You Should Have Waited For Me

JULY 26, 2019

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.” Ecclesiastes 7:8 (HCSB)

Pinterest ImageGlancing out of our kitchen window, anger instantly replaced the inner peace I had enjoyed following a women’s retreat. During my weekend absence, my husband had radically trimmed the lowest branches of our towering evergreen. From snowfalls to high school proms, those graceful, sheltering branches had served as the perfect backdrop for cherished family photographs.

My mind became a personal battleground as I repeated to myself, “I will NOT overreact. I WILL handle this well.” Within minutes, my mature self-talk evaporated in an outburst of tears and anger. “You knew how I felt about trimming the evergreen. You should have waited for me!”

He calmly defended his position: Mowing would be easier, and the poison ivy patch was now under control. I, however, remained frustrated that my input had been ignored, and throughout the evening, my outward attitude clearly reflected my inner anger. Eventually I adopted a “what’s done is done” approach, and I adjusted to the altered side yard view.

Months later, distinct areas of brown needles began to overtake the silvery green branches, and it became apparent that our evergreen was dying from the poison ivy spray. Fortunately, this slow decline afforded me time to discern my attitude and response. Looking back, I was confronted by my arrogance: a belief that my landscaping taste was superior, that my point of view mattered more than my husband’s, that my vision created the most beauty.

In reality, by asserting that he should have waited for me, I was questioning his judgment — implying that my plan ought to have taken priority. Pride, much like the poison ivy spray absorbed by the deeply rooted evergreen, had overtaken my perspective. This haughty attitude resulted in actions as unattractive as the dying brown boughs and threatened to create distance in my marriage.

As an isolated incident, a pride-filled squabble is unlikely to derail a relationship. However, a pattern of superiority and self-righteous pride could easily erode the most loving of marriages. Ecclesiastes 7:8 reminded me that I could choose my next response and change the outcome of our landscaping disagreement.

“The end of a matter is better than its beginning; a patient spirit is better than a proud spirit.”

No matter how poorly a disagreement or difficult confrontation begins, our initial reaction does not have to determine the outcome. When conflict arises, so does the opportunity to seek godly behavior through honest reflection, disciplined growth and ongoing prayer. Asking God to reveal any pride or selfish intentions within us can change the course of interactions, resulting in more satisfying resolutions and intact relationships.

Thankfully, quieter, more gracious discussions replaced our earlier, anger-fueled debate. Exchanging my arrogant attitude for humility allowed me to both seek and offer forgiveness. Today, a stately tree stump stands in our side yard, a constant reminder to guard my pride and to seek God’s guidance to transform difficult beginnings into peace-filled endings.

Lord, I often assume that my way is the best (or only) way. Help me adopt a new approach to conflict — one that recognizes my pride and reminds me that relationships matter more than my personal preferences. Prompt me to offer gracious and peaceful words as I interact with others, and give me courage to revisit any areas of conflict that would benefit from my humble apology. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY

Proverbs 14:3, “A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride, but the lips of the wise protect them.” (NIV)

Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” (CSB)

 

© 2019 by Beverly Pounds. All rights reserved.

The Friendships of Women

Proverbs 31 Ministries

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” Ecclesiastes 4:8-10


A study of elementary school activity recess revealed that boys and girls play differently on the playground structures. Researchers have found that girls are more likely to swing and climb to the top of the play structures and yell down at their friends who are close by on the ground. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to run around the structure or the playground.
Apparently, these findings concerned the researchers because they worry that girls aren’t using enough of the playground. Isn’t that interesting? Without any suggestion from teachers or parents, the girls place themselves in closer physical proximity to each other, thereby increasing their social contact.
Although little girls tend to disagree more than boys, their need for friendships is obvious, and at a young age, seek each other out. God designed this need in us, and friendships offer more than companionship, they also offer protection.
With Satan as our enemy, and sin as our nature, we are weakened. One of Satan’s most effective tools is isolation. He knows if we stay away from godly friends, he can start planting lies in our minds, and thereby bring us down. But with good friends to surrounds us, and affirm God’s truth in our life, we are less susceptible to attack.
Consider frost damage. In a forest, a tree is more likely to be killed by frost if it is standing alone. The same goes for plants and bushes around our homes. However, when the trees are clumped together there is a natural protection and they survive the cold.
This is a lot like people. None of us expect a difficult time to come – but we live in a fallen world and bad things happen. To a person without godly friends, a time of frost can kill them emotionally. However, when a person is surrounded by friends, they are more likely to survive.
For many of us, friendships are whipped cream on the ice cream sundae of life. They are an added bonus, but not essential. However, God thinks otherwise. In Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 we have the following words of advice: “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”
In another book of the Bible, we are advised to confess our sins to others. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Since I’m probably not going to confess my sins to someone I don’t know, this verse affirms the importance of godly friends.
As we enter a busy time of year, take time to be with friends. Plan a holiday gathering and share the things you are thankful for. Look for opportunities to include friends in your planning and preparation for the big events in the next two months. While you are getting things done, take time to share what’s going on in your life. Our time invested in friendships is time well spent. It’s in our God-designed make-up to need each other and it accomplishes God’s desire for our protection when the hard times come.
Heavenly Father, I praise You for Your almighty power and great love. I confess the times I have neglected to develop godly friends. I pray for wisdom to know how to be a better friend to those You have placed in my life. Thank you for answering our prayers and for Your faithfulness. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Additional Resources: P31 Woman Magazine
Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley 
Building an Effective Women’s Ministry by Sharon Jaynes
At the Feet of Ordinary Women by Angie Conrad, et al.
Application Steps: Identify one or two friends you haven’t seen or spoken to in a while. Plan a time to get together or talk on the phone.
Reflection Points: What are some common hindrances to maintaining strong friendships?
What character of friendship is most important to you and why?
What are some examples of how pride comes between friends?
Read John 15:13. What does to “lay down his life” mean to you?
Why does showing love often involve a sacrifice?

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Power Verses:

I John 4:11-12, “Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” (NIV)
Romans 15: 5-6, May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (NIV)
Psalm 133:1, “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity.” (NIV)
James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (NIV)
Galatians 6:2, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV)

8 Stunning Stops Along Ireland’s Ring of Kerry

You know that Ireland in general is beautiful, but what of the Ring of Kerry? A 111-mile circular route in County Kerry, it’s especially popular as a day-trip destination in the summer months. As these sights make clear, though, there’s enough there to keep you occupied for weeks on end.

Ballycarbery Castle

Credit: Bildagentur Zoonar GmbH/Shutterstock

Much of this small castle’s history is unknown, which only makes it more intriguing. In use since 1398, it was rebuilt in the 16h century, attacked by cannons during the War of the Three Kingdoms in 1652 and demolished in the early 1900s. That it now lies ruined doesn’t stop visitors from appreciating its strange beauty — or prevent cows from grazing in the surrounding grasslands.

Kerry Cliffs

Credit: Alexander Narraina/Shutterstock

More than 1,000 feet high and 400 million years old, the Kerry Cliffs are one of Ireland’s most stunning landmarks. As luck would have it, they also offer views of two other worthy sights: the Skellig Islands and Puffin Island. You can see for 30 miles in any direction, not that twitchers will need to look that far to observe the colonies of cliff birds.

Caherdaniel

Credit: Johannes Rigg/Shutterstock

A tiny village noted for its gorgeous scenery, Caherdaniel has been active in one way or another for thousands of years — nearby copper-ore mines date back to 2000 BC. You can feel that history as you walk its paths, thankful that it’s not so industrial these days.

Muckross House

Credit: Jan Miko/Shutterstock

Today it’s part of Killarney National Park, but in 1932 it was Ireland’s first National Park, period — and for good reason. Built in 1843 and stately in a way Downton Abbey fans are sure to appreciate, Muckross House has gone through several changes over the last century and a half while maintaining its pastoral beauty. There are gardens and working farms, all of it a stone’s throw away from the lovely Lakes of Killarney.

Kenmare Bay

Credit: LouieLea/Shutterstock

Kenmare Bay means “head of the sea,” a name it more than lives up to. The town itself is home to just 2,400 people but attracts more than its fair share of tourists, most of whom are drawn by the bay’s deep blue waters.

Ross Castle

Credit: Hugh O’Connor/Shutterstock

Also part of Killarney National Park is Ross Castle, which was built in the 15th century by O’Donoghue Mór. It changed hands due to events like the Second Desmond Rebellion and the Irish Confederate Wars, but remains standing after withstanding many attacks. Today it’s a popular — and, battlefield history notwithstanding, peaceful — destination for visitors.

Gap of Dunloe

Credit: Stefano Valeri/Shutterstock

This narrow mountain pass runs nearly seven miles, and like nearly everything else in the Ring of Kerry, has an even cooler Irish name: Dún Lóich, or Lóich’s Stronghold. The Gap of Dunloe separates two mountain ranges — the Purple Mountain Group in the east, MacGillycuddy’s Reeks in the west — and can be traveled on foot, horseback, or in a car. In addition to the Wishing Bridge, keep an eye out for sheep.

Skellig Islands

Credit: ghotion/Shutterstock

Skellig Michael and Little Skellig form the westernmost part of Europe (with apologies to Island), as well as one of the most beautiful. Michael, the larger of the two, is named after the archangel and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996 in large part due to the Gaelic monastery that’s resided there since as early as the 6th century. No people live there, but a variety of birds do: razorbills, puffins, gannets. Though you can’t drive to the islands on the Ring route, you can catch sight of them off the Kerry coast and opt for a day trip ferry ride to encounter them up close.

Michael Nordine is the Creative Writer at Inboxlab. A native Angeleno, he recently moved to Denver with his two cats.