In order to be vulnerable today and share with you the heaviness and the highs in my heart, I have to confess two things.
- Being present has been an extreme challenge for me lately. Between books, podcasts, drawing, social media, Netflix, goal setting, work, and my ADHD, stillness has definitely been pushed to the side. To the far back, truthfully. Perhaps it’s this season of isolation, trying to avoid boredom at all costs. But I don’t like that excuse, especially since J and I are going into our third month of marriage. It’s suppose to be an exciting time! And there is so much lasting joy in being present in this excitement. There is not, however, much lasting joy in Netflix. (Not even in the show Workin’ Moms that has been giving me serious belly laughs lately.) Last night, I felt like the Lord was shouting at me, How can you expect to fully enjoy moments that you only partially experience?? I guess this is where my second confession comes in…
How can you expect to fully enjoy moments that you only partially experience??
- I said some hurtful things last night. Words can be painful. They honestly have the power to hold life and death within them. And I wish I could tell you I always speak life over my husband. I pray that one day I will be able to say that. But sometimes, this just isn’t what happens. Last night, this isn’t what happened. I had been drawing on my iPad, while J was playing games in the other room. He came out to check on me, and when I asked him if he wanted to watch an episode of Ozark, he said no. I looked up from my drawing for half a second to squeeze in a mistake. A mistake that was not life-giving. There is no life to be given when shouting, “You aren’t married to your video games!” This comment wasn’t received well, and he justifiably replied with, “and you aren’t married to your iPad.” Totally offended, I didn’t snap back this time; instead, I went back to my drawing. Yes, on my iPad.
Two minutes later, conviction came in hot and my heart was heavy, so I went to sit outside in the backyard. I stared at the dimly lit sky and tried to pray, but I mostly just cried. I confessed to the Lord that I don’t know what I’m doing as a wife and just sat silently, knowing there weren’t words to attempt to explain myself to a God who knows my heart. Anger was falling with every tear – anger at J for not wanting to spend time with me, and at myself for shouting at him and being so preoccupied with my iPad lately. But then all I could think was, How many times have I asked him for grace? Why can’t I extend more of it to him?
It wasn’t too long before I felt like God was whispering two big truths over me. First, He reminded me that the majority of this anger was rooted in my own sin and selfish heart. My prayers shifted from “I want a husband who…” to “I pray for a heart that…”
Let me show you what I mean.
I want a husband who puts our family first.I pray for a heart that puts our family first. I want a husband who patiently listens.I pray for a heart that patiently listens. I want a husband who is fully present when we spend time together.I pray for a heart that is fully present when we spend time together. (click here for a free five day “practice makes present” challenge and join me on this journey free of distractions!)
This list could go on and on. I saw clearly what it felt like to want these qualities in a spouse, and God responded to this need by nudging me to be this spouse. In her book The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst writes, “We want the best directional signs from God. God just wants us to pay attention.” I wish that in that moment of hurt and anger, I would have paid attention to what was really in front of me. Like the place these feelings were actually coming from. Or the fact that J and I had just spent hours together planning out goals for a project he’s working on, reading two chapters from Harry Potter, and taking Tuck on a sunset walk. If I had been more present in those moments, they surely would have been more enjoyable and soul-filling. That time together would have filled my heart more, and maybe then I could have seen that J had worked 9 hours before coming home to spend time with me and probably just needed time alone to decompress. I would have seen that J is everything I could want in a spouse, but I have to choose to see the good, not be blinded by a false sense of self-righteousness and entitlement. With this perspective, I would have been equipped to extend God’s grace to him. And grace is always life-giving.
I would have been equipped to extend God’s grace to him. And grace is always life-giving.
The second truth that hit me like a ton of bricks during this quiet time with God was that our home is a mission field. As a wife, it is part of God’s plan and purpose for my life to love my husband well. Our marriage will be used to build His kingdom and it will surely be used to transform our own hearts – to make us more like Jesus. What does it look like to live and love like Jesus? Well scripture tells us that in His presence there is fullness of joy. It also tells us that He is good and He does good. This is who God is transforming us to be, but we have to let Him do His work. We have to be open to trust Him, willing to lay down our tendency to control everything, and thankful for all He is and all He is doing in us and through us. This morning during a Bible zoom chat, my friend Izzy prayed that God would “open our eyes a little more every day to [His] glory and the beauty of the gospel.” It’s hard to pay attention if our eyes are closed.
My eyes were closed to this last night. Well they were open and glued to my iPad, blurring the goodness that was right in front of me. Blurring the goodness that God is working within the walls of this mission field we call our home. The greatest reward when we choose to live ours lives on mission is becoming more like Jesus. So I’ll continue to pray for my husband, but also for my own heart. And yes, I’ll put down the iPad.