When the Lord uses your husband to grow you
It is tough being human sometimes, isn't it? So much pain involved in the whole growing process. I felt some of that pain this week. I think I feel the pain more intensely at times because I am growing in Christ, and I so want to please my Father. This child can definitely attest to certain times of growing pains. This past week was no exception. My husband had to talk to me about two areas that required my attention. As he talked, I prayed. When did he talk to me? On Thanksgiving day. While our guests were out walking, we were inside talking. I couldn't say anything to him, because everything he was telling me was absolutely true. What was he talking to me about? Stuffing and striving.
"Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God; let Thy good Spirit lead me on level ground." Psalm 143:10
I'll talk about the stuffing first. No, not the Thanksgiving stuffing. ~Smile~ The stuffing of a house with things. I am a terrible pack rat. I know that I have admitted that to you before, and I've been working on my problem for months and months; but as I've shared with you in times past, "household debt" does not just disappear overnight. It takes years sometimes to break some of those bad habits and to clean up some of those awful debts. For months I have been working on the areas that everyone sees. And I've been so pleased to see progress. However, the LORD gently gave me eyes to see, while my husband talked, that I needed to start working on the unseen areas. For I cannot adequately serve in a home that is bulging at the seams with stuff, stuff, and more stuff. It just weighs me down.
What set this whole talk off? Well, my cupboards and pantry are so packed that we couldn't find many needed items for our Thanksgiving dinner. I couldn't find the carving knife. I couldn't find the big fork to hold the meat while carving. I couldn't find my empty pie pans. I couldn't find plastic bowls with lids for the leftovers. Actually, I could find the bowls, but I couldn't find the lids. When my husband went and looked for these things, after my pointing to their general direction, he gave up almost immediately due to the overpopulation of things in every area. I knew I was in trouble when I had a friend over for pie baking the day before. (We broke in my oven with a total of 11 pies by the end of the day.~Smile~) That day I had trouble finding certain pans and felt that familiar pain at my "pack ratting ways."
So during our talk my husband said he would help me. My eyebrows shot up. "Friday we will go through everything." he said. My eyebrows shot up a little farther. You see, I am a stacker and my husband is a sacker. He sacks everything unnecessary and some necessary. I stack everything necessary and unnecessary! I saw us working together in my mind's eye. I'd be gripping and he'd be ripping. That's when I started praying, "Oh, LORD, help me to get rid of the unnecessary before Friday comes. Let me surprise him."
I just about did. It took five hours, and part of two days, but I did it. My husband was more than pleased. I cleaned out three cupboards and my entire pantry. Now I have one more cupboard to go. Two I did this morning. I can't wait to show him tonight. The LORD helps me so much, I cannot thank Him enough. It is painful to grow in this area, but so very necessary for the health of my house.
"Blessed be the LORD, my Rock, Who trains my hands for war, and my fingers for battle." Psalm 144:1
Now for the striving. What is that you ask? Well, I really love people. This weekend we had five troubled teens at our table. Most had bald heads and baggy clothing. They didn't talk much and generally looked disinterested in their surroundings. But I loved them. I hugged each one of them when they arrived and when they left. I made special food for them. I squeezed their shoulders when I passed by. I prayed for them while my husband talked with them about His Kingdom. The LORD has put such a love in my heart for people. (Sometimes I just want to burst at the joy of it all, for I use to feel quite the opposite.) But that is where my trouble lies. I tend to talk too much in social settings. Especially if there is a woman around that I really enjoy. I so much want to make everyone feel comfortable that I "try too hard," is how my husband kindly put it.
Oh, if it's just a woman and I alone, there is usually no problem. I love to get together with a friend and talk. I find that most women have this wonderful art of conversing among each other that defies all description! Talking with some women is better than eating the finest chocolate. I come away encouraged and lifted up to keep going in so many areas of my life. But in a social setting, I strive too hard to achieve what comes so naturally among my woman friends. My husband told me On Thanksgiving day, "Listen more, Laine. Pull back a little. Listen without interjecting so many added remarks."
" 'She' who restrains her words has knowledge, and 'she' who has a cool spirit is a 'woman' of understanding." Proverbs 17:27
This growing pain hurt quite a bit. But again, I knew that my husband was trying to help me. It was for my own spiritual health and for the good of those around me. It is that beautiful balance that I long for in so many areas of my life. Areas that I keep growing in. So the next day I practiced what he said. It took a lot of focus to keep myself in check, because I am nuts about my inlaws. But I learned that once my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law and I were alone, we could enjoy catching up with one another. There was that easy flow of conversation that I enjoy so much. There is a time to listen, and there is a time to talk. I am learning. I am learning!
" 'She' who guards 'her' mouth and 'her' tongue, guards 'her' soul from trouble." Proverbs 21:23
The LORD helps me to reduce the stuffy stacking, and He helps me to pull back on the striving to speak. It is His wonderful balance that I want to see practiced in my life. Oh, there is pain involved in the growing process; for I don't think we can be Children of His and avoid it. But if we submit to His direction, it is always for our own good. So I submit. And the pain becomes His gain in my life. Guess what? I can find my pie pans again.