Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Broken Word

A week and a half ago, Eric told me we were getting a dog. Not just any dog, but the sister of a friend's dog who is absolutely what we've been looking for for several years. The owner was making a trip up from out of state and would be selling us this dog.

Eric and I were like kids waiting. We were so excited.

My husband and I have been parents for 10 years. We, like most parents, have found that when you mention an upcoming event to a child, that is all you hear about until the event comes to pass. With one child doing it, it's enough to make you want to scream. We have seven children. That would pretty much put us on the fast track to the R-wing. So, in order to spare ourselves that torture, we decided not to tell the children about our new pet, but just wait to surprise them when she came.

That turned out to be a wise decision. Because, at the last minute, the owner's girlfriend decided she couldn't part with the dog.

So, what our kids didn't know couldn't result in tears - from them, anyway. I shed tears and Eric looked like he wanted to. I've honestly not seen my husband look that sad in quite some time.

For those of you who don't know me, this kind of thing doesn't set well with me. I'm not the type to say "Oh, ok, whatever" and go happily on my way. I'm more the type to say:

"WHAT?! How could she do that? When did they plan on telling us this? For all they know, we've already told the kids and now their little hearts are broken! Let me tell you, if that were the case, I'd be taking our six crying children over to her so she could explain why they can't have their dog!!! That is RUDE. That is so NOT RIGHT!!!!"

Yep, that's more my style.

As a Christian almost constantly surrounded by other Christians trying to live according to God's ways, I rarely have to deal with people who do not keep their word. So, this is pretty much a first for me. As a woman who has a tendency to like being in control of things, this was a shock to my system, but a good reminder that not everything can go my way.

Here are some thoughts I had as a result of all this:

1. I will be honest and tell you that I did think being nice gets you no where. If I could just follow my (sinful) nature, I could put up a fight and we'd probably have a dog. The nice people get walked on. At least, that's what it feels like sometimes. But, then I realized, that's not true. In being nice, we keep a spotless and blameless reputation and allow God to shine. We may not get what we want all the time, but, we can have peace knowing that God is pleased in our dealings with others. What could I want more than to have the Lord be pleased with me?

2. I realized, again, how a woman can tear down a man's reputation. The owner of the dog is a guy who normally keeps his word. However, his girlfriend manipulated him with her feelings causing him to go back on a promise. (Never mind the fact that they still have three dogs back home.) His reputation has been damaged. He didn't want to break his promise to us, but, he was afraid to upset her. We, as wives, need to be careful not to manipulate our men. We may get what we want, but at what cost to his reputation or place of leadership as a man?

3. Woe to the man who marries such a woman.

4. I need to learn to deal with disappointment. I was sad and I don't think that's a sin. But, I was angry. I think I may be growing, though, as in the midst of it, I realized I could become bitter about this whole thing and I asked God to help me with that. I have to give Him control of my heart, thoughts, and emotions.

5. I am grateful for the Christian brethren who, though human, try their best to treat one another with kindness, respect, love, truth, and sincerity.

6. I am grateful for a husband who almost NEVER makes a promise. I can only remember one time when I heard the word "promise" come from his lips - other than our wedding. He realizes that, though he may do everything in his power to keep promise, God may have other plans. Therefore, he will say, "I'll try," "I intend," "We'll see," and the like. This character trait has earned him the reputation of a man who keeps his word and someone people can trust.

7. Most importantly, this situation made me think of how I keep my word as a mother. How often do I tell my children that we'll do something, only to make excuses for why we never got around to it? This brings sadness to my heart knowing that I am often the reason for my children's disappointment. We often say that life is full of disappointments and our children need to learn to deal with it. Yes, this is true. But, those disappointments ought to come from someplace other than their mother. I should just be the one who will help them through it. They should be able to trust mommy. I need to be careful about making promises or giving my children hopes only to dash them.

8. We know now, more than ever, that it's best never to tell our kids about something until it actually happens!!!!

Zechariah 8:16 - "These are the things that ye shall do; Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbour..."


elianna said...

I'm so sad for you! Hope something works out & another perfect dog comes along...:(:(

Janice said...

So what kind of dog are you looking for? Maybe we all can be mini-scouts for you... you never know! Thank you so much for the Anniversary Well-wishes!

heather said...

We have had disappointments along the road too, but God seems to just bless us with something better. I try not to get sad when things don't go my way, instead I try to focus on what God may have in store for us that He has yet to reveal. I know, it's easier said than done sometimes!! Some great words of wisdom in this blog, and another great reminder about telling your kids things when you are certain they are going to happen!! Keep up the great writing! I love it!