Taken For Granted

A newly married woman was hanging out with some of her friends on the beach at a church camp we were at. I watched her husband run up, kiss her on the cheek and ask how she was doing in the heat, if he could bring her anything and what she needed from him.

It was a sweet moment, but I was trapped in my own chains of bitterness as I felt overwhelmed by my two little kids.

“We’ll see how long that lasts, just wait til they have kids to look after.” I thought angrily to myself. “How the other is doing will be the last thing on their minds.”

It was a really hot day, and I was stressed out about the kids getting heat stroke, and was constantly worrying about how much water they were drinking and that the bugs weren’t eating them alive.

Seeing that exchange, the thought fluttered through my mind about how Andrew was doing in the heat.

“He’s a big boy, I don’t have time to worry about him.” I silently seethed, deep down missing when all we really did worry about was each other.

In that moment I somehow became “that mom” or “that wife” that I never, ever wanted to be. The kind of annoying woman who says things like “just wait until they have kids”, or “if you think it’s hard now…”, scarred by her own disappointments.

This realization made me break for a heart check, and I saw I was feeling taken for granted. It was all just about the kids. And I fed into making it all about the kids.

Of course each of us are big enough to hold our own and make sure we’re taking care of practical day-to-day needs. But are we married simply to manage to survive caring for little kids? Of course not.

Everyone wants to feel cared for, and it only takes a moment to show that you care about how the other person is doing.

I caught up with Andrew later, and asked how he was. He looked a little shocked by the question (showing that I obviously hadn’t been the most attentive wife lately), and said he was tired but doing ok, then asked how I was.

It was literally just moments, but it was a reconnection that needed to take place.

Later that same day a single girl gushed about how blessed I was to have married such an incredible man. photo

It hit me in the face that I can’t take him for granted. He’s an amazing guy, and if I don’t take the time to show him I care, someone else will.

As I’ve been asking God to help me keep my husband at the forefront of my mind, along with my kids, the Lord has give me this verse of encouragement.

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.

Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)

Genuine affection can just take moments, but it is a powerful sword against taking each other for granted!

It could have been a lot worse.

The last twenty-four hours has been one thing after another with our son.

It all started with him getting bitten by two wasps in our backyard. In shock, he then ran straight into the side of the deck at top speed. The bite by his eye quickly swelled up. It was so hard to settle him down.photo 2

We made it through the evening and got him to bed, and I was surprised he was only up once in the night from pain.

My husband had just installed a new baby gate on the weekend, and I was feeling confident that the kids would be safe on our stairs (they are still getting used to something with the new house). photo 1

So then this morning, just as I was texting my mom back as to how Caleb was doing with his wasp stings, I heard a huge crash and a horrific scream. He had fallen down the stairs, climbing up them from the basement.

I was so angry. I felt completely out of control. I had been furious at those wasps and wanted so badly to kill every single one for hurting my baby. And then this. After we had tried so hard to protect them from the stairs.

He was a mess. Blood, scrapes, and a huge goose egg on the back of his head. He was crying that he couldn’t walk and had his hands holding his hips. I was scared.

My husband got to meet some of our new town’s finest by taking Caleb to get checked out at our local hospital.

I’m still thanking the Lord that all of Caleb’s bones were fine, just surface wounds.

About an hour after they got back, Caleb and I were pushing Amayah on the tire swing, and he got knocked down and landed right on his goose egg. It took a while for the pain to settle again.

He disappeared into the house for a moment, and by the time I went in to check on him he had pushed a chair up to the counter and climbed up to the window sill and gave himself some children’s Tylenol to help his head.

Of course I panicked. My nerves were already a little shot from the whole ordeal. Now we were going to have to go back to the hospital to get his stomach pumped!

Quickly we determined how much he took, and it wasn’t an emergency, just a life lesson for us all, and an unfortunate recognition that he can now undo child locks on medication.

I tell you all of this to say, I am so completely out of control of my kids safety. We did our due diligence in so many areas, and he still got hurt many times over.

Relinquishing control, and admitting that you can’t protect your babies from everything is so scary. I’ve prayed protection for my kids lots, but have unknowingly seen myself as their primary protector.

But I’m not.

I’m so desperate for the Lord every single moment of my life. To protect my kids, to guard my sanity and to give my peace. So many things in this world are beyond our control, and I guess I hate that my kids are beyond mine too.

I can’t handle life without my Jesus.

I love you, Lordyou are my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my saviour; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
Psalm 18:1-2

Second Chance

We’ve had five days in our a new house in my hometown, and I have to say the flood of emotion has been quite intense.

We’re living in the place that I spent a significant portion of my youth group days (since it was my pastor’s place). I rocked their babies in the same room I’m rocking mine. I pushed their kids on that same tire swing that my kids are loving. To say it’s nostalgic is probably not a strong enough word.

The funny thing is, all these old insecurities that I’ve dealt with over the last seven years have tried to come back and attach themselves to me. (Thankfully the best way to combat these, is to recognize them so they lose their power.)

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I wasn’t the cool kid in school that’s for sure. I tried to live out my faith, but failed a lot. I was sometimes bold, and then sometimes shy. Since leaving high school I have had a lot of regrets for not showing enough love and selflessness to the people in my town.

That’s why it’s crazy to be back. And in the position we’re in. It’s like a second chance. A chance that I would not have dreamed of having in high school. A chance that probably would have scared the life out of me.

I’m no longer a brace-faced high school student trying to overcome the pull to be cool, party or fit in. God has done so much in me while I’ve been gone, it’s incredible. I know that I have hope within me that every person I encounter needs. I am humbled, yet honoured that God chose me to come back and give loving this town and serving these people another go.

The Lord was comforting me with these verses last night as I considered every swirling thing in my mind.

The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said,

“Look, I have put my words in your mouth! (Jeremiah 1:7-9)

May you also take that same powerful anointing into the places that you have influence. Don’t be afraid, the Lord has given you the words, and the hope that is within you cannot be denied!

Kipling, it’s good to be home.