Thursday, February 10, 2011

Slow Thaw

Last night was a battle. Not with John, Brayden, or Mikayla, but with was long, fierce, and I think I, just barely, scored the victory. But, it sure wasn't easily won.

I'm not sure what really started it. I had an excellent day teaching that same class I had right before Christmas break. There's a couple of kids that have more "energy" than the rest of the group - and they both just happened to be absent. What a shame.... =)

However, I had this attitude looming over me about what would be taking place in the evening hours. Instead of coming home, getting into pj's, and cozying up with my family to decompress in front of "American Idol Auditions", I'd be attending our church's new Wednesday night service. I WAS NOT HAPPY ABOUT THIS.

Matters were not helped when I got home and saw just one of the three "claims" notices we've already received regarding Brayden's hospital stay. I wonder if I'd gotten Brayden in to see the doctor the same day I took Mikayla if we could have avoided the $3000 we'll probably end up having to shell out.....AGHHHH! Throw in a previous bad night's sleep, complexion issues that remind me of Mt. Vesuvius, and a scale that's numbers are moving in the wrong direction and I had myself one raging pity party going on.

So, by the time John got home, all giddy about going to church and seeing people and making new friends (things I've felt like I've already been doing a whole lot of lately) - I was downright scary for him to be around.

When we arrived at church, there were some questions about what to do with the kids. Apparently, we should have known Brayden should have been dropped off at Harlow. And, even though Mikayla attends on Sunday, because Wednesday is AWANAS night, a whole new registration process was necessary. By the time I walked downstairs, I was irritable....(and yes, time of the month could have had something to do with it). I found my seat where John had put us, at a great table with the Meyers, Whites, and Kaela and Elaina - a huge positive, but that had little effect in beginning to thaw me out. Then, I looked down at the program and saw the Elder report in which the list of names on the Elder Search/Interview Committee were printed. Yes, my name is on that list of seven people, which convicted me all the more that I really had to shape up my bad attitude, because somebody had found me worthy of such an honor in the past (when the committee was decided), and I'd really like to not prove them wrong in the present.

So, I struggled. John would put his arm around me during prayer or worship and I felt like squirming out of it - I did NOT want to be touched. That would risk more thawing - and I was in the mood to be made of ice. It was at about the third song that was played that I started to "get it" - this was an act of "radical obedience" I was being asked to be a part of, and my response was anything but pleasing to the Lord. Interesting how I can spot a spiritual battle someone else might be facing a mile away, but when I'm in the midst of it, I'm much slower.

The book we are reading within our Tuesday night group is called WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WOMEN SAY YES TO GOD by Lysa TerKeurst. We are getting a lot out of it. This last chapter (#3) was especially challenging as it addressed following God even when it is something that you might not want to especially do - or give up. Early in the chapter, when she talked about something that was hard for her and her husband, she quoted her husband who said, "Sometimes we work so hard to make a heaven on earth that our hearts are pulled away from our real home with God". Oh man - that's ME. I am constantly in search of the euphoria moments when "all is well" and I, and my family are all happy, happy, happy. But, let me tell you, they don't last. And, sometimes, the effects are not pleasing. (i.e. - euphoria for me means eating yummy food and if that continues, I'm very unhappy with the consequences). Giving up Wednesday nights at home would take away my pursuit of cozyness and comfort.

I don't think it's a coincidence that this chapter - for this week - when I'm struggling with budgeting my calories, time, and spending that all bring me pleasure momentarily - would have this paragraph:

"God, I know You are more powerful than this pull I am feeling. I know this thing I think I want so much will only provide temporary pleasure. I know the consequences of making this choice will rob my joy and peace in the near future. Through Your power I am making the choice to walk away. I will find my delight in You and look forward to feeling Your fullness replace the emptiness this desire is creating."

So, very-long-story-short, I began to thaw out last night. I can't say I all of a sudden became warm and open to the thrill of the Wednesday night decision (John did - oh man, he loved it). But, I can see how it would be a very positive choice for our family - drawing Brayden into a smaller and more intimate group setting with the middle school group, and giving Mikayla even more opportunity to learn and play. And, for us, being part of a very relaxed and interactive community/congregation - and seeing how this new format unfolds (the style of Ben's teaching and worship music are spot on for us during this service). But, I anticipate, for a while, at least, every Wednesday evening will be a battle. At least, now, I know why.


sara said...

I know this feeling well. and I would say that if satan is working that hard, then there are some great things going to come out of Wednesdays. praying for you, friend and putting you on my wednesday prayer list. realizing the battle is the biggest step!!!

StephieAnne said...

What you just said, Sara, is exactly what I've been saying to about three different individuals within the last week, which is why it was so crazy to get the reality check, of "wait, this happening to me right now, too!". It dawned on me as well that we are participating in something that is obviously a mighty threat to the enemy, and for whatever reason, me (or my family) being part of it is threat as well. Realizing all that turns it into a challenge and is certainly a huge perspective help when going in to battle! Thanks for the prayers!!!!!

Tiffany said...

You are not alone, Shephanie. The older I get, and I'm not that old, I want to be home in the afternoons with my family - doing things we enjoy doing together. Sometimes on Wednesday, it's a real challenge getting myself motivated to go. I know that it's an attack from Satan to distract me from my calling, and that's to teach children about God. But, everytime I go and everytime I teach, I have the time of my life....I'm in my zone - doing what I love to do! So, it's not surprising that Satan has tried to the tactic on you...he's not smart, ya know? I will be praying for you, girlie:)