There’s the Rub

Proverbs 25:28 “Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.“

Proverbs 10:30 “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty and he who rules his spirit then he who takes a city.”

Do you see the common phrase in both of these passages of scripture? “Rules his spirit.“ This is Heavenly Dad’s elbow into my side. I am reading through Proverbs, so one Proverbs is understandable. The second proverb came in the book Power of a Praying Wife. Again, a certain chapter on a certain day, in a book that I picked up randomly, with the exact phrase from the portion of the Bible I am in when I am just reading through the Bible. What are the chances? Only God…and his elbows.

This week was Father’s Day. I did a post in Facebook thanking the men in my life. This included my dad, Kristian-my son-in-law, Eric, and referencing Archie, as his presence will always be part of my life.

In it I referenced how Archie crammed 21 years of life into Taylor. I challenged her not to grieve what she is missing but to celebrate that she had him. There’s the rub. I need to practice what I preach.

I’ve only known Eric for a little less than two years, so I have to leave him out of this. Archie was the best dad I’ve ever known. It’s probably because I got a front row seat of his parenting style for 21 years. I sat beside the coach and watched the way he affected his player, or players, when we fostered.

I know how much he thought about, sacrificed for, and worked hard to provide for Taylor to succeed AND fail, to learn for herself. Anyone that knew him knows he was not an enabler. Taylor won big or lost but always had a soft place to land when she fell. We were her practice ground for the real world: safe. It was OK to fail, because she was always loved.

There are a couple of men that I greatly respect and their parenting styles align closely with his. There are more relationships between fathers and children that I see lacking in that connection, for whatever reason.

Now that Arch is gone, Father’s Day always seems to have a tinge of grief for those relationships. I grieve for those people because I know Taylor and Archie had that wonderful relationship, and it had to stop by neither of their choosing. I grieve because of these other relationships that both parties are still here but there is not the sacrifice or effort. It makes my heart so heavy, it hurts.

I celebrated Eric yesterday but by the end of the day the heaviness had stolen my smile. I shared with him why, and as I was saying the words my challenge to Taylor on Facebook started screaming, “Hypocrite!”

I choked back half a laugh as I shared this with Eric and he grinned. It was then I had my topic for this blog. That, of course, is only half of the equation. A topic needs content.

This morning in my time with Heavenly Dad, “Rule your spirit,” was a reminder for me to get it together. I choose what I dwell on. I can’t help what pops into my head, but I decide how long I let it tumble around in there. I set the time limit for focus. I know when I’m wallowing. I choose to continue wallowing or I choose to think about something else.

Freebe: I have learned thinking about cookies, M&Ms, or skittles are not good options.

Choosing to celebrate and what that looks like is also a choice. Celebration can be as elaborate as hosting guests and friends to reminisce about the good memories. It can be as simple as allowing 10 to 15 minutes to think about/on happy memories. Past accomplishments are proof that over the course of time we have built muscle.

“My strength comes from the Lord,” says that many are stronger than they even realize. If we try and remember it’s not up to us to have the muscle, it’s up to God to carry it for us, anything is possible.

For me, I confess, it’s easy to play the victim. It’s easier to give excuses as to why I can’t than make the effort to “can and will.” But that’s just me and the Heavenly elbow was reminding me to knock it off and stop focusing on the negative. I have a Dad to apologize to for my haughty expectations over the years, a step-dad to thank for being in my life, a son-in-law whom I love and was blessed to help celebrate his first father’s Day, and Eric to celebrate that God gifted him with two amazing kids. I am blessed!

The pity party was over. Until next time: Blessings!


Author: Tracy Cook

Widowed one week before our 27th wedding anniversary, Heavenly Dad continues to carry me, now blessing me with a second chance for love.

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