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Monday, August 20, 2012

Not a happy camper (but a work in progress)

My husband and I spent part of this weekend at his parents' house.  We hadn't spent the night there yet this summer, and since school starts a week from today (yikes!!), we wanted to get a visit in.  We also hadn't broken in our new tent (from my grandparents at Christmas) and other camping gear (from my parents this summer), so we brought the tent, sleeping bags, and air mattress and set up in the back yard.

All was fine till we went to bed.  I was comfortable on the air mattress (once I added more air, because it was rather flat at first), but Joshua was not.  So we deflated the air mattress.  Joshua was comfortable, I was not; the ground was hard, dry, and bumpy--the result of a summer-long drought.  I was not a happy camper.  Literally.  So we eventually hauled the blankets, pillows and sleeping bags inside and camped out on the basement floor instead.  Where the ground was hard, but we had plenty of padding, and it was smooth.  And level.  And we slept fine and woke up happy with each other once again.

But I did not handle the discomfort well.  I did not listen to my husband well.  I complained.  And argued.  And acted like a whiny little kid.

This is not the best side of me.

By now, of course, all is forgiven, but that wasn't an isolated occasion.  So far all three of the times we've slept out in a tent together, Joshua has had to deal with me being unhappy and uncomfortable at some point. (He has graciously agreed to give me yet another chance!  I'll get there yet.)  And I act like that in other situations, too.

This morning, this passage from Philippians came to my mind:
"Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life..." Philippians 2:14-16b
Everything.  Without complaining.  Or arguing.


I goofed...once again.  Thank God (and my husband) for forgiveness.  But did you see?  That's not all law in that passage.  I realize it sounds like IF we don't complain or argue, THEN we will become blameless, pure children of God.  But that doesn't happen all by our own power!

We're children of God because God chose us in our baptisms.  However, refraining from complaining and arguing is part of what happens as a result of being his child.  Obviously we won't ever be completely perfect, but we can, by God's grace, live a life completely devoted to serving and obeying him.  We won't do it perfectly, but Jesus' sacrifice on the cross covers us, taking away all our sin, so that we can "shine like stars in the universe."  Then, as we live lives that honor and glorify God, we can "hold out the word of life," the Gospel, in witness of God's grace.

Those are a lot of good reasons for me to work on this problem of complaining and arguing.

Yet another good reason is that when I complain and argue, I'm not being obedient to or respectful of my husband.  Proverbs 21:9 has this zinger: "Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house [or a tent, in this case] with a quarrelsome wife."  Just ten verses later, verse 19: "Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife."  Ouch.  My poor husband would, at times, be better off either on the corner of the roof or in a desert, than living with me, the way I act sometimes.

God, in his mercy and grace, enables me to live most of the time in a way that pleases and honors him: loving, kind, respectful, obedient to my husband, and pleasant to live with.  The Jaimie-in-a-tent is a side of me that needs some work.  But then, I am a constant work in progress...and neither God nor my husband is going to give up on me.

Linking up to these lovely ladies, with thanks:
The Alabaster Jar; What Joy is Mine; lowercase letters; The Better Mom; Raising Arrows


  1. Well written Jaimie! Maybe next time a twin size mattress just for you ! :) Love you guys.

    1. Thanks Aunt Kathy! Yeah...or just lots of extra blankets for padding instead of the air mattress! :D


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