Most of my friends know that, for me, Mondays are cleaning/laundry days. I spend the whole day cleaning the entire house and doing all the laundry. My philosophy is this: I don't want to be a slave to housework. So I do it once a week. That's it! By the weekend the mess is usually driving me crazy, but I force myself to let it go and not make my family uptight with my deranged need for spotlessness.
Now during the summer, I allow other activities to intermingle with cleaning day. We go for a bike ride or spend a couple hours at the pool or venture to the library. The goal is to still have fun with my kids while accomplishing my goal of cleaning the house once a week.
Today was just such a day. I even spent an hour reading in the hammock (one of my favorite summer activities). The house was finally clean and it was time for me start dinner. I was just beginning to pull all the ingredients out of the fridge when I felt a "shower" of soda on me. To my utter surprise and horror, I turned to see a soda can that had been dropped on the floor - spewing ALLLLLLL of its contents ALLLLLL over my newly cleaned kitchen. From top to bottom. From one end to the other.
I'm not gonna lie. I saw red! I couldn't speak! I stood there holding back my wrath with every ounce of self control I could muster. "Please go downstairs and do not return until I call for you." That's all I said but I was also thinking, "You better thank your lucky stars I've been learning about self control and didn't open a can of...." You get the picture. I can honestly say I have never been that angry at one of my children. (The anger arose from the disobedience that led to such an awful accident...not at the accident itself.)
I didn't even know where to start. Not only were the cabinets dripping with soda, I was dripping with soda. As I wiped down the cabinets and floor I thought about my reaction.I was thankful the Holy Spirit closed my mouth. Goodness knows that's not always the case. I've been studying and praying for days about living a disciplined life. This was my first big test...and dare I say I passed? No. I didn't pass, but I didn't fail either. There was a supernatural control that rose up in me, and I was able to keep my anger and venting inside. But I fumed on the inside...maybe a little longer than necessary. Will there be a day when I don't react on the inside so strongly? Will grace ever fully take over my heart and mind so that anger isn't even an option?
Do you know people like that? They just never get angry? My husband is one of those people. I'm certain that in the past 16 years that I've known him, I've seen him get angry. Once. But the truth is I can't even recall it. My memories of him are full of times when he had the right to be angry, but he responded with grace and patience instead. I wish I were like that. I'm learning that a disciplined life allows grace to take over. That's what I long for. More fruit of the Spirit in my life. More of Him. Less of me.
I've made way worse mistakes in my life. And the price tag was much higher than a dirty kitchen. This simple truth alone should allow me to be more grace-filled and forgiving. Lord, let it be so.
* The names of the guilty in this story have been withheld to protect their identity. ☺