Kara’s Collection: The Ugly Edge—Christmas Edition

From an article originally posted December 24, 2013…

I have a confession. I have a really ugly edge to me that I am not at all proud to confess to you. I would love to be alone in this ugly, but I have a feeling I may not be too lonely on this island. It’s an edge maybe only one person I know can decipher. It may be an edge only the one I love in this life best can see, and over time the little people in my life will soon be able to recognize. I see it as the holidays get closer, I feel the edge creeping into my inside thoughts, spilling into the words that exit the face part of me, and the subtle moments in my days. More than words, it’s really a subtle attitude.

It all started when my hot flashes stole my sleep one night. Are you ready for me to spill forth a list of excuses? Here goes. No sleep, then I overbooked my Sunday. Sunday always tends to take it out of us. We love our Sundays, love them, but our energy is low by the time we hit lunch. This Sunday was happily full. I ran out of church and to a cookie exchange! It was such a great time. While I was gone I asked my guy to prep for the event planned for when I returned from my cookie party. I mentioned how I hadn’t slept, but how I really wanted to go to the night at the zoo with our friends. I asked if he would prepare the kids to have all their warm gear ready for my return.

The thing is, Jason is tired on Sunday too. He needs time to exhale a bit. He needs a little quiet, a little brainless time, and he needs me to be gentle with him. Well, I came home from the party, the gloves were down, the coats were out, but it was a mess, and it didn’t seem like anyone was ready. Inside, well, inside me was yuck. But guess what showed up on the outside. Oh, you guessed it, the ugly edge. Not mean, not really unkind even, just the edge. It’s ugly business. Maybe it’s so ugly because it’s subtle enough that Jason wouldn’t confront it. Maybe he wouldn’t confront it because he sees what is under the surface.

We frantically gathered our winter wear, I even pulled out Christmas gifts to give the kids early that have lost coats, upon coats, upon coats. The insanity. We gathered out the door and I told Jason of my discouragement that everything wasn’t like I wanted it. Yuck! The guy who does laundry with me, shares kitchen duties, washes hair for little girls at night, this is not a guy that loafs and doesn’t help.

But coming upon Christmas, I think about this ugly edge. Let’s call it for what it is. It’s the sin of unkindness. Subtle or not, it’s unkindness—it steals joy, causes hurt, and leaves our homes void of true peace. If something needed confronting, I need to love my guy enough to confront him. Walking around with this edge, this chip, this unkindness is hurtful, mean, unloving.

As mamas, we spend so much of our time dealing in the small details of life. We plan festive meals, presents, moments, and we imagine how the whole scene will be Christmas morning. We have spent so much time in the planning and preparing of these moments, when the script changes, the joy isn’t as rich as we hoped, the excitement not met, we often take on the edge. Not really mean, not really nice, but simply wearing our edges.

At the end of our night at the zoo, I was happily exhausted. We made it, no one froze, everyone had enjoyed themselves. I got to the car and took an honest look at my ugly edge and repented to my guy. I repented my unkindness and my edge. I regret taking her with me that night. She’s a friend to NO ONE, especially me. This ugly edge causes only distance and disappointment in my relationships.

Some of us have become besties with our edges. We don’t know how to let them go. Our homes have been filled with the tension of our disappointment with another so long we forgot how to enjoy the ones we love best. Can you imagine your life if you let down your guard and let go of your edge? What if you confront your hurts instead of passive aggressively dealing with your let downs and disappointments? What if you met your loves with gentleness and forgiveness when your high, unfair expectations aren’t met?

You see, Jason did nothing wrong. Nope. I just created my picture of how I wanted him to complete my expectation. I was wrong. And the grace showed up for me to admit it. Those are the miraculous moments of life. Where Christ shows up and gives me the grace to have a changed heart. The moment the need to be right can vanish, and I can gently admit my hard heart to my guy and be met by his gracious forgiveness. Guess what met me that night? Sleep, precious, precious sleep.

What area of life do you struggle carrying an edge? What moments do you justify unkindness because your expectations aren’t accurately met? How would the atmosphere of your house change if you repented and let go of those edges? This time of year we bump into our expectations all over the place, great, huge expectations of how life should be, how everyone should behave, how we picture it all like a Norman Rockwell painting. When the picture doesn’t come out like the masterpiece you imagined, how can you offer grace and love instead of quiet unkindness? Let’s all be honest about the ugly edges we take on in our homes. Let’s face this holiday asking God to give us kindness, real kindness, that knows what grace has been extended to us in Jesus, that we can, in turn, extend it to the people we love. It’s a high calling to live in peace, but oh, such a great calling.

The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
— Mark 1:15

I would love to come to the end of my days having lived in kindness, repenting my unkindness, and living honestly, admitting my failures and enjoying the grace in living. Grace is a daily hunt, grace is present, but sometimes I’m too stiff necked to notice. I pray I would allow myself to be so recklessly loved by Jesus that I would have the strength to be weak, the humility to be wrong, and the faith to walk in the hard of life. Living Christ is no joke, but when my days end I will never be sad for saying I’m sorry, I will never regret admitting wrong, and I certainly will not regret letting go of the edges that show up in my life.