.  I was stressing out, there was too much to do, and if I am painfully honest, Chuck wasn’t doing it the way I wanted it done.

I began IMploding first. Do you know what I mean by this? Grumbling and swearing, complaining and whining, all silently – but internally boiling. Then I began EXploding. Lots of me-centered comments. I have to, I don’t have, I want, I need… And on top of that, I began excusing myself  about why I was exploding. “I just need to vent and get this out,” I explained loudly. (Read: yelling). Was that supposed to somehow justify my behavior?

Deep in my spirit, I heard the words I had said to Charis. A cheerful heart, Jana, is like medicine.  But I sent that medicine flying. I didn’t want to get well. I wanted to be mad.

Standing at the sink, fuming, I made an attempt to get a hold of myself. I bit the bullet and went back to Chuck. My apology was lame, lame, lame. “I know that I am wrong, and I know that God is going to convict me sooner or later, so I am just getting this over with now and apologizing,” I snapped and went back to my chores.  I don’t  know what I thought that was going to accomplish, because my heart was still boiling.

In response, Chuck  put on a worship CD and before I could complain, I heard the words to the song that randomly came on:

“Praise God from who all blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.”

“Will you praise Me for your blessings, Jana?”

“Yes, Lord,” I said begrudgingly, “but You have to change my heart to do it.”

Charis came into the room and said, “Mama, why are you being so grumpy?”

“Mama is having a bad day; we all have bad days don’t we? Well today is Mama’s day,” I said. I had just excused myself AGAIN.  And that was it. The conviction fell. The Spirit said, “No, it’s not a bad day. It’s sin. At least call it what it is.”

I went and found Charis and cupped her little face in my hands. “Mama is not having a bad day. I have sin in my heart. Will you forgive me?”

Same drill for Chuck minus the cupped face. They were both happy to forgive because none of us wanted to waste our day and hearts like that.

And it’s so funny, the rest of the day turned around. Everything got done. Everyone, even me, enjoyed the party.

It is no wonder that the Bible says, “God gives grace to the humble, but opposes the proud.” Did you hear that?  I can either have His help, or He’ll love me enough
to fight against me. He’s that determined to have my heart. Hmmm. That would be a no brainer.

“God, thank You for your unconditional love, even when I screw up royally. Thank You that it is You that causes me to want to humble myself. Thank You for Your loving grace. Amen.”