Thursday, August 12, 2010

The "BIG" tests of faith and the daily pop quizzes...

Gotta admit...I'm not feeling FABULOUS tonight.

Until tonight I would have said so far, so good in my new adventure. Things had been going smoothly in my journey toward the FABULOUS. Today, especially, was a good day.

Alyssa and I had a great time doing crafts and playing together. Later at the station I interviewed an extremely adorable panel of soon-to-be first-graders. Next week we'll air their advice for boys and girls just going into Kindergarten and what they should expect in their new educational career. It is super cute and hilarious! The afternoon show went really well; we had a blast talking with the Canadian Jeremy Tracey on the air. After work Jeremy (the American) stayed behind to get some work done while Alyssa and I enjoyed the treat of going out spur-of-the-moment for a dinner with friends during which we had a lot of fun.! 

I'm sure any pizza place full of roasting ovens would have had trouble maintaining a cool temperature with it being 185 degrees outside. And, the place we visited tonight was having a LOT of trouble. So, the four of us tried to enjoy catching up but the Mommies were "glistening" and the kiddos were tired and cranky.

Fast forward to the parking lot and Alyssa taking what seemed like hours to climb into her car seat and say goodbye to her friend (it was probably just a minute or really slow motion) and me starting to lose my cool - no pun intended.

*** Side Note - I have a real problem with getting extremely irritable when I'm hot. Am I alone in that? I don't know why but I just don't handle it well. Call me a wimp, because I am, but I don't how women made it thousands of years as wives, mothers, or simply as humans without the gift of air conditioning. Seriously, I often wonder if I would ever utter one word of kindness if I didn't hop from an air conditioned home to an air conditioned gym to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned work place. I'm afraid it wouldn't be pretty.  But that's just a little background...let's get back to this evening. ***

Realizing I'm letting the heat get to me I reminded myself not to get exasperated with my four-year-old for being a four-year-old and put a smile on my face as I walked around the car to get into the driver's seat. The drive back to the station actually found us back at fun, listening to Bob and Larry, me pretending to be Bob, or Larry, whoever Alyssa wanted to talk to her at that moment. Jeremy got in the car and we headed for home.

As in the restaurant, The A/C in the car seemed like it wasn't working (it was working, but it's so hot and humid that it didn't actually start cooling the car until about the time we turned into our driveway) and I felt like I just wanted to dive head first into a huge vat of ice water, sink to the bottom, and stay there until September. I was done. Period.

So I said, "Hey, when we get home I think I'll do some work on the computer while you and Alyssa go up for bedtime."

Jeremy said, "Oh, let's just all go up together!"

Alyssa said, "Yeah, Mommy you come up, too!"

Now, that was a reasonable request. From both of them. Jeremy usually takes care of the bedtime routine and he was tired, too. And, Alyssa was feeling clingy due to her own fatigue and irritability due to the heat. It was completely understandable that they would want bedtime to be a team effort.

So, why did I feel like exploding? I couldn't say, "No, I don't want to help put my daughter to bed." I would never want her to feel like she's a burden. So, I resorted to the parent's secret code language: spelling.

And, so did Jeremy...

"I just need a little b-r-e-a-k, you know?!" I said, trying to sound sweet.

Jeremy spelled back, "Well, I need a b-r-e-a-k, too! And, besides, I've been w-o-r-k-i-n-g all d-a-y, remember?"

"OH, so what I d-o the whole d-a-y isn't w-o-r-k?"

"You know what I m-e-a-n!"

Me, very frustrated at this point and my voice starting to show it: "F....I....N...EEEEE!"

Jeremy (all sweet and smiley) "Remember, this is another chance to be FABULOUS!"

Me, only on the inside ~ AAAAAAAAAAAH!

Me, on the outside ~ A sideways glance meant for Jeremy alone.

But, he was right. There was absolutely nothing wrong with me. No reason not to help with the nightly routine. I was just hot. That's it. Isn't that pathetic?

So, I decided to stop the spelling wars, go upstairs with my family, and try to make Alyssa's last moments of the day full of happiness instead of the rantings of a grumpy old Mama. At one point Jeremy had to remind me to be patient when Alyssa was again in slow motion gear, taking what seemed like eons to go potty and wash her hands. But he did so tactfully and kindly, and I believe our little sweetheart made it to bed with her love tank full. She's been sleeping away ever since.

And now, here I am. I've apologized to Jeremy for my childish behavior and he's accepted my apology. But, I still feel miserable. A woman striving toward making positive changes in her life...striving to follow God fiercely...shouldn't be so easily derailed by a little rising of the mercury. It's just heat! How many people are going through so much worse, many of them without (gasp) air conditioning?!

So, I'm focusing again on James, chapter one, where I'm kind of camped out right now, just reading it over and over to myself , allowing its words to sink into my soul. I promised to read the Bible every day and this is a day I really need to hold tight to that promise.

I love this section:   My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. 

First thing I noticed ~ ALL KINDS of trouble.~  The text says that we will face ALL KINDS of trouble. Maybe it will be something huge, like a terrifying diagnosis from the family doctor. Or, something small and seemingly insignificant, like an annoying struggle with irritability when I get too hot. I can berate myself for this petty struggle but it IS one of the kinds of trouble James is talking about.

Please know I am in NO WAY comparing my heat issues with something big like losing a loved one. But, it is a struggle and any struggle can threaten to take my focus away from fiercely following God!

Next thing I noticed ~ ...think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be put to the test. ~ Of course, one way to look at a silly struggle like mine as a pure joy is to realize that if this is the worst I have to face today, I am doing just fine! (So snap out of it, Jill!) And, even in the little things my faith can and will be tested. It was tested when I experienced a miscarriage six years ago and it was tested this evening when I was hot and cranky.

Funny how often I find myself acing the big tests and flunking the small pop quizzes! Do I just not see the tiny, daily battles as important? I think I need to remember that story about the frog and the slowly boiling water. He wasn't dropped into his death...he was slowly adjusted to it. Either way, it's death!

Third thing I noticed ~ You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. ~ When I'm tested in big and small ways, the strength comes to be stronger for the next test. And, if I allow God to continue working on me trouble by trouble, big and small, many or few, then I will become what I should be, which to me translates as FABULOUS for God!

So, I'm going to thank God for helping me stop the fuming when I did. Sure, I wish I'd never let the foul mood surface, but I can't change that now. What I can do is find the good in the choices I finally did make and ask God to help me make them even sooner next time.

Then I can follow the words found later in that same opening chapter of James: Everyone should be quick to listen. But they should be slow to speak. They should be slow to get angry. A man's anger doesn't produce the kind of life God wants. (Neither does a woman's!) ~ when I allow the troubles I face to shape me into what I should be, I will find things becoming slower and slower in the getting angry, cranky, and just plain irritable department. And that is FABULOUS!

I'm feeling a little better now. Amazing how a few moments spent reading the truths in the Bible can do that for a girl's mood!

How are things going as you're working to follow God fiercely? Remember, we're on this journey together, so please comment if you have an idea or just want to share something God's teaching you! Good night, FABULOUS one!


  1. Oh Jill! I relate. It seems I sweat, no pun intended the "small stuff" that shows up so much more.
    That's when God through His word or still small voice reminds me, of the joy on this journey.
    It is easy to lose that focus. I read once "Don't please yourself with thinking how you would act and submit to God in a plague, a famine, or persecution, but be intent upon the present day,and showing that true zeal in the little things of life." Of course when my husband loses his temper yet again, I think, "why me, what's wrong now?"
    For me it's wanting everything to always go smoothly, which is not likely in the real world.
    I forget that I can't possibly control every outcome, but I can with God's help through prayer, and His Word, control my attitude and reaction to things. I also want all those I love to know God.
    Hmmm, I'm not sure they can if there watching me?
    On the other hand I don't want them to think eveything is going to always, "be coming up roses" either. I don't think that's what they see when they watch me anyway. HA!
    What I pray, is that, when they see me mess up, I also can admit, and seek their forgiveness.
    That's a closer walk to fabulous for me.
    And the closer I walk with my God, I know the more fabulous I will feel.
    That's fabulous for everyone I hope. Jill thank -you for being a part of helping me get that truth. :)

  2. have hit a chord with me regarding this. I have struggled with this all my life. Unfortunately, things in my life have not always gone as I had hoped, but I am currently striving to make a change in my reaction to situations that do not go as I had hoped. I can only guess and imagine how the heat can add to certain situations, your blog is so current and on target, I am enjoying it so much. Thank you for being you. Love You! Aunt Pam

  3. Wow, thank you so much Aunt Pam. It's really good to hear from you!