Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Mess Worth Making

Lest you think too harshly of me after my confession about screaming at my kids during my devotions, let me just say that I LOVE my time alone with Jesus. Since that episode, I’ve learned that I have to get up very early in the morning to be assured an actual “quiet” time free of interruptions.

Daily I am amazed at the contrast between how clean and holy I feel during that precious hour alone with the Lord and the ickiness I feel when the inevitable muck is slung on my heart as the day progresses, and I interact with those around me. Emotional clutter accumulates quickly.

It makes me think of a book sitting on the shelf, which I still haven’t read, titled: Relationships: A Mess Worth Making. It also brings to mind a classic statement once uttered by my dmil* (dear mother-in-law—you see I hate those in-law terms!) who has been single for 34 years now. She was visiting us in Mexico for several weeks, and had become annoyed at how we seemingly bring out the worst in her.

It’s forever etched in my memory the way she blurted out how hard it is to be a Christian when surrounded by Christians. Truer words were never spoken. Hopefully, I didn’t laugh outright. Instead I said something more like, “Okay, let me get this straight. It’s easier to be a good Christian when you live all alone and can do everything when and how you want to do it?”

No duh! I’m a wonderful Christian, too, every morning—at least until the rest of the family wakes up. Then it gets messy.

They say that the number one reason missionaries leave the field is due to interpersonal conflicts. I’m not budging, but this last week was a doozy for me, relationship-wise. Someone sent a rather hostile email to me, copying several other people, making some very unkind and unfounded accusations about me. Wounded and weary (still eating only fruits and vegetables, after all!), I hoped someone besides my husband would vindicate me.

None did. If only we could all walk according to the Spirit, and not the flesh, and get along biblically and in love the way we should. In a perfect world…. *Sigh*

Today my prayer is that all of us will grow in grace, learning to love the very ones who rub us wrong. I am thankful to call my friends some who may consider me difficult and odd, and many others who send me to the dictionary to look up such words as “pugnacious” (don’t you love that word?) and “bellicose” so I can call them something intelligent under my breath.

IRL*It is easier to be a good Christian when you live all alone and can do everything when and how you want to do it...but I think I'd miss the mess.

*please refer to sidebar dictionary [Jamie Jo-speak] for the definitions of starred items!


  1. Sorry to hear about your difficult week. May the Lord continue to refresh your heart and give you perspective!

  2. Oh my friend....wise, wise, wise. :)


  3. So relate to this post! Relationships are messy, that's for sure. Sorry you had a rough week...may we all grow some in grace this week...

  4. Amen. Thanks so much, y'all. It's a continuing battle, isn't it? How much easier it would be if we were fighting against an enemy, not struggling to love our brothers and sisters the way we should.

  5. He is a shield about you, your glory, and the lifter of your head.

    That verse became so important to me when I went through two years of awful slander against me and no one stood up to defend me. (Later I found out that one man did, but I just didn't hear about it. He was wise enough not to tell me right then that he was defending me - I don't think my heart would have been able to resist in the face of that knowledge!)

    But that verse became so special to me. God Himself is my glory. He Himself is my defense. And He Himself will be the One who lifts my head.

    You're wrong if you think no one defended you besides your husband. I think God may be - the big problem is He doesn't always tell us He is right away! (Wish He would! Would love to say, "huh! Going to sic God on you!)

    I love this in Psalm 3:7 when he says God has arisen and He answers first by slapping them across the cheek and then by smashing their teeth. (Ok, yup, I am not a pacifist!) First a good slap across the cheek - that deals with the insult, with the shame. Then destroying the teeth - the bite. God knows and answers the shame. And He Himself is our glory. The Lifter of our heads.

    I've learned though, that it is He that wants to deal with His children to rebuke, correct, whatever; and I've learned that He doesn't usually involve me in that process. What He asks of me is to forgive and know that even that child of His who hurt me is HIS child - one He loves.

    Sorry this happened to you.

  6. Ellie, thank you so much for the dear, comforting words and reminders. Such truth here. May it encourage others in similar circumstances today.

    I do feel the prayers. This morning I woke up and my old companions of shame and worthlessness were gone without a lengthy battle. Such lies are whispered in the night. Another good reason to start the day in the Word.

    Yes, God is the One who vindicates. Isn't that the greatest part of these type of trials?

    "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.... And the God of grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To Him be the power for ever and ever." 1 Peter 5:6-11

    For now my goal is to be joyful always, pray continually, and give thanks in ALL circumstances... that my whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Thess. 5)

    Smiling again this morning as I type. He is faithful, the Lifter of my head.


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