Just Wandering

 

When I first was dating young men, I dated some very nice guys.  I can even think of one in particular who was just the nicest guy ever!  Everyone thought it’d be a perfect match and he truly couldn’t have been kinder and more considerate, and he was hard working as well.  But I knew I needed a man who would be stronger than myself.  I was fully of aware of my take-charge personality and I knew it would take a stronger personality than me to keep me in check.  I also grew up in a family where the woman was mostly in charge.  And I just didn’t like it much.  It didn’t suit my personality and I could see where a man had less emotions and more “get-er-done”  than the women in my family.  So I really set out to have a man who could be in charge of me, in a loving sort of way.  Well, needless to say, I found him.  Or he found me.  And there is nothing short of “take-charge” in my Marine!  He’s always seemed like such a softy to most, and he usually is where he needs to be.  But, he is all man, all the time!  The first year of being married, I realized just what I thought I wanted was very hard to live with.  Two “in-control” people struggling for position, and even though I wanted to submit in a Godly-woman sort of way, I often found myself trying to rise to the management side of our marriage.  I had a lot to learn about being the kind of woman it would take to have the kind of marriage I wanted. Even though my heart told me submissive is what I wanted to be, my actions worked to the contrary.  And my man can stand his ground like nobody I’ve ever met before.  It also means sometimes his chain can be yanked by seemingly simple situations because he has a sense of right and wrong that is so strong, that he believes everyone should abide by it all the time and if you don’t, indignation rises and you may experience his frustration.   The other day provided just that moment.  He woke up with severe and unexplained sudden vertigo.  With the dizzy factor, he couldn’t drive and so I drove him to an appointment.  On the drive there, a large box truck jumped out of his lane in front of me and cut me off in a very dangerous way, both to him and myself, and then ultimately those cars around us in the heavy traffic.  We were all doing freeway speeds and I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a close call at such high speeds.  Now I spoke the usual, “Are you kidding me dude?!” to the guy in the box truck who could obviously not see or hear me.  After he cut me off, he swerved back in the other lane where I easily passed him.  My husband looked up at the driver as we passed on his left and let him know just exactly what a dumb move he had made.  The righteous man in him, protective man at that, came out in all it’s unrighteous glory.  It’s hard to be good sometimes, even when you are very right!

You only have to have a few teenager’s at a time to know that it’s hard to be good all the time.  Well honestly, I guess that starts when they are toddlers.  There are so many opportunities to just not do what is right.  But this week, I became aware of just how serious the attempt to derail Godly behavior can be.  The women I meet with and I are doing a study in Job right now, on Wednesday nights, that is different than any time I’ve studied Job before.  And as we have gone through it, something has stuck out to me over and over.  It’s not a point that the author of the study brought up or dwelt on, so I feel comfortable sharing one of the points that I feel God has really made me more aware of for a reason.

Now if you know the story of Job, you know this was a good upright man.  And at some time God offers him up as a righteous guy, and Satan has this opportunity to just mess with him to try to prove that people love God when things are good, but that they’ll turn and curse God when things get rough.  But right in the beginning of Job, the thing that strikes me most, is in verse 5 and 6.  The angels come to God and along with them follows Satan.  And God asks Satan essentially, “where’ve you been?  Whatcha’ doin’?”   Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

I immediately thought of my children.  When I know they are in trouble, I often don’t just blurt out that I know what they’ve done.  I say, “so….what’ve you been doing?”  From the God who knows everything, can you imagine someone saying to you, “so….what’ve you been doing?”  God didn’t ask him that because He didn’t know the answer.  God asked him that because He DID know the answer!   Just like I do to my kids!  I also immediately thought of another place in scripture I recalled that phrase. In I Peter 5:8,  we are reminded that the devil is prowling around seeing to devour us.  Then again in Job 2, when Job has managed to still be faithful to God under horrific circumstances, Satan again comes before God and God again asked “Where ya’ been?  Whatcha’ doin’?”  Satan again gives the same response, “wandering the earth, to a fro”.

I was so reminded that the devil really does want to yank your chain.  He really is out there trying to find the things that’ll make you respond in an ungodly way.  He really is trying to get you to ditch God as your go-to when you are challenged with tough circumstances.  He really wants you to denounce your situation as unfair and call God un-just.  He wants you to compromise your example, your testimony to others, he’s anxious for you to be consumed by your own human response.   He really has nothing else to do except wander the earth, to and fro, looking for whom he may devour.  People often say, “the devil made me do it” and in part, there’s some truth to it.  He provides the opportunities.  He can’t make you falter. You choose it.   But if we are super aware that from the beginning of time to thousands of years later, he is still roaming the earth, just looking to meddle in our lives and pull the glory away from the God we choose to adore, then perhaps we can be a little more like Job and stand firm in our knowledge and our hearts that God is God, He is on the throne, and we will not give in to human responses in times of trouble.  Be aware!  Then ask yourself, “what’s your response when the guy cuts you off in traffic?  What’s your response when another curve ball gets thrown into your schedule?  What’s your response when one more thing on your already full plate makes it almost impossible to breathe?  Are you still bringing glory to God with your responses?”  Because if you’re not, you fell for it, the devil’s plot to devour you is still very real.  Don’t pay him honor, but pay attention.  You are a target.  Be like Job.  Stay strong, give God the glory, don’t waiver or be persuaded to curse the one who wronged you or the one who loves you more than any one possibly can.  The devil will outlive you here on earth, don’t let him yank your chain while you’re here.

Psalm 30:7
Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed

DONT BE DISMAYED

Proverbs 10:25
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever

STAND FIRM

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

BE ON GUARD!

 

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The Anniversary

I’ve just gotten home after a busy day. It started early in the morning and hasn’t ended until my drive home late this evening after our women’s Bible study tonight. I drove up the driveway and remembered I had my son’s garbage in the back of my car and needed to leave it at the end of the drive. Sitting for just a moment thinking over the whirlwind of the last ten days, it’s not even odd we have someone’s garbage in my car, strange as that sounds. My son and his wife birthed our first little grandson this week and they missed their own garbage day while they were at the hospital. Just seven days before, our other son got married. In the last month, we’ve had a baby shower, a bridal shower, a church event, a wedding, a baby, and scores of other activities. I’ve spent days in the hospital with my mom, and a quick stint to the ER for a kidney stone of my own. My husband has volunteered boarding up homes in Detroit the last few days and quite honestly, it’s been so busy, we’ve hardly had a moment for a text or a call to each other.

As I sat in my car, I quickly scrolled through my notifications and saw a sweet “Happy Anniversary” from one of my friends to her husband. I took note that my other friend’s anniversary is the same day. And then the realization hit! It’s MY anniversary! I drove back up into the parking spot at the top of the drive and gathered my things to go in the house. The kids were ready for bed and with lots of hugs all the way around, I walked into the bedroom to find my exhausted husband asleep in bed in the dark snoring the day’s hard work away.

The last few weeks have included days upon days of reminiscing. From our own wedding memories as our son kissed his new bride, to the births of each of our babies just before the birth of this new grand baby. Moments have been chugging by in the replays of my mind. We laid in bed one night this week and recapped every birth. I realized that in the chaos of our busy, busy big family, we did babies pretty good. If there was one thing we knew something about, it was birthing and feeding little babies and growing them up. It was confirmed when our second oldest said this week, “Mom, I just want to say thank you. You and dad really did train us how to handle life and life details.” I replied to him, “all we ever want is for you to love Jesus and be productive people.” He said, “I know.” It matters that they know. They ALL know exactly what matters.

But I’ll tell you what doesn’t matter. A lot of things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter what state the house is in, good or bad, clean or not. It didn’t matter what the décor was, new or old! It didn’t matter what kind of cars we drove….we only needed to be able to get off our icy hill. And so the old Suburban with 250,000 miles on it still creaks and groans when we need her, and the driveway looks like a parking lot with so many drivers. It doesn’t matter if our backyard is nicely manicured or not…the kids get to run and play. They’ve climbed a lot of trees and drove a lot of bikes and dirt bikes, chased snakes and toads, raised animals and learned to hunt. It didn’t matter whether some were ahead in school, and some behind…so far every one who graduated has gone on to college or is about to. Actually, it didn’t matter to me if they went to college….I just want them to be responsible in daily life and know how to function in this crazy world we live in!

And on this day, it didn’t matter that we didn’t go out to dinner. It didn’t matter that we never said Happy Anniversary. It didn’t matter that we hardly talked about our day, let alone our marriage! It didn’t matter that the dishes weren’t done when I walked in the door that late. Or that I had to fold and clear laundry he had moved over before I could climb on my side of the bed.

The 31st year of marriage will likely end just the way the 32nd will start. A tired content husband and wife, surviving in this world, growing up some kids and grand kids, exhausted at the end of the day, just the way we were meant to be. I’ll gladly go to bed having never celebrated, but loving Jesus, being productive, and settling for a moment together amid the chaos now and again. It’ll end with the sound of my husband snoring away, as I curl up next to him and lay my head on his chest, and a blessed reassurance that he is right here beside me even though neither of us heard the other say “Happy Anniversary.” Life is truly good, any day….all day. Happy Anniversary to us