The title of this post pretty much sums up our week. It was like a bad joke! The current events around here are Brock came down with the flu Sunday night. This set off a magical couple of days around here. The start of this magical time was me screaming at Brock not to throw up his Tamiflu, followed by Brock projectile vomiting up his tamiflu, then crying hysterically because he was so afraid I was going to make him take more. Tuesday started with me finding Jesse laying in the back of his truck because his back went out, followed by me realizing I had come down with the flu. By “realize” I mean I realized Brock was not throwing up because of the tamiflu, but realizing the flu starts with an upset stomach. I’ll leave it there. Sydney stayed home on Tuesday not because she was sick but literally becasue neither of us could drive her. So that was a win for sure.
So the whole Brock throwing up his Tamiflu turned into the biggest parenting fail I have had in a while. This poor kid. There he is feeling awful, and on top of that having to deal with a crazy mother who is screaming at him that the “Tamiflu cost $200 and you absolutely cannot throw it up!” The worst feeling as a parent for me is realizing I have scared my child. The look he gave me, and the tears that followed, and the “Mama, please, I’m gonna throw up, don’t make me take more,” has haunted me. I just cried that night when I got in bed. I want to be remembered by my kids as ” the best parent in the world!” Then I have a fail like that and realize I am the reason they will have to go to therapy and I better start saving my money so I can pay for it. It is in those moments that I am keenly aware of how thankful I am that the Lord forgives my sin. I am thankful that I can go to the Lord and say, “I screwed that up, please forgive me.” The Lord does forgive me, every single time, no matter what. I am also thankful that the Lord empowers me to go to my sweet son and say, “Dude, mama really screwed that up. I am so sorry that I scared you, I am sorry I yelled at you, will you forgive me?” Even if he is a little more resistant to forgive me than the Lord, he always does. And we both learn something about the Lord. I learn a little more clearly about my need for Him, and Brock learns that mama is just a sinner saved by the Lord.
So then my main man and his back. First I have to publicly apologize to my guy because it is my fault his back went out. You see, I wrote a blog post about how women should respect their husbands. The Lord hates hypocrites so if I write it I better be able to walk it out, right? Right! So in His loving-kindness the Lord put me in a situation where I get to practice what I wrote. Let me not be a hypocrite and tell you that it was a fail! I don’t know what is wrong with me but when Jesse is physically hurt I don’t go all “caring, loving, sweet, patient wife.” No, no, I go all Drill Sargent: “Get off your butt and tough it out son, this war ain’t going to win itself. And if you die, walk it off!” Now please remember this is the same man who has walked me through 8 surgeries and nary a word of reproof escaped his lips. He has changed bandages, wiped drool, and monitored meds and never complained! Isn’t that so annoying?
Respecting him in this situation would look like me taking him at his word and doing what I can to make him feel better. Disrespecting him would look like telling him all the things he has done wrong which lead him to his back going out, and having an attitude with him of “you deserve this.” Respecting him would look like focusing my thoughts on how to get him relief, putting my own needs aside. Disrespecting looks like in my mind thinking he is doing this “on purpose” and that he is faking it to make me be nice to him. Respecting him would be getting control of my thoughts about what everyone else will think and put my husbands needs above my fear of what others think. Disrespecting him would be letting my thoughts run wild about what people think, how he will lose his job and how he will lay here not doing anything to help himself for weeks on end. Two guesses on which path I took. Pray for my husband, he does not have it easy with me.
And so I did get to practice what I wrote. But not in the way that I would really like to report to you. I would like to say that upon finding my sweet husband laying in the back of the truck all my respectful wife instincts kicked in. I would like to say that I scooped him up, got him inside, prayed over him while humming his favorite song to him, at the same time planning his favorite lunch to make him feel better. Well, no that didn’t happen. No it was more like, “Oh my gosh I can’t believe on top of everything else I have to deal with you now too!” So I got to practice asking for forgiveness, like I wrote about in that blog, something I really enjoy doing–said me never. I got to practice taking disrespectful thoughts captive and calling them what they are, disrespectful thoughts about my husband, AKA sin. I got to practice putting my fears and worry in check, and putting my husband first. I got to see how far I still have to go to be a respectful wife–it’s a long way.
It’s a humbling endeavor to follow the Lord and do what He asks of us. When I first read that you should be a respectful wife several years ago I thought, “Oh, I got this!” My response should have been, “Oh dear Lord I don’t got this! Help me!” Since then God has been exposing to me where I need to change because of my sin. My friend Cheryl reminded me yesterday that this is the Lord “refining” me. I love that because it means I’m becoming something else, something more pure. To get to that place though takes me dealing with me, not to put to fine a point on it. I am constantly exposed to how sinful I am. I am learning to let this do its job and push me to the Lord. The Lord revealing sin to us is hard to take.
Inevitibly, when exposed to my sin, I hid at first. I remember that Adam and Eve did the same thing in the garden. After their first sin they were afraid to be confronted by the Lord. Take a look:
Genesis 3: 6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her
So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. 7 At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.
8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
10 He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”
11 “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”
Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.
Do you see, their eyes were opened to shame and nakedness when they sinned. Before that they had a perfect relationship with the Lord. Suddenly they felt like they needed to hide and cover up. For me hiding looks like ignoring the Lord’s prompting or ignoring the commands He gives me in His word. That gentle voice that says, “Sarah, that is not what I want you to be like, I want you to me more like Me.” I can very easily ignore that voice and drowned it out with my own noise. My “fig leaves” to cover my nakedness is my olympic-caliber justification of my sin. If I you asked me what my super power is I would say justifying my behavior. It’s not a super sexy super power like super strength or super speed but it is power. It’s such a powerful power that it takes God to break it down. It takes God saying “Stop telling me why you did this, agree with me that it was wrong and ask me to forgive you so we can move on. But noooooooooooo, like Mouth says in Goonies. I have to sit in my own jacked up situation, holding out on the friendship I could have with God and justify why I am a jerk to my husband. Here are some examples:
Lord, I am right and he is WRONG. When he admits that he is wrong I will say I am sorry for yelling at him.
Lord, he is not doing what he needs to do to be his best self. I can’t respect him when he is doing that.
Lord, seriously, he is driving me crazy because of insufferable perfectness and holiness and I’m going to lose it!
The Lord’s response to me is always the same. As any loving father would say, “I am asking you to do this because it is good for you.” “You will learn more about Me, Sarah, when you deny yourself and follow me.” “Sarah, you pray to be closer to me and we can’t be close if you are in sin, so get over it and agree with me.” The bible says that God only disciplines the ones He loves. It tells us to not be afraid of the discipline from the Lord because it is for our good and His glory. So I am trying to let it do its job. Show me my sin, cause me to cry out to the Lord, and empower me to do things a different way.
It’s important to know that I am the only one surprised by my sin. The Lord is not surprised by my sin. He was not surprised by Adam and Eve’s sin. In fact the entire story of the bible is about my sin (and yours too) and God’s perfection. It is a story about His desire to have a relationship with us just like He had Adam and Eve and how He moved in the world to bring us back into a relationship with Him. I think I spent a lot of my first few years with the Lord, “not sinning.” I was so disappointed by how I could not get it right before the Lord. I knew I needed Jesus because He dealt with my sin for me. However I think I got hung up in, “Because you did that for me Jesus, I will spend the rest of my life “not sinning” to pay you back. Well that thinking will crush you, and it for sure crushed me. Also with my super power of justification I was in danger of explaining away my sin and never learning to agree with the Lord over my sin. Always hiding, always covering up. Jesus said he came to give us an abundant life. Take a look:
John 10: 10 The thief’s [Satan’s] purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Tyndale House Publishers. Holy Bible: New Living Translation. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2013. Print.
So I’m no scholar but if my life becomes about covering up sin and hiding from God, that does not sound like a rich and satisfying life. No, that is not the life God wants for me. Take a look at this exchange in the scripture from above:
Genesis 3: 8 When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees. 9 Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”
First what stands out to me is that the Lord walked with them in the cool of the evening. This was evidently a normal thing because they were not surprised that he was there, they were surprised because they felt shame. They had never felt that before. The Lord is not looking to smite them, He asks, “Where are you?” He does the same thing with me. He is looking for me when I hide, saying “Where are you?” I don’t have to hide from Him because he is not surprised by my sinfulness. He wants me to come out into the open and confess to Him and let Him do the work of changing me.
For sure God, hates sin. The whole bible is the story of how sin destroyed creation and how God is bringing creation back to a sin free state, known as perfection. I am for sure not saying sin is ok. I am saying sin is sin. Sin is anything we do that is not right, or goes against what God has asked us to do. If I try to cover it up and hide from God, I am the one who is hurt. Our loving father has made a way for sin to be dealt with in a way that brings us closer to him. Jesus was our payment for sin. When He went to the cross He became our sin and God poured out on Him, His own son, the wrath that we deserved. This was so God could love us and deal with our sin at the same time. All you have to do is believe that you are sinner and that you need a savior. When you put your faith in Jesus your life becomes more about getting closer to God and less about covering up your sin. It is the greatest relationship I have ever experienced. But wait there’s more! Upon belief in Jesus you are in-dwelt with the very Spirit of God. This Holy Spirit points you to God and helps you understand God’s holiness and your sin. The Holy Spirit is what empowers me to capture those disrespectful thoughts and points me to confess to the Lord.
And so, here I sit after a pretty significant failure of a week, so thankful for this God who says, “Where are you?” Who looks for me when I am hiding, holding out his hand asking me to come out of hiding and confess to him. I love you Lord, thank you for looking for me.
Brock looks like he is on the mend. Jesse got a steroid shot and some muscle relaxers and is up and moving again. In fact just got up to go to the grocery store because we are out of milk, and to get dinner. He is so perfect, that is his super power. He just keeps going, keeps loving me and keeps forgiving me. Sydney looks to have escaped the flu. Her only grievance right now is that this freezing weather causes her to have to haul water from the house to get water to the goats. And to feel a little better about myself I just saw on the news that teens are eating Tide Pods, at least I am not doing that.