I don’t know how it happened, but there I was hovering over my Donna challenging her over an argument. I actually got up from my chair out of total anger and walked across the room with a threatening posture, raised my voice, a fire in my eyes and went face-to-face with her. Yes, I was standing there, all 6’ 4” 220lbs. of me, looking down at my tiny 5’ 1” beautiful wife with a hateful look and bile flowing out of my mouth. Yeah, she was mad at me. I was mad at her. There was another family member in the conversation as well and I exploded. As I did, I saw a hint of fear and confusion in her eyes. I knew immediately, I was out of control.
My Donna is MY PERSON. I only place the Lord higher than her in my reverence, after all, He brought her into my life. She’s among the smartest people I know. She’s an amazing mother. She holds fast to getting things done . . . RIGHT NOW. (Definitely not my strength.) She’s as tough and as gentle as they come. She ALWAYS speaks her mind, right in the moment. (Yeah, I sometimes feel she needs to bite her tongue a little more). She has an amazing intuition. She can read people and circumstances well. She gets to the bottom of things quickly, makes decisions and moves forward, ALWAYS. Anyone can see her love for our Lord as she shines his light to so many every day as she serves and serves and serves.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Donna is half Jewish and half Italian and she has a passion about everything that I sometimes can’t relate to. Regarding her heritage, she always jokes, “My family makes amazing spaghetti, but we just never make enough.” Donna is the backbone of my family and she helps me so much with our ministry. She agreed to be our breadwinner in 2020 as she agreed I should leave my executive professional career to spread the mission of MPACT full time. She sometimes feels stress for this role as we are nearing a time in our life where she wants to retire herself. Needless to say, she took on a big load for our calling from the Lord to do this. I couldn’t be more thankful or more in awe of who she is.
Yes, our personalities and backgrounds are very different. I like to tell people we are Texas meets Jersey, slow talking versus a rapid pace. I’m a 14-hour smoked brisket; she’s a quick stir fry. (Oh, how I do love it when she stir-fries). She can juggle 8 things at once without dropping a ball, while I have to concentrate on managing one ball without fumbling it on the goal line. The one thing about my Donna is that she always listens to me. I know that’s a challenge for her as she often tries to finish my thoughts and get me to the point. (What can I say, I’m a storyteller. Sometimes it takes a while to get to the “big reveal”.) I think we are the perfect counterbalance for each other. I don’t know if she fully comprehends how much I love her.
But here I was, bowed up to her like Hulk Hogan looking down over little Annie. As soon as she went into the bedroom and locked the door, I was crushed. Oh, how my heart hurt. (Not as much as hers) I haven’t ever had an outburst like that with her. I think I can count the major arguments we’ve had on one hand during our 9-year time together and every time we argue, even if the quarrel is small, I always hurt inside. Why did I do this? What warranted me to explode? Paul’s words of “Love your wife as Jesus loves his church”, were the first that came to my mind as I stood outside of our locked door and choked back a tear.
After a few minutes of reflection and repentance, I acknowledged my mistake. Oh, I did try one feeble attempt to justify my behavior. But as I tried to evade a little of the blame, the HOLY SPIRIT made my words of justification hard to come out of my mouth as He stuffed them back down my throat. I was TOTALLY wrong in my semi violent response. His Spirit convicted me of my fault and also reaffirmed who I truly am in Him. Now, I asked her for forgiveness for my foolishness, my temper, my outburst and my lack of control. (Oh, how I wish I would have counted to 20 beforehand and maybe even sent THE WAY OUT EMOJI that I wrote about last week.) Why do I have so much patience with everyone I come in contact with, yet I let things bottle up and explode like this on my own wife?
She accepted my apology that night. Right after, I was driving to preach a message at the CITA Rescue Mission. Oh, how Satan was trying to convince me of what kind of hypocrite I was. “How could I preach like this after what I’d just done?” My mind and heart weren’t right during that 25-minute drive. I kept reliving my mistake from just 2 hours before; how I left the house, and she still was hurt. Now I was going to preach about Jesus? I pulled into the mission. I had prepared a message abut a Christian’s identity in Christ because of the blood and resurrection, but I had no peace at all. I was about to call the chaplain and let him know I was out for the night. I prayed for clarity; but my mind was as cloudy as a Lubbock, Texas afternoon during the spring tornado season; there were severe thunderstorm cells all in my head.
As I stood up in front of the 52 men. I choked back a tear. I told the guys how I wasn’t sure what was about to come out of my mouth. I prayed for the right words. As I opened my eyes and began to speak. My words were, “Guys, I just failed my wife. I’m hurting. I didn’t love her as Jesus loves the church. I need to tell you what just happened. I’m ashamed and scared . . . “
. . . As I closed my bible after the Lord blessed me with a message on MPACT’s cornerstone bible verse, James 5:16, “Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed”, I felt a giant weight lift off my shoulders. I was holding something poisonous in my mind, shame. I had to release it. When I shared my unacceptable actions with 52 brothers who had no judgement or condemnation for me, I felt God’s grace beginning to work on the thorn in my side. Several of the men comforted me after I spoke, praying for me and Donna. As I drove home, I sat still and just listened to my Father. He assured me that I am HIS and confirmed my love for my wife and more importantly, her love for me. He assured me that, even though my actions were unwarranted and unacceptable, He still loved me. His grace manifested in my heart. My mistake is not my identity . . . JESUS IS.
I got home and sat with my Donna, and rubbed her feet while we watched a show she likes. She was still hurting. I totally understood. She didn’t really feel like talking so I sat there, rubbing her feet in silence as I said a silent prayer for strength and patience so she could heal from my actions. The next morning, she hugged me. I apologized again, told her I knew how my actions hurt her and that they also hurt me inside. I told her that wasn’t who I was, and I prayed for God’s grace to help me through this so I wouldn’t fail her again this way. She said she knew what I did wasn’t who I was; that she loved me and forgave me. Yes, Donna gave me grace. Grace, I didn’t deserve. Just like Jesus. As I walked out the door to work the next morning, I said I owed her a month’s worth of foot and back rubs. She replied, “You better make that two!” Oh, how I love her and am so thankful for her!
Have you hurt another in your life? Do you still hold on to the pain and shame of your actions that inflicted the pain on that special someone? You’re not alone. There’s a man you know that will listen. Confess to him in the spirit of James 5:16. If you don’t have that brother yet, we would love to hear from you. Email us with that thorn that is stuck in your side. Imagine being loved more for sharing your weaknesses instead of being loved less. We’d love to listen and love to help you understand how to remove that thorn through Christ, so you can heal, so the ones who you have hurt can see Christ changing you; so, they will heal as well. Then you and the one you’ve hurt can move forward in ways you’ve never dreamed. THE MPACT WAY.