Edric and I have been speaking at events a lot this past week. By the end of this week, we will have spoken at five. That’s a lot for me, especially since I prefer to be behind the scenes and not on stage. But when Edric asks me to tag-team with him, I do so because it is a privilege to minister for the Lord and second, Edric is my “boss” so I follow his leading on these things.
Our simple agreement is that he will inform me ahead of time so I can shuffle around my own commitments and prepare. I am not as comfortable about public speaking as Edric is. This is his area of gifting. Although Edric does due diligence in his preparation, I feel like I have to go the extra mile to prepare myself spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. I am desperately dependent on the Lord to empower me.
Well, this past week, Edric sprung unexpected speaking engagements on me and I found myself annoyed. Instead of just three speaking engagements, he included me in two others. I wasn’t happy about it. I found myself grumbling inside, not thrilled to be doing ministry, and aggravated that I had to be flexible with MY schedule. But, the Lord reminded me that I am Edric’s helpmate so I ought to see it as a privilege to minister along side him, especially when he specifically requests me to. So, I moved some appointments around to accommodate his needs and that made him very pleased.
I passed that test, then came the next one…
Tuesday afternoon, he asked me to be ready by 12:30 pm so we could make it to a seminar he was going to give (which he invited me to share my testimony in, too). I was meeting with good friends over brunch so I lingered for a while longer with them. After all, my makeup was done and I just had to throw on my outfit, put on heels and I was good to go.
When Edric got home, he saw me chatting with my friends at the table and he walked off to the bedroom with hardly a greeting. I excused myself from the table, told my friends I had to get ready but they did not have to rush off, and I followed him. He asked where his lunch was, why it was not on the table, and why I had not yet ended my meeting. His tone was agitated.
I did not understand why he was being so reactive. Lunch was ready for him in the kitchen, my friends were about to go, and I could be out the door in 5 minutes. He felt disrespected that I had not followed exactly what he wanted. The issue didn’t have to do so much with my friends being around as it had to do with me not managing his expectations and prioritizing his needs.
My temptation was to get angry. I was bothered by his attitude because, in the first place, he had asked me to speak with him at the last minute. And I had other commitments that day. One of the commitments I had moved to prioritize him. I even cooked lunch for him earlier in the morning and laid it all out on a plate but he didn’t seem to appreciate that.
While I processed my thoughts quietly, I felt hurt. I felt hurt that he was so abrasive about something that didn’t even seem like a big deal. In fact, I thought he was being petty, picky, and slightly ridiculous. At this point, there was no time to go into a discussion because we had to get out of the house to make it to Rockwell.
Instead of getting all fired up, I prayed in the car but I did not talk much. He could sense that I was not okay. In fact, he actually apologized right before he was about to give his seminar. Edric said something like, “We have to be a team as we go up there or God cannot use us. Will you forgive me for my attitude?” Of course I forgave him and I thought that was the end of it.
But that evening, Edric felt like we had to resolve what happened so he insisted that we talk about the incident again. Actually, he was waiting for me to apologize. My thinking was, what am I going to apologize for? I didn’t do anything wrong.
I explained to him that I thought he had been overreactive. He admitted that he had not been spirit-filled. But, in the attempt to make me understand where he was coming from, he used my dad as an example. I couldn’t believe it! Early on in our marriage, he and I had agreed not to use each other’s parents as a point of comparison. Sure, he was using my dad and not his, but still.
Second, the truth is my dad is very even keeled and he doesn’t sweat the small stuff. So he wouldn’t have reacted the same way that Edric did. When Edric trailed on, “Imagine if dad came home and he wanted to talk to mom and she was busy entertaining guests and didn’t seem ready to take care of him…”
As he continued, my irritation grew and I replied, “You know what, I wouldn’t use dad as an example because he doesn’t react to those things. You are going to loose this argument. And I thought we agreed we wouldn’t use comparisons like this when there is an issue between us.” I felt like he was excusing his behavior and trying to make me agree with him by putting my dad in the same scenario.
After I spit that out, I regretted it. Edric was the one who felt hurt, he cut off our discussion and said, “Fine, I was wrong and I have the problem. Goodnight.”
I tried to finish our conversation properly but he just wanted to go to bed and end it. So fine. That was it for the evening. I watched a very cheesy Disney movie called Prom all by myself. I felt like a loser. And I prayed again, this time expressing my exasperation to the Lord.
The next morning, Edric and I woke up to run. I spent most of the time praying while I ran beside him which is what I usually do when we run. As I went through the list of things to pray for — family, ministry, business, MARRIAGE — the conviction to apologize became very strong. As I prayed, I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened the day before.
Edric’s point was that I had not respected him. And it really didn’t matter if I had not intended to. The point is, he felt disrespected because I did not prioritize his needs at 12:30 pm, when he came home, like he had asked me to and expected me to. But…What about Edric’s attitude? What about how hurt I felt?
The Lord comforted me. Forget about trying to make this a fairness thing. You do these things to please me, don’t make your obedience dependent on Edric again.
Okay, okay. You are right, Lord. I need to humble myself and say sorry because that is what you want me to do.
At the end of our run, as we were cooling down, I turned to Edric and said, “Will you forgive me for yesterday? I was wrong. I should’ve prioritized you and been more respectful. I am sorry.”
Edric smiled and readily forgave me. All was well again…We walked back to our home with our intimacy and communication restored.
As a helpmate, helper, life-giver, supporter, companion to Edric, my role is constantly under testing. But I am thankful that my strong supporter is the Lord, who peels away the layers of wrong in my life to reveal to me the kind of woman he wants me to be — the kind that delights him, and in the process, delights my husband. But I can never be this kind of woman apart from his enabling. And the reality is he uses Edric to refine my character. God does not want me to get complacent or content with my standard of what is acceptable in a wife. Instead he wants me to keep pursuing his standard, which is always higher and better than my own, for the greater good of my person, my marriage and for the sake of his glory.
“Let Your hand be ready to help me, For I have chosen Your precepts.” (Psalms 119:173 NASB)
“…Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5 NASB)