Saturday, October 15, 2011

i am an arsonist and a sinner...

do you know what happens when...

 i make a post about choosing to be thankful for the hard stuff...

and

i attend a class about biblical peacemaking?

if you guessed that a huge, horrible messy fight errupted in a christian-based crafting group {of all women} that i head up, you are correct!

well, I would call it a frustrating disaster normally, but i am being taught that it is supposed to be called an opportunity to be thankful...or in peacemaking world, an opportunity for growth.

i would LOVE to tell you that i brokered peace like a champ and made everything ok, but that wasn't how it went down exactly.

it went more like ugly, ugly, ugly, fight, fight, fight, me make a mess out of trying to help.

so what's the purpose of me telling you this?  when did i set somethin aflame?  please be patient, i do have a point.

my ranting & raving to God went something like this "i do NOT have time for this stupidness!  i am way too busy homeschooling, running 2 at home businesses, working on a women's retreat, having a {thriving}marriage, preparing for a massive craft show at the end of the month, filling orders in my etsy shop, and preparing for my 7 yr old to have invasive surgery in 3 weeks!  i will not waste time on this argument between two members.  i will speak first and squash it! i will put an end to it before it progresses!  i will not be stressed out over this!"

i felt that taking my time to deal with this argument and help settle it was NOT what i should be putting my very limited time towards.  surely, God would want me to deal with it quickly and not focus on it.

wrong.  in fact, so wrong.

as the leader of our group, i felt that i should step in and "fix" it, but i decided not to take up my valuable time planning a strategy or praying for days.  after all, these are grown up christian women!  grow up, put on your big girl pants, swallow your pride and seek peace!  i just sent an email stating who had the right of it, and expected it to be settled.  i thought "now i can move on to more important things"  eh-hem, i forgot that all of My Time is actually God's Time.

and, that's not why God gave our group conflict.

Have you ever thought of conflict as something God expects us to be good stewards of?

No?  me either.  i know to try to be a good steward of my time, money, and talents...but what about being a good steward of ALL that he provides?  even conflict.

i was not a good steward.  i did not handle it properly.  i did a half-way job quick and in a hurry, and i ended up stressed out, talking about it every day with my hubby {he was not thrilled for that to be the ONLY subject on the menu for days}, stealing time from my kids to (try to) undo the damage.  i couldn't sleep, and even got my tummy all worked up.  i spent 5 times more time & energy on it than i would have had i taken the more involved approach.

that is not all it has cost.

i would love to tell you that everything worked out!  so far...not yet.  relationships were damaged.  harsh opinions exchanged.  sisters in Christ having no unity.  i know that i can not change the hearts & minds of the ladies that were involved.  however, i am praying!  and i am humbly sharing with you my failure to recognize what God said was of utmost importance to Him, UNITY.  sadly, that was far, far, down my list of priorities of important things to spend time on.

who knows what might have been if my desire had been one with God's desire?  i wanted the argument to end, but God wanted to deal with our hearts and make us ONE.

i need to tell you that today i am thankful for forgiveness!  all kinds of forgiveness.  God's forgiveness, a friend's forgiveness, a husband's forgiveness, and children's forgiveness.

not everyone in our group has forgiven each other yet.  i am praying it will happen.

i am also thankful that God would move my penpal, Stephanie to write me this encouragemet that i recieved today, just when i needed it:

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord"!  1 Corinthians 15:58 (emphasis, Stephanie :)

i know He will make beauty from the ashes. (and there are ashes, because i was so angry that i set various members crafted items on fire in my mind. and yes, i even sang about it.  think: Iko Iko: this craft girl and that craft girl, sitting close together.  this craft girl said to that craft girl "gonna set your craft on fire".  talk about hey now, hey now...)  Have i mentioned that i didn't handle this well, and that i am a sinner?

so, be thankful for forgiveness, penpals, His word, and even (gulp) conflict!  and remember to be good stewards of ALL that He gives you!

2 comments:

hannah singer said...

marie!! oh, how i have been there {maybe with the same women?;)} love your conviction on conflict. taking this to heart. also, i am jumping for joy, that you have a delightful, encouraging pen pal...praise jesus!!!
prayong for you.
love you! xo

i read proverbs 15 today re: wisdom
{the whole chapter will punch you in the gut}
Proverbs 15:33
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure
and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.

katie said...

Marie,

Oh you just have to most amazing spiritual insight and I grow every time you share!

I am sorry that this happened. Conflict can be so ugly when it is not resolved in a loving way.

I am hoping you find peace and rest in God and trust that His love for these and women and you is enough despite the stress of the situation.