Good or bad, I am a classic people pleaser. I want everything to run smoothly and happily. I want everyone to love Jesus, each other, and be sweet.
I was the first one to marry into the Langley family. I fell in love, not only with Bill, but also his family. I wanted everything to be perfect the first time Bill’s mother, whom everyone referred to as Mama Lou, came to stay with us in our little seminary apartment in Fort Worth, Texas. I had cleaned the apartment and prepared a nice dinner for the occasion.
Our little triplex was at the very edge of where seminary property ended. Across the street from us was a house that was always a little worrisome. We have no idea who really lived there, but the thing I do know is they never used the front door to come and go. There was an unusually large window on the same side of the street that faced our front door and bedroom window. There were countless guys coming and going out of that window day and night for all the years we lived there. They didn’t speak English but seemed friendly enough.
We never mentioned this bit of information to Mama Lou as we thought she might worry. She lived in a place where people just didn’t come in and out of windows. I knew this was one thing I had no control over when she came to visit. I just hoped they wouldn’t be using the window as a urinal during her stay at 2608 West Bolt Street.
The great thing about Mama Lou is that if she did notice this and felt worried, she never told us. I can remember that this meant a great deal to me. She is a gracious, positive and loving person … one of my greatest role models. There is no telling how many young men lived in that property over the years. We were friendly and we tried to show the love of Christ. They were always very nice and respectful (well, as respectful as one can be going in and out of windows all hours of the day and night and occasionally using the window for a urinal).
It’s funny to look back and think how tiny our place was. I can remember when we ate at the four top drop-leaf table that belonged to Bill’s grandparents; I could refill everyone’s glasses during dinner without even getting up. You forgot the butter, “no worries, let me just lean over this way and get it from the fridge … no don’t get up. I’ve got it!”
We all three sat in our living room after dinner and had a nice visit. My Dad used to say when we hadn’t seen each other in a while and were sitting around before conversation began, “Well, tell off something.” So, in step with my dad, we were each ‘telling off something.’
At one point, I interjected how tired I was after a busy week in school and work. After saying that, Mama Lou said to me, “You better get your iron up!” I looked at her hoping for more information but that was it. So when my new Southern mother-in-law told me to get my iron up, brother, I got my iron up! I obediently, without question, smiled and nodded my head. I jumped up and went back into our room where I proceeded to drag the ironing board and iron into the living room and set it up. While noticing my sudden activity, but not diverting from their conversation, Bill and Mama Lou kept on pace with what they were saying, never asking me what in the world I was doing so urgently.
After I got everything ready I said; “Ok Mama Lou, here’s your iron all set up, heated up and ready to go.” She and Bill both looked at me in silence until Mama Lou laughing said, “Oh, honey, I was talking about the iron in your body since you are so tired! You need to get your iron up!” It never even entered my mind that I wasn’t doing the exact right thing for the moment.
Have you ever read your children the Amelia Bedelia books? Let me summarize for you. It’s the story of a girl who took everything said as literal. (I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this.) It’s pretty easy to pull the wool over my eyes, as they say. I most likely will believe you if you tell me something. Through the years I try to stay ahead of this but in spite of my best efforts, I am pretty gullible. My children regularly and creatively find great pleasure in this.
This time last year my family was beginning our Disneyworld vacation and all was well with the world. We were healthy and stable. This year our daughter Rachel and family are with us in Kentucky while in route moving from DC, closing down one ministry and to OKC, beginning a new chapter of life and ministry. It’s been a tough and emotional year for them. Lance on the other hand, is chilling out arriving home from a 2 week trip abroad to Thailand…somebody has to be the relief man, and that’s Lance.
As for me, I have had the most physically challenging time of my life! I had ACL knee replacement surgery October 26, 2017- that, my friends, is no walk in the park! I’ve struggled terribly getting my knee back to shape. In December I got the mega flu, I coughed my way through the holidays. Just when I thought there might be hope of recovery I got a second wave followed by pneumonia. So on this 6th day of February, I most desperately need to get my iron up! I got up today and felt a bit better so I cleaned the kitchen, rewashed the clothes in the washer, started gathering up all the plunder that accumulates after months of sickness. Today I did manage to take a shower, wash my hair and actually apply makeup, which does wonders for your spirit. I am determined to slowly but surely get that iron up.
I know I am not alone as so many, like me, have been very sick. How about we do this together, let’s get our iron up in every possible way —whatever it looks like for your life. Get up, take a shower, put on real clothes and read your Bible…it’s amazing how much better you’ll feel.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have prefect peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer (take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted)! For I have overcome the world. (I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.)”- John 16:33
Psalm 105:4 “Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always.”
*revised from blog Jan. 2016