It isn’t the memory I want my boys having of our family vacation.
Destin 2014: The trip our mom got “into it” with the red-headed lady at Wal-Mart.
Yes. I did.
Oh y’all. I know better. I knew better. But it had been a long day in the car. Like nineteen hours long. OK, nine. And the boys were as hyper as caged Cocker Spaniels. And we were at Wal-Mart. And Wal-Mart is crazy enough, but this was Wal-Mart filled with hundreds of other all-day travelers filling their carts with cheese balls and Capri Suns.
It was a recipe for something. But I wouldn’t have guessed this.
We were in the soda aisle when it began. The boys were wooly and running circles around Brent and me and everyone else. Hindsight tells me I should have strapped them down, left them in the van with Brent or honestly gone by myself to the store, but it is vacation, and we Crenshaws do everything together, right!?
One of my boys bumped into her, I guess… The red-headed lady with spiky hair. And she muttered under her breath, but loud enough for me to hear. The red-headed lady muttered ugly words about my boys.
Listen. To. Me. People.
You don’t talk about my boys. Not under your breath. Not on top of your breath. I know they were annoying, trust me, I know. But give them some grace, for the love.
But no. Grabbing for a 2 liter of Coke she muttered again and this time I turned, “I’m sorry ma’am, what was that?”
And passive-aggressiveness settled deep into our conversation, “Oh, nothing.” She grinned. “I didn’t say anything.”
Grrrr! I heard her. Own it, lady. Own it. Own it. Own it.
“I heard you speak ugly of my kids. I am sorry if they bumped into you. I’d rather you give me the opportunity to apologize instead of being hateful.”
And off we went…. Her sassy against my sassy. I won’t go on about the details of the conversation but it went from the Coke aisle to the deli meat before my lip started to quiver.
You know the mad cry.
And I don’t tell you this to glorify my sin. Or make light of a bad situation. I tell you this because I am one hot-headed-lady away from breakdown.
We Crenshaws then scuttled up to check out, the boys and Brent asking me over and over, “what just happened back there?” I just told them she was full of the devil and I didn’t want to talk about it. But the truth was, it wasn’t her being full of the devil that caused the breakdown. It was me not living full of the Spirit.
Scripture is SO BLATANTLY CLEAR about what happened in the Coke aisle….
Let go of anger and leave rage behind! Don’t get upset—it will only lead to evil. Psalm 37:8
Do not associate with a man given to anger. Proverbs 22:24
Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools. Ecc. 7:9
Where do you think all these appalling wars and quarrels come from? Do you think they just happen? Think again. They come about because you want your own way, and fight for it deep inside yourselves. James 4:1 Msg
I should have left it alone, gathering my chickadees back into a neater line and shopped our merry way. I should have not dealt with her… it only led to evil.
My boys will remember that day at Wal-Mart, but what I pray they remember most was the redemptive moment pulling out of that crazy Wal-Mart parking lot.
Brent explained to the boys a little of what had just happened and explained that God instructs us to love our enemies and to pray for them (Matthew 5:44). So we did. Driving down Highway 98 we prayed for the red-headed lady with spiky hair. We prayed that she would encounter the love of Jesus this week. We prayed for mommy’s heart, too. That forgiveness would reign and love would grow deep for this woman who offended me to my core.
And Brent’s prayer has been answered. I have prayed for her every morning. I have thought of her often. Knowing she sees the same sun rise and breathes the same salt-scented air.
Jesus created all of this for her, too. Jesus watches over her, too. Jesus covered both of our sin, both of our Wal-Mart sass, just the same.
The Lord taught me much.
One. I should not take my boys to Wal-Mart post a nine-hour car ride to Florida.
Two. I am one passive-aggressive lady away from melt down.
And three. I need Jesus every moment. Of every hour. Every day.
Lord Jesus, thank you for showing me my desperate need for you. Forgive me for being quick to anger and quick to speak. Help me to hold my tongue for it is a restless evil (James 3:8). Let me bear with others in love, as you bear with me — all of the time. In Jesus name, amen.
Thank you so much for sharing this, Becky! Very challenging and encouraging to you my heart.
As we prepare for our own 9 hour car ride I will remember these words for my children AND for the poor people we encounter!
Very sweet of you to be so transparent, Becky! I know I’ve had my own share of sass in Walmart and several other places. Thanks for the accountability and grace.
Sweet friend! I have a similar situation going on at work. I know, you are wondering how I can compare Walmart to my work…long story, but comparable! Anyhoo, I am trying my best to hold my tongue as nothing good will come out of what I have to say. Thanks for your words as they were most welcome today. Enjoy your vacation! Love you!
Needed this, Becky! Thanks for your openness. Have fun in DESTIN!
Thank you Becky. Your words were very encouraging to me. I had a mini meltdown brought on by a passive aggressive red head as well (no joke) a few years ago. This was at a Costco when my son and I were sitting down at a table against the wall to eat our slices of pizza. Apparently a woman was coming right behind us and she was annoyed that my son did not sit down sooner so she could pass (though there were certainly plenty of other routes she could have taken rather than directly behind the two of us). She harumphed loudly. My son turned, apologized and sat down, and as she passed me she not too softly said “Jesus C….” I literally saw red. I waited until she sat down several tables away, got up, and proceeded to call her out on her words (words are words but using my savior’s name like that and toward a child?!) and her behavior toward a 13 year old child. Not my proudest moment. She denied everything and called me crazy. I actually told her that she had no idea how crazy I could get. I am an East Coast girl with a hair trigger temper, and I have since learned to pray first and act with love rather than react. Not easy when the two of the things that irk me most happened at once. Your post encouraged me to pray again for this woman even all these years later. Thank you.
I shared this during our girls trip at the beach. We were laughing with you. I wrote a blog today about the man at the Kroger gas station. The Lord brought to mind your blog in my dealing with him.
I hope you don’t mind if I share your blog through social media. It was awesome!!!!