Remember the last couple of weeks before New Years when everyone was chatting it up about all of the great things they were going to accomplish in the new year? Remember that? Yeah, me too. I was one of those people with a list of resolutions this and goals that…what the heck? I don’t know about you but I’m getting my butt kicked by 2018 and we’re only 4 weeks in!
Now, some may think this is a bad thing…most actually…however, I have been doing some reading and apparently when life hands you a bucket of worms you’re supposed to go fishing or something like that. There’s supposed to be some deeper meaning, some lesson to be learned through our trials and tribulations. And while logically I know this, it doesn’t make it any easier to swallow while you’re going through it. It’s usually after the dust has settled and you realized that no one actually died so it must not have been as bad as you made it out to be in your mind that the logic and lesson learning sets in…those “Ah-Ha!” moments so to speak.
Case in point.
8 years ago after 9 years of homeschooling my children, my husband and I decided to enroll them in public school. That was one of the best decisions we have made both for our children as well as for our family. But on their first day of school, I had no idea what to do. Up until that point, my life consisted of nothing but kids 24/7. Now I found myself at 36 years old sitting in an empty house completely and utterly lost. Long story short, I started working from home. It had been over 14 years since I had worked and honestly, once I figured out what I was doing it felt amazing to be earning a paycheck again and helping the family financially. I enjoyed working with clients and learning new things, it was completely invigorating.
My husband has a love/hate relationship with me working. He is supportive and shares in my struggles. He listens when I rant on my overwhelming days and we laugh together at things we probably shouldn’t be laughing about…but that’s what spouses are for, right? But bless his heart, I know he misses the days when I would bake and cook huge meals from scratch every night. When the laundry would be (mostly) done and the house would be (basically) clean…I mean come on, we still had 7 kids! I know he cringes every time we finish dinner and it’s time to relax together but I say those infamous words, “I really need to work tonight.” He is grateful for the help that my income provides, but in some ways, I think he would be just as happy to struggle a little bit and have me not work.
I, however, got used to having my own income. It eased the burden a little. I was able to pay for things the kids needed so that money didn’t have to come out of our main budget. You could say I became more independent. I felt like I didn’t have to burden my husband by asking for money for this or that if I was earning it myself. All positives, right?
Well, today the tides turned. I had been struggling to stretch my paycheck to cover what I thought I felt I should cover and by damn, I wasn’t about to ask my husband for help. I could handle this. After all, I was that super independent woman, right? Now don’t get me wrong, my husband has never said or done anything to make me think that I had to take on these expenses myself. I placed that burden on my own shoulders in trying to help ease his burden. When things got tough, I prayed. And I waited. And I prayed. And I waited. What ended up happening was that I let my pride get in the way of logical thinking. And there it was, that moment when the score was Life: 1 Teresa: 0. Now what?
I had to do it.
I had to ask him for help.
I was dreading having that conversation. I had built it up in my head how disappointed he was going to be that I couldn’t do more. It breaks my heart to ever disappoint someone I love. So I did it. I went to my husband and told him the situation. And I waited. His reaction was, “Huh.” Then he proceeded to help me take care of the situation without another word about it.
Wait, what? That’s it? No fight? No disappointment? No divorce? Ok, that last one was a little dramatic. He just helped and went on his way like it was nothing at all. And there I stood completely dumbfounded. I had built this up in my head to be this monumental disaster and it ended in a “huh” and a helping hand.
As I sat down for a little quiet time before the kids got home from school, I was reminded of Matthew 23 that says,”For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted,” Wow. That hit me like a ton of bricks. All that praying I had been doing and seriously, I honestly thought God had some bigger things to deal with at the moment…like He was telling me “This one’s on you.” I see now that what He was really doing was waiting…we were both waiting. I for Him to answer my prayer and Him for me to humble myself so He could answer my prayer. Gosh golly, it really is that easy. So many times I get in my own way when if I would just remember what scripture teaches, life would be so much easier.
We tell our kids all the time that there is a time to pray and there is a time to shut up and listen. God always answers prayers. Always. It may not be in the ways we want or think we need, but He always answers our prayers and it is always for our greater good. This day is one I won’t soon forget.