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On the Side - April 2014

When More Than Your Brakes Need a Repair
by Carol Shrader

My 8-year-old sighed when she came home from playing with her friends to find her Daddy back at the hospital.  “Why can’t these parents keep their kids from hurting themselves, Mom?” she asked.

And I sighed.

It was right about this same age that the triplets tottered on the edge of losing all sense of compassion...

- - -

Driving across country, we were shocked when the vehicle in front of us swerved off the road and flipped over. My husband pulled over as I dialed 9-1-1. He ran to the car to offer assistance. I hung up the phone to hear my children crying in the back of the mini-van.

“We are ok", I assured them, "And Daddy is helping these people to make sure they are ok, too.”

“But Mommy,” My Benjamin wailed, “It is his day off!”

Oh.

They were not crying because they were scared for themselves – or even for the people in the car in front of us – they were crying because they assumed this accident meant Daddy would have to leave us and go to work.

At three, the triplets would stop and pray every time we walked through the hospital and passed a patient on a gurney being rolled to one test or another. And that sweet little caring spirit lasted right up until they started equating sick people with an absence of their favorite person – Daddy.

Growing up in a house with an orthopedic surgeon for a Dad (or any physician for that matter) can affect our precious children’s ability to maintain compassion.

Oh dear ones, isn’t it the same with us? We can become calloused to the needs around us when we become so wrapped up in our own needs being met.

- - -

Even as I sat down to re-direct Cate’s disappointment that Daddy was at work, I was hearing the quiet whisper in my heart that God did not want me to miss: “Carol, how often are you hardened to other’s needs because you are so wrapped up in your own?”

Truth be told, I had been grumbling in my heart not five minutes before Cate voiced her grumble. The brakes needed to be checked on my van and I was waiting on Wade to take it in. I didn’t want to do it myself. I wanted to be “taken care of.” I wanted my man to take care of the manly stuff involved in driving a car. I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want to.

Oh, I know the apples didn’t fall far from the tree.

With the sigh of conviction, I sat down with my daughter to explain how grateful we should be that Daddy can help when people hurt themselves. I reminded her – as I did her siblings before her – that Daddy’s calling to be a surgeon is God’s calling on all of our lives, too. And we get to choose whether to be grumbly and harsh about it, or whether to be compassionate and grateful.

“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NIV)

Because, we do have that choice. We get to decide how we frame it for not only our children, but for ourselves – and our men.

I took my van to have the brakes replaced. My husband was so relieved. He had been worrying about me driving around and the fact that his schedule was not allowing him to take the van in was causing him stress. My stubborn desire to be taken care of was causing my guy stress.

Oh my precious dear ones, don’t do what I was doing. Refocus your heart to meet your husband’s needs – even if that means laying down your selfish will. The world tells us to do whatever we need to do to feel good, to enjoy life and to feel fulfilled.

Scripture says something completely different.

“A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it. Never spiteful, she treats him generously all her life long.” Proverbs 31:10-12 (The Message)

We want to be shining stars in this universe so often ruled by fleshly desires. We want to be worth more than diamonds. We want to live a life that is never ever spiteful.

And we want to lead our children in that same path.

By keeping our eyes and hearts focused on God and His word, we can stop being so focused on our own desires, wants, and perceived needs. By focusing on God, we can be the Godly women our husbands need us to be.

“Two are better than one…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 4:9-10

I am praying for you this month. Shine on.

Blessings, Carol

Carol Shrader lives with her dear Pediatric Orthopod, Wade, and their four amazing kiddos in Phoenix, Arizona. Her brakes work perfectly but she may need to have the oil changed next week!