Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cheese to My Macaroni

I’ve always been much better at expressing myself in written word instead of verbally. It makes for a good writer, but a poor partner in any relationship. Because my husband has developed an uncanny ability to know exactly what I need to either feel better from a bad day, or what the best decision may be in any given event, or how to guide me through certain situations, I have grown to assume that he must have become a mind reader as well. But alas, mind reading is one of the few superhero powers that he does not have.

It is usually in a light-hearted way that I refer to him as a superhero, but deep down I mean it. Not in the sense of the ‘movie’ type or comic book, but in the way that he impacts me in my life. Your typical Superman, Spiderman, Hulk superheroes are all invincible, they all have some sort of super strength and invulnerability that has given them the name “superhero”. Kids love it, and part of us as adults do too because those comic book characters who seem so strong and invulnerable also seem to possess more of the heroic traits of courage and heroism. And yet, how tough can it really be to act brave and courageous when you are pretty much invulnerable? It has been through watching my husband through conflict, through trials, and through suffering that I have realized what true strength really is.

For years I had a very backwards view of what strength was. I didn’t understand why or how my husband could have so much contentment and peace during the trials that he has endured. I came to a point of jealous envy and wanted what he had so badly, I too wanted to be invulnerable. It wasn’t until God broke me down that I was able to see that it wasn’t invulnerability that gave my husband his strength, but vulnerability and his faith in Christ. It was at this point that I began quietly watching and learning who my husband really was. I realized that his bravery and courage came from his vulnerability and that completely blew my mind. I would have never put myself out there to be hurt that way. To this day, I don’t. My faith is still growing. I admire that trait in him immensely. He is a fascinating person to me because most of the people that I grew up around waited for others to comfort them, waited for the right word of encouragement, and if that never came in the form of another person, then they would stay withdrawn within themselves. Everyone I have ever known relied on others for their own ability to be happy. And people will always fail other people. My husband does not rely on other people to make him happy and circumstances don’t determine his life, which is why he has such a joyful spirit. His happiness comes from his security and faith in Christ. I also know that God is the lifter of his head in times of difficulty and sadness. And there have been many, many times when Christ has worked through him and he has been the lifter of my head. It is a beautiful thing to witness and have a part of my life and to learn from.

Because I am so proud of who my husband is, who is has become and who he is to our family, there are times where Satan attacks with thoughts of doubts about whether or not I am a good enough wife for him. They are the same doubts that have plagued me for so long. No you are not wanted, no one wants you, no one will really fight for you But as my faith has grown and as my eyes have been opened to who the man is I am married to I realize that God has given me someone that will fight for me, that will protect me, that will pursue me, and that will love me and for me to question that is really an insult to God and to my husband. God chose me to be his ezer kenegdo, his helper, and to never leave him feeling alone. I have not always done the best job at being the best corner man (woman) in our marriage. At best I have been the cut man (woman) and cleaned up the damage incurred during the battle. He however, is always there, always coaching, always guiding, always loving.

I have learned many things from him. True strength is in weakness and not in invulnerability. It is in the self-sacrificing nature of loving another person before yourself. I know that he loves me because that’s what he wants to do, and what he has committed to do. He has taught me that it is ok to bleed during the battle because we don’t have to heal our own wounds. He has taught me this by being a knight that has fought for me and he has certainly bled for me, but has turned those wounds over to Christ for His healing power. I cry for the wounds he has taken and continues to take for himself and for our family. He takes his role as head of our home seriously and I appreciate and respect that.

I will continue to quietly watch him and learn from him daily, but will do a better job at not assuming he will be reading my mind and simply tell him how wonderful I think he is. I will not just tell him that he is wonderful but also that he is appreciated, and not alone. I will be his corner (wo)man and we will fight the battle together.

And in the words of the movie Juno, “as far as [husbands] go mine is totally boss. He is the cheese to my macaroni”.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Honor God with Your Work

I read an interesting article today by Max Lucado about honoring God with your work. My job, and especially my growing irritation and bitterness towards it, is not something that I really consider particularly easy to honor God with. I know that if I changed my mindset, then my attitude towards my job may change. I view my job as a means to an end, a way to pay the bills, and ultimately, a huge stress. We are called to imitate Christ in all aspects of our lives, our careers included. Because so much of our time is spent with working, shouldn’t we use those hours to honor God and not to let those hours bring us down?

Here is part of what the article said, “Whether you log on or lace up for the day, you imitate God. Jehovah himself worked for the first six days of creation. Jesus said, “My Father never stops working, and so I keep working, too” (John 5:17 NCV). Your career consumes half of your lifetime. Shouldn’t it broadcast God? Don’t those forty to sixty hours a week belong to him as well?” I know that for me, when the alarm clock goes off at what seems to be an ungodly hour of the morning and I complain about how sleepy I am, and my first thought is about how much I don’t want to go to work…I am already off on the wrong foot. My first thought at the first sound of the alarm should be… “Thank you God for blessing me with this job, and please allow me to use this job to further your kingdom” It’s never too late to start.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Stress...The Proverbial Monkey on my back

As you can see, I haven’t written in well over a month. This hasn’t been for a lack of trying. I have sat down many times and have had things written but they have all ended up in the recycle bin. My creative juices have been sucked into the stress vortex of life. So, instead of trying to come up with another thing to write about that would join the other long lost blogs in my recycle bin I would write what’s truly been ailing me. I’d like to believe that I am pretty good at brushing things under the carpet and not letting things affect me, which is where I think I’ve kept a pretty good handle on my level of stress…ignore it and eventually that monkey will go away. When in reality I’ve come to realize that by ignoring it, I feed it and that monkey grows into a big looming creature that beats me down. To put it another way, the little gnat that I’ve been swatting away has become a buzzard that is feeding on my soul. I feed my level of stress by constantly being on the go, constantly spinning the proverbial wheel. I do get plenty of sleep, which is more than what most people can say, but I never rest. If it isn’t work that I am spending 50 hours at a week, then it’s trying to fit hours in at home (totally backwards), or wrestling with my own constant worry in my brain that never allows rest even when time might allow it. So, what then is the answer?

Matthew 11:28-30 "Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."