Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jesus Missed Dinner Tonight

Jesus missed dinner tonight. I am really not sure what happened.  He was there for like 45 seconds while we said the Blessing and then poof, he was gone. This was a special dinner tonight. Why? Well, for one thing I had taken a shower that day, I had dried my hair, and was wearing clothes that were not comfortable…but cute. I was also trying out a new Pinterest recipe that I had slaved away on during naptime, and it was our first family dinner in over 2 weeks! I was determined to make it special and I really needed Jesus to keep me cool, calm and collected. That didn’t happen.

Hubby takes a work call within minutes of sitting down.  Our toddler sees daddy get up from the table and immediately says all done, all done, ALL DONE! He gets louder and louder and then after getting no response from mom or dad starts using his baby sign language in big waves and knocks his plate and milk onto the floor which immediately gets scarfed down by our fat dog.

Dinner was over. I was mentally done. And then I almost did the thing that we all do sometimes but never want to admit. I wanted to blame the ruined dinner on hubby. As I am cleaning up the mess in my sons lap I am eyeing my hubby out of the corner of my eye…waiting for him to hang up the phone…and deciding what I am going to say to him when he does.

Then, before I can say anything I hear hubby say “Well, daddy broke the dinner rule…I answered my phone…guess I am doing the dishes tonight”. He then somehow convinced our son to sit back in his chair and he gave him some food off of his plate. He poured me a glass of wine and said “I just want you to relax and enjoy this meal; I know it’s been a long couple weeks for you, food looks great, sorry for answering the phone”. And that was that. We had a great rest of the meal (as good as it can get while eating with a toddler).

As it turns out Jesus was at dinner that night. He is always there. Sometimes God takes a step back in order to work in our lives and other times we take a step back. On that particular night, I had taken a step back. The day had been crazy, hectic, and nothing was going as I had planned. I knew that my feelings and my emotions were going down a steep path, and having identified that, I quickly asked God for help… but I didn’t try very hard. I let my emotions get a hold of me and I was blinded by them. I didn’t see the important picture…which was that my beautiful, messy family was sitting together, gathering around the table in Jesus name to love and share a meal with one another.

Proverbs 17:9 says “He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends”. In this proverb Solomon is telling us that we need to be quick to forgive others, even in the heat of the moment. To love someone the way God has called us to love, means that we shut our mouths instead of speak our mind. This is hard to do without God’s help. When we study God’s word, have a relationship with Him, and most importantly try hard to obey God, then it is possible to cover over, forgive, and love in the heat of a difficult moment.

If someone was peering in our window observing our family dinner that night it would not have looked pretty. The dad is over in the living room talking on the phone; the mom is clearly frazzled and is cleaning up food all over her child’s lap while the dog is licking the plates on the floor. Although it doesn’t look pretty…it IS a beautiful mess and Jesus is there at the center of it. That night I took a step back. I was focused on having a ‘perfect’ dinner instead of focusing on loving God and my family.  My husband, and God working through him, picked me up that night and we continued to love and praise Jesus throughout all the mess. There have been many other nights where the roles have been in reverse and my husband has needed me to be the one who was gentle, slow to anger, humble, patient, forgiving, and loving.  That is one of the many reasons why God designed the family.

No family is perfect and as sinful human beings we all have times where we fall short from obeying God. What is important is that as a family, we recognize each other’s shortcomings and instead of pointing out the mistakes, we keep our mouth shut, and we choose to Love. “Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy.  It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking.  It is not easily angered; it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).  

God, help us to love our family the way that you love us. Help us to be there for our spouse and children when they have taken a step back. Thank you for lifting us up when we have fallen down. Help us to fill our precious time together with our families with love instead of non-important, worldly desires of perfection.  Thank you for blessing us with our families. Amen.

Have there been times when you kept your mouth shut, or did the exact opposite, when you were feeling upset with your family? What are some ways that help you obey God, despite having feelings of anger, frustration, or hurt?
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