Let me start by saying that I am exhausted. My five week stretch of speaking weekends, vacation, and having company have caught up to me.
My husband is also exhausted.
My kids are just trying to keep up.
All this leaves us little energy to love each other the way I think we truly want to and the way God desires and command we do.
This evening my husband and I had an issue with the way the other person was handling bed time. Silly, I know, but when your energy is zapped and people don't behave the way you are willing or expecting them to, it gets irritating. So we irritated each other.
I am usually a pusher. I don't like confrontation so I push through the issue till things are better. Tonight, I decided to own my fault, apologize, and sit on the basement stairs and just cry.
Sometimes a good cry is what makes it all better.
I had a phenomenal weekend. Truly, maybe one of the best all year. And then reality came, as it always does.
So I sat on the stairs and just wept. Wept for no reason and wept for real reasons. Wept for real hurt and wept for unjustified anger.
As I sat there, I just cried and thought, "why?" Why does this feel so hard? Why can't we be nice to each other? Why does no one in this house have nice words for each other, including myself? I'm not even proud of the way I am speaking to my kids or my husband. Why did we do this to ourselves again? Why did we think we could pull this off without coming out the other side wounded? I cried for all those questions and for the questions I didn't even know how to ask. I pleaded with God to give me something. To speak some of truth into my heart to help me gain wisdom.
As my heart started to settle, I heard two things:
Spiritual Warfare is real. As my husband and I discuss parenting issues, we sometimes find ourselves on opposite sides of issues. Some of that has come up recently (that's another post) and all of a sudden I saw how we were just kind of at each other about small things. It resonated with my heart that Satan (forces, whatever) was trying to keep us divided instead of forming a strong team to lead our children in their walk with the Lord, each other, and the community. We have let our prayer time together, our family meeting and snuggle time fall to the wayside due to the schedule of the last month. All of these things together weaken us as a family and makes feeding on our weakness even easier. I am not usually one to immediately think of Spiritual Warfare, so the fact that it was first thought made me pay attention. I knew immediately I needed to go and pray with Paul.
The second thing that came to me was actually my own words that I spoke to the youth this weekend; it starts with you.
I don't know about you, but I HATE when my words come back to bite in the arse. As soon as I heard it, I tried to fight it.
I don't want to be the one to change their attitude to inspire everyone else in my house to be better. I don't want to try to be humble and see my mistakes and not someone elses. I don't want to give up being cranky while everyone else gets to be. I am tired and I want someone else to do it.
I want someone else to reign in their feelings and try to be better. I want someone else to take a breath and wait before they speak. I want someone else to start thinking of others. I want someone else to serve me. I want someone else to give up their selfishness.
But the words were: It starts with you.
Forgiveness starts with you.
Love starts with you.
Patience starts with you.
Serving starts with you.
Mercy starts with you.
Self Control starts with you.
Laughter starts with you.
Playing starts with you.
Goodness starts with you.
Joy starts with you.
Understanding starts with you.
A good attitude starts with you.
It starts with me.
I couldn't escape it. I know it's true. It starts with you. With me. And I just challenged 500 youth and adults to live this way because I believe and know it to be true. But in the midst of the challenge of life and in the moment of weakness and tiredness, it is hard to hold onto that inspiration. To let that truth move me to action. To let that truth be bigger than my weakness. To let that truth be bigger than my frustration. Bigger than my hurt. Bigger than my pride. Bigger than my control.
That truth needs to move me into selflessness.
That truth needs to move me into love.
That truth needs to move me into humbleness.
Paul and I usually only conflict when we are tired, empty and have nothing to give to the other person. This is where we are.
This is where I need to step up the most. To love him when we have nothing to help move us out of this place. To not let the hard part separate us.
We all have a choice. Its hard. But I am going to try, because I challenge you to try.
It starts with you.
It starts with me.