There I was… changing my daughters diaper, yelling at my three year old to stop climbing up the refrigerator shelves and worrying about the stack of bills sitting on the table.
I was waiting for my husband to call back so he could tell me his schedule and I could make mine… around his. I still needed to pack my teenagers lunch, reschedule a doctors appointment, wash clothes, answer emails, go to the bathroom, find the TV remote, call my mom back, figure out how I was going to help with the upcoming church event, clean, make my grocery list, find some “God time” and wrap my dear friend’s birthday gift.
I was caught up in my stay-at-home mom busyness. Busyness and chaos all revolving around everyone else. In that moment, I just knew… life was about everyone but me. Day after day, night after night, I ran around like a chicken with my head cut off for everyone else’s benefit. Never underestimate a stay at home mom, right? It’s like excuse me folks, move over…proverbs woman coming through here. Lay out the red carpet. We far exceed “awesome” and we are the queens of multi-tasking and most of all, selflessness.
At least not for me anyway. I bet you didn’t see that twist coming, huh? Well let me tell you, even with all the daily tasks I mentioned above (plus the gazillion other daily things I didn’t even include), it doesn’t make me selfless. Yes it may make me a master at multitasking, but selfless? Not in the least bit.
See, I believed for most of my Christian walk that these daily acts of taking care of my family was in fact selflessness at its finest. After all, I would much rather relax in a warm bubble bath or go get a massage than clean up toddler vomit or go to a parent teacher conference, but yet I met my families needs. And no one is obligated to fulfill their roles as parents, right? People forfeit the calling to parent all the time. In fact, I personally know a woman who confidently walked away from her husband and children all together. Therefore, since I chose to be the opposite of women like that, I assumed I would receive an automatic gold star for being a “selfless” mom and wife. Then real life hit.
My husband and I have argued many times over the years. We contributed it mostly to rushing into marriage, but marriage will always present new challenges no matter how long you dated before committing. Nevertheless, we both held on tightly to old wounds and fears that resulted in history repeating itself over and over again.
During the recent years, although we still fought, we grew leaps and bounds. We also grew too comfortable and in our new found “peace”. It was as if we were best friends for months and then we’d have one bad moment and be the worst of enemies for a short time. Even though that short time never exceeded past one or two days, the disconnection was torturous for us both. We talk on the phone for long periods of time while he’s at work and we go everywhere together whenever we can… even if it’s just to get gas in the car. We both really value the friendship that lies within our marriage. I love how it reminds me of the closeness my parents share. So when that was cut off, for lack of better words, we would feel really down. Then things would get better again until next time.
Our most recent fight however was a game-changer. Days after my husband ended a time of fasting and deep prayer, things hit the fan. I believe in those moments, all of our past issues (spoken of and unspoken of) manifested themselves. Hurtful words and struggles we never knew how to properly communicate came out with a vengeance.
For the first time in a long time, we spent a few days completely apart. Although it was difficult, God used that time to reveal some life-changing wisdom to me. He didn’t want to give me some divine intervention and teach me how to “deal with” or “fix” my husband. This special, sacred time of brokenness, though only for a few days, was all about Him beginning the process of reshaping my view of selflessness.
And notice, I said things hit the fan after my husband had a time of fasting and prayer. Coincidence? Absolutely not. Everything is a spiritual battle, but that in itself a whole other story.
Anyhow, God not only reminded me that His wisdom, grace and love were far above mine, but He showed me the irony and the faults in my human thinking as well. Here I am thinking woe is me, everything is about everyone else. Meanwhile, in reality, I was making things all about myself. I thought my to do list spoke volumes about selflessness, but He showed me it’s not about what I do. It’s about who I should be. I got too caught up in physical tasks rather than spiritual actions. In other words, I was putting myself and what I wanted to do before Jesus and who He wanted me to become.
Just because I was washing my husband’s clothes and taking care of the day-to-day stuff doesn’t mean I was truly loving him how I was called to. The same goes for my children, especially my 13-year-old son. I was loving my family and friends in my own way rather than loving them in ways that spoke specifically to them. That is where exercising true selflessness comes in to play. God was opening my eyes to exactly where I was going wrong. Not to mention, I had my priorities all backwards. This was the heart of it all. In the midst of my chaos, I would fit Him in where I could and if He didn’t make the cut then it was oh well. But, you can’t give what you don’t have. I wasn’t filling myself up how I needed in order to love others how He called me to.
Again, things were always amazing 99% of the time, but when that 1% hit us, it got ugly sometimes. Now, I thank God for the 1%… for the things He’s opened our eyes to. I’ve always loved my husband dearly, make no mistake. But when I started to fully surrender the areas of my life I needed to surrender to God, I began loving him even more. I began to discover gifts he had that I wasn’t even aware of. As I watched him in a new light, my respect for him grew drastically. It was like he was full of hidden treasures that I was too busy to notice before. I knew he had a giant heart and strong anointing, but it was as if God helped me to see him through His eyes rather than mine. Boy, am I thankful for my man. Wow. Wow. Wow.
I don’t know what you’re facing today whether it’s marital issues or something else, but know that God is good and He really does come through. Even in those ugly, heart-wrenching moments full of tears, gooey snot and desperation, He comes through. It’s hard to see what He’s up to in the midst of our pain, but He is always and I repeat, always up to something. And that “something” He is up to will make it all worth it and then some.
I love you, dear friends.
The bible is rich in powerful wisdom, beautiful analogies and inspiring stories that help us to better understand God’s character and successfully grow in the midst of life’s ups and downs. There are so many scriptures that tie into what I shared today, but I will leave you with this one for now.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” —Romans 8:28
I encourage you to mediate on them throughout your week. Study the context. In addition, pray for God to show you exactly how you can apply them to your life now. Nothing is too small for Him to use; you just never know what He’s up to! And as always, I am on this journey with you so let’s do this!