Earlier this year, I served on a jury for the first time.
“Serving on a Jury” definitely had never been on my list of “Things I’d like to Experience or Accomplish in my Life.”
In the past, I had been excused from other trials because of my mom’s cancer or because the jury box was filled before my name was called as a prospective juror for that case. I had always felt relieved when I “got out” of serving on a case.
As the first day of jury duty unfolded, I worried about a few things:
1) My main focus was that I did not want to deal with any really traumatic trials.
2) I did not want to serve on a “long” case since Brody and I were scheduled to take our 5th Anniversary getaway a few days later. We had made the reservations during a promotional time so we wouldn’t be able to reschedule without increasing the cost of our trip.
3) At that time, I still hadn’t had physical therapy for a neck injury from 2008, so I was continuing to struggle with neck and head pain on a regular basis. I didn’t relish the thought of trying to pay attention to the trial and participate in deliberations while nauseated from head pain. And I was confident that if I couldn’t keep my lunch down while sitting in the jury box, I would be embarrassed and we would have a mistrial.
Waiting in the jury assembly room to find out if I would be assigned to a case became an opportunity for me to practice trusting God. I rehearsed the thought processes Martha Peace often illustrates in The Excellent Wife, and the principles shared by Elyse Fitzpatrick and Laura Hendrickson in Will Medicine Stop the Pain?
Martha Peace often includes charts in her books and presentations, giving examples of how to “put off” a sinful thought and “put on” a God-honoring thought. These charts help me think of practical ways to apply Colossians 3 to my everyday life. Even though her book, The Excellent Wife, is focused on helping wives apply Biblical principles to their interactions with their husbands and families, I have benefited from applying those ideas to other situations, including my worries about jury duty.
Also, Elyse Fitzpatrick and Laura Hendrickson’s book includes a portion on anxiety, and trusting God through the times when we struggle to control our emotions.
As I sat there in the jury assembly room, I reminded myself of a few things:
1) I was worrying about dealing with traumatic details of a “really bad” legal case. But, I reminded myself, “I may not be assigned to such a case, and if I do serve on such a case, I know that God has promised to give me all that I need to endure it.” I Corinthians 10:12-13
2) I was worrying about rescheduling our anniversary trip. So, I reminded myself that Brody was easy-going and was not pressuring me to try to evade the jury duty for the sake of keeping to our schedule. And, as I’ve mentioned, God is sovereign over everything in His creation, so He is justified in changing “my” schedule.
3) I was worried that I would experience a lot of pain due to sitting for long periods of time. I reminded myself that there was no guarantee that I would get one of my nauseating headaches. But if I did, there WAS a guarantee that God would sustain me through the difficulty. If being sick in front of others caused me embarrassment, the worst thing that likely would happen would be my pride would suffer. If the only thing that is hurt is my pride, it’s really not a bad day. In fact, while the process of having pride stripped from me is not fun nor easy, it is a good thing to become less and less prideful.
Psalm 94:19 has been a great verse for me when I am struggling with the temptation to worry:
When my anxious thoughts multiply within me,
Your consolations delight my soul.
As the anxiety grew within me, I forced myself to meditate on God’s attributes. He is faithful and will keep all His promises. I will never find myself in a situation that I cannot endure. He is in complete control, and He is good, so I can trust that whatever happens (facing traumatic details of a trial, or rescheduling our trip, or facing a few days of intense head pain), He is at work for my good. Psalm 145
The first day of my jury duty was split between the county courthouse and the local courthouse. At midday, when I was reassigned from the county courthouse to the local one, I was thrilled! Already, God was making my jury duty easier to bear. I was able to stop at home for lunch and a little rest and then proceed to the local courthouse. The proximity of the courthouse also was a real blessing: it is a mere 15 minutes’ drive on surface streets from my home, instead of a 45-60 minute drive on a stress-filled, rush-hour California freeway. I also knew that the likelihood of facing super traumatic details was far lower at the local courthouse, where more misdemeanors, and fewer felonies are tried. So, my main worry was already disappearing, and I made it through the first day of Jury Duty without a terrible headache!
I went home thankful, but still struggling with worry about what might happen the next day. A group of about 50 of us had been assigned to a jury selection for a case, and we ran out of time that afternoon. So, all 50 of us had to return the next day to participate in jury selection. I’ll write more about that later and share how God showed His grace to me in the courtroom. For now, here is a new recipe for you!
This spring, I enjoyed a sample of something at Trader Joe’s, and I liked it so well, I decided to try making it at home. I cannot remember what the dish was called at Trader Joe’s, but I’ve decided to call it Chicken-Broccoli-Kale Slaw. The result of making this dish was another way to prepare chicken and increase our intake of greens at the same time. When I needed an idea for an interesting protein to serve with sweet treats and tea at a luncheon, I discovered the recipe was great for that purpose, too! I think it would also be very yummy for a picnic. Enjoy!
- Roast a handful of sunflower seeds in the oven using an oil of your choice. I’ve used butter and avoided roasting the seeds for too long – just enough to slightly brown the butter and bring out the seeds’ flavor a little.
- Wash 3-4 kale leaves and 1 head of broccoli. Cut off the woody part of the broccoli stem and also the end of the kale stem. I like to use as much as possible of both stems since I am sure there are nutrients in there, too.
- Using a food processer, shred the kale, broccoli and their stems and roughly 2 lbs of cooked chicken. I usually use chicken cooked in the crockpot using salt, pepper, and garlic for flavoring. Originally, I also included a couple of raw carrots in the shredding process, but since Brody doesn’t really like raw carrots, I don’t include them anymore.
- Combine all the ingredients mentioned above, along with salt, black pepper, a handful of raisins, and 1-2 Tbps melted butter with a clove of diced garlic. Add a splash of goat milk to moisten the mixture. Or use your favorite creamer or oil… perhaps some mashed avocado would taste good?
- Serve with crackers (page 111 of A Recipe for Survival), or with some nuts on the side.