In the month since my last post, life has continued to keep me busy. My younger son ended up getting steroid shots in his TMJ (jaw) joints last week after his MRI showed active inflammation. He’s still on a soft diet, and I’m still experimenting (sometimes successfully) with new meals that are easy to eat. Funny thing is, he doesn’t complain about all the doctor’s appointments, he just accepts it as “what is.”
I could learn a lot from him.
This last month, I became a member of the church I’ve been going to for the last 3 and 1/2 years. This was big for me, because I’ve never taken that step. I’ve always stayed on the fringes, so I could come or go unnoticed. I still don’t feel like I belong anywhere and keep to myself, but I’m praying that God will encourage me to be more outgoing. I’ve sang with the church band on two Sundays and it was amazing. I don’t feel self-conscious when I’m singing because it’s all about praise. Now, standing there during the announcements, that’s a different story. Awkward!
This last month has also been about me trying to show love as Jesus would, but I have to admit, I’ve fallen short. If this were a marathon, I’d say I ran backwards! I’m struggling with setting aside resentment and anger, and getting past the stubbornness that is surfacing because I’m tired of being a “doormat.”
Event 1: My ex asked if my dad could get him discount tickets for a theme park in case he wanted to take the kids (this was after I got tickets so I could take them over spring break). I was annoyed, but decided I would ask anyway. My dad (reluctantly) agreed and I was encouraged that I did the “right” thing. That feel-good moment was short-lived, and keeled over the instant the kids told me what happened last weekend: their dad’s girlfriend said (in front of them) that it was kind of weird he was inviting them (my kids) because the trip was supposed to be for them (and her 5-year-old son.) I’m livid that 1) he didn’t say anything to reject that idea so now my kids feel a distant second, and 2) he apparently tricked me into getting discount tickets when they weren’t intended for the kids.
Event 2: I have this friend who talks to me only when it is convenient. If there are other things going on, or other stuff to to be done, I don’t hear anything. I’ve always lent an ear, but resentment is creeping in, so I may not be listening much longer.
Event 3: My ex shifted schedules at the last minute on several occasions (most recently, backing out of taking my older son to the dentist and picking him up from school when I was in Phoenix for my younger son’s TMJ injections.) He skipped out on the dentist appointment because he was too busy at work (I’m busy too!) and I was baffled by the picking him up at school because he said he would get him at my house – 5 minutes after school was out (so I’m not sure why I had to go pick him up after driving 170 miles that day). It almost seems like a control thing or a power play, but it irks me that he feels I’m at his beckon call.
Event 4: My son asked me to make 3 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a Boy Scout hike on Saturday. I asked him if he was really hungry and he told me it was one sandwich for him, one for his brother and one for his dad.
I told him I wasn’t making a sandwich for his dad, he could make his own. Then he said his dad told him to have a lunch for him (figures.) Then my older son said I could just make 2 sandwiches and he’d give dad his sandwich.
I made my younger son a lunch with roast beef (because it has additives that give his dad headaches so I knew it was safe.) My older son made a sorry-looking pb&j for his dad and packed different snack-type items for himself.
Event 5: On Friday, my ex lied to me (twice) in an attempt to manipulate a situation involving my older son. I called him out on both lies, which he refused to acknowledge as lies and continued to be obstinate (nothing short of his way would be acceptable). Of course, things weren’t resolved and I was left angry and frustrated- and disappointed that I ignored my therapist’s advice to not engage in his “baits” because “you can’t change stupid.”
These (and many more encounters) have left me wondering if being a Christian means I have to be a doormat. Because honestly, I feel like I’m often taken advantage of, and I get resentful.
So I turned to scriptures.
Matthew 5:38-42- You have heard that it was aid, ‘Eye for an eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
Luke 6:27-29– But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
Proverbs 25:21-22– If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you.
I think the fact I smiled at the “heap burning coals on his head” and imagined literally doing just that is a sign I have a loooong way to go 🙂
So, it seems the simple answer to my question posed in the title of this post is “yes” – unless I can change my perspective.
Some time ago, my younger son complained that life wasn’t fair. I agreed and told him it wasn’t… when we look at it from an earthly point of view. I added that I thought God sees things differently; that we are given certain struggles, afflictions and experiences so we can be greater testimonies for God’s grace and goodness.
My resentment and anger won’t change the “takers” in my life one bit. My prayer today is that God will continue working in me so I can overcome my tendency to weigh the “fairness” of interactions. I pray that He will soften my heart so I can not only accept these circumstances, but continue to show love as Jesus did, unrestrained and undeterred by perceived unfairness.
Have a beautiful Sunday!