Lent is almost over and it's been a great season for me. In my last update I talked about how I had definitely failed in my no-yelling fast but God was still with me and I was feeling His grace in my life. Today I want to talk about some of the unexpected benefits that have come from my lenten fast.
The root of my yelling problem wasn't just yelling, it goes deeper than that. I know that lately I had been feeling stressed and unappreciated. We love our new home but living on our own now brings many new expenses. As a one income family it's difficult to stay afloat. We're living pay check to pay check and that's stressful. I sometimes allow the stress to consume me instead of trusting that God will take care of our needs (as He always has). I also felt unappreciated in my role as a stay-at-home mom. Isabel can't speak yet and only demands things. She's a typical baby. Liam is old enough to say thank you, but also throws tantrums when he doesn't get his way and doesn't realize all I do for him. He's a typical toddler. Alex tries to show his appreciation but he's also a busy man and in the chaos doesn't always thank me that way I think I deserve to be thanked (you know, lobster dinners and shopping sprees). So I'll have my own "mommy tantrum" and gripe about how no one appreciates me around here, and rather loudly too. Going through this no-yelling fast has allowed me to see my own sin and how I need to get over it. I really feel better about everything and have a new perspective on life. This time is fleeting, I better enjoy it while I still can, and even on the days when my family may not give me the recognition I want, I have a God that is always cheering me on.
I also acknowledged during this fast that I was holding on to some past hurts and bitterness. There was one person in particular that I had not forgiven yet, and I needed to. I also had some apologizing to do myself, so I put aside my pride and extended an olive branch. It wasn't easy. I held out for a few days, but once I finally reached out I felt like a weight was lifted. God has really melted the hatred I had in my heart and I feel nothing but love for this person. I'm glad to say that my apology was well-received and we have reconciled. It is such a joy to choose reconciliation over bitterness and disconnect. We all have so much more to our story than what is on the surface and we need to remember that when dealing with others. Maybe that woman that scowled at you in the grocery store just received news that she has cancer. Maybe the man who cut you off in traffic is rushing to the hospital. Maybe your friend that stopped talking to you is depressed and doesn't know how to ask for help. Reach out and be compassionate.
So that's basically all I've been learning during this lenten season. I set out with a goal to stop yelling, but in the process I learned so much more. I'm learning to trust God and be solely satisfied in Him. I'm learning to love others and see them as God sees them. This is a lifelong journey with many ups and downs, but at least I'm on my way.