Peter and I did something the other afternoon we hadn't done in quite awhile...we went to the movies! I wanted to see Courageous because I had heard so much about the movie, and it was at the "Dollar" theater, so the price was right:) Here's my quick review of the movie: It won't win any Academy Awards or Golden Globes for acting, writing or cinematography, but it does have a message worth listening to, and I've got to hand it to those guys at Albany Baptist Church in Sherwood, Georgia, they know how to get a message across. They did it in Fireproof and in Facing the Giants, and they have done it again with Courageous. The opening scene is a surprise and sets the theme of the movie. It is really worth seeing, but probably NOT with your husband...the father of your delightful children! I wrestled with myself throughout the movie...it was EXHAUSTING!
I am married to a wonderful man...my children think he is, well, pretty much perfect. He is their hero and the man my girls measure every other man by...poor guys. And though I, too, think he is pretty amazing, I haven't quite made it to the stage of adoration our children have. That is why when watching Courageous I immediately began thinking..."Man, I wish there had been a movie like this around when we were raising our kids. Peter could have been a part of the 'challenge.'" I wondered, as I sat next to Peter in the theater, if he wished he could have done things differently with our children...if he had regrets. I wondered if he were thinking about how he could be a better father now. I thought about the great conversations we would have when the movie was over. I envisioned it...what I would say...what he would say...I was having a pretty emotional and impactful conversation with myself when I heard that "still, small voice" say" "Don't you say a word. You just be quiet." Hmmmmmm? Could that possibly be the Lord? Can I tell you that from past experience anytime I hear "hush," it has always been from Him. He knows my biggest problem is my mouth, so sometimes He has not used such a "still, small voice."
Whenever I am moved emotionally, I want to DO something. That can be good or it can be very, very bad, especially when it involves others. I can see exactly what they should do or say clearly. In fact, I have rehearsed it for them over and over in my mind. So there I sat in the theater, completely tied into the characters and the message, and I wanted Peter to be as well. However, Peter is not a person moved by emotionally charged pleas, in fact, at times, they can be a complete turn off to him. He hates to be manipulated...actually, don't we all? But he does like to think things through. Take his time to ponder before he acts or speaks (a admirable trait I am trying to have in my own character). This is were the exhausting part came in. My beautifully rehearsed words and scenes were playing in my mind as the Lord kept saying, "No, don't say it." "Don't you do it." Eventually, my final thought as credits rolled was to simply ask how he liked the movie...innocent enough. "Nope, not even that, Cherri." So I said nothing.
Instead I WATCHED him to see if the movie had any kind of impact on him. I silently graded what he said and did for the next 24 hours based on "the movie." So at any given moment I might be encouraged because he took Anna to see her car (the importance of spending time with your children...theme #1 of the movie) or discouraged because he was watching the History Channel when he could have been doing something "fatherly." About this time is when you are thinking "Cherri is completely crazy" and you have complete and utter compassion for my husband. That's ok because I think the very same thing.
But then something happened...I sat down with that precious LIVING WORD in my lap one morning. I have been reading in the Psalms but this particular morning I flipped to the concordance and looked up "Mother." The thought came to me to look up all the verses on mothering even though I have read countless books on the subject, gone to seminars and done Bible studies on practically every aspect and to top it all off...I teach parenting classes, so I am immersed in motherhood. And I got to exactly three before I realized how much I needed to work on my own self. The next morning I got to a whole entire one. All my focus on Peter and his role as father faded as God zeroed His light on my heart and my life, and I was humbled. I had PLENTY to work on. Too much to be concerned with "helping" Peter. Besides, the thought occurred to me that there is a reason why all my children hold their father with high esteem...he deserves it. He has been an honorable man their entire lives.
So, my advise on the movie Courageous...see it with a heart open to pray for the man or men who hold this position in your life. I began to pray not only for Peter, but for my sons and sons-in-laws who are fathers themselves. Pray for your young sons and your daughters' future husbands, pray for your own father, if you are blessed to have him still with you. The truth is they have a profound responsibility and position in the family. And most of them, including the one I am blessed with, work hard to be and become the father and husband they are called to be. I wouldn't want to be a man. The truth is they are growing just like we are.
Have a wonderfully blessed New Year, my friends!!!!!
Love to you...