Monday, February 18, 2008

Serving God by Serving Others, Part I

Just so you know, I'm writing this as I go, so I have no idea if this will have two parts or ten. Well, hopefully not ten! I just wanted to share how God was working in my life lately and what He's nudging me to change about myself. I hope you enjoy it.


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Not that long ago, I was finding myself becoming more and more agitated with my husband. I was just sure he was leaving things for me to do. Well, I wasn’t exactly sure of it, it was just that, on my most grouchiest of days it certainly seemed that way. What did I think he was leaving for me? Well, for instance, pizza boxes on the dinner table, London’s toys on the floor (after he was the one playing with her), empty shopping bags left here and there, a dirty diaper on the changing table - you get the picture. Then there was the time he bought London a new soccer ball and left the box it came in on the dinner table. I refused to touch it. I wanted to see how long it would sit there waiting to be tossed out. Poor box sat there a week before Paul finally had mercy on it and threw it in the recycle bin. A WEEK, people!

But then came along the cereal bowl. The golden yellow, milk encrusted, controversial cereal bowl. The cereal bowl that would change everything. God used a burning bush to talk to Moses but with me He used a cereal bowl.

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The day was not yet turning into one of my frequent grouchy days as I was making my way through the house picking up here & there, collecting laundry and so on when I walked into our spare room and saw it perched there on top of the tiny T.V. Paul uses to watch late night television. Let me tell you about my dear, sweet husband - he almost never goes to sleep at night without a bowl of cereal to send him into blissful slumber. It’s his thing. Even when we travel, after checking into the hotel, he must locate the nearest Kwik-E-Mart, secure a styrofoam bowl, plastic spoon and a 3-4 night supply of cereal & milk.

Anyway, that stinkin’ cereal bowl, I had decided, was left for me to take care of because, after all, wasn’t that my “job”? Grrr……

It made perfect sense to me. Why else would an intelligent, capable, grown man with two good arms just leave a dirty cereal bowl on top of the t.v.? The same t.v. he stared at for two hours the night before! He didn’t see it? Bah! He just forgot? Puh-leeze! He didn’t mean to? Right. Neither did Larry Craig. He left it for the little woman? Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner!

Well, that was IT! I had had enough. There was no way, now how I was picking up that stupid cereal bowl. I was going to send a message loud and clear this time even if it surpassed the soccer-box week. I was NOT going to pick up that cereal bowl come hell or high water! I’ll show him who wears the apron around here!

So what I did, instead, was decide to become really irritated, frustrated, agitated, percolated, infuriated and just about every other -ted you can think of. Because, really, isn’t a dirty cereal bowl worth ruining your whole day over? Yes, of course, it is.

I had decided to let that cereal bowl rule my day, my attitude and my mood. I walked around ¾ of the day madder than heck about that ridiculous cereal bowl and every time I walked into that room and saw it sitting there, perched atop that mini boob-tube mocking me, I got madder still while my husband had the nerve to go to work as usual and not be affected by it one teensy little bit. I mean, really!

It was mid-afternoon when, for some reason or another, I had to go back into the spare room and face that indignant bowl once again. “I am not picking it up. I am not picking it up. I am not picking it up”, I repeated angrily to myself, “Stay strong” when, (to steal a line from Forrest Gump), just then, God showed up.

“So, are you going to pick that bowl up for him or are you going to pick it up for Me?”

I literally stopped dead in my tracks. I immediately hung my head, dropped my shoulders, let out a defeated sigh and grumbled, “Fine!”, grabbed the bowl and took it downstairs where I plopped it in the dishwasher.

Did anyone see another option there? Notice, God didn’t ask me would I pick up the cereal bowl. No, God let me know I WAS going to pick up the bowl, He was just giving me a choice of who I’d being doing it for. After that, God didn’t say another word to me and I didn’t say anything to Him. But as I’ve stated before, God can handle the silent treatment.

You know what’s really funny about being wrong in front of God? He knows you’re wrong. You know you’re wrong. You know He knows you’re wrong. He knows you know and you know he knows you know! But you still sit there, a stubborn mule sitting on your stubborn rock with your stubborn arms folded across your stubborn chest where, coincidently, your stubborn heart beats stubbornly inside. Oh, is that just me? Ah-hem, well then…on with the story:

And even though I wasn’t speaking to God at that moment and He was fine to let me simmer, He still took care of me. I noticed about ½ hour later, I was, miraculously no longer irritated, frustrated or any of the other -teds. I was fine and in a good mood even. And though I had been a spoiled little brat, unappreciative of His gentle lesson in growth and service, He still healed me.

My husband knows nothing of that day. And the cereal bowl? Well, we’ve since made up. It is now, however, a symbol of something that I struggle with to this very day. You see, God can change you all at once or He can lead you to change yourself. He is leading me to change myself. What’s that like? Well, have you ever walked knee deep through cement as it was setting? Yeah, like that.

More to come…

24 comments:

mother of seven said...

Amanda..... I Love this one....I also feel like I m the only one you gives a darn around here. I Lve your perspective. We need to talk. It is easy to think everyone else has it so good. But lets face it life isn't perfect. Its what you do with it!!!!!!With 7 kids Life is a challenge around here. Sometimes I get help sometimes I don't.

Lisa-Marie said...

You are amazing. You are always "listening."

Thank you for your example!

I'm not going to balk when my hubby comes home and walks right in without stomping off his feet. Cause he will. And I just mopped the floor. But I'm NOT going to balk! THX!

Laurel said...

Oh, I LOVE this one! So many quotables in this one. He knows that I know that he knows I know...Ha! I love the whole notion of "Are you going to pick up that cereal bowl for him or for Me?" Bravo. I too became a lot happier housewife when I repeated this mantra: "I'm blessing my family." Made cleaning toilets a lot more appealing. :0)

I love your humor and insights. Thank you!

Madame Queen said...

Ooh, this one is a toughie for me AND my husband. He'll walk around something for days, even if it's something I didn't know was there, just to see if I'll pick it up. Whereas *I* will pick something up but I'll fume about it for days, much like you did with the soccer box! LOL! But, I'm getting better...trying anyway.

There's a really funny episode of Everybody Loves Raymond that tackles this same topic except the offending item is a suitcase at the bottom of the stairs.

Jen said...

I think so many of us women can relate to your frustration. Not only do we have to pick up after the kids, but also the overgrown ones too. My husband's mom did everything for him, so that is what he's used to. I have a hard time with that, but you put it in perspective for me. Thanks for the nudge I needed to go throw those pop cans away from the dinner table!
On another note, I enjoy reading your blog so I tagged you on mine. Stop by and check it out when you get a minute.

Jenni said...

Wow, did I ever need to read this post! "Are you going to pick it up for him, or are you going to pick it up for Me?"...definitely something I need to improve on!

Ultramum said...

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

God just led me here after a rough time of serving and feeling trodden over and ignored ... and He used your blog to remind me, gently, that it is Him I am serving.

Anonymous said...

You are precious! And that fact that you even acknowledged Him while spewing in a ceral bowl of frustration, I say AMEN! God bless you!!!!!

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