Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Excuse Me??

Last night we had the first of Chloe's dress rehearsals for the week. Her small group met late afternoon and then drama team was after dinner. It was a busy day, but Chloe lives for weeks like this. She LOVES this musical and the part she plays. It is by far, my favorite children's musical so far and that includes "American Ideal". (Yes, it was a take off of American Idol)

I had an interesting experience yesterday. While I won't go into details, I will tell you I got slammed by another mother. Growing up the daughter of a pastor and an elementary school teacher, I'm fully aware that there are always people who are going to complain. But my word! My role in this musical has nothing to do with the group this child is in. I was a mom just like her, just hanging up my child's costume. I found myself really close to saying "Excuse me??"

As I stood there completely shocked that this mother, who I do not know, proceeded to "share" with me her questions/concerns/complaints about wardrobe requirements, one thing passed through my mind: "Do everything without grumbling or complaining." The old Stephanie would have shared that verse with her right then, but I knew better and held my tongue.

Later that evening I thought through the conversation again. God showed me two things. First, was that money was a concern for this mother. She said "I don't want to spend money...." God reminded me that I know this well right now. I get this one big time. So I can understand feeling frustrated at the thought of having to fork out anymore money than absolutely necessary. Looking back, I recognize the worry in her eyes. Why didn't I see that yesterday! Lord forgive me for not seeing that.
She was hurting and her verbal jabs on this human punching bag caught me totally off guard.

Second, this mother was not in rehearsal and had second hand information as to what had been said in the rehearsal. She was reacting to something she had not seen or heard for herself. Gossip. She had allowed another person's frustration to work her up into a tizzy. Goodness. Being a mom today is hard enough, and we don't need to waste anymore energy than we need to! She wasted a WHOLE lot of energy and emotion worrying about something that just wasn't true. I'm exhausted for her.

When I wouldn't participate in the bashing and encouraged her to go take it up with the person she had the problem with, that she quickly said "thanks" and walked away.

Girls, I'm tired. I'm so tired of the way we Christian sister's beat each other up. You know what I'm talking about? Life is hard enough, we don't need to walk into church and feel like we are stepping into a boxing ring!

Who needs to go to church for that? We get that in the world! When my girls are fighting I'll take them to the window and say, "Look out there. That is the world. That is where life gets tough. You're treating each other the way people out there treat each other. In here, this is family. This is home. This is safe. We do not treat each other that way. This is God's house and we operate under His rules. In here, you are loved and treasured, act like the princess you are." (and can I just tell you the last few weeks, I've needed to do that several times!)

To quote some reality show I saw about 5 minutes of last week....

"Check yourself, before you wreck yourself."

I cracked up when I saw this table full of well dressed women having dinner at a sweet New York City restaurant discussing who knows what....one of them said this to another who is apparently very animated in her reactions. BUT, it preaches doesn't it...

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm really guilty about taking things way to personal and reacting before I process everything, much less before I pray about how to proceed! It's an area that God continues to bring to my attention.

Here's what God has challenged me to this week: Look beyond the reaction and realize that more than likely, there is a hurt there that needs heavenly attention.

I'm sick that I didn't see the hurt in that mother's eyes last night. I'm praying that if God sees fit to put her in my path Friday evening at dress rehearsal, that He will fill my mouth with words that will encourage her. Whatever she is going through, He really is all she needs. I pray that she knows that.


Cheri said...

Things are never what they seem, are they?

I just left that same message on my comment over on Janet Roller's post. You can get to her post from my side bar. Read her last 2 posts.They are wonderful!

I think God might be trying to tell me that things are never what they seem!So, now I'm wondering what it is that I might be missing??!!

I'm so glad you allow God to you use you the way you do!

Carol said...

Don't we all struggle with wanting to just react to what someone says or does without thinking first? I'm proud of the stand you took not to bash. It's so easy to get caught up in that. You are an inspiration.

jodi said...

There were so many good things about your post today, but I just wnat to comment and say I will be using your quote when my kids start fussing! Very nice!

BethAnne said...

I am guilty of speaking before I think. (or as my dad says "I let my talking get the better of my listening") It is a good word for me today....I have had several opportunities lately to grumble about things (some at church/ some not)----I need to be reminded to check myself (I cant tell ya the number of times I have wrecked myself).

DeAnna said...

Amen, Sister, Amen!!!!! Way to go for not taking part in the bickering and backbiting that goes on, yes, even in our churches.


Angela @ Refresh My Soul Blog said...

Oh girl, I hear you and feel ya! Thanks for keeping it real here. I too have been guilty. I LOVE what you did with your girls. I am going to say it like that-We were learning 1 peter 3 today-not repaying evil with evil and insult with insult but instead blessing. LOVE your approach-love too how you held your tongue. I am praising God He allowed us to go through so much in our lives to grow together. I can see the old Angela there too just dropping her with my words. Oh praise God for His grace.
Love ya girl!

grey like snuffie said...

Loved finding your blog. Great post today. Surviving through an abusive childhood God taught me that there is always a BIG story behind what we see in each other. While I hurt for the victims I hurt even more for the abusers. They are broken, hurt people who need the touch of our Fathers love just as much as the victim. Even my college degree and training as a counselor embedded that thought deeply in me. But I still can react, especially when caught off guard. Oh Father, to see as You see. Even if you never have the opportunity to talk with her you can pray for her, because God knows more intimately than anyone what she needs, even more than she knows. Sit at His feet today and lift her up--- I find myself there a lot back tracking over relationships and encounters.

Sarah said...

Hello! Found you through Kelli :) Great post...I needed to be reminded to stop and look at people through God's eyes, and not my limited perspective, thanks!