Two days ago I was having one of those irrational, hormonal, “don’t mess with me pork chop” kind of days. For no good reason, mind you. Nothing bad happening, no drama- just a moody and unbalanced kind of day. Fortunately for the children they were all in school. Not so fortunately for my husband, he was not. Working from home has many challenges for him, not the least of which is his wife interrupting his concentration by asking questions that come to mind or trying to talk him into taking me on a lunch date (although to be fair he is pretty easy to convince on that one). At any rate, on this particular day I was not in the mood to have him home. I wanted the house all to myself because I’m almost never there without someone else. Plus, and this will make no sense to men, I can’t clean in peace knowing he’s there. But, here’s the kicker, I wasn’t even planning on cleaning. I just wanted the option to know if I decided to clean in peace, he was not going to be there to annoy my inner zen. (I already admitted to being irrational- just giving you an accurate picture of my self absorption in the moment) So, I began a not-so-subtle campaign to create motivation in him to leave. I wasn’t exactly picketing his presence, but close. I whined about how I’m never alone in the house. I reminded him he had some good errands he needed to run. I even became tearful at one point about how I can’t get on the computer because he’s always working on it. It wasn’t pretty and i even knew it was ridiculous, but felt incapable of reeling it in. Finally, as any sane person would do, he got the heck out of there.
About 4 hours later I got a text. “I have a fun surprise for you.” Curious, I thought, but fun none the less.
When I came home from picking up the kids from school, waiting on the kitchen counter was a big, red Valentine’s bag with heart tissue sticking out of it and a card resting next to it. My husband came out of the bedroom with that look of someone who knew he was about to totally delight me. And he was right. I opened the card, which was super sweet, and then pulled out a brand new Ipad and attachable keyboard. I was completely shocked. For one thing, I have never owned a piece of new technology. I always get hand-me-downs because I’m cheap like that. (Remember, I used a duct taped washing machine for a year) But also, we do not exchange gifts for Valentine’s Day normally. And certainly not one so extravagant. As he was telling me all about how he spent several hours comparing devices and talking to the sales guys about which option would fit my needs best, I was thinking, “I am a big fat jerk. I cannot believe he went out and bought me an Ipad in response to my bratty attitude this morning.” But, you know, that’s how God designed marriage to work. When I am being unlovable, my husband is supposed to mirror God’s love for me. And when he is having his “jerky” moments, I am to reflect God’s love to him.
Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. Mercy is not getting what you do deserve. I deserved my husband to be annoyed or angry with me. Perhaps to withhold his love until I at least apologized. But I got none of that. I did not deserve an overflow of extravagant love, but I got it anyway. In Christ, I receive both grace and mercy every day. I deserve punishment for my rejection of God in my self service. I don’t deserve an extravagant inheritance and blessing upon blessing. But Jesus took my punishment, so I could receive His reward. Grace and Mercy.