I had a really difficult day recently.
I'm not sure why but I reverted back to being very annoyed by my ex-husband.
My youngest daughters had games that day and my oldest daughter invited him to sit with us – which is a very normal thing – but that day I could barely stand it.
I just wanted him to stay as far away as possible. And I absolutely didn't want to talk to him. Or even hear him.
I don't know why I felt such revulsion today. I just did.
And I just really really don't want to be that woman. I want to be gracious and kind, but today I struggled to be civil.
There have been things lately that have made me annoyed with him. But I think it would be wrong for me to complain and list all those things. It would be wrong for me to air our dirty laundry – well, his dirty laundry.
But don't I ever want to...
I know it is wrong. And I try hard to do this divorce thing right.
I have to say that I was surprised by how strongly I felt the negative stuff today. I don't usually.
Does anyone else have those things sneak up on them for no apparent reason?
Am I the only crazy person?
I know to some degree all the revulsion, annoyance and downright dislike is understandable, but God calls me to be more than someone who acts understandably. I'm pretty positive He calls me to act "in a manner worthy of my calling."
So what does that mean exactly? What is a manner worthy? And what is my calling? Those questions brought Micah 6:6 to mind:
He has shown you O Man what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Act justly. Acting with a clear understanding of right and wrong. At first glance I feel like this one supports my desire for justice for my ex-husband, but further thought showed me something slightly different. God expects me to let Him administer justice. And maybe the right and wrong I should be concerned about isn't my ex-husbands, but rather my right and wrong. Am I acting justly in my own life? Do I live a life that has clearly defined right and wrong?
Love mercy. Don't just offer mercy, love it?! Really, love it? I love it when it's applied to me, but do I love it when it's applied to someone who has hurt me or offended me? Not so much.
Mercy could also be translated "loving-kindness." Kindness...honest I'm trying. I really am. I desire to be Christ-like in all my interactions – even with my ex-husband. But sometimes it is soooooo hard!
Walk humbly with your God. Humility. God wants me to walk beside Him, not in front. He wants me to understand that everything is not about me, but rather about Him. And when I think about it, even my ex-husband's betrayal is more about his relationship with God, his sin against God. Maybe that recognition could help me let God handle things. Again I just gotta get out of the mindset that everything is about me, because then I can stop feeling so put upon by interactions with my ex-husband (and the innumerable other things in life which annoy).
It's all stuff I could apply to other challenging relationships...could probably isn't the appropriate word...should is the word...I should do that.
I'm hesitate to use that word – should – some people bristle at it. Sometimes I bristle at it. One of my friends calls it "shoulding" all over each other. And I absolutely believe there are times when we shouldn't say should (which I guess is kind of a "should" statement too) – but there are some that you just know are okay.
You should love God. You should honor God. You should obey His word. You should love one another. You should tell the truth.
You should because those things are good for you...in fact, they are great for you! If I know something is the very best thing for you, am I wrong in saying you should do it? If I say it sweetly, gently, and gracefully? That's the key – the tone and heart with which it is spoken. Maybe a kind suggestion or encouraging word instead of a 'You know, you should be..."
And that goes back to Micah 6:6 – can I step out of myself enough to truly act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God? Can I not worry so much about everyone else and what they should be doing and instead focus on how I can live a life that honors God? Can I not worry about anyone getting their due because I realize that I've experienced Jesus' done? Can I trust God with a difficult day?
Golly, I hope so. I pray so.
Next week I go back to the basketball courts to watch my little girls play. I'm not sure if their father will come, but if He does I am going to be praying that God will give me the ability to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him, so that I can smile, chat and even sit next to my ex-husband.
It's something I should do for my children's sake...and even for mine. It's miserable being fussy.
Difficult day or not, I'm choosing to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God.
Sue Birdseye is an author and single mom of five kids that range from 4-years-old to 17-years-old. Her book, When Happily Ever After Shatters (Tyndale House) is in bookstores. This is adapted from her blog, uptomytoes.com
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