Friday, April 06, 2007

My Favorite Memory

Overall, our trip to Washington, D.C. was a good experience and I’m glad we went. However, there were several moments during the first couple of days when I was seriously second-guessing whether we should have taken the kids on this trip, or not.

Picture kids fussing about the long car ride and trying to agree on where to eat lunch. Imagine two young boys running around the subway station platform – in spite of their mother’s continual reminders to walk. Imagine the same two boys getting way too close to the edge of the platform – again, in spite of their mother’s pleas that they stand back. Consider these boys playing on the escalators, even though their mother told them these stairs are not toys, and even though other patrons are giving them dirty looks. Don’t forget the train ride itself – the bouncing between seats and twirling around the poles.
I truly was trying to stay calm; to remember they’re kids, excited with the newness of their surroundings; to speak kindly and gently to them. I reminded myself they were tired at the end of the day from all our walking, and tried to extend more grace to them because of that knowledge. I prayed a lot, asking God to help me love them and be patient with them. Still, I was feeling irritable. More often than I wished, I got uptight with the kids and I was disappointed with myself.

During the morning of our first two days on vacation my husband attended a seminar in the District. I would drive him to the Metro station and drop him off, go back to the hotel and have breakfast with my mother-in-law and kids, and then we went into the District and met up with Brian when he was finished.
The second day I drove him to the station, I was feeling particularly touchy. We were at a red light and no one was around (It was Sunday morning.) so I turned toward the station. Brian casually commented there was a “No Turn on Red” sign. Ugh. Guess I missed that one. At the Metro there are a few different entrances for parking and dropping off (Don’t think I ever used the same one twice!) and on this day I turned in where it said “Do Not Enter.” Yes, I can read…And Brian casually commented about it. I sighed heavily and made some self-condemning comment. He tried to make light of the situation as he got out of the van and I drove off.
Turning out of the parking lot (on a green light, thank you!) I thought about my little driving errors and started crying. Then I thought, What’s up with this? Why am I crying over traffic signs? Wait a minute…What day is it? Awww, I’m going to start my period! Suddenly the weepiness and the extreme sensitivity to the kids over the previous two days was making sense. Realizing I didn’t have “anything” with me, I decided I ought to stop at the drug store and get what I needed.
I was relieved to at least be able to make this stop by myself – without the kids in tow. But as I pulled into the parking lot, it looked way too empty. Pulling up to the door I saw the store wouldn’t open for another half hour so I left the parking lot, resigning myself to the fact I’d need to take the kids to the store with me later, and shedding a few more tears.
But, alas, as I drove over the hill I saw a Target store. I thought, Target has to be open! So I pulled into the parking lot, with a little bit of hope. Looking up, I whispered, Thank You. I got what I needed and as I approached the cashier, she gave me a friendly smile and complimented my hair cut. She said some other things that made me smile and I told her briefly what I’d just been through, assuring her that her friendly remarks were much needed and appreciated. We chatted briefly and she sent me on my way with wishes for a nice day. I felt refreshed by that kind woman.
As I left the store I had a huge smile on my face. I felt as though God had just hugged me through the cashier. Literally moments earlier I’d been in tears, feeling crummy and crabby, and now I was smiling because God had been so sweet to me. I got into the van and I asked Him, Why? Why are You so kind to me? I have been moody and irritable. I’m an emotional mess. Why do You love me???
Then I remembered the Truth about God’s love. It is unconditional. He doesn’t take cues from me to decide whether or not He’s going to love me on any particular day. God doesn’t hold back on His love when I’m PMSing, and He doesn’t pour it out more richly when I’m a sweet little angel. Jerry Bridges says in Growing Your Faith, “Nothing you ever do will cause [God] to love you any more or any less. He loves you strictly by His grace given to you through Jesus.” (p. 25) Can you wrap your mind around that Truth? Nothing you ever do will change God’s love for you!

He used that Sunday morning incident and the Target cashier to remind me His love is unconditional. His answer to my Why? Simply because it’s His choice.
God loves me – even when I’m PMSing - and that, my friends, is my favorite memory from our trip to Washington, D.C.!

6 comments:

momteacherfriend said...

I have had food cravings this week like I am going to start but have not yet. I think running is messing with my monthly rhythms. Not sure if this is a good thing or not. I think it is.

I completely understand the reigning in the boys in enviroments that scream explore me. Tough stuff.

Glad you had a good trip and God smiled at you through a cashier.

irrationallove said...

Thanks for sharing His love and proclaiming His good deeds! Psalm 78:4

Irritable Mother said...

mom ~ "God smiled at you." I like the way you put that!

irr ~ I like Psalm 52:9, too!

Coach J said...

Gosh, I just love it when God blows us kisses in the everyday. Sometimes I think I'm weird when everywhere I look, I see God. Then I tell my mind, I'm not weird, that's really the way God intended it to be!

Irritable Mother said...

Coach J ~ Amen to that! You aren't weird. God DOES intend for us to experience Him always and everywhere. BTW, I love the image of God blowing us kisses. Thanks!

Julie said...

Karen,
Thanks for stopping by my blog for a visit and directing me to this post. It is beautifully written and a great picture of God.

I heard a similar quote years ago as yours from Jerry Bridges. The one I heard was something like this, "If you never read your Bible or prayed another day of your life, God would still love you." For a very performance driven woman at the time that was a freedom statement for me.

I love that God's love is not based on anything but HIM.

I also saw that you visit Precept Ministries website on your blog. I grew up in Chattanooga and studied under Kay Arthur MANY years ago.

Again, thanks for stopping by my blog.
Have a blessed day,
Julie