Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Joy of the Lord is my Strength

I'm watching a video about thanking God and I can hear it in between the words, in the pauses. I hear the commode, every few minutes, begin to run, struggling to fill its tank with a supply of water that won't stay put. The plunger ball, old and slippery with rot, won't seal off the valve and so it runs water at a steady but slow trickle that has been seen and felt in our water and sewer bills.

And when the sewer bill came, I started searching for the problem. I called friends and I called companies, trying to discover why in the world we were paying as if we had 12 living here instead of 3. It was under the heading, Common Indoor Leaks, on a document offered by our water company's webpage, a scant few lines down the page.

This is often a silent leak which causes the tank to continually drain and refill. Check for a worn or improperly seated plunger ball (flapper valve) by dropping a few drops of food coloring, into the toilet tank. Do not flush. If a leak exists, the dye-colored water will seep into the bowl in about five minutes. If it does, the plunger ball (flapper valve) may need to be replaced or realigned. 

And of course that's it. And I get mad. Mad at myself for not putting two and two together much, much earlier than this. Mad at my landlord that this wasn't dealt with before--wasn't the repairman just in to look at the toilet two days ago? And the anger is righteous--or so I name it.

But the video, it reminds me of what I've been trying to drill into my own head for three months. Give thanks. In everything, give thanks. I've posted it on all the social media sites I frequent. I've told testimony of how He's begun to change me because in beginning to give thanks, I am opening to the change. I've encouraged others to do it.

And yet, here I sit, with a rough patch that needed my Eucharisteo and I've botched it.  I've done that more than once lately. And this little leak in the toilet reminds me that if I don't choose thanks in all things--in.all.things.--then the joy in my own reservoir slips through the cracks and leaves me constantly running, constantly thirsty. And the filling of my own "righteous anger" doesn't quench that thirst.

Another day, earlier in the week:

Sometimes, life happens and the norm isn't the norm anymore or at least it isn't right now. And sometimes, it makes me forget. Sometimes it makes me selfish. And even though I know that I am called to serve and that I should pour myself out and that I should set myself aside, well, sometimes I just don't want to.

I tend not to be too demanding, most of the time. Pride and anger are more my game. They make me feel strong and empowered and justified. They puff me up and keep me far from the Spirit-filled things. They are lies. They are poison and yet, I keep drinking them down in such quantities that the Big Gulp would be envious.

Late at night is just a better time for maintenance of a movie theater. No crowds, no employees...just vast quiet and time stretched out. And under the gun of deadlines and executive visits and inside the demand of perfection isn't a good place to grind my heels into the dirt and swig pride and anger. But I do it anyway because when you swallow down deep those sickly sweet soul-killers you can't see anything but yourself.

Self-sight blurs sight of others and their needs. The Hubbs needed my understanding and support. But that paled in comparison to my need to feel.

It's too easy to just let go of my anger because if I let it go then my feelings won't matter and I'll fade into the transparency of the background. So we fight and he's pressured and I'm poisoned by my own hand and selfish and drowning in myself.

Sometimes, I screw it all up.  I ask forgiveness and I start again. But it can be such a self-defeating cycle when you see every mistake, looming large and blocking your way to peace, joy, thanksgiving. But I think part of the victory is in the struggle to keep going. Keep trying. Keep keeping track. Keep loving. Keep asking forgiveness. The Word says something in regards to keeping on:  "Love never fails." or in another translation, "Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. So I will begin again whenever I make a mess. I will take broom and dustpan to my mess of an ash heap and sweep it away with the Joy of the Lord. And no matter how hard it gets or how much I lose or how little I feel I can offer, I will remember that the Joy of the Lord is my strength and if I have that, I have all I need.

Praise & Thanksgiving for a whirlwind, wonderful October:
Oct. 15-3 Gifts Re-Read: Romans 12:1-2; II Corinthians 10:5; Psalm 19:14
Oct. 16-3 Gifts Burning: Scentsy Pot full of Fall smells; the desire to be thankful in reverence; it is the season for candles
Oct. 17- 3 Gifts Ugly-Beautiful: Bed head b/c it means I've gotten sleep, Sink-ful of dishes because it means we've eaten, Laundry unfinished and everywhere because it means we are blessed with clothing
Oct.18-A Gift Shared, Saved, Surrendered: A cup of ice water with the Hubbs, A plethora of boxes and plastic containers for art projects, A life daily surrendered to His will
Oct. 19-3 Gifts Unexpected: A pair of earrings from a friend, A letter penciled by my Kiddo,
Oct. 20-3 Gifts Unconventional:
Oct. 21-3 Gifts Undervalued:
Oct. 22-A Gift Silent, Still, Strong: The quiet of the morning, the stillness of the house when we're going to bed, The love the Father has for us!
Oct. 23-3 Gifts Begun: My antique chair, This blogging habit, List of crochet gifts for the Christmas season
Oct. 24-3 Gifts Accomplished: Homemade Brownies, Butterbeer, & Peanut Butter & Fudge Trifle
Oct. 25-3 Gifts Enjoying: Friendship, Fall, Freedom in Christ!
Oct. 26-3 Gifts Extravagant: His Love, Date Night with the Hubbs, Blessings from His Word
Oct. 27-A Gift Humbling, Honoring, Happy: Being a Mother x3
Oct. 28-3 Gifts In Christ: Relationship, Forgiveness, True Joy
Oct. 29-3 Gifts On Time: Being there in the morning, God's timing, sermon series on Romans 14-15
Oct. 30-3 Gifts Overjoyed!: Time with my family, A fantastically good month, God's provision in our lives
Oct. 31-3 Gifts Hallowed: Bed time story time, Hubbs & Wifey evening time, God is good all the time!

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