“Say only that which is helpful for building up others so it may benefit those who listen.” -Eph. 4:29
There is so much anger revolving right now. I’ve often heard that wounded people wound. We are allowed to hurt. We are allowed to have righteous anger. In our anger though, we must be wary not to sin. It is a delicate balance. Maybe it is the tone of this season; there is so much angst, frustration, and wrath cycling right now. Perhaps I need to disconnect. My heart aches at the way Christians are treating each other and the outside world. We are in arms over hearsay. Talk is talk. Yes, out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks and we must be very careful how we speak, but we can talk good and act wrongly. The same holds in reverse. Faith is evidenced in our deeds. When our brother slaps us on the cheek, turn to him the other also. Yet, we don’t do it out of weakness but meekness. We must stand up and fight when needed, but most of the time we are to expect suffering. We don’t go searching for it, but we aren’t shocked when it happens. If they hung our Christ and we follow him, we can expect to be ridiculed ourselves.
I digress. That last paragraph wasn’t the intent of my post. For some reason, I felt it needed to be said. I am not saying God told me to say it. I’m sure it could have been phrased so much better. When the conclusion is that the words could have come out better, it isn’t a revelation from God. I was simply summarizing Scripture verses and some personal ideas gleaned from interpretation. Anyways, I really wrote this to keep myself in check.
My attitude towards my husband has been less than ideal as of late. I’d like to blame the fact that I’ve been engaging in news and it is affecting my demeanor. I don’t want to take responsibility for my actions. I’ve been selfish and vain. In humility, I need to treat him well. I’m writing this more for myself than others, but hopefully it will encourage you to count the ways others around you have been helpful and loving when you are more inclined to hone in on negativity and be ungrateful.
I love you. Let me count the ways because as much as you need to hear it, I need to remind myself. When sleep feigns me and I’m choosing quick, unhealthy meals, my body chemistry is off. I get irritated at the person I love most in this world. First, I’m sorry. Feel free to pull out this list when I need to hear it.
1.) You go to work, a heavy labor job. While I sit comfortably writing this post as samples heat on a burner, you are arching your back, stretching your legs, to sand down that Spackle. You need a massage.
2.) You took the kids to the sitter every day this week. This afforded me a couple more minutes of sleep.
3.) You made lunch today. You make it most days. You are going through the effort to prepare it and I’m criticizing its contents. If I want to be better at my eating, I could contribute. Thanks for making it amidst my constant critiques. Please forgive me.
4.) You took out the recycling and trash.
5.) You told me before Willow was born that since I’ve had the hard task of input (breastfeeding) that you would handle output. I don’t recall changing Willow’s diapers for nearly the first year of her life (except when I was home and you were away, be it at civilian or Army work). Since we’ve added Fiona to the mix, I do change more diapers, but that is usually when you are prepping dinner, putting Willow to bed, or comforting Willow. For the most part, you handle the diaper changes, WITHOUT complaint. I should cast you gold medals for this. I don’t know fathers who are as helpful in this department as you are.
6.) You kept me informed about when you finished work yesterday and why you were going to be later than expected. I felt incredibly respected in that regard.
7.) You sleep on the floor with Willow so that she sleeps. You wake up at 1 am to attend to her while I sleep soundly with Fiona.
8.) You take the bags out to the car to lighten my load.
9.) Even when I’m closer to the kitchen, you will grab me a snack when I ask.
10.) You tell me I’m pretty often. When I walk into the room I can feel you beaming. You don’t just say I’m pretty, you believe it and I can feel it. You make me feel gorgeous. (I know my body hair grosses you out, but you put up with it in the name of female liberation…or laziness.)
11.) You do the laundry 95% of the time. Yes, you are more particular about how the clothes are folded so it should naturally go to you, but it still stands that you do it about 95% of the time.
12.) You pick up diapers on your way home from work.
13.) You make spice racks, spoons, and other items that help make life at home easier.
14.) You go out of your way to help others even if you don’t know how they are feeling. You are great at service without being asked. I can’t count how many times you’ve fixed desks, doors, etc. at my parent’s house, hotels, and friend’s dwellings.
15.) You make it a point to read the Bible to our girls every night. When I’m getting agitated that the house hasn’t been picked up or the stove scrubbed, you continue reading. The girls get whiny and still you press on, hoping that the good news penetrates their wails and modifies behavior. I am so sorry for nagging you in this regard. I tell you how you could do it differently or at a different time. God has seriously convicted me this morning. I don’t know what helped the conviction, but it happened. You are trying to train up our children in the way they should go. You are a devoted man of God and are there for our daughters in the most important way.
I realize that I didn’t have to make it so public. Maybe I’ll get criticism for doing so. Perhaps I’m too open. Yet, maybe people will start counting the ways they are grateful for those closest to them rather than trying to point out their flaws. Maybe we’ll delight in the differences because we can see that disagreements can pave the way for God’s mercy to be recognized and experienced. Maybe even just a small contribution to positivism will help ease troubled minds, I know I need it these days.
So where have you been angry, hurt, frustrated that has caused you to act out in unrighteous anger instead of focusing on the positive grace and mercy of God that we might love others (and sometimes those closest to us can be perceived as enemies even when they are not; they have our best interest at heart but disagree so we get defensive) as ourselves? (Good grammar is falling by the wayside lately as I’ve been writing mostly with stream of consciousness.)