Friday, December 4, 2009

Patient In Affliction


My house has been in a state of disarray since we came home from Bend a week ago. The dining room is loaded with unpacked boxes of Christmas decor and neither of our two trees are decorated. The exterior of our house is the only unadorned one left in our neighborhood that people, who come from all over, drive through to look at the lights. I've been running at 120 mph all week and still feel like I've accomplished next to nothing relative to how much remains to be done.

The kids don't have school today and in my mind's eye, I saw today filled with family, friends, fun and decorating the Christmas tree. So far, none of that has transpired. I've been fighting for my attitude all day and I MIGHT be (if I'm really generous) batting 300 in how I'm handling life at the Stilp house.

One of my kids is struggling with laziness, whining, arguing and obeying the first time and I was at my wits end before it was 9 a.m. Patting myself on the back for being proactive, I hired a babysitter to come at lunch time so I could go for a swim and get a fresh perspective. I was looking forward to coffee and catch up time with a friend I don't see often enough and in the one hour she visited, our sons knocked a closet door off the hinge, trashed Grant's room and accidentally smashed a Lego plane. Our daughters directly disobeyed and in the process knocked over our 10 foot, undecorated Christmas tree. I found myself standing in a sea of pine needles and yelling at them both, while my poor friend looked on embarrassed by her daughter's choice and mortified by my childish behavior. While they sat in time out for what I was convinced would be FOREVER, I started the clean up process and realized I was so angry that my hands were shaking. Not exactly behavior fit for the daughter of a King.

I grabbed my Bible, pulled them aside and we read what God says about kids obeying AND parents not exasperating their children. We talked about how none of us made good choices and we all apologized and forgave each other. I felt a little better as they left and our babysitter arrived, but I couldn't wait to take my aggression out on the pool.

Since I'm having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, it would follow suit that my swim was horrendous. I had to share a lane with Mr. Olympic Swimmer who lapped me every 10 seconds and left me floundering in his wake and sucking in half the pool. I couldn't find a good rhythm and I struggled for the stamina to finish each lap. Apparently my floundering was evident to Mr. Olympic Swimmer and on lap 21, he took it upon himself to verbally dismantle my stroke and tell me everything I was doing wrong and how to do it correctly. Although his intentions were nothing but kind, I felt my blood pressure rising with every word. I am not exactly at the point in my swimming career where I can work on perfecting my stroke. Right now, I'm just trying not to drown, but how was he to know that?

So here I sit. At the computer blogging when I should be working on Project #2006 on my list. I found a 3x5 card in my Bible where I had written in bold, permanent marker Romans 12:12: "Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer." I laughed when I read it. On days like today when my imperfections are evident to everyone in a 20 mile radius and I feel like I throwing in the towel, the Lord always reminds me of His plan for me. The key to salvaging this day was sitting smack dab in the middle of my Bible, just waiting for me to open it.

At one point today, I called a good friend and wise woman of God and asked her to pray for me today. As she prayed, she reminded me that we pray FROM victory, not FOR victory. The battle is already won. I just need to claim it. So Lord, I thank You for victory over my attitude and Your ability to redeem this day. Help me to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. You are so good. And please help me to finish at least one task today so I can cross it off my list. Amen.

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