When He Feels Like A King

(Written with permission from Edric and recently edited to remove the cynical parts that I felt were unnecessary and detracted from the main point. Ahhh, the blessings of blogging!)

Some weeks ago, I wrote an article about husbands and their cave man time. I understand that Edric needs occasions during the week to unwind and do something that refuels his “tank.” Recently, hanging out with his cousin playing NBA on a PS3 has been it. He will get together with him once a week or once every two weeks and they will go for hours and hours challenging each other. Meanwhile, I stay at home with the kids and chill with them. After they go to bed, I have my own version of cave man time — meditative silence. No one needs me, no one is clamouring for my attention. Being alone like this gives me opportunity to write, research, and read. Heaven.

As much as I have wanted to give Edric his man-space, when I found out that he and his cousin had organised a PS3, NBA tournament with a bunch of other guys, I wasn’t thrilled. I was worried that it would become something more frequent.

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The thing is, about five or so years ago, Edric had an issue with computer gaming. He had a nightly habit of using the PS3 he had to play NBA. I was worried about the example he was giving to the children and his own spiritual health. It seemed to make him edgier and more abrasive as a person, probably because he was pumped up with adrenalin and testosterone. So I actually prayed really hard that the machine would break.

A few weeks later, the PS3 had a supernatural encounter with ants. They infested the console and destroyed it. Edric tried to get it fixed two or three times by a questionable and strange genius who worked in Shoppesville, Greenhills. The guy named “Val” happened to have long nails on one hand or finger (one of those) which he probably used to unscrew bolts on all sorts of gadgets. Yet, for all his celebrated ability, the best he could do was get the console to work for 5 minutes. The fan would overheat and shut down after 5 minutes and Edric would have to re-start it. Of course, this was ridiculous…so ridiculous, Edric decided to sell it. Yeah! He knew I had prayed about his gaming and we laughed about the entire incident because it turned into a comedy. The great news was, he didn’t replace it and for years and years and computer gaming was not in his radar.

When he started playing again, not as a daily habit or in the addictive sense, but as an occasional fun activity that he can enjoy with friends, I made it into an issue. He said, “Remember you wrote about cave man time? Your reaction to playing computer games seems like a contradiction to what you said in that article.” At that moment, I wanted to delete my cave man article, and all articles he could possibly cite! He was using it against me, but I knew that he was right, too. Guys really do need their creative outlets and it’s a blessing that Edric’s happens to be something “safe.” What is playing a sports game once a week (and outside of the house) for a couple of hours if it will de-stress and energize my husband? I was being a bit irrational…maybe even hormonal.

On the day of the “big” tournament, I watched Edric as he ate his breakfast that morning, as he chatted with his friends over the phone while discussing last minute details for the tournament venue. His countenance was marked by an obvious delight and excitement. My heart started to soften.

Look at his smile, I thought. This really fills him. It’s clean fun. He’s not the kind of guy that has a vice that you need to worry about. Be happy for him. You spend time on facebook and amazon from time to time. That’s pretty useless. Okay, okay…whew, let me process this.

I decided to do the one thing that always works to calm my spirit. I prayed! “Lord, if my heart is wrong, please change it. If Edric is wrong then please convict him. I don’t want this to be a continuing source of tension between us.”

My attitude did change! It was strange. Edric said he would be done before midnight and I wished him a great time. “Bring home the trophy, babe!” I called out and meant it!

That night I enjoyed being with the kids. They all bunked in our bedroom. I actually fell asleep before some of them did…like 9:30pm. But at 2:30 am, I woke up and realized that Edric wasn’t home yet. Since I expected him to be back before midnight, I tried to call him just to check and see if he was alright. He did not answer so I figured he was still preoccupied with a game. It’s amazing that I didn’t feel like panicking. I just texted him. “Are you safe? Are you okay?” He replied, “Sorry I missed your call. Yes, don’t worry. On my last game.”

I found out that he got home at 3:45 am. And miracle of miracles, I didn’t feel like rubbing it in. He had a class to attend at 8:30 am and it was a wonder that he was able to make it. Anticipating that his fatigue would surely kick in by noon, I prepared him lunch to eat in the bedroom; turned on the AC so it would be comfortable when he arrived; and when he got home, I asked if he was alright, if there was anything I could do for him, and informed him that the room was prepared so he could rest. He looked at me like he had just had an alien encounter. “Who are you?” he asked jokingly. “Are you my wife? What did you do to her?” He couldn’t believe I was so supportive and understanding. He went on to say, “Why are you doing all this? You are treating me like a king. I like it!”

I really couldn’t understand it either. I was cheerful, sing-songy, asking him about how the tournament went like I was really interested…Why was I so supportive and understanding? It was flabbergasting. Of course, the answer was it simply wasn’t me. It was the Holy Spirit giving me a desire to take care of him and serve him. For those of you who have followed this blog, you know that service is my least favorite language of love, but it is the one thing that my husband appreciates most from me. So this was definitely not me, it was God’s grace!

I WANTED him to feel like a king. And you know what? He was the one who said, “I played too long last night. This is not sustainable. I can’t do that again. We really have to impose a time limit with the guys.” That was from the Lord, too! There must really be something to this gentle and quiet spirit that the Lord asks wives to put on! ;)

A woman in our church shared about “killing your husband with kindness.” She was married to an infidel and adulterer, but instead of harboring bitterness and anger towards him, she was an outstanding example of what it means to be a Christ-follower. As a result, her husband repented, turned his life over to the Lord, and became a pastor with a ministry that is incredibly effective.

In reference to this, Edric used the same line with me as he was sitting on the bed, drinking his warm soup. “You killed me with kindness, hon.” And we both laughed. (He really isn’t a bad husband at all so the statement didn’t exactly apply, but I knew what he meant.)

For the rest of the day, I made sure the kids didn’t disturb Edric because he needed to catch up on sleep. After he woke up, he was beaming. He couldn’t wait to spend time with me and he kept talking about how blessed he was that I took care of him.

Do I like computer games now? Nope. But I know my husband and I trust that he has his priorities in order. More importantly, I know that God holds him accountable. It is in the Lord’s department to bring about conviction.

I love the Lord and I love Edric. I want to support and respect Edric because God asks that of me, even when I don’t always like his choices. I’ve tried the vindictive route too many times, where I use angry silence, nag about what is right, withhold intimacy, or speak and act in disrespectful ways to communicate my disappointment. (Women have many weapons of mass destruction but they tend to backfire.) Truthfully, I am blessed with a wonderful, godly husband. But when I see areas that concern me, I’m learning over and over again that prayer is the best way to minister to him. Prayer is power not only to change the heart of the one I am interceding for, but the power to change me, too!

God knows I need to improve on being a gentle and quiet spirit. It’s a moment by moment challenge. One day I can write an article like this and seem like such an angel and the next day, I am the complete opposite! But such is the Christian life. I can do nothing apart from the Holy Spirit’s enabling. Prayer keeps me connected to him.

Prayer helps me to treat Edric like a king — honored and held in high regard as he should be. And let me just add that when my husband feels like a king, I get treated like a queen. It is certainly a nice bonus!

Edric and Joy Couple 2

 

Always for Us

Planning an outdoor party when it was the beginning of rainy season probably wasn’t the smartest idea but having it outside was the best way to achieve the theme my friend and I had envisioned. We team worked to come up with a carnival theme for our kids who were both turned 2. Different booths were to be set up in the yard for the kids to play games. It just wouldn’t have been the same if we had to move everything indoors.

It may sound like unimportant to the God of the universe to care about a Carnival Party. But here is how amazingly personal God is…

It had been raining the week before the party. Every afternoon, without fail, it would rain. In fact, I probably checked the weather forecast daily for that entire week and it always said, “rainy” for Saturday. So we kept praying and trusting that the Lord would keep the weather perfect for us. Well, on Thursday and Friday it rained a lot! And if that was any indication of Saturday’s weather, I was already thinking of plan B and C.

At first, I could not relax because I didn’t know where I was going to set up all the games. Indoors? Outdoors? What to do, what to do? Would it be faithless of me to transfer the games indoors? (When I don’t know exactly what I am supposed to do it can drive me nuts.) My husband, Edric, on the other hand, was strangely calm. He told me to decide the morning of Saturday. So the night before, I just prayed again and slept soundly.

I woke up at 6 am on Saturday, looked up at the sky, and saw clouds. Shucks, I thought. Is it going to rain, Lord? At the same time, I had this strong sense that God was going to come through.

My kids were out there with me ready to help out. When we looked up at the sky again, there was a beautiful rainbow on top of us. A rainbow! The boys were thrilled. “It’s a promise!” they said. “It is a promise from God that it is not going to rain! Yeah!” They were already doing the dance of joy.

Oh my, I thought. Lord for the sake of their tender faiths can you please NOT let it rain! Seeing the rainbow did give me confidence so I started putting up all the game booths. I asked God to help me to believe.

By 8 am,however, a drizzle came. “Is this a broken promise?” one of my sons asked. “No, we just have to pray” was my response.

This same son saw me taking all the stuff into the house from outside and he said, “Where is your faith, mom?” Oops…He was right! Where was my faith? I was trying to stay in control and I wasn’t trusting that God COULD make the rain stop.

God let it rain for a little bit then sent out the sun — bright and shining. By midday, it was hot! And by 3:00 pm, when the party started, God sent clouds (with no rain) to make the outdoors comfortable. It didn’t rain the rest of the day.

The kids had a blast playing the games and the adults sat peacefully inside, eating. Everything worked out as I hoped and prayed it would. But my greatest joy was knowing that God had answered our prayer with a yes. He didn’t have to. He wasn’t obligated to. And even if he had let it rain, I would have still believed that he had a better plan. But he kept the weather perfect.

In the Philippines, at the beginning of monsoon season, this was my little miracle of God’s love. My children’s faiths were strengthened as we reflected on God’s goodness as a family.

What is fair weather for a party in the grand scheme of eternity? Nothing really. But it was a sweet reminder that God cares about the little things that matter to us.

When I was much younger, I read a beautiful passage in Psalm…

You have taken account of my wanderings;
Put my tears in Your bottle.
Are they not in Your book? Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call;
This I know, that God is for me. (Psalm 56:8, 9 NASB)

When I read this passage years ago, I held on to the image of a God who “puts our every tear in a bottle” and I realized that God is not an impersonal, distant God who is unaffected by our hurt, pain, or disappointments. How we feel is important to him – what delights, moves, inspires us, or what makes us afraid, stressed, worried, sad, lonely. And while we may not always like the way he answers our prayers when his greater purpose is not immediately apparent, we can be sure of one thing: God is always for us.

Of course, on this particular occasion, I was thrilled that his answer happened to be a yes! Thank you, Lord!

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