It's Spring Break, and things are looking up.
Because, for whatever reason- it's ok.
JT is ok.
Aquaman, he's ok.
The Dude: A-ok.
We are different. So is everybody. My family doesn't fit neatly into our cultures definition of "normal". And who cares?
I heard God say it, just the other day. Catching a glimpse of my tired and discouraged face in the mirror. He said "YOU are fearfully and wonderfully made." And I could feel the affection in His words.
I'm a wife who is a blessing to my husband.
I'm a wife who believes that for me being a blessing to my husband doesn't just mean taking care of the house and making babies. It means seeing the sorrow and weariness in his eyes. It means recognizing that HE is fearfully and wonderfully made just as he is.
It means going to work.
I'm a very good nurse. I'm a really good mom.
Not because I'm anything special, but because, for the most part: I've learned to be accepting of myself. To stop trying to be someone that I'm not- to just be the me that God made me to be. Because that's what my husband needs, what my children need, what the people that I encounter at work need.
My children are secure. They're different from other people too, and they're ok with that. That's exactly what I want for them. Freedom. Confidence.
Not self-confidence. God-confidence.
That God made no mistake in making them.
"To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand- for the Lord is able to make them stand." Romans 14:4
Some of my struggle has been feeling like we are not like other families- particularly beachside. We both have jobs, but we don't have much money, and definitely not a lot of nice stuff. My husband works most weekends. Yet, even though on church and t-ball mornings I struggle with the insecurity of feeling like a single mom, I'm NOT a single mom. I am deeply in love with and loved by my husband.
But we have different callings than most. My husband has been called to the beach. We sense it more every day, despite seeming disapproval from most everyone else.
It doesn't pay that well.
But the position we hold, the status, the money- it is not proportionate to the effect we have on peoples' lives.
God uses the man on the beach as well as he uses the man in the fire suit, or the suit and tie.
Work is not an end unto itself. It must have a purpose, a motive...a heart.
God's provision for us has been nothing short of miraculous. The multiplying of the loaves and fish. The clothing comparable to those of the lilies. He is a Good God, even in our floundering.
One of the greatest gifts of all has been the gift of being close to our parents.
The amazing sacrifices they have made to be there for our children when we are at work. And how they make us feel that it's not a sacrifice at all. I love to see how their relationships have grown and developed over the years. It was hard during infancy. Hard for them because I have fussy babies who never sleep. Hard for me because I was insecure as a mother, and worried that I was somehow failing them.
I wanted to be there for all of it, as if I am the most important person in the world. I'm not.
Our parents have loved and cared for our children, and helped them develop parts of themselves that I truly believe would not be if it wasn't for their relationships. I am so grateful to God for His provision for our children so that JT and I have the freedom to be what we have been called to be.
I don't take it lightly. I know that it is a luxury that most don't have.
"Set your minds on things above, not on things on the earth."
The goal of our family is heavenward.
"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of an inheritance- for you serve the Lord Christ."
What a blessed assurance to my heart are these words. And we give the details to Him.
Spring is emerging as a time of hope and anticipation. I can feel the tension releasing.
A long anticipated moment arrived this week, and instead of jumping on it- JT and I stepped back. We looked at each other. We loved each other. And we found peace in doing nothing.
The boys have grown up so much this winter. Aquaman is such a boy- with his "shooting fire holes in your belly" with his finger guns, and his painfully jabbing elbows.
He is going to be such a responsible man someday. I can tell by the way he worries about getting to bed on time. The way he tackles his brother when he's trying to do something dangerous. The way he told me the other day: "I don't want to grow up and be a man yet. Because I have to keep living with you and getting punished so that I know the right things to do when I'm a man." He was so serious and earnest and not at all resentful about it, and it was such an encouragement to me as a mom. I respect him deeply, even as a 4 year old. And I can really feel his respect for me..
And The Dude, brand new 2 in all its glory, just could not get any cuter. His legs are stretching out long and lean, and every morning he asks for "broccoli and grapes" immediately upon awakening. He has this crooked wild eyed funny looking way about him that is going to charm him out of a lot of trouble. He is furiously dedicated to just about everything, and fully committed to "doing it the hard way". But every once in a while, I'll catch a glimmer in his eyes. And expecting opposition, I'll find eager compliance.
Another ray of hope.
Everywhere we go there is energy and opinions and curly heads, and almost everywhere we go, there are smiles.
What a blessing is spring-time, and the upcoming Easter weekend. A time of starting over. What has been frozen begins to thaw, and becomes new. Alive. Life is raw and powerful. The painfulness of it sensitizes us to new things, and for that I am grateful.
I don't know what He has in store for us the rest of the year. I know it is big. I know it will be hard. There is a quiet sorrow, a mourning for the way I thought things were going to be.
But my heart feels...for the first time in a long time...strangely still.
Peace. That's what that is.
It's walking beside the quieted waters. It's being led, instead of doing the leading.
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life;
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." -Psalm 23:6