Love and respect

Three Stores in One Day and Back to the Right Well

Three stores today, well, three grocery stores that is.

Three-

Two on purpose, back to one because I forgot garbage bags.

“Say it with me, kids, I cannot leave the store without these five things: garbage bags, dessert, meats, napkins, and peanut butter. Anything else I can forget- not these.”

Then two of them argued over who was going to remind me about the dessert as if… I would really forget the dessert.

But the garbage bags- that’s what I really need help with remembering.

So, when I forgot, I tried to blame them because I had asked them to help, right?

But I stopped after one blame, suddenly coming to my mommy senses, and said, “It’s okay. I forgot, too”.(notice the “too”- I’m still blaming them all while taking personal responsibility- no way I was taking the full brunt of this mistake)

“I’ll just go to the store again, for the third time today”.(a bit more immaturity on my part- just a little reminder about how many times we have been to the store)” Am I the mom or the big sister? O, yes, Mom, yes that’s right.

And that’s not all I did today- I homeschooled my kids today. Yes, all three of them were educated… into this very night… educated.

And we made an advent calendar, yes, they did actually- because they are old enough to do it ALL BY THEMSELVES. Guess what?  That is the only reason so much gets done around here- cause they are big and it is not all up to me.

And… I went to the dentist.

I cooked dinner.

I did laundry.

I read, studied, and prayed.

And… I am tired.

One day and three grocery stores plus the business of a regular day and I am tired.

I don’t think I should be but I am. I’m human. Isn’t this season all about the human being tired… and the Savior coming? If I wasn’t human, then I wouldn’t be tired and I wouldn’t need a savior, a place to lay my burden.

I want to write about marriage and submission but again I am so tired… maybe if the kids would stop asking me questions…Why don’t they yell, “Dad!” in the same tone of urgency and with the same frequency?

So, instead of sitting down to write, we listened to Ann Voskamp talk about hope. We sang “O Come All Ye Faithful” together as a family. And my heart was refreshed and renewed- overwhelmed that my King is right here with tired ole’ me. Thank you, Ann. I may have had to apologize again if the lesson was up to me.

And so, tired Momma, may I remind you?

About hope. About your King and how it’s really not a big deal to go to the store three times in one day. May I remind you that without love we are resounding gongs, clanging cymbals? May I remind you that we are nothing that we gain nothing without love. (from 1 Cor. 1:1-3)

So, what does the Bible say LOVE is? Or rather who is LOVE? The Bible says God is Love. 1 John 4:7b

Our source of LOVE is God Himself… maybe little pauses throughout the day are needed to remember just that. I am loved, deeply. I can abide with Him every moment of every day because He has an open door policy for me. He is not the slave driver of my perfection… that is what I do to myself. Rather, He is perfect FOR me.

I can rest.

My kids, your kids, are watching to see if we walk through that open door He is for us… and abide… if our faith is the real deal, rubber meets the road kind of faith… Did this baby Jesus really really come and does He really make a difference?

When I find myself bent out of shape. I can be guaranteed that I am drinking from the well of me… or from other people…  that my expectations not being met.

It’s like a little red flag that signals me: You are NOT at the right well. Jesus does not serve up chaos.

On that holy night, with all the trials in the world during that particular time and the pain of labor and the mess of it in a dirty barn…the One whose name is PEACE and LOVE was born.

He wants to be with us and be our Peace and Love in our times with all our trials and in our messy barns.

So, may I remind us: Slow down, breathe deeply, and trust Jesus. He loves us. He is for us. Let’s fix our eyes on Him.

In Christ Alone,

Diana

Melba Toast

So, he came in the kitchen for a snack. He grabbed the Melba Toast, “What is this? Where are the crackers?” I sat in silence. He looked as if his conversation was private- between himself and his personal frustration over crackers. Again, he spoke, “Are there not any regular crackers? These crackers are expensive. How much are these? Could you not go to Aldi’s and buy regular crackers?”

photomelba

Now, obviously the conversation was directed at me, so I answered, “No, that’s all the crackers we have. They were on sale. (that was a lie- they might have been, but I cannot remember- I said it to defend my cracker purchase) Well, I think. Well, they are good. Try one”. My eyes are now rolling- and thoughts are swirling around in my head… Really? The Bible says not to complain… and here he is complaining… and right in front of the children. I work ALL DAY to teach them and he comes in and tears it all up. I went to the store. He should be glad… and grateful…

In the meantime… He got out chips instead. Now backtrack with me. I was at the store. I bought salsa, the fresh more expensive kind, and I bought chips- 2 bags. One bag was a manager special. They were deli chips and the expiration date was fast approaching. That one would be to eat first. The second was regular priced (really about the same as the other, but a cheaper brand) and would be to eat later.

He got out the second bag, the one for later- WRONG BAG.

Here was my chance.

“You got out the wrong bag of chips”.

“Huh”

Okay, dear reader… I gave him the explanation. I rebuked him.

And here was my motive… You try to tell me I’m wrong- well we will just see about that.

Hmmm… remember how I was offended over his complaining in front of the children? Well, they are still in the kitchen with us watching my silly, immature revenge over, yes, this big important issue in our culture: crackers and chips- not really- but here is a big issue in our culture-in my marriage…

BEING OFFENDED.

The Bible says much about this. Here are just a couple instances:

Jesus said this about paying the temple tax to Rome-However, we don’t want to offend them, so go down to the lake and throw in a line. Open the mouth of the first fish you catch, and you will find a large silver coin. Take it and pay the tax for both of us. Matthew 17:27

Jesus also said this in Matthew 6: “For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” Jesus goes on to expand on this teaching.Then in verse 60 and beyond-, On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?” Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you–they are full of the Spirit and life.

Jesus is wise- knowing when not to offend (a battle over taxes was unworthy of his efforts and went away from his purpose) and knowing when an ungodly offense was taken by his disciples over His teaching and he battled for the hearts of them calling them to the Spirit and to life.

As believers… our battles are not meant to be over taxes(crackers and chips)…

Here is the battle:

Are you ready?

Our battle in marriage is against the flesh so we can both live by His Spirit. To be life-givers, blessers- not drainers and cursers. And Dear Reader, it takes a huge dose of humility and honesty.

Here is the truth- When either spouse behaves poorly, this is the chance for the other spouse to minister life and truth… to be a blessing… to take personal responsibility for like ummmm… crackers.

To be honest. To admit wrong. To stop pointing fingers. To not be easily offended.

Instead of taking our spouses personal inventory, we can ask Jesus to show us ourselves, walk gently, and put down the big stick.

I know… some of you think it wasn’t a big deal. You think it was his fault, but Dear Reader, in my house this guy IS the bread winner. And when I back track, he has asked me to shop at Aldi’s for months now. I don’t like Aldi’s. If I go to Aldi’s, I have to go to another store as well to get everything I need. I don’t want to go to two stores. Do you see the pattern? It goes like this…

I, I, I don’t want. I, I, I don’t like.

Marriage is supposed to be teamwork. A dance… a romantic one. The waltz takes surrender. It is fluid, beautiful… two people moving together. Together. One leading. The other graciously following. Both dancers need skill, beauty, and submission.

No one wants to watch a waltz where the dancers aren’t fluid, where the man tugs at the woman and she stumbles on his feet.

Anyone, can do that, Dear Reader, anyone.

But God’s ways are higher than ours.

In I Corinthians 13 beginning in verse 4, He tells us:

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

      Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.

So when our men tug at our pride, move Beloved Reader, with the dance to the beat of respect and the rhythm of humility. Be slow to anger. Listen. To Him so you can listen to him. There might be something there- some disrespect that you haven’t seen in yourself- that you’ve avoided because, well, he’s not at the store with you. Maybe there is some way, that you have not been a team player.

Maybe the crackers have him riled up because he had a hard day at work… maybe your crackers were really on sale… and you are a better dance partner than me… but maybe he needs you to just dance? Maybe your gentleness, your finding your approval in Jesus- would offer your husband a whole dancer- to make a team with because Beloved Reader, most of our men are not wicked and trying to have ill intent over us… they are broken sinners, needy, like us, for more of Jesus. Some grace for today. Some bread. Some plain ole’ crackers from Aldi that speak respect to his parched soul?

Bless you with love all rooted in God’s Love for you,

Diana

P.S. To be continued…

P.P.S.

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