Friday, July 04, 2008

Had a bad day

One of the "baddest" of my bad days happened a few years ago. It was a Friday in December and, having made all necessary arrangements for my youngest son to stay longer at preschool, I planned to take the whole day--at least until 2 pm when I had to pick the kids up at school--to Christmas shop.

And you know how I love all things Christmas.

Not.

There was one catch in my plan: the satellite technician. He was due to come that morning to make some minor adjustments. No problem, I would be ready to hit the road just as soon as he finished his adjustments. The minor ones. That he would do in the morning.

Not.

I waited. And waited. And waited. Come, he did, but not in the morning. More like 2 pm, just in time for me to go pick the kids up at school.

So, frustrated because I like to be able to do what I planned to do, I leave the satellite guy to do his thing and I go to pick up my kids. As we were leaving the preschool parking lot, I back into a parked truck--slammed is more like it--shattering my rear windshield.

I wanted to hide.

I cried instead.

After a quick call to my husband confessing my misdeed with much wailing and gnashing of teeth and a trip to the body shop to get a ginormous piece of plastic to tape over what once was the rear windshield, I finally return home to find the satellite guy waiting to be paid.

"Um, I think your cat was sick or something all over the upstairs," he tells me as I write the check.

I cry some more.

That night my husband gets a phone call. It's our best friends. Calling to tell us they are moving. Several states away.

I cry.

It was a bad day. And yesterday? It was a bad day as well. Reeling from a less than pleasant (to say the very least) evening at church the night before, my day was made complete by receiving a letter of chastisement (for lack of a better term) in the mail. It was anonymous, signed only "Disgusted." With me and my husband, I presume.

It was naturally related to our current situation at church.

I was naturally shocked and hurt. Deeply, deeply hurt.

I naturally cried and cried nearly all afternoon.

I don't know why I write to tell you this, certainly not to evoke sympathy for me nor to berate my anonymous pen pal. I'm still angry and hurt, I won't lie to you, but the Holy Spirit has not only been convicting me of my anger and self pity. He is also showing me my bad day in its proper perspective.

A bad day for me is cat throw up and not getting to shop. Oh yeah, and crashing my vehicle. A bad day for many of my sisters and brothers around the globe include losing their homes or their jobs or in some cases their children, all because of their belief in Jesus Christ. Yes, even in the twenty first century believers suffer cruelly and are even martyred for their faith. Being misunderstood and their motives misrepresented are the least of their worries as they huddle for church in the dark of night to avoid detection.

And I cry over one piece of paper?

I do want to say that I acknowledge that some of you have experienced bad days of extreme heartbreak, losing a loved one for example. By no means do I intend to compare my silliness to your grief. Oh, but our God is good. We can trust that even in the most tragic and hurtful of circumstances, His grace abounds...



15 comments:

  1. Dear friends,

    I've debated first of all whether to even post this post and second of all whether or not to allow comments (assuming of course, anyone would actually want to comment, a big assumption at times). Please hear my heart on this: I do not want in any way to condemn or berate the writer of the anonymous note. Sure, they had some hurtful things to say. But I want the buck to stop here.

    God's blessings to you as we celebrate this day of Independence!
    Lisa

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  2. My comment: Praise the Lord for His abounding grace, for knowing the hearts of His people, and for bringing about His will despite the evil intentions of man. In this and more shall His name alone have victory!

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  3. a big amen on this post from me. as for your pen pal - I bet eventually he or she feels silly for it. I hate confrontation esp. in the church body. what must the non-believers think of all this love??

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  4. Sweet friend,

    Yes, perspective can be a good thing. But as I've blogged this week about Carol Kent, I've been reading through her excellent books, and she addresses the issue of those who compare their trials to hers and feel guilty for their sorrow. As she says: "...pain is pain. It's all pain...God uses broken people to minister to broken people." (From A New Kind of Normal)

    And I love this:
    "Sharing our stories helps us to quickly get out of the self-defeating pattern of trying to figure out who is suffering more. We are all a bunch of flawed human beings living in an imperfect world...We don't need a meter to tell us which pain hurts the most." She then goes on to speak of embracing the Ephraim blessing, "asking God to allow me the privilege of being fruitful in suffering." (From When I Lay My Isaac Down)

    I ache for what you are going through personally and as a church. Sending up prayers in your behalf.

    Sorry to "post" in the comments!

    Love ya,
    Linda

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  5. Mocha with Linda/Carol Kent are right. Pain is pain. Yours is just different, not measurably less.

    I am so encouraged by the fact that - the same day you read that hurtful note, you were able to read the posts I wrote for you. Why did I write that yesterday? God knows what he's doing. 1 Peter 4:19

    Still praying for you.

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  6. I am with the other ladies, and I feel like perhaps I should get myself a Carol Kent book! Here is a quote of something I wrote on my blog a few weeks ago:

    There are so many different kinds of troubles that people face, and mine is only one of them. Your troubles really are no less to you than mine is to me. For you, it might be unthinkable to be where I am now. But because this is where I am, this is where my provision of grace is. God is faithful that way. He meets us where we are at and is precious enough to give us what we need to face the next minute, hour, day. We can make it through anything, if God is with us…and he is.

    There is no such thing as a 'silly' trial! If it is real to you, and it brings you pain, then it is no less of a trial than mine.

    HUGS, friend...I am praying for your church situation.

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  7. Okay, you need to call me.

    And the other girls are right - perspective does help but you don't live in Africa or the Sudan. You live here in your own skin and the things that hurt you where you are DO matter.

    I love you friend.

    Lisa

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  8. Lisa, you touched my heart with your perspective. And I send a hug to you because a deep hurt is still a deep hurt. I won't even tell you what I do with a critisizing letter that someone doesn't have the chutzpa to put their name on.

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  9. Oh Lisa, what a beautiful post on perspective. It's something I struggle (so often unsuccessfully) to keep in the forefront of my mind. That my bad days would be a blessing to so many people in this world. That being said I would have cried too. Because criticism (warranted or not - and I have no idea about the letter) is something that hits me like a stone. Weighing my heart down with insecurities and self-loathing.

    Thank you for sharing your heart.

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  10. Hug. Bad days are bummers. I think God cares about all of our bad days. We can't help it is He placed us in a country where we are not threatened with our very lives. BUT then again I do the same thing to put my trials into perspective. It is so easy when you are removed from the circumstances to find a way to objectively look at something and step away from it. I was going to say take the letter to God... Ask Him to reveal if there is any truth in it and what it might be...then let the rest go. We cannot always please all people. We are to be God pleasers and not people pleasers when you get right down to it. If your conscience is clear before the Lord...then leave it there. It might not make the pain any better right away but slowly, for me at least, I learn to let go when I KNOW I am okay with the Lord. I am sorry...and am sending hugs and prayers your way even if you weren't asking.

    Jesus,

    YOu knwo the beginning form the end. You know the purpose of divisions in church community and among believers. Surround this situation and keep the enemy from his work-the whole while bringing about your righteousness in and through this. Comfort Lisa's heart Lord...that she might find peace and joy knowing that when it's all said and done...there is only You.

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  11. Even in the hurt, God is bringing clarity to your heart. Answers are sometimes best birthed in the pain. New directions, new thoughts, new outcomes, new freedoms.

    Linger not in the hidden condemnation. Linger in the freedom of Christ's cross and his merciful grace and love for all of mankind.

    peace~elaine
    please e-mail if you'd like to talk further.

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  12. No great words of wisdom of here.... just know that I'm thinking of you and praying for you. Hoping that the joy that comes in the morning.... indeed has.

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  13. Even in the hurt, God is bringing clarity to your heart. Answers are sometimes best birthed in the pain. New directions, new thoughts, new outcomes, new freedoms.

    Linger not in the hidden condemnation. Linger in the freedom of Christ's cross and his merciful grace and love for all of mankind.

    peace~elaine
    please e-mail if you'd like to talk further.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Okay, you need to call me.

    And the other girls are right - perspective does help but you don't live in Africa or the Sudan. You live here in your own skin and the things that hurt you where you are DO matter.

    I love you friend.

    Lisa

    ReplyDelete
  15. I am with the other ladies, and I feel like perhaps I should get myself a Carol Kent book! Here is a quote of something I wrote on my blog a few weeks ago:

    There are so many different kinds of troubles that people face, and mine is only one of them. Your troubles really are no less to you than mine is to me. For you, it might be unthinkable to be where I am now. But because this is where I am, this is where my provision of grace is. God is faithful that way. He meets us where we are at and is precious enough to give us what we need to face the next minute, hour, day. We can make it through anything, if God is with us…and he is.

    There is no such thing as a 'silly' trial! If it is real to you, and it brings you pain, then it is no less of a trial than mine.

    HUGS, friend...I am praying for your church situation.

    ReplyDelete