I have been blessed with a last name that is frequently mispronounced. As a matter of fact, even though I have known Chris since the fifth grade, I mispronounced his last name until we started dating and he politely corrected me. And the blessing of an easily mispronounced last name…I can identify a telemarketer in mere seconds!
I would begin this story by saying, “It was one of those mornings…” But as I thought to write that I stopped. “What, one of those mornings where God woke me up to another day filled to the brim and overflowing with His new mercies? One of those mornings where my children and I woke up in a warm house with food in our pantry? Yeah, one of those mornings.
Back to my telemarketer conviction and Holy Spirit Kapow…I had just pulled out of my drive when my phone rang. Although it said Wisconsin and I don’t think I know anyone in Wisconsin, I answered it. The man on the other end asked to speak to Chris. Not unusual since my number is Chris’ old number and this number was connected to a fence business Chris owned–9 years ago–but still. “May I ask who is calling,” I responded. “Yeah sure,” the man replied casually and friendly, “This is Caleb.”
I’ve never heard Chris mention a Caleb, so I thought this might be a fence call–yes, we do still get them occasionally. So I inquired again, because normally on the second inquiry the caller will say they were needing an estimate for some fence work. “I’m sorry, who were you trying to reach?” I asked. “Chris…” and then a brutal butchering of our last name–left off the entire last syllable type of butchering.
“Oh come on dude,” I replied. “At least get the last name right or semi close to right if you want to speak to him. Take us off your call list and don’t call again.” I think Caleb hung up before I got to the “Don’t call again” part. “Telemarketers!” I thought as I continued with my day. But later in the day…
As the morning’s incident came to mind later in the day, my indignation turned to conviction. “Jenny, how is that telemarketer supposed to know how to pronounce your last name? You couldn’t even pronounce it for the eight years you knew of Chris’ family before he corrected you? What if this guy, Caleb, was just trying to do his job to support his family? Maybe telemarketing is a second job–like a pizza delivery guy Dave Ramsey always talks about–trying to pay off a load of debt so he can call Dave and holler, “I’m Debt Free!” Hardworking guy trying to support his family or international scam artist, why couldn’t you have just politely said, “Please remove us from your call list. Thank you.”
Ouch Holy Spirit Kapow! Convicted over how I spoke to a telemarketer–Good one.
But wait, He wasn’t finished with me, my heart needed another lesson.
There was an issue with a child recently that left me disappointed and hurt. My mood and attitude toward this child reflected my hurt and disappointment. And then yesterday while waiting at piano lessons, I was reading Matthew 5 and 6 in my journaling Bible.
To me, that meant I was to correct my child for for the behavior in a loving way…and then move on. My mood and attitude were not to change toward the child based on their wrong behavior. And then in Matthew 6
I don’t want God to hold a grudge against me because I’ve disappointed Him. I don’t want God to be anything other than pleased to see me, welcoming me with open arms. There is an issue of confessing wrong doing involved. of course. But it’s easier to go to someone and make an apology for a sinful behavior if they are welcoming to you and ready to extend mercy and forgiveness.
So let me go back and say, “It was one of those days.” One of those days where my heart needed some firm redirection. One of those days where my attitude was getting “a little big for its britches” as my grandma used to say. One of those days where His new mercies were obviously poured out on me as I spent time with Him in the scriptures. He used that time to teach, correct and train. (2 Timothy 3:16)