Jennifer, the Holy Spirit, and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Monday was one of those days. 

My daughter London lost her pet rat. Twice. Twice we ransacked the house in search.

I let the laundry sit for too long in the washer until it smelled moldy and I had to wash it again and even post-dryer it wasn’t quite right.

I spilled an entire bowl of hot tortilla soup on my head (our microwave is above the fridge) just moments after I’d cleaned the kitchen. So, I took a bath and washed my clothes and cleaned the kitchen again.

I spent an hour on the phone and never did get transferred to the person with whom I needed to speak.

I cleaned all day. All day. And when the day was done, the house was not.

I finally made time to go shopping for a summer shirt, time I’ve been hunting for weeks, and after five stores and two hours, nothing. 

I told you—one of those days. 

Here’s what was weird: As bad as the day was (and it was pretty bad) it didn’t phase me. 

I took a picture of myself with soup in my hair.

When we found the rat I cheered and scratched behind his big ears. 

During the hour it took to wash dishes, I prayed thanksgivings. I listened to good music while I folded clothes.

The phone call wasn’t fun, but I never felt impatient or angry. I re-entered my account number fourteen times and politely answered the same questions over and over. 

I texted my husband the picture of me covered in soup and he texted back, “Oh babe. :(” And I texted back: “It’s okay. :)” Because it was.

Maybe this doesn’t seem like the kind of thing to write about, but for me, it’s a big deal. Because a few years ago a day like Monday would have messed me up. I would have cried a few times. I would have yelled at my kids. I would have given up on the phone call. I would have taken a nap. And I probably would have eaten something with a lot of calories. 

But I didn’t. And do you know why? Because I’m a terrific human being.

Wait, no. Not that. Not that at all.

For a few years now I’ve been praying for God to fill me with His Spirit and grow His fruit in my heart. That means at least four times a week I ask God to grow in me “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”

And He has. 

Sometimes I hesitate to say stuff like that, to own up to the amazing work God’s doing in my heart, because I’m afraid it’ll sound braggy. But then I read stuff like this:

Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness,holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

You see, what God’s doing in me, the way He’s shaping me and teaching me, making me righteous and holy, is my testimony, and when I share it, I’m not boasting in me, I’m boasting in the Lord.

So, I say with confidence that the Lord is really good at changing hearts; I know from experience. He looks at us—foolish, weak and lowly things—and, beyond all understanding, He sees something He can work with. When he works, everything changes—attitudes, sensitivities, perspectives, priorities, moods—so that one day you look at yourself and you don’t recognize the person you see because what you see is the Spirit of God.