In the midst of life – bustling around us – busyness comes and goes and the pace quickly increases – and in the midst of this we wait.
We wait everyday whilst living – whatever we are waiting for, a delivery of sorts, a new baby, a new couch or a phone call or for … a new season, a breakthrough, a change or a miracle or everything included in the latter. It’s actually the true essence of our living…is that part of living and being – waiting.
Waiting can do a number of things in our lives – it can either slow us down, spur us on or totally immobilise us. Waiting can either be a blessing or a noble pain in the derriere.Both of which are totally up to us.
It is completely within our stimulus and response space…and we decide how it will impact the circumstances we are in.
A profound truth and there is really not much you can do about it, it’s the journey of moving forward. A little ironic too. That’s how I know God has a sense of humour. He knows that in our desperate busyness, our hearts are forced to be patient and wait for that which He has called is to, always teaching and growing us.
I have been thinking a lot about my marriage and my role as mother and how I have handled these important roles in the last almost 18 years. Despite the fact that we have been waiting for God to do something incredible and bring change and the ticket to distant lands, we have had to deal with the reality of being human – that side of life will not wait for sweeter weather or more pristine conditions.
No, these roles require your instant and undivided attention. You can’t put off caring for a child because you have things to wait for and you can’t hope that if you ignore the fraying edges of your marriage relationship that it will all be okay when your dream is realised. I learned early on in my marriage that I had to get my act together pretty quickly if I wanted a healthy relationship with my man and if I wanted well-adjusted children I needed to get my head in the game and fast!
The biggest learning curve being letting go of myself – it wasn’t all about me, (really?) it never was to begin with – love – in it’s entirety is about giving without strings. I thought I loved like that when I first embarked on marriage and motherhood and soon understood that I had so much to learn (and still do…cough*cough*).
It didn’t matter that we were ‘in-waiting’, we had to, in the midst of this journey, get cracking so to speak and work on the bits that needed attention and we had two little people who were given to us to mould and guide – no small responsibility.
Sometimes when you have a vision for where you know you need to be and want to be, you can get lost in the map and the myriads of next steps, and it is then that you could be in danger of missing that which needs your hands on attention right there and right then.
I have learned that the most important pieces of this puzzle are in fact my family – none of this plan is going to happen if my family is falling apart.
All I wanted when I first got married was a happy marriage – who of us don’t – that was my goal, what I didn’t realise is that in by desiring this happiness that many things were about to shift in my life…
People tell you marriage requires work but when you are young you never quite believe them…and now..well let’s just say I am in full agreement as are all the other veterans out there – both (still…) married or not.
So let’s go back a few years or 10, Robin was the future planner,the inventor and the brave one dreaming the big dreams. I felt like the practical one, trying to manage the budget, the meal plans,the kids homework and the washing and ensuring the lawn was watered. It was only later on that I caught hold of the dream myself. But in those beginning years it often felt like there was a little quiet stream building down the centre of the household,my side and Robin’s. It was something we needed to deal with before it became a raging river in flood and let me tell you, we just made it, things were a bit unsure for while there. I knew we needed a way out of the flood waters but I had no idea which way to go and how to get to the shore. You see I was of the opinion that the issues never lay with me… sound familiar? And whilst many of them didn’t – at least half of them did. So wife waiting became wife working – on her marriage….and her attitude (oh an did I mention ego…and um…pride?) 🙂
Step 1 – I had to ditch the damsel in distress act and face the stuff I was responsible for causing or allowing. This was in no means easy – I am by nature a reasonably proud person and it was hard changing my attitude. I remember reading the Power of praying Wife by Stormie Omartian (there is also one for husbands ;)) and the first prayer was about God changing me – I was so horrified that the first step was about me shifting my thinking and behaviour. I clearly remember thinking… ‘but I am not the problem!’
That should have immediately shown me that I was. It is really that kind of thinking that build the walls and the adds more water to that raging ‘marriage damage river’…You have to be brave and face your not-so-nice-to-look-at-stuff if you want to get past it. And this goes for any relationship not just marriage.
Step 2 – I had to pray like a crazy woman. I had to pray for God to help me manage my emotions, because my little girl hormones were seriously out of control.
I had to ask God to help me get past my insecurities and get over the injustices I felt aimed at me. I needed to be okay when there were disagreements and listen – because hey, I am not always right – major revelation – but I had to accept that as true. (ouch!) The bottom line is when I knew I was without blame – I didn’t need to prove it – I knew, God knew and I was not going to argue it. Somehow it worked out and I also learned to pick my battles – fighting over who didn’t take the garbage out was just not worth it. Not saying I became a mat for Robin to walk over – he can attest to that – but I started looking at this relationship with more clarity and dare I say it…maturity.
Step 3 – It was also how I chose to respond – sarcasm and anger I have learned generally are a sure-fire way to create a nuclear marriage war head! It is reasonably tough when you are angry but it can be done – it’s called self-discipline and emotional intelligence (ahem! what was that?) …you don’t have to fire back darts to match the ones coming at you, you both end up significantly wounded and it is not pretty sight. It is also not the greatest way to show love to your partner. Rather think about how you can calm the situation down than how you can get your two cents in. Then talk about the hectic stuff when you are both in a calmer frame of mind.
There were so many more lessons learned along the way (and still am) but for now those are the ones that stick out for me and the ones that started the great shift of surviving a relationship to being in relationship. Stormie’s book is a great one – and I really recommend it.
Marriage and relationships are no small endeavor but I savour what I have – it is possible to be happily married even in the midst of waiting and the drama that enfolds around us.
Maybe yours hasn’t worked the first time around and that very much could have been us and it’s okay – only by God’s grace can we say we have made it this far but I will tell you I will never for one day take it for granted.
We know we have to work on it every day if we want to keep it this good. We need to look at our marriage as though it were a 10 carat diamond. No-one is going to leave a diamond like this unprotected and unguarded just because it’s safe for a day – it’s something you need to watch over every day.
You need to take precautions in case of attack or theft. No matter what the circumstances, it is not something that can be left unattended for a day, no matter where you are you need to pay attention – do your bit and keep it safe.
It doesn’t matter that you are waiting for life, a new route or things to change or your moment to transpire – whilst your are waiting you have to work on what you already have. The gifts you have been given can often become just another facet of living but stop for a moment and take stock of what you have – your family. How precious is a lifetime of beautiful moments, laughter and togetherness. These are the treasures that make our lives what they are.
They are worth guarding and working on and watching over no matter what your wait is for.
Is your treasure safe?