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Psalm 119:11  – I have hidden your word in my heart in order that I might not sin against You.

This truth stopped by to visit the other night.

It was one of those typical but painful scenes that happen from time to time.

You know those kind – when one person has spun himself into such an annoyed, touchy, tither that he can’t get out of it gracefully.  And you find your interactions adding fuel to the fire.  Furthermore, you feel justified in your self-righteous response as ‘victim’ to the high emotional detritus from the other.

We had eased into the evening routine gracefully AND gratefully, happy to be together after a day at work.  But something little set him off while we were fixing dinner.  The irony is that it occurred while we shared what God had revealed to each of us in our reading and study of the day’s assigned two chapters in Leviticus (Chronological reading plan).

We stepped over that blip and in the course of the next few minutes talked about Noah’s sons and how Shem and Japheth had graciously covered their dad’s nakedness when Ham had sported to them gleefully about the effects of too much wine.  Through our remarking about the grace given, God moved that scene into my active memory drawer.

Then came the blow-up.  Over something minor.  But anger and some internal self-recriminations took over his emotions/thoughts.  I catalogued his reactions to the file of ‘jerk-like’ behavior.

In silence we finished dinner.  I cleaned up and he headed downstairs to the ‘man-cave’ to smoke his post-prandial cigar.

While feeling self-righteous, though lamenting what had just transpired, the Holy Spirit reminded me of this fact:  He loves Mike just as much as He loves me!  My heart softened, climbing down off my high horse.  Two feet back on earth, the quick divine jab brought me to repentance.   How so?  God used the Genesis Bible passage recently moved to the easy-access memory drawer.

Shem had shown his father grace by covering his sin (sprawled-out drunken naked body) with a blanket. (Genesis 9:23)  “Can’t you do the same for your husband?” came the Holy Spirit question.

It was gentle but forceful and it caused tender love to well up.  No condemnation from God, just a sweet push forward toward my husband.  I texted him downstairs, writing how much I loved him cum ’emoticon’.   No response. But when the tired thud of reluctant steps mounted toward the living room, I was ready to enfold him in light and love.  He started to explain that he didn’t know what had come over him.  That he didn’t know how to get OUT of the pit.  I stood up, moved toward him and embraced him in my arms, soothing my wounded, now-softened best friend and husband.

“It doesn’t matter why or how it happened.  Just rest.  I love you.  It’s okay.  We all get ourselves in messes.  Let’s put it behind us and enjoy the rest of the evening.  Whatever ‘it’ was about, our fleeting time together is more precious to us.”

Just like that, we dropped it, relieved.

Score another victory for God’s Word – sovereignly pointing out my sin and enabling me to counter Satan’s false murmurings. My gratitude to the dear Spirit of God deepened, as did my desire to offer this grace covering more widely and more frequently.  It felt good!

Men and women are different? You’re telling me!

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I should be used to it by now, my husband being annoyed with me!

But after 33 years, I still don’t like it.  I want him to view me as perfect. Trouble is, I’m a woman and I think like one.  The other day we took my car, the one with 118,000 miles on it, to do errands because Mike was going to run it through the car wash.  I had mentioned to him that on our way home, I’d like to go up Rosemount Drive near our house.  Some ladies at the ‘Balsam Babes Breakfast’ (annual summer highlight for a rural mountain hamlet in Western NC) had intrigued me with the story of a cross “just upthe 4 mile road commemorating the life of a Florida man’s daughter.

Seemed like a simple thing: just drive to the top of Rosemount.

I haven’t learned to decipher the Western North Carolinian language.  “It’s at the top of Rosemount” did not mean what I thought it did. In the clean car, we drove off the county-maintained paved road onto gravel, going higher and higher.  We also drove past Mike’s normal point of patience as he maneuvered the car round ever numerous turns.  That’s when he noticed the whining sound connected to the steering.

“Sounds like the transmission is going; climbing this hill isn’t good for the car; hear that whiny noise?” he glowered at me with a growl.

“Oh that?  I heard the same grinding and whining along the flat part of Interstate 40 last month when we convoyed from Newport News!”

After that ‘calming’ explanation, I sandwiched in apologies for leading him on a wild-goose chase.  I was doing my best to empathize with and soften his annoyance.  Did I tell you I don’t like it when he’s annoyed with me?

I continued, “You know, I have to drive to South Carolina on Sunday to catch my flight to the Dallas conference, do you think I’ll make it okay?”

“Hope so…..” he lobbed his annoyance back on my side of the court.

Mike, I’m really sorry…you paid $20 to have my car thoroughly cleaned.  I’d be annoyed too!

**

I won’t relate the rest of the conversation.  We never did find that cross…  I learned not to assume I understand Appalachian directions…..and Mike did some private talking to God later on his daily walk.  But, here’s what GOD did!

Because Mike HEARD a noise that was NOT good, we looked up transmissions on the internet and I called a local place and prayerfully made plans to take the car in on Thursday.   Transmission repairs or replacements are costly and we are vulnerable when it comes to knowing whom we can trust in a new community.  God provided!  The transmission guy quickly determined it was probably a power steering problem and referred me to a local mechanic up the road. (I pinned him down and rehearsed the verbal directions to my satisfaction!)

This mechanic turned out to be a Christian AND honest.  He ordered the part; I brought the car BACK to him on Friday and he fixed it.  Not only was my car prepared to make the drive to the Greenville/Spartanburg airport today, we found an honest local mechanic who can work on both our cars in the future.

Had I NOT led us on a wild goose chase; had Mike NOT been annoyed with the vague directions, the gravel dust and then the whiny sound, we would not have been blessed in such significant ways.

God DOES use all things to the good of those who are His, even annoyance. Why should I be bothered by the very natural reaction of a man living with a woman who doesn’t always think or communicate like he does?  Furthermore, why should we expect to live annoyance-free lives?

Here’s to God’s promise to… “cause all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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