“She makes me so angry!” Julie slammed the cordless back on its base. “I have a notion to disconnect that old phone and just use my cell.”
“How would that help?” Megan hunched in a chair, watching Julie with wary eyes. “Or should I forget that remark and go for the meat? I assume it was your sister-in-law again. So what’d she say this time?”
“I’ve never given her or my brother my new cell number.” Julie turned toward her friend and laughed, whether from nerves or amusement she wasn’t sure. “Relax, I’m not going to pounce on you. Now if Cathy was sitting there maybe my claws would be out. But it isn’t what she says so much as how she says it.”
Megan giggled. “Your claws are out. Draw them in and let’s talk.”
“Fine.” Julie sank to the chair across from Megan. “My dad’s birthday dinner is Sunday afternoon. Cathy just asked me to bring my delicious lemon pie. She said it always turns out perfectly when I follow the instant pudding recipe on the box. Of course, that was after saying she would be making the cake, her latest recipe—a cream-filled, dark chocolate with ganache coating. Grrr! I don’t even know what ganache is, and I’ll bet she knows it.”
“Oh, Julie!” Megan’s eyes sparkled above her hand trying vainly to cover another laugh. “She’s either insecure, jealous of you, or she enjoys irritating you.”
“If that’s multiple choice, I’ll take the third one.” Julie covered her face with both hands. “What can I do? She’s playing havoc with my Christian witness not to mention my blood pressure and self-esteem.”
“Act like an Oyster.”
“What?” Julie stared at her friend.
“You know, if you’re given lemons, make lemonade.” Megan grinned. “So if someone irritates you, make a pearl and give it to them.”
“Sometimes I wonder about you.” Julie shook her head. “Where do you get this stuff? No, forget that. Just tell me how to do it? If it helps, I’m game to try anything.”
“Find a way to soothe the irritation caused by Cathy’s thoughtless remarks. Whatever you do needs to be in keeping with your beliefs. What would Jesus do? And it needs to make you feel better.” Megan stood and headed toward the door. “Now, I’m off to pick Erin up from school.”
“Oh, is it that time already?” Julie jumped up, grabbed her purse and followed. “Maybe I can pray about Cathy while I’m getting Aiden and Josie. Hmm, make a pearl? The least I can do is try.”
Julie thought of little else the rest of the day. She sat on the deck outside while the kids played, but her mind went back to the oyster who coats his irritations until he has made a beautiful pearl. After prayer and waiting through the night, she woke determined to talk to Cathy. While that didn’t seem like such a brilliant idea, it felt right. All through the day she prayed then stopped at her brother’s before going to pick up the kids from school.
Cathy ushered her to the kitchen and set a glass of milk and two huge chocolate chunk cookies before her. Cooking was definitely Cathy’s area of expertise.
Julie closed her eyes until the flavors melted over her tongue. “Oh, my. I can never get enough of these. You’re so talented.”
A faint blush covered Cathy’s face as she waved a hand. “I’m sure there are many things you do well.”
“Actually, you’re right.” Julie peeked at Cathy’s widened eyes and suppressed a snicker. “After our talk yesterday, I prayed quite a bit. I’m pretty good at arranging flowers so I’ve decided to leave the cooking to you. I want to make the centerpiece for the table. If you think we’ll need the lemon pie, I can do that too, but I’ll put my efforts into the flowers. What do you think?”
After Cathy snapped her mouth closed, she shrugged. “We don’t have to have the pie. I’ve never been any good with flowers, but you’re right. You have a gift for growing and arranging them. I’ve always been a little jealous of how everyone goes on about your arrangements. Maybe you should get a job at a florist.”
There she went again insinuating Julie wasn’t doing enough. Another minor irritation, only this time, Julie was a step ahead. She released a cleansing breath. “I start Monday at Blooms for You. I’ll only be working while the kids are in school, and I can’t wait.”
Julie gave up trying to compete with her sister-in-law. She also faced her problem head-on rather than continuing to let it irritate her. The pearl she made was a better relationship with Cathy and discovering God’s will for her life. Prayer and listening to God’s answers are required to learn how to turn the irritations in our life into pearls.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.