Well, sooner than I would have liked, my positive attitude challenge was put to the test! Yesterday I worked on making covers for my plain notebooks to “pretty” them up for the ladies in my ladies’ Bible class. I posted this picture to facebook announcing my excitement about teaching class.
So, I packed up my pretty little notebooks, my Bible, my class book (We are studying Churches in the Shape of Scripture by Dan Chambers. It is a great study and I hope you will look into it!) and a pack of new pens and headed off to Bible study filled with anticipation of how fun Bible class would be and how everyone would love their notebooks.
Upon arrival to Ilkuirei Kanisa la Kristo promptly at 5 minutes til 4:00pm, (services start at 4) my family, the preacher Ayubu, and a 6 year old girl were the only ones there. I kept the hope alive that others were only late having just gotten off of work and walking was taking some time. I hopped out of the car to unload my prized Bible class items. Because we have 2 baby boys we also have a big church bag that we take to help occupy them during tough parts of service. During the ultra bumpy car ride up to the building that bag had fallen onto my class bag and Levi’s sippy cup had spilled water all over my notebooks. I was immediately frustrated. I searched for someone to blame. (afterall, it wasn’t MY fault so someone had to suffer, right?) I said to Daniel, “Well, they’re ruined. YOU put the diaper bag on my bag and Levi’s cup leaked all over them.” What a shameful attitude to have! My brain was already spinning in realization that this was a bad attitude to have, but for some reason that information hadn’t made it to my mouth yet… He replied while looking at them, “Well, they don’t look too bad. Maybe you can still use some.” Appalled that I would give someone a notebook with a water stained cover I smartly replied, “They’re RUINED. (in slow motion as if he were not understanding the English language) I cannot use them. Forget it. Let’s just go in.” By now, I KNEW my attitude was wrong and I just needed to leave the situation behind and move on. I would suck it up and apologize later.
Behold…the ruined and beloved ladies class notebooks…
However, the crazy downward spiral was already set in motion. Upon walking into the building I mentally decided that class was a wash and everything was ruined anyway. The flicker of hope was dying. I tried to revive a little by mentally reminding myself to play the glad game and thinking about how sweet it was that Joyce was at Bible class all alone. That is such a testament to her character. I got up and greeted her and handed her a handful of pipi. (Pipi is candy in swahili.) She was grateful and my attitude began to improve. I sat down and waited for more women to arrive, a translator, and class to begin. At 15 minutes after 4 I knew I would not have a translator therefore I would not be having class. That’s okay. I will play the glad game. At least I could be glad that I had class ready for next time and now I have time to make more notebook covers! Everything would be okay.
The next second I realized that if I didn’t have a translator then there may not be one for Ayubu to translate his lesson to English for us. I was unsure if we were having services at all by this time since it was my family, the preacher and one little girl. In the next few minutes a mama and her children and 2 other men came in. I was happy that people were coming to class no matter how late. Then I realized that Daniel would have to teach class because no one could translate for Ayubu but Ayubu could translate for Daniel. I had gone from teaching class to having both boys in class alone. Sigh. That’s okay. I will play the glad game. I am always glad to hear Daniel teach. He is a wonderful student of the word and has much knowledge to impart. It would be a good class and I was sure I would catch a word or two now and then.
Ayubu started worship with singing. I continued a pleasant attitude being glad that I could hear and participate in the beautiful swahili singing. As Daniel began teaching class, I was holding Levi and Josiah was sitting in a chair beside me coloring. Things were going pretty good for the first 10 minutes or so. I had just decided to be “glad” that they were being so good when Josiah got upset about something (I’m still not sure what happened.) and threw his book, got up and ran to the other side of the building (It’s a very small building but still…) and had his angry face on in full force. Josiah is like his mama. He is sweet and spicy. You never know which you will get and how long it may last. I promptly handed Levi to Abby and walked to pick up Josiah and take him outside to be disciplined. Even now I mentally thought, “I’m glad he didn’t run when I walked to get him.” I was still trying. Upon bringing him back in I struggled with the boys for the rest of class. We made it through and I was glad we had gone.
I have recently been suffering from an amoeba that has laid cysts in me. (oh joy!) I am having a difficult time getting rid of said amoeba and after Bible class I was not feeling well at all. That’s okay, I thought. I’m glad I was feeling well enough to come. We proceeded to drive home so that I could fix supper. I was very proud of myself at this point for having kept a good attitude (with one slip up on poor Daniel) throughout the evening. However, Satan wasn’t through with me yet. He was sure he could break my glad game! As I was boiling the water for the spaghetti I decided to swap eyes (one cooks way better than the rest) and put the boiling water on another eye. I watched in slow motion as the water jumped in a tsunami wave toward my unprotected arm. I dropped the pot and ran toward the sink. As I ran tepid water over my burned arm I thought about how much it would hinder all that I needed to get finished this weekend. As I began to get frustrated I glanced at the sink FULL of dishes and decided to be glad that now I had a valid reason not to wash them!
So, for now, I have WON Satan! You did not steal my joy today, although you did give me a run for my money! Daniel lovingly wrapped my arm, finished supper, and put the boys in bed. Tomorrow is another day filled with more challenges and more opportunities for me to deny Satan the enjoyment of undue anger in my life. I won’t go so far as to say “bring it on” but I will leave you with the very wise words of James 1:2-4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”