Monday, April 4, 2011

When the enemy threatens your day, take it back!

Peter had plans this morning.  Big, glorious plans.  He'd made eight dollars in chore money over the last two months--enough to buy another bird feeder.  Plexiglass, he told us, like Mr. Joe's.

Our neighbour, Mr. Joe, has a very popular bird feeder.  Birds make quick work of the seed, emptying it in 36 hours.  Peter naturally reasoned that if he had a plexiglass feeder, we'd get more birds.  And if not, "do you think we could ask Mr. Joe to stop filling his?  He's stealing all the birds."

"Peter!  Of course we can't ask that.  There are plenty of birds to go around."

I turn away, hiding my smile.  I know I should be dismayed by his selfishness, but somehow, I'm not.  The boy loves his birds.  Loves them! He checks his feeding station a good fifty times a day, praying to see this or that bird.

Daddy awakens.  The plan is to quickly go to Walmart for the bird feeder, then back home so Daddy can leave for work.  He has seventeen hours of work to do between Friday night and Sunday night, and he arranges his schedule based upon the family's needs, as much as possible.

Peter gets dressed and ready.  He's as excited as a baby toddling across the room for the first time.  He worked hard for the money, and now, his prize is within reach.

But Daddy can't find his glasses.  Peter can't find Daddy's glasses. Mommy can't find them, nor Paul, nor Mary.

Slowly, Daddy unravels.  He utters his favorite line: "I'm so glad there'll be no glasses in Heaven!"

Peter takes it well for the first fifteen minutes, then he unravels.  He's as mad as a coach yelling at a referee over a really bad call.

My own stress level climbs, as it always does when Daddy or Peter unravel. Their anger, fueled by a low frustration threshold, is rarely directed at any of us.

Nonetheless, it steals our peace.

Fifty minutes pass, and no glasses.  I stop looking, deciding my time is better spent keeping Miss Beth and Miss Mary out of trouble.  With their help, I get breakfast on the table.

After clearing the table, I ask husband if I can get in the shower (as in, will he keep Beth alive for me?).  He says yes, and I enjoy the relative solitude of the bathroom, asking the Lord to help me take back the day.

I say relative solitude because someone always finds reason to enter the bathroom when I'm showering, to check up on me or give me commentary.

While I enjoy the water, husband finds his glasses on the floor at the foot of the bed.

Peter, relieved he can get the feeder, doesn't quite recover his equilibrium. He's punchy.

Husband is aggravated at the unexpected change of plans. Now, he will not be able to get all his work done before night church, necessitating going out again, to clean one more bank, after church.

They proceed to Walmart, also picking up bike tire paraphenialia, to fix both boys' tires.

Once home, Peter fills his feeder immediately, and will Daddy please hang it?  And Paul wonders if his tire can be fixed today?

The day already shot, or so it seems, Daddy decides to do these things before leaving.

Nothing goes smoothly.  Time passes.  Angers resurges, escalates.

My own resolve to stay calm amidst the storm, falters.  But the Holy Spirit whispers.  Call them to get their Bibles, and open to Isaiah. 

I quickly clear the lunch things, and call Mary and the boys to the table for Bible reading and prayer.  Miss Beth hangs out a few minutes coloring, then wonders around, sometimes watching the birds.

Daddy is outside, working on bike tires.

"What Psalm are we on?", Peter asks as he opens his Bible.

Not Psalms this time, I say.  This is an extra, emergency devotional time, to get our joy back from the Enemy.  

I open in prayer.

Turn to Isaiah 51.

Why I said 51, I don't know.  It just came out.

Excerpts from Isaiah 51:1-11:

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.  Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.

Awake, awake! Clothe yourself with strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through? Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might cross over?  

The ransomed of the LORD will return.  They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.

Daddy enters halfway through, and grabbing his sandwich, he joins us.  He gives us commentary on the history contained in the verses.

He closes us in prayer.

And then I hear it.  His heart.

It isn't the glasses, or the bike pump, or the tires, or hanging Peter's feeder. Or even getting a later start with his work.

He wants more time with his family. He wants at least one day off a week--one entire day.  He pleads with the Lord for that, and for a better job, and for time to study for certifications, or for a computer internship--all things that still elude him.

Husband has been reading Ann's book, intermittently, as I've left it on the end table, or on the computer desk.  He's fighting the concepts, I can tell. I haven't mentioned that I know he peeks at it.  I don't want to spoil the work of the Holy Spirit.

He wants to be grateful, thankful, but it's foreign to him.

Ann lost her little sister years ago--her blood splattered on their gravel driveway by a delivery truck driver.  Grief shattered the family, and Ann, for years.

It never occurred to me that he would pick up the book and be intrigued.  It's the Holy Spirit.

Husband lost his mother at sixteen, her blood splattered by a truck driver on a Delaware country rode.  His life didn't turn out well, though he loves us, his family. He is grateful for us.

All the rest is hard, as it was for Ann.

She started with a list.  A list of everyday gifts, everyday blessings.  And through her list, she found more than thankfulness.  Thanks-giving bore fruit--joy, peace, freedom from fear, a heart to give back, and profound intimacy with the Lord.

I want all that, and more, for my husband.

May it be so, Lord.


Sandi said...

I love this post. Beautiful picture of longing.

Blessing to you. I can relate to things descending into frustration and anger with the variables we have T out house.

Sandi said...

I meant "AT OUR HOUSE"

I have so little time right now that I type far to fast :o)

Ann Kroeker said...

I felt like I was a fly on the wall as the day unfolded, listening in, wincing when things weren't going well, hoping you'll find those glasses, and feeling the ebb and flow of frustration and anger...and then the prompting...the Scripture..the revelation of your husband's hopes and desires to be with family.

A beautiful post. Beautiful.

Christine said...

Sandi and Ann, I appreciate your comments! Thank you for taking the time to say hi!