24 May

Living a Life, Leaving a Legacy

Grandmas bible

As I stare at the stained glass window and let the pastor’s words,wash over me. I begin to think of her.

I can hear her voice. I can see he face as she sings hymns of praise. I remember her Bible on the table next to her chair in the living room.

Time, age and,illness have robbed of us of who she is. Her shirt stained with today’s meal, her grunts and vocalizations instead of words, her ability to sleep and eat at the same time…these were the things of everyday life, now, with my grandmother.

But as I sat in that church and listened to her favorite scriptures, her most loved hymns, of her life, her marriage,and her faith…I began to remember my grandmother – virtuous woman of God.

And as so often happens when we ponder someone’s death I began to think of my own, someday. What will my children remember of their momma and their childhood? Will how I loved and served my husband be a story written of Jesus and my love for Him? Will my life of faith offer comfort to my family at my death?

My grandmother gave us a gift, perhaps not even intentionally, to help us celebrate her life, her faith, her love for Jesus and the Bible.

On the inside cover of her Bible she wrote a list of Scriptures that touched her life and heart, of hymns that moved her heart to praise. It was with this list that her funeral was planned…a glimpse of Jesus in her life.

And as if writing a love note to her broken-hearted family, the page starts out…

“Have no anxiety about…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And ends with…

Do not let your hearts be troubled. John 14:1

And as I think about my grandma dressed in robes of righteousness, face-to-face with her Jesus, I’m not anxious or sad or troubled. I’m moved to joyful tears. For she is where she was made to be…where her heart always looked towards…

So, my friends today I urge to keep your eyes on Jesus. When the work hours are long, when the kids are bickering, when you are stuck in traffic or in life. Just lean into your Savior, following Him. For each moment writes the story of your life…you are living a life and leaving a legacy…for yourself and for Jesus.

13 Feb

He Will Wipe Away Every Tear

wipe away every tear

Tears roll down my cheeks.

The inches between us become miles.

My stomach is in knots and I choke back sobs.

As truth rolls off my tongue, tears roll down my cheeks.

The weight of fear, misunderstanding, sin and hurt pushes down. I nearly hold my breath.

When I admit that my trust waivers, that I expect the worst. That I’m not the wife I should be because I don’t trust him…for no reason other that the baggage I’ve taken on in life.

The inches turn into miles. Miles into worlds and I wonder if the truth of my unbelief and mistrust will make this separation permanent.

The tears pour down my cheeks. The cool, damp trail reaches my chin.

Before I can blink or cry or exhale. His rough skin is against mine….thumb wiping away my tears.

His green eyes bore into my soul and a smile hangs gently on his lips. He’s wiped it away, this sin and folly. The worlds become miles and miles become inches…inches becomes a breath as he presses his forehead to mine.

And as we linger in this moment of forgiveness…of grace…I fall in love with him more…again…deeper still.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church… Ephesians 5:25

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. Revelation 21:4

In this moment of sweet grace inhaled and foreheads pressed together.  I see it. I get it. I am humbled by it.

Jesus whispers of repentance and grace. Of longing to hear my heart cry out to Him. Of the day when He will wipe away every tear.

Wipe away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As my sin hung between us today and I held my breath I felt the weight of separation. Repentance bridges inches and miles. I realized the gap I create when my unbelief lures me into this space empty of love. Into a selfish pit where marriage struggles, where pride stirs up chaos, where Jesus is hidden from sight.

A rough, calloused finger…the touch of forgiveness….it made me think of His hands…the ones with the scars in His palms. Rough. Manly. Tough. Protective. Loving. Real.

And where repentance meets love, grace rains down.

Not tears. No, tears are wiped away. Instead there is the warm flow of grace that pours from Creator heart into created souls.

Bathed in afternoon sunshine we sit close on the couch and I get the picture.

How I push Jesus away too. Don’t trust. Don’t believe. Choose things that put space and time and sin between us.

Our inches become miles. Miles become worlds. And without Him there is space to fill. One that food, and stuff, and worldly pursuits don’t fit and leave empty. The Jesus space shaped by Him, for Him…of Him.

But when I offer the truth of the girl I am. When I name my sin and lay it down. Repent. Turn Away. Look to my Jesus. Worlds become inches. Scarred hands hold my heart and we are one step closer to the somedays and the eternity with Him. And one day…He will wipe away every tear.

Intimate. Close. This gesture of wiping away our tears. A tender moment with a bridegroom anxious to comfort and protect his bride. A Savior that knows the day, the hour, the moment when Comfort comes and grace rains down eternally.

I pray that I am becoming a woman worthy of the man I was blessed with. That my pursuit of Christ becomes the pursuit of my husband. That our marriage would be one of exhaled grace, of living but a breath away, of Christ honoring worship and life altering love.

 

08 Feb

Learning to Melt Into Him

learning to melt into him

The music swells around us.

He grabs my arms we begin to sway. Gentle. Close.

And as we are locked in an embrace in the kitchen. In a moment of romance, connection…love unspoken…I have to will myself to follow him.

I’ve never learned to dance. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I can shake my tail feathers with the best of them. But I mean really dance. This is my dance space, this is your dance space, kinda dancin’. But I have learned to lead…

There in that space a breath away from the man I love I was willing myself to just let him lead. Sighing. Leaning into him. I began to melt against him.

Barely a breath between us.

He was leading.

And I was following.

As we swayed together surrounded by appliances, dishes and the everyday things of life this moment was so much more. It was just him and me. Man and woman. Husband and wife.

We became one.

And there it occurred to me the picture of our marriage. We are partners. We are team. But we’ve been out of sync.

I’ve been out of sync.

He is my lead. This man whose eyes bore straight to my soul and whose touch turns me into a giddy school girl. This man who promised me his forever in return for my heart.

His lead isn’t demeaning or demanding. It is loving and protective. His lead isn’t harsh or unfair. It is tender and balanced.

He is my lead on the dancefloor…the one in the kitchen…the one in life. There is no theory or movement put forward by man (or woman) that can surpass that rhythm that we share that comes naturally when I melt into him. This is God’s design and, my, how it works.

Some of you are starting to fidget. Some have already stopped reading. This topic of husband leading wife. Of submission. Of following. Of the perfect ebb and flow of marriage is hard. Hard in a world that says do what you want. In a society that is now saying we don’t need strong men or husbands…heck women don’t even need men to have babies anymore (um, yeah, don’t even get me started) or be parents. We’re missing it. These things of God that are bigger than us…deeper than us…more holy than us.

And for those that don’t know me personally, perhaps I should say. I am a strong-willed, loud woman. I come with my share of opinions, issues and baggage. I am fiercely independent and am learning to be solely dependent on the two loves of my life (Jesus and my husband). There is nothing easy about submission, for me. That is the whole point here!

There in the kitchen clinging to the man I love I realized how good things could be if I am willing to absolutely abandon myself to God’s plan. To this man who will one day stand before God and account for the life of our family…our children…our marriage…me.

We are partners, me and him, this green-eyed boy who won my heart and made me a wife and mother. There would be no dance if I wasn’t here with him…he’d be some weirdo swaying to Norah Jones in the kitchen by himself. We are partners…we need each other to complete any move — from swaying to dipping to those crazy death drop moves you need two!

It is the same in life. We are partners. There would be no marriage. He’s the money guy. I’m the organizing girl. He’s the logical guy. I’m the emotions girl. He’s the lawn, maintenance, handyman guy. I’m the gardening, housecleaning, homeschooling girl. We each have talents and skills. Areas we tend to and lord over. But there’s always another with hand ready to help or take over.

And that’s where I’ve been living. We’re partners. His and hers. No following. No melting into him.

But this dance. This moment of kitchen closeness whispers of a love bigger, a connection deeper. Of God’s perfect plan.

Let him lead. Let his be the voice of authority over our children and the one who prays over their sweet heads. Let his be the decision about church, finances and family vacations. Let his be the eyes that watch for threats, the arms that hold and protect, and the heart that beats for his family in a new, conquering, strong way.

I won’t always get it right. You know? I will grumble at him. Complain about his decisions. Decide I’m in charge and he can follow. Because I am human. But I’m not pledging perfection…that would be a worthless goal that I could never attain.

However, I am pledging to try…

to ask “what do you think?”

To listen when he is speaking.

To support and work like a team with a captain.

To allow him the room to love me like Christ loves the church.

To melt into him and enjoy the dance.

13 Jan

Daddy is My Hero

daddy is my hero

 

Stooped down. Flashlight pointed towards the carpet. Hands sweeping back and forth. Like finding a needle in the haystack his search seemed hopeless.
Yet, he did not give up. Different flashlight. Up and down the same hallway, over the cream-colored carpet.

 

In a matter of minutes after our daughter lost her first tooth she lost it again. This time it was dropped somewhere between the living room and her bedroom.
Tears threatened to spill from her big blue eyes. And that spurred her daddy on.
And as I watched that man of mine search over the same sections carpet, over and over. I was struck by a parallel between this earthly daddy and the one that sits on the heavenly throne.
Our God loves us so much that He goes to great lengths to love on us. Nothing short of conquering death. Giving up His own Son. And creating a world full of beauty, challenge, and breath-taking scenery. God’s love is big.
And God’s love is small. It is so often in the details of life. A letter written with care to touch birthmother’s heart. A “random” encounter with a woman at the airport that brings happy memories and divine comfort. A little boy saying “I love you mom” when your day isn’t going right. A beautiful sunrise painted across a frost covered landscape. Rain on a parched earth. Storybook snowflakes falling slowly on a hushed afternoon.
Oh, yes, our HUGE God is a God of details. A God in and of all things. A God of love.
I was thinking, last night, about how as I lay my head down to sleep God was not resting or putting up his tools for the day. His love rolls on — miracles in the dark of night, sunrises to paint on the other side of the world, babies to be born from delivery rooms to dirt floor huts. His love is exhaustive. All covering. All consuming.
And then there is the daddy in the hallway. The children have abandoned the search. He has switched flashlights, again. And still he searches on. Searches for a tiny little tooth in a sea of same-colored carpet. No words. No frustration at an evening surrendered to an unexpected search and rescue operation. Just searching. Just love.
This morning as I opened my eyes the first sight to greet me was bare trees across our back hill lit by a sunrise full of reds, pinks, purples and blues. Breath taking. I just laid there staring. When I shut my eyes I could still see the sight, so beautiful it was. The world turned through the night, but God never stopped working. Never slowed down His love. Like a kiss from the King of Kings the sunrise met me with such awe-inspiring wonder. For you, my love, good morning.
Relentless Love. That pursues you into the darkest places. Kisses you sweetly in the morning. Refuses to give up on you, even when you’ve given up. A father’s love for His child.
Walk through your day today looking for the love of your Heavenly Father. Smile and receive the Divine kisses from the King.
After nearly an hour of searching, the hallway upstairs filled with delighted squeals and victorious shouts. The tooth had been located. A daddy’s love and devotion had saved the day. What was important to her drove him to do all he could for her…to find a needle in cream-colored carpet haystack. And his little girl declared, “Daddy is my hero.”
Today, look for the love your heavenly Father is showering down around you. From the big moments of saving grace and life to the little details of songbirds and the smell of fresh-baked bread. Draw every breath aware of the Daddy that works all things for your good. And when you lay your head down tonight declare, “My Daddy is my hero.”

 

04 Oct

Squeezy Skate Kinda Life

skates

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was in elementary school (maybe fifth grade?) my best friend and I decided to go ice skating. Behind her house was a stream and on the other side of the stream was a long dirt driveway that had completely iced over. The perfect place to skate…as long as you only went in short straight bursts.

I didn’t have skates so I borrowed a pair from her. Spare skates, just lying around…not even sure where we got them…the barn maybe? Anyway. I put the a-little-bit-too-tight, kinda-smash-your-toes squeezy skates on. And we began to skate.

Almost immediately I was aware of a terrible pain in one of my toes (the one next to my pinky toe…is that your ring toe?…for those that need those kind of details to focus on a story). The pain was pretty intense, but I chalked it up to the too-tight, too-small skates and continued skating.

When we were done skating and I sat to take off my skates I found it difficult to pull my toes and sock out. A little tug. A lot of pain. And my foot was free. Perhaps I shouldn’t wear squeezy skates again, was my thought. Imagine my surprise when I found my sock bloody and now a bit torn. Upon closer inspection I was even more surprised to find a hole in my toe.

Turns out the squeezy skates had a nail poking through at the toes and I had slowly impaled my ring toe as we skated. I had made the best of skating, explaining away my pain and bumbling through.

Life is kinda like that, you know?

It is easy, as wives and mothers to fill our calendars up with every sort of committment. We serve on committees, we drive in carpools, we head this event, attend that fundraiser, volunteer to bring a dish to that family, we lead this ministry or that organization…or both. And life begins to feel a bit like those squeezy skates.

At first it is just a matter of finding room for life, love, marriage, family, rest, oh and God amidst the entries on our calendar. Then we begin to feel the poke, the prod, heck, maybe even the stabbing pains of a broken skate…or life. It feels as if suddenly your life doesn’t work — your kids are acting out; your husband greets you like one of his buddies instead of the love of his life; the laundry has piled; you have to prepare for a meeting, sort through this week’s homeschooling lessons, make dinner and prepare for your in-laws visit all before they get here at six o’clock. And the dog who used to follow you around with tail wagging has packed his dish and his bone and is sitting at the front door waiting for you to let him out.

It feels sudden. This implosion.

But it’s not. No more than that hole suddenly appeared in my foot. I committed myself to skating and having fun, and refused to stop and pay attention to the signs my body was sending (oh, like pain…blood).

Oh, how I have been here. Standing in my home wondering when life got so crazy, why I am so tired and how to dig myself out of the pit I’m standing in. I’ve been here. A LOT.

In fact, I’ve spent the last year trying to teach myself to not dig this pit. And God has taught me some incredible lessons along the way.

Last fall as we began this homeschooling adventure as a family I was aware that this was a major committment. To my children. To our family. To God. And I needed to devote time and energy to making it work….not to fitting it in.

So I made a list. A short list. A list of three things that I would devote my time, energy, passions and talents to. If something didn’t directly benefit, support or further those three things it didn’t make it past my inbox or the telephone…there were not spots on my calendar for things that would turn my life into a pair of squeezy skates.

1. my marriage

2. my children and homeschooling

3. women’s ministry

With my list written I was sure the rest would fall into place. Easily. Quickly.

Um. Not so much. I spent most of the fall turning down “opportunities” people presented me with. I generally tried to explain why I turned things down, hoping that people would understand, if not honor, my commitments to the three things God has called me to at this stage of my life. I was amazed at how offended some people were at the simple answer of no…as though I owed them something or had personally assaulted them. Some used guilt or tried to rework my list and definitions, assuring me that their tasks absolutely fit within the scope of my life.

But I stuck to my guns.

And you know what happened? Our marriage was attacked, beat up and put through the ringer. Homeschooling was hard, my children weren’t always delightful to be around. And women’s ministry was full of long hours spent trying to help and serve women, many of whom can just be plain difficult. What? You were expecting Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar and a happy ending? (hang in there…there might just be singing and dancing yet!)

In all seriousness, it wasn’t easy. And for a few months I thought perhaps I’d missed the mark. But by early spring I could see and feel a difference.

Yes our marriage had taken a few hits and been battered, but it didn’t sink. In fact, I’d say we’re more in love this year than any other year of our love story. (don’t you think honey?)

By spring, you could see the progress the children had made in homeschooling — not just in the three R’s, but in their knowledge of the Bible, their love for God, and in their behavior!

Women’s ministry was a different creature as God changed the where and the how for me, but even in the turmoil of church crisis and drama I saw where His leading had paid off. I was closer to more women than ever, our phone rang and email filled up with women just looking for support, love and council. They had been my priority when life was simple…and they could feel it. When life was hard they knew who was ready to love on ’em and walk the hard road with them.

So here we are, ankle-deep in fall again. And I’ve got my list, again. It is still short. In fact, it is the same. Already I’ve had to hold up “opportunities” to the yardstick of God’s callings in my life and say, does it fit? Sometimes yes. Sometimes no.

This year I’ve learned that the best me is not an overscheduled woman committed to so many things that I’m trying to live life in a squeezy skate. No, the very best me is the woman who says yes to God’s callings in my life in a radical way…which means saying no, a lot.  In the past year I’ve turned down some great things. Fun things. Exciting things. Things that I would have excelled at or been able to learn from. And while they were good openings, they weren’t right for me…not in this season. Not with this list.

All-in-all this year of lessons has been great. The non-squeezy skate kinda life is full of more joy, more time, less stress and more Jesus.

So tell me…how do you balance all that life throws at you? Do you have priorities? How do you set them? Do you find it hard to say no to the “opportunities” that come your way?

 

29 Sep

All Men Are Idiots

men are idiots

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick pit stop on a family road trip found me face-to-face with disrespect and the world’s view of men. And boy did it get under my skin.

As I sat staring at the shirt (hung just outside the Dairy Queen we were munching our lunch at) I began to wonder who on earth would wear this? What is her husband like? What is she saying to her children? The world? And then, as though hit by a truck I began to wonder if I wear it…or what the t-shirt of my life reads.

In my head, my t-shirt would read — I love my sexy, quirky hubby and am blessed by our incredible lil peanuts (oh, and please excuse my attitude and pjs today…life got in the way). But, if I stop to really examine my life….how does it read?

Why is the world so quick to say men (particularly husbands) are dumb? Watch commercials – you’ll find husbands who are inept, fathers who are clueless and men who can’t function without the help of the poor put-upon woman he is married to.  Watch sit coms or movies – the married guy is miserable, whipped or stupid (maybe all of the above) while the single guy usually manages to be clean and fed before he pursues his conquests and enjoys his life. Look at magazines, websites, t-shirts and more. The world does not respect an honest, hardworking family man.

And God knew it wouldn’t….

In Ephesians (chapter 5) when God unfolds His plan for marriage He says husbands are to love their wives and wives are to RESPECT their husbands. Why? Because men need to know their efforts are acknowledged, that their talents are useful, that their committment to family and friends is of eternal consequence. And the world will not do that. There is no pat on the back from society for a man who packs lunches; reads the Bible; works longs hours only to come how and rock a crying child; or who teaches his sons to revere their mother and women.

Staring down this t-shirt miles from home I began to look at the snippets of my life. Like pieces of a movie rescued from the cutting room floor I saw myself roll my eyes, speak down to my husband and fail to appreciate his efforts. Some days I wear that shirt.

I like to focus on the days I don’t. On the days I have taught our children the concept of “daddy is our hero” providing, protecting, and loving us.  I easily recall the days I made his favorite dinner just because or sang his praises publicly. I’m even quick to tell others, sometimes, about the things I’ve done for him.

Amazingly, I can easily respect, love and honor my husband when it makes me look and feel good. But what about the days it doesn’t? When we don’t agree and my answers become laced with venom. When I treat him like the commercials portray him, instead of the college-educated, driven man that he is. When I let the sun go down on a day where I haven’t said thank you when he has worked to provide, played with our children, done the laundry and never complained that he didn’t have time to himself.

Perhaps the t-shirt got under my skin because it speaks a bit of truth. Or perhaps it got under my skin because our daughter read it. Out loud. And in those moments I cringed. Not that she could read it but that the world’s “joke” could be construed as a truth to her soft heart.

I watched her wrestle with the concept. Her mouth still moving over the words as she read them again and again. “Mom, I don’t think the shirt is true. Jesus wasn’t an idiot.” After I suppressed the urge to laugh. I had to nod…well, at least she was on the right track. “And Daddy’s not an idiot. He’s our hero.”

“Yes, he is baby girl. Yes he is.” Was all I could mumble. Tears in my eyes. And truth clanging like a gong in my ears.

I want my life to read like a Jesus t-shirt. One that points to Him. One that speaks love over my children. Honors my marriage. Respects my man.

The how of that is a little tougher for me. Oh sure, while I’m writing to you it sounds easy. Pop out of bed and greet the day — put on my ‘I’m a Jesus-girl, See me rock it’ t-shirt and off we go. Whew…if only it were that easy.

Well, maybe it is…once you get the learning curve. I’ve been counting these gifts of grace, gifts of God (you all know that!!). In looking for those gifts I am learning to look for God, find Him in the everydayness of my life. Well, what if we applied the same concept to marriage, to husbands. In every moment of marriage, the large and the small what if we look for God’s details…in our husbands.

If I begin to look at my hunky hubby as a reflection of my Jesus, even in the midst of an argument, what will change? Could I roll my eyes at Jesus? Or would I?? Could I look at the man who just worked 9 hours, drove 2 hours in traffic, and brought us dinner and see him as anything less than a provider. When I’m angry or hormonal and I look into his eyes will I see the pools of green that reflect a Savior’s adoration?

Do you see it? Do you see how those moments when we are willing to see Jesus in our husbands can change everything? It is not a stretch or some hokie tactic…it is the truth. Jesus is there. If I can treat my husband as the godly vessel that he is it will transform our marriage, our love, our family.

And my t-shirt will read Jesus lives here.

Father, thank you for my husband. Thank you for the privilege of being a wife. Please help me to treat my husband with the respect he deserves and the love that you have given me for him. The everydayness of life can rob us of so much, Father, help me to live beyond that. Help me to model respect and submission for our children. Help me to be the wife you want my hubby to have. Amen.

 

 

 

 

21 Sep

Naked in Orlando

Through my tears and frustration I could hear her crying on the other bed. In that second I knew I had one chance to redeem this trip. They were watching…they were feeling my emotion. This was a chance to teach them how to make lemonade out of life’s lemons.

So, I took a deep breath. Willed away my tears and began to really look at our situation.

And then the strangest thing happened…I started laughing.

Here we were nine hours from home, one day into our whirlwind vacation that would reunite us with family and surprise the kids with day trips to Sea World and Disney World. We had van full of clothes, games, toys, homeschool materials, coolers, snacks, you name it. And somehow in the early morning rush to hit the road one suitcase had gotten left behind.

Only minutes ago we had discovered that my suitcase was still sitting next to our bed at home. I had thought my husband grabbed it and he had thought that the smaller matching suitcase (full of our daughter’s clothes) was the one I was bringing. Not 24 hours ago I had joked with my brother if I didn’t get packed I was going to be naked in Orlando…suddenly that was a real possibility.

As I began to laugh, the kids just looked at me. My husband went from rubbing my back to shaking his head.

“Are we going to get you some new clothes, mom?” our daughter asked.

I nodded. And then added I had packed extra sunblock so I wouldn’t get burned if I was naked in Orlando. Now everyone joined me laughing.

As my husband and I began to concoct a plan. I just kept giggling and saying, “this is the dumbest thing.” Within seconds our four-year-old son had picked up the refrain and was saying it too. His little voice cracked us up and the laughter increased.

After a quick trip to the mall I have  a couple of new shirts, pants, undergarments, sweats, socks and shoes. I try not to shop for myself so this was actually kind of a splurge for me. Thankful that we will have laundry facilities where we are staying, I was able to save us money by getting enough to wear a few times.

In all truth, of course, I would rather have my clothing with matching accessories and broken in shoes. I would rather have several outfit options, not just plain t-shirts. That is what my tears were over earlier in the evening…not having what I wanted, what I had packed, what I had planned.

After our trip to the mall the kids sat up on the bed and watched me lay out what we had purchased. “Oooh, I like that color,” our daughter said. “I like that sweatshirt it is soft,” our son added. And as their happy chatter about the evenings events filled our room, I knew that all was well.

Isn’t it so easy to get caught up in our wants and our own plans that when life goes sideways we lament. We don’t chose joy. We choose whining, crying, frustration or anger. But these moments are important. They are important for us, they are important for our children to watch and be part of, and they are important to God. Life is full of unmet expectations and messed up plans, and if we choose to get caught on those speed bumps we’ll miss the blessings down the road.

Last night as I tried on clothing at the mall, I listened to my kids and my husband giggling and playing games in the store. I smiled in the mirror as I tried on my new t-shirt. We had planned on a quick dinner and finding a place to get their energy out. We hadn’t planned on a big ole Italian dinner — stuffing our kids with pasta, bread, and salad — great conversation, fun games and time to just sit and look each other in the face. We hadn’t planned on them walking through the mall (getting their energy out) and playing with daddy or helping me pick out clothing. They were precious moments we didn’t plan and we could have missed if I had chosen to pout my way through last night.

It comes down attitude, doesn’t it? Whether we chose joy in the moments that frustrate us? Do we choose to redeem the moments for those around us even when inside we want to stomp our feet and cry?

Today we’ll finish our road trip toward our weekend of fun and family. I’ll be the one in a plain t-shirt and yesterday’s capris. And the last 24 hours will become a thing of family trip legend — remember the trip when mom didn’t bring her suitcase?? Well, at least it won’t be known as the trip where mom was naked in Orlando!!

19 Sep

Sometimes You Just Need to be Rear Ended

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Face buried in my pillow, I held my breath. I didn’t want him to know I was crying.  I fought to hold in the sobs and keep my back to him. I was mad. I wanted to just be mad.

It was an argument. Not knock down drag out fighting, just the kind of disagreement that comes when life gets in the way and marriages are left waiting in the wings. In all honesty we’ve had worse {and probably will again}, and really I can’t tell you why I felt so hyper-emotional. But there I was mired in my own pride and unwilling to just roll over and talk to my husband.

Hours later I laid along side him in bed. Still half angry. Completely sad. Unwilling to find a way even in the quiet of night with God leaning on my heart to just bridge the gap.

Some time in the early hours of the morning he whispered goodbye and kissed me as he went off to work. I didn’t even open my eyes. Afraid to see anger looking back at me or that I would cry, again.

The day went by slowly, I can tell you.

Then late in the afternoon the phone rang. As I put it to my ear all I could hear were sirens. Lots of sirens. And then my hunky hubby’s voice, “I’ve been in a car accident.” He quickly assured me he was okay, that the car was pretty beat up but driveable. He’d be home late.

I hung up the phone.

And sobbed.

And sobbed.

He was fine. I knew that, but I was stuck on the what if.

I know better than to let the sun go down on my anger {Ephesians 4:26}. And, yet I had.

And there I sat in my living room. Thanking God for His protection. Thanking Him for a car that drove away. Thanking him for a reminder of how precious my husband is.

And still I cried. Out of guilt, out of shame, out of relief.

When the love of my life walked across the threshold hours later I went straight into his arms. My head pressed to his chest and neck, the spot I was designed to fit in.

I’m sorry.

I love you.

More tears.

It is so easy to get caught up in emotion. To ride the swells of me, me, me.

Our daughter is six and she is a passionate little girl. She feels every emotion to the fullest extent — her joy is captivating and contagious and conversely her anger is overwhelming and difficult. As she learns about appropriate expression of her emotions I am there to help guide her.  As I wrestled with my what ifs in the long wait between I”ll be home late and I’m sorry, I realized we’re not so different her and I.

How easily we give into to fits of emotion and anger. How easy it is to become like a petulant child. To let our emotions become our truth that defines us, messes with us and distorts our view of God’s truth.

Life is short and words said in anger can’t be erased or taken back. The thought that my husband could have carried my back and my refusal to talk to the grave nearly doubles me over. I am not prepared to lose him, but I need to live every moment like it is our last. Full of love, forgiveness, grace. Apologize quickly. Exchange anger for grace. Love for hurt. And banish pride.

I am blessed to have my husband in one piece. I am well aware that some don’t get that reprieve, and that breaks my heart.

Sometimes God has to kick you in the tail to wake you up — in this case He rear ended my husband to get my attention. It worked.

As I write to you now, he sits quietly snoring at the other end of the couch. How familiar these moments are, both of us in our after-the-kids-go-to-bed spots. This is that part of marriage that is like an old, worn sweatshirt — comfortable, familiar, and easily overlooked. I pray that God helps me breathe in these moments, to enjoy them, live in them, never overlook them.

The sounds of sirens still ring in my memory and as I look at his chest slowly rising and falling I thank God for his breath, his life, his love. For us.

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