Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Big Toe Lesson

This weekend found me doing two of my FAVORITE things - teaching and being taught!

Frank and I are part of the Assemblies of God, Peninsular Florida District. Every fall our district leadership sponsors a massive training weekend for pastors and church leaders. Over 1,200 gathered this year.

Our guest speaker, Robert Morris of Gateway Church in Dallas, brought powerful challenges Friday night and Saturday morning. We had an opening plenary session which highlighted five of our most outstanding ministers. (My friend, Deanna, was one of those. You go, girl!)

In addition to these services, multiple workshops covered everything from children to retirees and all ministry areas in between. It was my privilege to teach a workshop entitled, "Ministering with My Best Friend". As one who works alongside "my best friend" every day, I guess they thought I could address the subject with expertise.

So of course, Frank and I argued several times in the week leading up to me teaching! Sigh.

About what? I don't know.

Why? Who can fathom.

Did it accomplish anything? Not a thing!

But our struggle made for a great illustration that had people belly laughing as I described us "letting the sun go down" before we reconciled:

"I was right and Frank (mistakenly) thought he was right. We continued to disagree right up until bedtime. I know the Bible says don't let the sun go down on your anger. We teach marriage seminars, for heaven's sake. I know these things!

But we were both waiting for the other to come to their senses and apologize!

I climbed into bed, turned my back to him in the coldest fashion I could create and hooked my big toe on the edge of the mattress. All my dramatics had no effect because he was doing the same thing on the other side of the bed!"

You'll be relieved to know that eventually we got it worked out. And my big toe is once again contentedly rubbing the top of his foot while we drift off to sleep; as it should be.

You would think that after all these years of teaching and preaching, I wouldn't fall prey to such temptations. (Like arguing with my "best friend" just before teaching on how to work peacefully with my "best friend". Smile.)

Unfortunately, I often DO forget to keep my guard up. But when I fail, I try to repent quickly (more quickly than I did this week) and set things back in order.

Letting bitterness germinate is too expensive!

Because of God's abundant grace and Frank's forgiveness, I was able to teach freely. (It's a cardinal rule for us that we don't speak into the lives of other people if we aren't on the page with one another.)

Scores of ministry couples were represented in the workshop. We all laughed heartily, nodded knowingly, and prayed diligently that God would help us walk as truthful examples before those we're privileged to lead.

As Frank and I worked together on dinner last night, he gave me a quick little kiss. "I like 'together' much better than 'apart', don't you?" Who said it doesn't matter.

The important thing is that we both know 'together' takes effort. 'Apart' will happen naturally because all human beings are basically selfish. We also know we're committed to living 'together' instead of 'apart'. 'Together' helps us grow; 'apart' feeds immaturity. And we truly love the outcome of 'together'; so we'll keep making the effort.

That's enough to make anyone's big toe smile.

Have a great day!