“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” Philippians 2:3-4 (NLT)

We married young. I had an idea of what marriage would be, but, I confess it was based on Disney princess movies, and 50’s sitcoms like Donna Reed, Father Knows Best and like shows. What I needed back in 1974/75 was Roseann Barr.

So, the dream I had of marriage met with the reality of being a military spouse. They came crashing together abruptly two days after I said “I do”.

This caused anger in me. An undefined anger and resentment. It continued even after our salvation experience. People talk of great testimonies of being saved from addiction, vile life styles, crime and they are incredible testimonies. Not many people will testify that on the outside they looked good, and all together. Actually, I have never heard a person stand up and say, “I was an angry woman. I had resentment up to my eyeballs. I was redeemed from this.”

We don’t hear things like this because we are selfish. Everyone has a measure of selfishness in them. I am no different.

Today as I ironed Dale’s shirt the Lord walked me down memory lane. It was not a good memory trip.

“Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap  burning coals of shame on their heads.” Romans 12:20 (NLT)

This scripture came to mind shortly into my trip down memory lane this morning. I was enjoying ironing a shirt for Dale (I know, but I like to iron). I could almost hear the Lord laughing at me when I pressed the wrinkles out of the shirt. That is when my memory lane started.

I remember how much I hated to iron when we were first married. The creases that needed to be in the uniforms, the precision that needed to be there.

Sometimes being married to a Navy man who likes perfection was more than I could bear. Hence, the anger and resentment.

One day I was complaining loudly to the Lord about that man He blessed me with. And the scripture in Romans came to mind. I determined then, years and years ago, to do everything as perfect as I could, hoping to heap lots and lots of burning coals on Dale’s head.

At first I can remember growling over the things I did, seeing that he did not notice or stand up to applaud me. But, I continued to do so, praying for him to notice my diligence. I was doing things out of a selfish motive. I would do this, but, I wanted him to see me and lavish affection and gifts over me.

Years passed, I gritted my teeth many times. I whined to the Lord that I was not being appreciated. I refused to quit “heaping burning coals” on Dale’s head. After all, I was going that extra mile. I was being selfish.

Slowly I realized that as I ironed shirts and uniforms, my prayers were changing. Instead of praying for notice of my perfect creases in the shirts and pants, I was praying for my husband while he wore these uniforms and clothes.

I had found joy in the doing and without realizing it at the time, I was actually heaping burning coals upon myself. The coals finally burned through that selfishness and anger, revealing a love that was dormant for my husband.

I once heard a pastor say regarding marriage, “What ever was strong enough to draw you down the aisle, should be strong enough to keep you there.” There are a lot of arguments about that statement, but, to me, it made me realize that the young love I had when I married was indeed strong enough to keep me in the marriage.

When dreams and reality crash dynamics change. Continuing to be selfish does not help matters. After 48 years of marriage I can honestly say, I am still a bit selfish. I still want that applause and recognition from Dale. WE all crave that from our spouse, family, friends. But, the peace, and joy and satisfaction that with God’s help and strength, I can look at what I accomplish and say to our Lord, “Here is my effort. I may be more of a Roseann Barr type of Mom and wife, than a Donna Reed wife and mom, but this is from me. May it find worth in Your eyes.”

Ruffled Feathers

“But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!” 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NKJV)

I would like to think that it takes a lot for my feathers to be ruffled, but I don’t think that is an accurate statement. We all have our points where we can feel our body tense up and before we know it our feathers are ruffled.

Being on social media, is sometimes a difficult place. You go online, just to relax and have some mindless conversations. Then, BAM! right in the middle of your news feed on facebook, there it is. A feather ruffler. You start to read and you know you should just scroll on by, but somehow you are drawn in. Like a black hole, you realize you are too far in to turn back. It happens daily, doesn’t it?

I have often said that my facebook page is vanilla. I have hidden, blocked and unfriended anything that I know will get my feathers in a twist. I have pages that I love and my friend list is people I enjoy chatting with or keeping in touch with. I say that my page is all puppy dogs and butterflies and church. And, personally, I like that.

In the past few weeks I have seen a change in the tone on some of my very favorite pages. The admins and moderators are doing a great job at keeping peace and keeping the pages under control. It’s an easy group page. I eagerly go to that page knowing I will laugh and smile and be pointed to the Lord.

Although the admins and the moderators are doing an outstanding job, there is a faction that keeps stirring the pot. It’s not just that page, there seems to be an undertone going on. It’s like people are looking to push buttons and once they have an opinion, everyone else is not right.

This spirit seems to be hovering in all areas of life. It concerns me. The scripture above comes to mind often. I see families dissolving over minor things. Communication is strained. It’s not like anyone has done anything, it is like the enemy of our souls is meddling.

In the end days we will see more and more of this. It can cause fear and misunderstanding. I choose to look up in anticipation. To know that soon, and very soon, we are going to see our King. (sounds like a great song there).

I have thought of ruffled feathers throughout today. Maybe it’s because I allowed my feathers to be ruffled a couple of days ago. I simply stated my opinion and went on to another notification. Today, I received back lash from it. Usually when this happens I can feel the anger rise up within me. My nerves start to quiver. I shake as I try to reinsert my views. Today, I merely restated my opinion and walked away. I have a feeling soon, this will be the norm for us all.

The one positive of ruffled feathers, though, is you are forced to examine your own thoughts and opinions. Do I really believe such and such? Why is that my belief?

It’s a good thing while your feathers are ruffled to look closely at them, smooth them down and be rational. I hope someone else needed to see this like I needed to write it.

Pardon Me, My human-ness is showing

 “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:23

Yes, this is my scripture for me today. You know those days where it is much better to go hide and tape your mouth shut? That’s today. That’s me. Full disclosure, complete honesty.

We all have those days, we all regret those days. I could blame it on the two Krispie Kreme donuts I had earlier, but no, I cannot. I really cannot blame it on anything except me being me.

On days like this, it seems my mouth engages and goes on and on and I stand and look at myself and wonder where that person came from. I thought when I got to be my age, I would have tackled and conquered these actions. Guess not. I can blame a lot of things as the reason for letting my tongue get the best of me, but that would not be correct.

But, what it does shake into me is my need for the Lord. I need to repent of my lashing out and I need to ask for forgiveness from Dale.

So, today I go to a scripture that I need to learn, “It’s better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a quarrelsome wife in a lovely home.” Proverbs 21:9 (NLT)