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Posts Tagged ‘anger’

Josh with Mimi and Papa

The phone rang at 11 p.m.

I always hate late-night calls.  Especially when the voice on the other end says, “Mrs. Douglass? This is Officer Brown.”

Oh no.

“I have your son here on I-95.  He wants to talk to you.”

It was nothing serious. Sigh of relief.  Josh’s truck had quit running as he and his friend Dustin were on their way to visit Josh’s grandparents.  They had been sitting on the side of the highway—at mile marker 237– for two hours before Officer Brown came to their rescue.

I called AAA and headed out for the hour drive to meet the tow-truck.  Usually you wait a long time, but this time the tow truck was fast and about to leave when I arrived.  I sent him back to Orlando to deliver Josh’s green Ranger to our mechanic.

And Josh and friend and I headed home.  They begged me to take them on to Mimi and Papa’s, but I said no.

Five miles farther north and I could turn around and head home.  We were making good time going south on I-95 till mile marker 232.  Then a tire on a semi right in front of us peeled off and slammed under my car.  I lost power immediately and coasted to the side of the road.

So I sheepishly called AAA again.  “Guess what?  I need another tow truck.”

“Sorry, Mrs. Douglass.  You are in the middle of nowhere and the only truck just headed to Orlando towing your other vehicle.  It will be two hours before we get a truck to you.”

He was right on.  For two hours we waited—from 12:30-2:30.  The night was hot and sticky.  With no power we couldn’t run the ac.  We were parked next to a swamp, and the mosquitos were merciless.  And I had failed to bring food or drinks—the boys had had nothing since 8 p.m.

Josh was miserable.  Even distraught.

I just kept laughing, which made him angry.  I kept thanking God, and he was incredulous.

“Why not laugh?” I said.  “Complaining will not change our circumstances, but laughing and thanking change my attitude.  And it will make a great story.”

Finally the tow truck arrived.  “Sorry lady.  Our insurance doesn’t allow me to carry 3 passengers.  Can someone stay here?”

Hmm, would that be one or two 16-year-old boys, or one mom?  On the side of the road, in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere?  No.

So he drove us to the next exit and left us at a closed service station.  Again I laughed, and said, “Thank You, Lord.”

I called a friend who drove the hour to pick us up.  A quick stop at a rest area with vending machines and restrooms, and we headed home.

At 5 a.m. we all went to bed.

And to this day we talk about the night we spent on I-95.  Josh  began to understand that laughing and saying “Thank You, Lord” made a bad situation not so bad.

And it has been a great story!

What about you?  When have laughter and gratitude made bad not so bad?

C2012 Judy Douglass

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This is the fifth in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on GRACE, which is the theme of the 2012 June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals.

“That’s disgraceful!”

“You are so ungrateful.”

“That behavior makes you persona non grata here.”

All of these phrases have a root of grace—or lack of it.  They mean without grace.  And they are words that any of us might have said to our prodigals, because they are true.

Yet God tells us just the opposite should be true of the words we speak.  They should be full of grace:

“…your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever.” (Psalm 45:2)

“One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.” (Proverbs 22:11)

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6)

“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17)

I am convinced that one of the most important ways we extend grace to our prodigals is through our words.

Words are powerful.  They have the potential to inflame discord and to inflict great emotional harm, or the capacity to encourage repentance and restoration, to offer healing and reconciliation.

Certainly, we must speak truth, and our prodigals often need to hear some hard truths.  But God’s Word reminds us how we deliver those words:

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”  ( Ephesians 4:15)

Easy?  No.  Our frustration prompts negative words.  Their disrespect elicits a raised voice.  Anger arouses emotions.  Conflict escalates.

How?  How do we speak truth in love.  How do we make sure our words are seasoned with grace?

Some practical thoughts:

Count to 10 before you speak.

Speak slowly, calmly, gently and firmly.

Think:  Will these words throw oil or water on the fire?

Consider:  Would you like someone to speak such words, in that tone of voice, to you?

Recognize:  The words you speak today can be part of your relationship with your prodigal for all the years to come.

Realize:  Your tone of voice can turn neutral words into destructive words.

Remember:  You love this person.

And most of all, stop to pray before you speak.  Make sure you are filled with the Spirit.  Ask Him to govern your tongue, to release His love into your heart.  Choose to be an instrument of God’s grace.

Gracious words may or may not lessen the carnage in the immediate “conversation,” though they should help.  But over time words filled with grace will eliminate the fuel that feeds what often becomes an inferno.  Return, reconciliation, restoration will occur more easily when the words we have spoken have not done irreparable harm, when grace has prevailed.

Love speaks grace.   So should we.

What about you?  Do you need to add more grace seasoning to your words?

c2012 Judy Douglass

If you would like more information, to request prayer for a prodigal, or to join our full-of-grace community, please write to prayerforprodigalsatgmaildotcom with your questions or names, or for an invitation.

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This is another in a series of letters to those who have prodigals in their lives.  This is part 3 of the REST theme for this year’s Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals on June 2.

Dear Lover of Prodigals,

Sin is exhausting.

Yes, your prodigal is probably exhausted from all his/her sinning.  But I’m talking about my sin, your sin.

As we struggle through this journey, almost anyone would grant us grace for occasionally raising our voices, responding in anger, saying stupid things, making wussy decisions or coming down too hard.

Sometimes we sin in those responses, and that can weary us. And yes, God gives grace.

Other potential sins go deeper:

Fear.  Fear for the safety, future, life of our loved one.  Fear that nothing will work, he will never change.  Fear that we will have to live with this pain for the rest of our lives.

Anger. Anger at her for making these terrible choices and not thinking.  Anger at ourselves for not doing a better of job of influencing, teaching, loving (at least, that’s what we think).  Anger at God for letting this happen to us.

Not trusting God. How can I believe He is in control.  That He loves me and my prodigal when He allows all this pain.  That He can bring good from this mess.

God says it is sin when we continue to live this way day after day, and this sin will truly exhaust us.  It will drain the energy right out of us.

But God also says we don’t have to live this way.  He offers mercy, grace and REST.

David wrote in Psalm 32 some wonderful words of hope and rest:

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no   deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

And God tells us that there is rest in repentance:“In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength… (Isaiah 30:15)

I strongly encourage each of us to spend some time meditating on all of Psalms 32 and 51.  We can let God speak to our hearts, point out any sin we need to deal with, repent and receive, not only mercy and forgiveness, but REST. Then we can enter with strength into the prayer battle ahead of us.

And our loved prodigals.  Pray the same things for them.  Their sins may be different—more blatant–but they are equally exhausting.  The possibilities of their returning to their senses, to you and most of all to God are much better when they find rest.

__________

Already new people are coming into our community, seeking prayer for their loved ones as we prepare for the June 2 Worldwide Day of Prayer for Prodigals.  Come to Prayer for Prodigals and pray for them, and let us know how God is working in your situation.

If you know of others who would want to join us, please have them write to us at Prayer for Prodigals for an invitation into our community and to participate in the June 2 Day of Prayer for Prodigals.

Peace and rest,  Judy

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