Today’s Marriage Tip: When God’s spirit moves in your life, the promise of the redemption overshadows the present reality.
There were many days that I thought my life would always consist of changing diapers, doing dishes, cleaning crumbs, staying sticky with endless questions. I had a few questions of my own:
Will my house always be messy?
Will they ever learn to take care of themselves?
My brain was overwhelmed with the sound waves generated by whiny little voices, excited chatters, clamoring cries.
I’ll never forget the day I was trying to unpack a mountain of boxes after a move. I had just packed those same boxes surrounded by a toddler and a crawler-turned-clutcher. And now, trying desperately to regain order in a new home, I attempted to unpack with one girl taking things from the box, strewing them into an unorganized chaotic mess, while the other was clutching my leg for support.
I moved the box as close to the cabinet as possible so that I could unpack without moving the one leg that was the support for the clingy little one not ready to take her first shaky steps, just desperately needing the support of the mom who was constant and unchanging in a world of change.
I had an urge to just shake her off my leg, like pulling my leg out of a sucking, slimy, mud pit, so that I could get the job finished. I empathized with those mama cows that I’d seen kick at the weaned calf, who couldn’t seem to stay away. Or the mother dog who nipped at the pups who brought their squabbles to the dinner table. Enough already!
But, it wasn’t enough. She wasn’t ready to be shaken off, turned away, kicked out of the nest. Those days would come all too soon, but not that day, and so I let her clutch and clamor, while I was frustrated and finished all of those jobs that seemed so important that day. . .
What would I give to pick up that needy toddler and sit a while with her today, read her a book, nuzzle her sweet cheek, blow raspberries on her belly!? Can’t really do that with an eighteen-year-old!! I guarantee, given the opportunity, I would drop everything and take advantage of the moment today — now that it’s too late — but emptying boxes was SO important that day!
There were many endless tasks of drudgery to complete back in those days. Somehow I knew that those days would not last forever, and there was value in the endless meaningless and mundane things that I was doing. There was value in the constancy, the stability, the safety and security that I offered in those days of the mundane, that have led to the happiness of the here and now. Only a loving mother could offer that! And it is a glorious gift to offer!
I once heard an illustration that I’m reminded of whenever I hear a mom say that she is a better mother when she is happy, as though stealing stability and security from the children will somehow satisfy her longings for happiness – children would rather have you suicidal in the next bedroom than gloriously happy in Hawaii.
Never underestimate the value of your presence. You are needed. You are valued. You are wanted. You are important. . . and there is no reason you can’t be gloriously happy in the next bedroom, too!!!
Do not look at the miserable mess of today and mistakenly think it marks the future. Do not allow a temporary mess to dictate your feelings about a fabulous future. Do not throw up your hands in despair and become a part of the misery. Keep going. Keep building the future. Just like it is with diapers and drooling babies, it is the same with the messes of marriage — growth will produce change, maturity will lead to a better day! I learned that, too!
Thank God that He brought me grace in the garbage heap, delight in the dungeon, hope in the hovel. He does that. Do you find yourself in despair? It will not always be as it appears today. There is a hope and a future for you, too.