My day started off pleasantly enough – although I was sleepy. I stayed up late Saturday night doing work for the business my husband and I own together. Sleepily, I asked Pa W what time it was, and quickly realized we missed the early church service. Ah, well, we have chores and the next service will do fine.
I was formulating the plans, getting kids wrangled, working through how the morning would progress, when someone mentioned the bowling tournament he wanted to participate in, again. I just nodded and went about preparing for us to all go to church. When it came up again, I laughed and said something about it having already started though, right?
Oh well, too bad. See, we are over-budget on the bowling line of the budget, and I am desperately trying to rain in our spending problems. We are like two, immature, selfish kids when it comes to spending money. All the wanting, buying, spending, having to have, STUFFITIS. (Pa W will even point out how I’m doing it with BandB. Psshhh. No, I’m going to feed us with all these animals and their by-products. But he is right, it’s too much, too fast.)
But telling him no is my weakness – I’m supposed to be the CFO of the family, and yet, when he wants to blur the budget lines, I cave. Every. Single. Time.
So he pointed to it on Facebook – the tournament start time, with that smile that makes my heart flip, and I said, “Go. Just go. Take your stuff, go.”
I probably could have stopped at the first “go” as he needed no convincing. He was up and around and disconnecting the trailer and changing clothes in a blur. And my feelings were hurt.
Hurt because he ignored the budget, hurt because he left me to get the kids ready alone, hurt because bowling is more important to him than church, hurt because he didn’t unload the shed for my goats first, hurt because he was gone all day yesterday bowling and believe it or not, I like spending at least a little down time with him.
So, I suck it up, put on my big girl pants, and get the kids gathered and out the door – and they were all mostly presentable, too! (Which is a win, since they all played in the dirt early in the morning.) I’m halfway to church and Pa W calls and tells me that he had the phones switched to me – so now I have 6 kids to get into their correct classes, and church that is important to me, and I have to juggle dispatching too. My mood got worse.
And my thinking spiraled. It’s amazing how critical I can get when things are not going my way. It’s ridiculous the number of status updates I can come up with to get a little dig in – even something simple like a few hashtags (anyone get it? #priorities #singleparentontheweekend #helikeshisbowlingballsmorethanus). That’s not even the worst of it.
Mile by mile for the last few to church, downward spiral of negative thinking. Once we arrive, there is the incredibly long journey from the car to the door, with 6 kids, and my thinking wasn’t going to get better in that mess. I’m a couple of minutes late, worship has started, and I’m almost in tears. Kids make it to their classrooms, and y’all, I seriously thought about heading out the front door to sit in my truck with the phone THAT MIGHT RING ANY STINKIN’ MINUTE.
But I bolstered the last umph I had, and entered the auditorium, phone on silent, seat by the door so I can run out if it buzzes, and I listened to the remaining song. Half-heartedly because I was focused on me and not my Savior. Then, just as the pastor comes up on the screen, the phone buzzes. I make my hasty exit out the back, deal with the call, and get it sent to the appropriate driver.
Go back in, my seat is taken, and that was the last straw. The tears were hot as they spilled down my cheeks, and I took myself out to the lobby area, to a quiet table by myself, with my work phone. But I could hear the message there, and I said a feeble prayer, “Let me hear the word today. Speak to me.”
God is faithful in those moments. I did have to get out-of-the-way mentally, because at first, I thought of a million things about this particular message that Pa W needed to hear. But I kept listening, and Pastor Craig asked us if we were going to live our lives being fault finders or hope dealers. And all those lessons I teach my kids, you know the ones, right?
“Your power lies in the choices you make.”
My power was in choosing to show up when it was hard, choosing to listen when I didn’t want to, and choosing to not be a nagging wife that is hard to live with. We may not share the same weekend priorities, but that doesn’t give me the right to be critical and hard to live with.
If you, like me, struggle with a critical mindset, a critical spirit, I highly recommend you listen to Pastor Craig’s message today, My Big Fat Mouth part 2.
Tell me about a time you were critical and what happened in your situation?