The police didn't actually show up at my house. I heard your sigh of relief just then, but I'm not finished. The police did show up this morning - at our church. Where my husband is the pastor. Now you're looking for the unsubscribe link again, but hang on; there's still more to the story.
Yesterday at church, we needed to trade vehicles; I drive the mini while boss man drives the truck. So the plan was for us both to leave the key to said vehicles in the glove box so we could switch out after service. I made the trade as agreed upon and took off in his truck, leaving the dear hubby at church with the four kids. And a locked van. With the only key inside. Since this not a post on anger management in marriage, I'll leave it at that.
Needless to say, our day began with the police showing up to unlock the van. That's the good news. The bad news is our van, old as it is, came equipped with anti-theft features, one of them being a piercing car alarm that sounds when the unlocked door is opened without the keys. So the dear hubby calls to say that: yes, the police unlocked the door quickly and effortlessly, but now the alarm is going off and he can't find the keys in the van. I gladly imparted my wisdom as to where he should look for the keys, but at this point we're both shouting at each other just to be heard. Shouting with a hint of edge in our voices, I might add, because it's Monday morning, we're both exhausted from the weekend, I've had no coffee yet and it's only 8am!
<Enter kids, stage left> "What's for breakfast? Can we take a field trip? Where's dad? Why's the dog outside? When are we putting up the Christmas tree? Are we doing school today? Are you tired?"
I don't know if yall ever watched The Incredible Hulk as kids, but that is exactly the transformation that started taking place. You know - he gets angry, starts turning green and muscular, and begins ripping his clothes. Yep, that's me, or something along those lines. But before the metamorphosis is complete, my phone chimes in with the dear husband's ring tone. When I answer, it's quiet in the background. Thank you, Lord; he found the key! I hung up with a sigh of relief.
The immediate crisis was resolved, but my insides were still simmering just below the surface. The volcano wasn't active erupting, but the hot lava was still right at the surface. Before I could make a full recovery, my two youngest children are starting a third world war in the living room where they are suppose to be waiting for our morning bible time. One is shouting, the other is crying, and then a third one jumps in to antagonize them both. I could feel myself turning green again, making threats of confiscated iPods and iPads and cutting internet service for the whole week. Then the oldest pipes in with a nerve-grating whine about "not doing anything" when my cell rings. It's my husband. Again. I answered less than affectionately and discovered he was on the way home and I would have to run him back up to the church.
I don't know about you, but sometimes my frustration levels are so high I cease being frustrated and my anger melts into tears. Driving home I had a few quite minutes to regroup. It was still early enough to salvage the day and I didn't want to spend my entire day turning shades of green and biting off heads. I knew what the real problem was: me. My ugliness. A battle with the flesh. Here's what I learned:
1. I can't help how I feel. If we're honest, we all have bad days, and we all have different triggers. Mine happens to be lack of sleep. I was up late trying to beat a midnight deadline for a writing assignment, the weekend had thrown me more curve balls than I could dodge, and I was unprepared for the school week. Things out of my control sometimes trigger feelings that I can't control. *BUT*...
2. I CAN help how I respond. If we're honest, we know this. How I feel is no excuse for how I act. When waves of frustration hit, I need to anchor myself in the Lord and His truth. That voice that whispers the lies "not good enough", or "you blew it AGAIN", or "you'll never get it together" are all from Satan. And when I respond in emotion, he claps his hands in delight.
3. My ugliness can be beautiful. My ugly attitude and heart are a painful reminder of just how quickly I become prideful and independent. Oh how quickly I pat myself on the back when I feel and act like: "I got this"! I mentally puff out my chest and strut around like a proud peacock, thinking I'm all that. But when the brokenness revels the ugliness of my sinful pride, I find myself running to Jesus. And there is always the beauty of forgiveness and restoration in Him! We need to look at the ugly so we can see our desperate need for Him, and watch in awe as He transforms us into something beautiful.
So I had a little talk with Jesus and asked Him to make my heart right. I asked him to give me the patience and love I did not feel or have. Then I stopped by the store to grab coffee for myself and donuts for the kids, a sort of peace offering to say: "I love you; please forgive me."
Before I wrote this post, I asked the Lord to use my words to bring encouragement to someone who needed it! Remember: bad moments don't make you a bad momma. Please leave a note below if you have been blessed by my mess! We're in this together!