This is it! All week I’ve been sharing my posts from the Facebook Love Your Spouse Challenge. I hope you’ve been encouraged and wanting to apply oneness to your marriage. It’s worth it. Not easy. Worth it.
LOVE YOUR SPOUSE CHALLENGE, DAY 7
Here we are. In a couple weeks we celebrate our 20th. There were people who questioned the age difference or the fact I was entering in a ready-made family. We went through infertility, miscarriage, parent deaths, job changes, near death of child and then the day-to-day.
We are not a perfect couple. In all honesty, this has been a tough year. We both changed our work situations. We had a child marry and a child graduate. We lost a beloved parent. Just one is what specialists suggest a couple go through in a year. Not all of them. We are both all or nothing personalities and we are both introverts. Affection is not natural for me, and he can be technical. We have different perspectives as parents, especially with medical issues. These truths are challenges.
But, God. We get each other’s jokes and laugh. The jokes we have are precious and goofy. We don’t get away a lot, so our hot tub dates are how we catch up on what’s going on, talk finances, schedule, etc…
We might get annoyed by failure to close cupboards or slurping, but if someone comes against one of us, we have each other’s back. If there’s a good action movie at the cheap theater, we’re all over it.
If you’re contemplating marriage or aren’t quite at year 20, realize those day 1 challenge pictures won’t look the same on day 7. You won’t be the same, either. I pray you are better, stronger, and more committed to oneness than you are right now. It is truly worth it.
Goodreads Giveaway…don’t miss out!
A year or so ago I remember reading a book by Dr. Phil’s wife, Robin. I feel bad because there is only one thing I remember about the book, even though I recall it being a good one.
Robin’s mom died relatively young, and she attributed it to the fact that her mom worked herself to death. Literally.
I got the impression she was a Martha type personality, the sister Jesus rebuked for trying to tattle on sister Mary, who wasn’t pulling her share of the workload. I can relate, although I’m much better than I used to be. I become so goal oriented I lose sight of everything else, including my family.
Last weekend the kids were with grandma for spring break. I spent every waking moment switching their bedrooms. Some furniture moved, all clothes, closets, decorations, toys, and more. It was time consuming and at times, backbreaking. I finished with 5 minutes to spare.
I spent hardly any time with my husband.
A week later, I’m still tired, sore, and just generally done.
I keep thinking about Robin’s mom. Was she offered a break? Could she feel her body stopping? Did she keep pushing through?
Because I can feel the limits. It scares me how fast the boundaries show up, saying I need to be done, and don’t dare try to push past.
I’ve been offered a break. I know ten years ago I would have refused, thinking the kids need me. That I’d be selfish to go. I don’t think I could have agreed to the break give years ago, or even three.
This year I’m going. I refuse to be selfish or play a martyr. I’m doing it in part for the kids and our future. I want to be around to enjoy them. As my husband said, he believes the rest will get my focus back. For him to see that tells me how exhausted I am. I don’t want to be like Robin’s mother. I learned a lesson from her story.
I realize not everyone has a chance to get away, my opportunity is thanks to a huge discount. But force yourself to take a break. Everyone must have a support system, tap into it and take a bubble bath. Go to a bookstore alone. Enough to regroup and recharge. Put the boundaries and your body back in place.
Because it’s a sad story that the rest comes–when it’s too late.
I hugged my dad and turned to the stove to fry myself some eggs. He’d just cleaned the entire kitchen. I mumbled apologetically, “I’m messin’ up your clean kitchen!”
He replied graciously, “Having all these house guests for Christmas is like running a restaurant. But… it’s worth it.”
A few seconds later, he dropped his green and yellow sponge into the sink and walked purposefully toward the living room. I heard him say, “Let’s get you a bowl for those.”
The mood changed suddenly. I heard my eight-year-old son growl loudly in frustration, and then suddenly, my dad screamed at him, “What’s the matter with you?! I do not appreciate being reacted to like that!!”
I dropped my spatula into the cast iron skillet of half-cooked eggs and marched into the living room myself.
“DAD!” I yelled.
My father looked at me, chagrined and confused. I took my son’s hand and pulled him out of the living room to remove him from the situation.
I will regret my next words for the rest of my life. As my son and I headed down to the basement, I turned and bellowed at my father, “Guess where he learned it from!”
Just before I disappeared from view, I saw in my dad’s eyes that he believed my lying accusation. I will never forget that look. He wasn’t angry with me. Or my son. He was full of despair and self-loathing.
My son and I went to our guest room to calm down. We heard Dad walk down the outside stairs, get into his truck, and drive away.
Two days later, three of my brothers found his body, frozen solid, hanging from the branch of a tree at the mouth of his favorite canyon in the foothills near his home.
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I remember sort of snickering to myself the first time I read that passage after Dad’s suicide. “Right. Paul wants me to give thanks for Dad’s death. Ha ha. Very funny, Paul.”
In other words, “Very funny, God.”
But how could I possibly thank God that my Daddy had hung himself?
“Give thanks in all circumstances…”
Dad’s death is a circumstance. Therefore, I’m supposed to give thanks for it. Giving thanks for Dad’s death is God’s will for me in Christ Jesus.
I can’t give thanks for Dad’s death. I don’t want to. Who would want to be thankful that their dad had died suddenly and violently by his own hand? No one wants that.
But guess what else I don’t want? Bitterness. Resentment. Misery. I don’t want Dad’s death to ruin the rest of my life. What’s more, I don’t want to lose two fathers for the price of one. I lost my earthly father. I don’t want to turn my back on my Abba Father.
The Abba Father who commands me to give thanks for the loss of my earthly one.
The Abba Father who asks the impossible.
But impossible commands are not the only thing Abba gives. He also gives His Son, Jesus Christ. Who died for me. Who conquered death. Who sits powerfully at the right hand of the Father on the throne of grace that I can run to boldly, and from which I can receive mercy and grace to help me in my time of need.
Giving thanks for Dad’s death is definitely something I need help with. It requires the giving up of my right to an earthly father and accepting that God allowed him to leave this earth on the day he did, in the way he did, because somehow, that death brings God glory. It requires wanting God’s glory more than I want my father back. It requires searching for and finding the good that has resulted from evil.
How do I give thanks for Dad’s death? I don’t. I can’t. But Christ in me can. Gratitude for something like this, that breaks so many hearts and alters so many lives so completely, requires nothing less than a miracle performed by the powerful God who raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
That God, my Abba, does miracles every day.
Abba, from the bottom of my crippled, broken, bleeding heart, in the name of Jesus Christ, I give You thanks for my dad’s death. Glorify Your name.
Becky Frame is God’s daughter. She is wife to Jeff and mama to James and Jonathan. She writes, sings, plays piano, takes pictures, pulls weeds, cries, laughs, collects red things, tries to ignore the dishes, and stares at her piles of laundry that need to be folded and put away. She is learning to give thanks in all circumstances.