Sunday, July 13, 2008

Refining the Fire in me.

This past week, I have to confess that I was mean. Really mean. And what's worse is that I tried to use PMS as a valid excuse for my bad behavior.

I am ridiculous.

I was mean for no reason....

especially to the man I love. I couldn't nail down why, either. Nearest target, maybe...

Bethany Dillon wrote on her blog a few months ago about a time when she was mean to her fiance, Shane Barnard:

"Now, this is gonna be pretty transparent, but I think you guys can handle it. :) Last night, I was sitting in the back lounge of our bus, about to leave Yorba Linda Friends church for Roseville, talking to my wonderful fiancee on the phone... I'd had SUCH a good day... the Lord had really been speaking to me about my fallenness and how much I am NOT selfless or truly compassionate... which may not sound like the ingredients for a good day, but it was. His discipline is like nothing else, let me tell ya. Soo... I'm all in my "spiritual-mode", if you know what I mean- asking about his day, trying to be encouraging and a good listener, sharing about my day-- all good, good, good, until....... Hello, Miss Attitude! Out of the clear blue sky (whoda thunk?), something very very very small rubbed me juuust wrong and that was it. I was ticked. Why? I'm not exactly sure. I mean, I remember what the catalyst was... but it's not even big enough to mention. And the worst part? I KNEW that I was being a jerk, and didn't do anything about it! And wouldn't you know it, as soon as sweet, sweet Shane got off the phone (I'm in awe of how gentle he is in the face of my crappiness) I wanted to call him right back and apologize until I got blue in the face. Instead, I texted him. :) Something really restrained, you know? Restrained in that... my HEART wanted to really repent, but my flesh still wasn't letting me."

I am also in awe of how gentle Seth was in the midst of my wretchedness toward him and the world. It was like I was trying to pick a fight, but Seth refused to let me. He told me the truth and asked me to believe and trust God and him. All week my passive-aggressive behavior continued, but Seth was just like Jesus--not letting me believe the lies, but not telling me what an idiot I was. He struck this amazing balance with me that was evidence to me of the continual growth of the fruit of the Spirit in his life (and my obvious lack of the pursuit of the fruit in my own life this week--ouch). He was patient with me, when I wasn't being at all patient with him. Instead of smarting off or telling me where to "shove it" he showed me something:

this is what makes me more like Jesus.

Seth calling it out for what it was allowed me to recognize my sinful behavior but not feel condemned for it. His gentleness helped me experience the love of Christ more than if he would have yelled or screamed or been angry with me. The refining fire of unconditional love is more power than the fury of anger.

God knows this. It's His love that brings out the impurities. His wrath is there too, but the love is what draws us to change. The love and patience Seth showed to me when I deserved it the least made me want to be a better woman. A woman deserving of such patience and love.

Isn't it the same with Jesus? I think so. Doesn't the fire of His love make the impurities come to the surface? His gentle truth makes me want to be a better woman. I wish I could get my mind around it to write a more eloquent description of the love that makes us desire to be better.

His love makes me want to be and to love just like Him.