Prov. 12:25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
Drama. It’s not a four letter word, but it ought to be! I am beginning to loathe it in every form. With children, it takes the form of bickering; with adults, its shape changes into snide comments or the “cold shoulder”. It can be caused by hormones, or it can be caused by conflict with loved ones. Whatever its cause, I grow weary. I find myself creating drama – usually when I’m not practicing meekness or when I’m feeling particularly crazy due to hormones or stress…or both! I then kick myself (figuratively, of course. I’m not really crazy!) for having caused said drama. I do my best to repair the breach and move forward, but alas, I cannot control others.
Recently, I’ve been facing a lot of drama. There is always family drama to deal with, but most of it is mild. Then there can be church drama. Throw in the occasional financial drama. When you stir it all up together, you get one dramatic woman: ME! The past two weeks I’ve been overwhelmed with church responsibilities, family life, the thought of a new baby entering into our home (I’m thrilled, just nervous about balancing it all), homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, laundry, child training, and the list goes on and on. I didn’t even mention my walk with God, time with my husband, and time to pursue my interests! Usually, if others know I’m struggling, they seem to think that preaching me a sermon will make me better. Or, maybe if they tell me how hard they have it, I’ll suddenly say “Oh! Yes! You’re so right! You have it harder, so what am I thinking?!” (Smacking the heel of my hand on my forehead)
But, that never happens.
When a person feels overwhelmed, they just feel…overwhelmed.(I know, profound, right?) Stating your own difficult circumstances evokes sympathy from my heart for your plight, but it doesn’t relieve my own trials. Preaching me a sermon, however true it may be, does not solve my problems. When you have a heavy heart, you can’t just be “told” to change. Change has to be brought about by the Lord, and He always does it tenderly.
This past week, I posted a comment on Facebook about feeling overwhelmed. It read:
“Please, somebody tell me I can do this. This whole mother of five, homeschooling, pastor’s wife, thing.” And that’s what I wanted…someone to say “You can do it!” I received nearly a dozen encouraging comments. But the best encouragement came via a phone call.
A missionary wife, who visited us in April, but whom I’ve “known” online for a while, called me this past weekend. I wasn’t able to answer so I called her back. I wasn’t sure if she needed something, or just wanted to talk, or what. Turns out her call was regarding my Facebook post. I admit, when she first started chatting with me, I thought she might be getting ready to quote Bible verses to me and, well, preach me a sermon. She wasn’t that way at all! She offered some advice about homeschooling – and I love hearing how others’ do things. She encouraged me in my role as a Pastor’s wife, in which I feel most incapable. Basically, she said, “I know how you feel, and you can do it! Keep going! God can use you.” We laughed and shared ministerial experiences. When I hung up the phone, my heart felt…glad! Just like my verse today. I actually had more energy after the call, and got a lot of work done! My spirit was buoyed – I didn’t feel cranky or sad or overwhelmed. I felt like I could keep going. I felt like the Lord – my amazing, sinless, wonderful, majestic Savior- could use the talkative, insignificant, sinful, me.
The truth is, I have never had a ministry lady take time out to call me. I have some dear friends whom I could call right now and “unload” on, and they would listen to me and love me, but I hate doing that. I hate to bother other ladies whom I know are burdened. Of course, the Lord is always near to me, and I cry out frequently to Him, but I can’t actually see Him. Humans are nice because they are tangible. I believe this “human encouragement” is an answer to my cries to the Lord. He sent someone to come alongside and help me. He sent my stooping heart a good word.
Unfortunately, most of us can remember nearly every negative word ever spoken to us. As a young married gal, I headed out to West Virginia with my husband to be an associate pastor of a church there. I moved seven months pregnant and gave birth there. My family was 950 miles away and was unable to visit me due to caring for my ailing grandmother. I then suffered with post-partum depression. During this time, two different preachers told me that I was a terrible pastor’s wife because I wasn’t like another godly lady we all knew. I knew I was failing at my job, but I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to be better. Instead of offering loving advice or encouragement, they pointed out the obvious: that I wasn’t good enough. Their stinging words certainly made my “heart stoop” even lower.
I look back on those days thankful that I didn’t die and that I didn’t quit. I wanted to do both at different times! While I’m not nearly as low these days as I was back in West Virginia, I still get discouraged and overwhelmed from time to time. When others tell me I’m a failure, or point out my faults, it makes my heart heavy, because I already know my shortcomings (that’s why I’m discouraged)! But, as the Bible says, a good word makes the heart glad! A good word can change everything.
Mrs. Micki cheered my heart with her good words, and I shall be forever grateful.