Just when I think I have gotten submission to Edric, I end up making some sort of silly compromise in this area that gets me into trouble!
Yesterday, my brother, Peter, and I went hunting for restaurants that were open. Given that it was Holy Week, we had several fails. But we were on a mission to find anything, something to feed the 20 people that were hanging out in his house — nieces, nephews, and adults. We were happy to discover that KFC was open. And in the parking lot, there was a man selling character balloons. Yippee! Peter and I both thought the younger children would like them. I bought a dolphin and Minnie Mouse for Titus and Tiana. And he got Dora, Strawberry Shortcake and Lighting McQueen.
We got back to his place with KFC and the balloons. As expected, the kids screamed with delight. For about fifteen minutes they were running around with their balloons, and afterwards, they kept them tied to their fingers or hands.
Naturally, when it was time to go home, the kids wanted to bring their balloons with them.
Addressing the kids, Edric said, “No. Leave them here. You can play with them when you come back.”
From across the room, I thought, Come back? These are balloons. They won’t keep their helium for much longer than a few days. Why does he have to make such an inane suggestion? What a party pooper! Why am I thinking about my wonderful husband with such criticism?!
Well, I offered my opinion on the matter. “I think they should just bring the balloons, hon.”
We didn’t have the chance to debate about the pros and cons of keeping the balloons because we were rushing to get home, so Edric didn’t insist on leaving the balloons. Yeah! That’s not really being insubordinate, right? I simply expressed my conviction in a sweet manner. He didn’t really say no afterwards.
On the way to the car, he asked me why I bought the balloons in the first place. He thought it was a waste of money and he couldn’t believe I got suckered into buying them. Okay, I was kind of suckered. They weren’t too cheap. But it was worth the smiles I saw on the kids’ faces. (To a husband who hosts a money show this was not a compelling reason. He certainly loves our children but balloons would not be his way of showing it.)
We managed to get home without the balloons blocking his rear view mirror and all was quiet until…
In the evening, our nieces and nephews came over for dinner. They brought their balloons over, too! What fun! It was going really well until Titus dragged all the balloons and they snagged on a huge, glass vase that I had on display in the living room. Without thinking, he yanked and yanked at the strings and CRASH! The vase fell and shattered. It was quite an expensive one, too.
Since I was in the bedroom, I came out to inspect what happened. I saw Titus on the verge of tears, the vase destroyed, and little kids trying to run away from the glass shards that had scattered everywhere. Thankfully, no one was injured.
After reassuring Titus that it wasn’t his fault, that it was an accident, and getting the kids out of harms way so the mess could be cleaned up, I walked the hallway back to the bedroom where I knew my judgment awaited. Oh dear. I couldn’t help but think how in trouble I would be when Edric found out what caused all the chaos. And sure enough, I received exactly what I deserved. “Hon, this wouldn’t have happened if you had obeyed me,” Edric said.
Lord, do my mistakes have to be so dramatically magnified?! Is submission this serious a command? Over balloons! Why are you so strict with me?! Waahhh.
I’ve written stories about the blessings of submission and the pitfalls of not obeying my husband, and still, here I am, a work in progress. I am reminded that God does not only transforms a person’s mindset, desires, purpose, and destiny – he is a refiner. This means he is committed to refining my character daily, in big and small ways.
After all, the standard for character is himself, not my spouse, or friends, or Hollywood (oh my), or cultural norms, or trends… He loves me too much to allow me to remain myself, to plateau, to just cruise along, to stagnate, or even digress. Nothing slips his notice and watchful gaze. So if it means using balloons and marriage as an object lesson to teach me greater obedience, well, that’s what he will do!
Psalm 66:8-10 Bless our God, O peoples, and sound His praise abroad, who keeps us in life and does not allow our feet to slip. For You have tried us, O God; You have refined us as silver is refined.