I’m so glad that God’s love covers our sins. I shudder to think of what a deep hole I’d have dug myself by now if I didn’t have his patient, sin-covering, love guiding and directing me. It’s shameful enough, how long it’s taken me to even follow that guidance. And shameful, still, how often I still fight it. I think if we all had crowns that depicted our character traits to the world I’d probably be wearing the crown of selfishness.
There are a few moments, or events rather, in my life that have given me glimpses of just how selfish I can be. I don’t really like to dwell on these things, but they have had a bearing on my role as a 2nd man’s wife. I even secretly wonder if they’ve played a role in holding back my 2nd man from having a better ministry or being who he could be had I submitted better to the Lord in my life. Some may even be humanly justifiable, however, I don’t want to be a person who has to rationalize why I didn’t respond in a godly manner to something or someone.
A couple of these events are those that I believe most people experience. Those were marriage and childbirth. No two events greater reveal the selfishness of a person. In getting married, the expectations are the real kicker. When the wedding is over, and the details of daily life become reality, it’s hard to get over those expectations. I remember being so frustrated at the 2nd man for not being able to read my mind. I would think to myself, “how could he not know that I’d want him to take out the trash?” or, “How could he not know what I wanted for my birthday?” Thankfully, I have been able to grow in this area, and though I still battle selfishness in marriage, hopefully, I’ve grown just through maturity.
Childbirth was the other big reveal. I’ve never met another mom who doesn’t relate to this. Even from the day I first went into labor, the battle of the will had begun. When the pain set in and the reality struck I looked at 2nd man and said, “I don’t want to do this, I want to go home.” We laugh now, but at that moment it seemed perfectly logical in my head. Then the nurse came in and told me the baby would have to be fed every 2 hours! Whaaaat!!! I thought I’d scoured every inch of that baby book, but somehow I missed that 2 hour number. Oh, that really threw me for a loop. Ever since then and every child since then has revealed how selfish I am and chipped away at that luxurious selfishness. All in all, I’ve gladly given it up.
However, there is one area of my life that has been a struggle for me and I’m glad to say that it gets better with age. That is the area of being a 2nd man’s wife in relation to acknowledgement. Just this past week I had a birthday and it was one of the best ever. One may wonder why, it wasn’t a big one (37), there was no large party, it was a quiet day that ended with a fun date with my husband. That’s just it, though, I wasn’t hung up on needing any acknowledgement.
When we were young in the ministry (and young in age) I had kind of expected people to acknowledge my big days like they did our pastor’s wife. I was so impressed, when we first came here, to see how many of the women were concerned over what would be done for the pastor’s wife for her birthday. Every year I’d have some of them approach me about helping them with a plan. When my birthday came around I was excited to see what might be done. Oh, I didn’t expect all the women of the church, but I was sure that the moms of teens or even the teens might do something or at least acknowledge. The day would come and go, year after year without any grandeur. Really, the same happened for 2nd man. But we won’t go there, (he’s always handled things better than me.)
I got really excited one year when a family in our church had let the staff know that the Lord had laid on their hearts to do something really special for the staff members. Not, for any birthdays or holidays, but just as a way to express thanks, I guess. Anyway, they took the pastor and his wife, and the outreach minister and his wife to Colorado to a nice cabin retreat. They provided all the meals and even made them very special for everyone. They took them on hikes and let them have an all around time of pampering and rest. We weren’t invited, because I had just had our third child a few months earlier and of course nobody wants a newborn on a relaxing trip. This, I understood. To make up for not being able to take us they did something different. For 2nd man it was front row seating to a Dallas Cowboys football game! 2nd man is a die-hard fan of the Dallas cowboys so this was like winning the lottery for him. They sent him with our song leader. They told me that I was to be treated to a queen for a day spa treatment in Tulsa with the man’s wife. I was really excited. It sounded like a great gift for a new mom especially. Time came and went and nothing more happened or was said. Finally, at Christmas the man handed me a card for a half hour massage at the local small town spa next door to the church offices.
Normally, I’d be ecstatic for a half hour massage. I mean, it’s not exactly a luxury I spend on myself, and I can appreciate the relaxation. I guess it was all the build up that got me. I had to really hide my disappointment at that one. But, really, that was a selfish response. I mean, they really did spoil 2nd man and he’s the actual one that’s on staff. However, that mean ugly selfish bug started to take root in my heart. When my birthday came around just a couple of months later, I found myself wondering if any of my gifts were even thought out, or just thrown at me out of obligation from the few friends who did acknowledge it. I shamefully admit it took me months to let go. Yet, I think it was a good thing for me. It was a release of thinking more highly of myself than I ought to. It forced me to come face to face with my selfishness and see that these birthdays and such aren’t really even a big deal.
This year, I was able to read all my little Facebook birthday wishes and truly appreciate them. The wonderful quiet time with my husband was fantastic since we don’t get away alone very often. Even my kids wowed me with homemade cards, (that I didn’t ask for) and a homemade chocolate cake, (that I did ask for). It was special and heartening. I pray that the Lord would not give up on me, and my selfish desires. It makes me want to sing that song, “He’s still working on me…” I only wish I had let him perform some of this work years ago, so I wouldn’t be so far behind the curve.