Saturday, September 26, 2015

GLADNESS FOR SORROW

This was a long week. It was pleasant and enjoyable and I even got to do some fun things I've never done before, but, Man!, was I glad when Friday afternoon finally rolled around!

Have you ever had one of those days - or a string of days - when you are so tired that the best you can do is to just focus on putting one foot in front of the other while hoping that you won't wipe out before you get a break?

I think such periods are par for life in a fallen world, but, even though they are to be expected, I still find that sometimes, I just get too tired and I lose that far-horizon focus and I stumble and fall flat on my face - emotionally if not physically, and sometimes both!

Yesterday was one of those days.

I plodded along pretty steadily until dinner time, but then I tripped and my emotions got all on top me.

After a week on the road, first to New Mexico and then to Middle Tennessee, Steve was finally on his way home. He thought he'd be back here at Kendallville at 6:30 - which meant he would be home for dinner!

I opted not to make the curry-chickpea soup recipe I wanted to try out (Steve isn't big on curry or chickpeas), and decided instead to fix a meal I knew he would really like:  fried chicken, homemade macaroni-&-cheese, green beans, and cooked apples. It was a bit more work to prepare than soup, but a traditional home-cooked meal seemed appropriate after such a long, exhausting week.

Dinner was delicious, well worth the extra time and effort to prepare.

Unfortunately, Steve didn't make it home by 6:30. He was understandably disappointed, even though we all sat at the table with him while he ate and listened to his account of his week's travels.

For some reason, despite the fact that I have absolutely no control over Steve's schedule, I always feel like just-missed-dinner-again is my fault, like my having dinner ready at a particular time is perceived as a jab. And so I turned Steve's disappointment into my own disappointment, and my own mood began to droop.

Then, Steve told me how he had eaten almost exactly the same thing for lunch that day:  fried chicken, macaroni-&-cheese, green beans...

And my mood drooped even further.

Then I found out that I hadn't ironed the right shirt the night before - he wanted the aqua shirt, not the teal one - and it made me mad because I don't even DO ironing, and I had honestly thought as I stood ironing three different shirts late Thursday night (hoping one would be the right one) - I had honestly thought that I was grateful to be serving, glad to be helping out, thankful that I could do something to make some small part of his crazy week easier - I was having all these warm fuzzy housewifely feelings - but when I learned I had ironed the wrong shirt - three wrong shirts - I didn't really feel thankful at all.

I just felt tired and angry and humiliated and like with having dinner ready at not-the-right-time-after-all, and cooking exactly-what-I-had-for-lunch, and ironing not-the-aqua-shirt...well, I just felt like everything I did was all wrong and there was no way on earth to make any of it right.

I felt like my heart had caved in, like I couldn't even breathe any more. When I'm very tired, small disappointments feel like shadows of Mordor. I stumbled through the rest of the evening, and finally decided the best thing to do would be to go to bed.

Lying in bed, physically and emotionally exhausted and feeling sorry for myself, I met the very same God I wrote about yesterday morning. Still wide awake, still right there, still waiting for me to pour out my heart. So I cried and snotted and told Him how sometimes it felt like I couldn't do anything right...

But as I poured out my weary heart, I got to thinking - The God of the universe was right there with me, waiting and listening (again!), and He already knew everything I had gotten wrong (and all the things I'd gotten wrong but thought I'd gotten right) - He knew all of that even before I crawled into bed and started blubbering and yet He was still right there, waiting to meet me.

And, yet again, I was totally blown away by His faithfulness.

I really wanted to have a full-blown, pillow-soaking pity party when I went to bed last night - I really and truly did - but lying there thinking about the faithfulness of God, I somehow got distracted.

"I'm a disaster!" God was still right there. "I can't fix this!" He was still right there. "My feelings are hurt!" He was still right there.

I was trying to recite all my failures and all the ways I had been offended and all the reasons this faith thing was just too hard and not working, but in spite of whatever gloomy thought I could muster, I just kept coming back over and over again to the rock-solid assurance: "I AM STILL RIGHT HERE."

Trying to sort through all the weariness and self-pity and hurt, I kept coming face-to-face with the patience and kindness and faithfulness of my loving heavenly Father.

Such a Big Love. (See what manner of love the Father has given unto us....!)

A Big Love, and a Smiling Countenance. A loving Father who wipes away every tear, and who replaces sorrow with a deep, deep peace. A Father who never slumbers himself, but who "gives his beloved sleep."

This.
God.
Is.
So.
Good.

I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow. - Jeremiah 31:13

4 comments:

Grammysansocean said...

This was just what I needed, right now. Thank you!

Camille said...

:)

Anonymous said...

Don't beat yourself up. I know Steve would have loved a bologna sandwich just to be with his wife and family. Christ's "burden" is easy for us to bear. It has no wait.
Remember, rejoice, be glad. The wait of the world is not on us, not even the wait of our own "misdeeds". Rejoice, be happy, shout a little ever now and then, it helps clear the burden of our own importance from us.
I love you, heaps. Dad

Anonymous said...

Did I misspell "weight"? Maybe, maybe not. Dad