Today was one of those days! The kind where if I would’ve known ahead of time all that I needed to accomplish in one day, I would’ve tried to skip! I worked so hard from early until late that I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow, rather than suffering through the “hamster on a wheel” that is often my bedtime brain.
It doesn’t help that my husband has been somewhere across the ocean for some time now. He comes home very soon, but not having my best friend here to notice and care makes the days even longer.
I have definitely had my share of time with my husband traveling. For nineteen of our twenty years together he has traveled for his job, and the amount, distance, and length of trips has only increased over time. Today, the difficult part is mostly that I miss him. Once upon a time, the difficult part was parenting little ones virtually alone.
Back in the day, I had twenty-four piano students in the afternoons and evenings when two of my three kids were getting home from school, an infant, and a husband who worked at the office, traveled, and worked two to three days out of an office in Detroit. Not to mention, I had no dishwasher!
Honestly, I don’t know how I survived that season.
Then, he started working in the aviation industry and began traveling to Europe in addition to all the state-side travel. At some point in there we were called to homeschool. This did put a lot of the work-burden on me. But, on the flip-side, the kids and I became quite the little band of merry men. I look back very fondly on those years.
Now, here I am with one still home doing school with me, and two in the workforce. And my husband far away from me.
It’s so easy to sum all of that up into a nice little story, but it doesn’t tell you about the day-to-day difficulty of doing all that needed to be done–virtually alone. There were many tears and feelings of loneliness and hopelessness for me throughout those years. In one particularly ungraceful moment of wallowing in self-pity, after hearing Christian was leaving again, I remember saying the following embarrassing, ugly words: “I didn’t sign up for this.”
This week in a movie I watched and in a book I read, I heard two wives say those words, and each time I was reminded of saying them myself.
Because, guess what. I DID sign up for “this”! And everything “this” entailed. It’s called better or worse. It’s called thick and thin (literally and figuratively). :o) It’s also called perspective.
Two years ago today, we had just arrived home from a 4800 mile 17 day trip that made a big circle from Michigan to the East Coast, up to Prince Edward Island and back around through Canada and home again. Last year at this time, we were several weeks into a three and a half month, epic adventure from coast to coast covering almost twelve thousand miles. In the span of twelve years or so, we have now road-tripped all 48 states together!
Two of my three have been to Europe with their Dad, and the third is gearing up for her turn.
I say all that not to sound boastful because I know without a doubt that those trips have all been gifts from my heavenly Daddy, but it reminded me that what I had so pathetically complained about also became my blessings. It just depended on how I looked at it! Christian’s job had allowed us the chance to see the world.
I could have had a more typical lifestyle, and would have missed out on so very much. Getting “thrown” out of the box was to my benefit!
Good thing I signed up for the “this”!
Life is so much like that, isn’t it? We commit, then complain along the way, and then eventually, with some perspective we can look back and see how the struggles actually grew us and somehow became something to be grateful for.
Now, I’m working on skipping that whole complaining part, and just starting out being thankful. For what is surely for my good (Romans 8:28), knowing the plans He has for me can only be for my good (Jeremiah 29:11), and realizing that in the end I’ve developed character; and that is priceless.
There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
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