Friday, December 31, 2010

Practicing Prayer post 2

Read the first part of the story here.

So, as I was saying, the hard Eucharisteo...

There I am, going along blissfully happy, full of God-joy in my heart, and praying on the hour.

And then.

(This is where I give a warning, because this is pretty disgusting, and though I am going to try my best, I can't promise this won't gross you out.)

So, then- an odious smell begins wafting up from the back of the van. It was like a slap in the face, it was THAT bad. And, frankly, it wasn't of human origin.

Yes, that's right, our brilliant dog, who had inconspicuously gnawed off about half a cardboard diaper box in the back, had gotten sick, and pooped all over the back of the van.

Of course, I didn't know HOW bad it was, at first, because we drive a 15 passenger van and I could not see that far back. We got confirmation from some of the children close to the accident that yes, the dog had most definitely pooped. At this point, the kids begin gagging and using their shirts to cover their noses.

We needed to pull over. Fast. Except, well, there was not a single exit for over 15 miles.

It was a LONG 15 miles.

We pulled into a gas station, and Trever got out, ready to assess the situation. The kids piled out, blessing God for clear, fresh air.

As it turns out, the dog had decided to blow all over the entire new box of baby diapers, most of the bedding we brought, and- wait for it- my brand new jacket and bag full of my clothes and books. I had specifically asked Trever to stow this in a safe place so the dog would not chew it, lay on it, etc. Never did I DREAM he would poop all over it.

I admit it, I did not respond the way I wanted to. I started to stress out, raising my voice at Trever and the kids and trying to holler directions. Then, my stress turned to mad. I was mad at the dumb dog and he better NOT have ruined my books, and why weren't the kids watching him anyway and couldn't Trever have kept my things in a safer place than that?

And honestly, all this did was stress everyone out.

My poor husband was doing his best to clean up the van, salvage what we could, toss what we couldn't, contain the mess... The kids were stressed about us being mad at the dog and at them for not watching him.

Somehow, even at the height of this, I heard God. I knew I needed to pray. And I tried, though my attempt was fairly pathetic. I asked Him to help me, and I thought I meant it, except then I realized that I think I really actually WANTED to be mad about it. And that bothered me.

What was I really so upset about? Was it inconvenient? Yes. Was it unpleasant? Absolutely. But it really wasn't THAT big of a deal. What was at stake here? My schedule? My STUFF?

It's just stuff.

And I sat there, thinking about how when I am the most wanting to spew things out of my mouth that are negative and angry, that is when I most need to keep quiet. The situation at hand it not really the test, it is how you respond to the situation.

So I started by being quiet, and encouraging my children to do so as well.

Then, I began to pray, silently, and really allowed God to change my heart.

And then I let it all go. And began to see the blessings, even in the mess.

A husband who cleaned everything up for me, so I didn't have to do any of it.
A husband who was far more concerned about me being upset than concerned about the hassle and mess.
The fact that almost every diaper was covered in plastic, and untouched by the mess,
that none of my books were damaged, none of my clothes were soiled.
A phone call ahead, to Trever's mother, assured us a washing machine was ready, and dinner was waiting.

I held my husband's hand and squeezed it tight, and told him it was just stuff, and it was ok.

And it was.

Somehow, then, joy returned.

I won't tell you I'd like to repeat it, but I am hoping what I have learned will help me, in the future, to respond differently when an obstacle is thrown in the way, disturbing the serenity. Because that is just how life is, and God is in all of it, even in the hard stuff.

God is always in it.


  1. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing that, Mrs. Amy. What a great example.
    I read one time in an Above Rubies article, a story about one of Nancy Campbell's daughters (I think maybe Serene??)and how she puts on an ''inanimate filter'' every day to remind her not to get upset when "things" break or get ruined. Your story reminded me of that article.

    Anyway, thank you very much for this series of posts!!

    ~Tori L.~

  2. Tori,
    I know exactly the article you are talking about, and it is a good one. Thanks for writing, sweetheart!


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