May 10, 2012

I pray that I act more like Mary the Mother of God on Mother's Day!

Mary and Jesus Christ

This past weekend as my husband prepared to leave for another long work trip, I encountered a turning point in my walk with God.

I stood in the hallway, finishing up his laundry. Two loads left! I had spent the entire afternoon washing all of my husband's clothes. "Perhaps he might enjoy crawling into clean, fresh smelling sheets after his long drive north," I thought. I wanted him to leave with a reminder of my love for him.

On the television, a Christian movie played. While he rested and in between folding batches of clothes, I watched the movie with my husband. After a long month of emotional ups and downs I was feeling tired. Yet, unbelievably my heart remained open and I was expecting a long drawn out and tearful goodbye.

But, just after the movie ended my husband suddenly announced that he was leaving for the night. "I'll return in the morning." He abruptly cried out. I was baffled! "It's still very early in the afternoon. Had I done something wrong?" I wondered. Why wasn't he going to spend those final precious hours with his family? After all, he would be traveling for at least a month's time. Sadness from the sting of rejection overcame my heart.

Unlike in the past, when I'd first consult the Holy Spirit regarding my reaction to this type of rejection, this time I allowed my emotions to overcome me. Sadness quickly turned to anger! Soon, I was seething inside. "You're leaving now, when you could still spend more time with us?" I questioned. I could feel that old sinister pride slowly creeping in!  I placed my husband's wet comforter in large garbage bag and handed him the dripping mess. I knew my reaction was unholy. Yet, my ability to reason was overshadowed with anger. Sadly, my husband left our home that afternoon with his head held low.  I felt small too! Why was I nurturing a grudge?

Later on, God attempted to correct my wrong.  Ring Ring Ring!... Ring ring ring.... I stomped over to the phone. I thought my husband was calling. I almost refused to answer the call. But I felt an urge to pick up the phone. On the other line was our church Pastor. He was calling to confirm our attendance on an upcoming marriage cruise. Now, I was forced to call my husband to inquire about our attendance. Normally, this type of intervention from God would return my perspective. But for some odd reason, at that moment, I still wanted to be mad.  I wanted to be right! I continued on with my immature behavior. 

The next day, God reached out again by convicting my husband's heart. My husband called early in the morning to sweetly apologize. Again, I held on tight to my pride. Later that day, my husband left for a long drive without even a hug "goodbye."

As the hours passed, I began repeating the same question in my mind. "Why am I acting this way?"  Soon, I began to feel so discouraged by my own behavior that I drove to church and joined a women's bible study group. As God would have it the message that day was, How to become a more virtuous woman. I was about to learn how to serve others without having to be RIGHT. Unbelievable! I sat there in that comfortable church chair humbly begging God to forgive me and thanking Him for that turning point.

When I returned home from church, I disabled my defenses and called my husband. I apologized for holding a grudge. He apologized too. That's when I started to reflect on how I had acted over the past two days. The upcoming holiday, Mother's Day came to mind. Instantly, I was reminded of my two children currently living at home. "What had I done?" I questioned. In my selfishness, I hadn't bothered to consider the image I was reflecting to my two boys.  Had I completely forgotten the responsibility God had given me?  I had based my actions on how I was being treated rather than remaining a steady, dependable and God-fearing woman.

I bowed my head and tearfully prayed. "Please God, help me to be more like Mary, the Mother of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Help me to serve You without having to be right. I want You to be honored in my home because of the virtues I personify. Help me Lord to be a reflection of Your love. In Your Holy Name. Amen."  Then, I made a promise to myself. This Mother's day, I promise to base my actions on God's love and grace rather than the way that I am treated by others! 

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