I have about an hour to kill- something that doesn’t happen very often. This summer so far has been no exception to busy-ness, as we are running, running, running to each activity at a rapid pace. But rain and an empty house can bring on some free time.
Luke got to go away and camp last night. He said he needed some time alone to think, to focus, to pray. I hope he returns with a renewed enthusiasm in dealing with the many different issues we have had lately. The most pressing issue is getting his mom moved over to live with us. In order for this to happen, we’ve planned on Luke finishing the basement, with two bedrooms and a bath, for the older six children to move downstairs. So far, Luke has purchased the wood and started measuring. It is interesting when he gets absorbed in a project; I think I may have heard him mumbling about ‘drop ceilings’ in his sleep! I am humbled to have him begin this project. Even though I have not been vocal in my harping, I haven’t completely been silent on where I think we should go next on our house project and plans. Our whole marriage has been one of me learning to back off and not try to change my spouse, and I expect the rest of our marriage will be spent in that same manner. I may never get it right.
Something else I’m getting wrong hit me like a brick the other day- I worry too much about Luke. I already knew I had trouble with anxiety. There’s the seemingly noble kind, like worrying about your kids and wanting them to be safe and make right decisions. Then there’s the irrational kind about my kids that I think I am getting a handle on. I mean, I only have crazy thoughts about their grisly, horrible deaths every so often, and when the thoughts come, I know to combat them with God’s word and prayer. But there are also the fears about Luke that have always been there, under the surface, controlling my actions in such subtle ways that I didn’t see them for what they were.
For at least the first half of our marriage, I think I did a lot of things out of a fear that he would leave me. We have not been without our struggles to get along and make this life together work, and the ups and downs really wore me out. I was so thankful during the down times, especially, to know God was saying to me, “Trust Me.” I didn’t do things that were hasty or impulsive during those tough times because I would think to myself, even though I may not be able to trust Luke, I can trust God. But I didn’t let the truth get further into my heart to make me reach out to Luke in love. If I could fully trust God, I could fully offer myself and my love to Luke without fear of his rejection.
Later on in our life, my worries have morphed into ones where I fear that he will leave God. I try (with the miniscule ability I have) to keep the waters of life as still as possible, to try to protect him from (what I think is) too much pressure. I fear that if he is hit with something he can’t handle, that he’ll snap and turn his back on God. The other night I was getting all bent out of shape about his growing 80’s and 90’s rock collection. I told him I feel like I’m not allowed to listen to music like that, that when I do, it makes me sad. Luke asked me simply, “Why?” and I couldn’t think of a good reason. I like certain movies that have a cuss word in them or some other detractor, yet I still watch them and collect them. If I really believed what I was saying about his choices of music, I should feel the same way about these movies. Then it hit me- I am afraid that if he listens to rock music, it will turn his heart away from God.
Now, this may be true, and we all can think of examples of the world creeping in and people losing it. But the real issue here and now wasn’t my husband’s choices, but my own heart. That same night I had another amazing and hilarious thought- I don’t think Luke has spent a single second worrying about my relationship with God! So who’s the one with the problem? It was such a freeing experience, to realize that my job as his wife is not to keep him with me, or even keep him with God, but to simply love him and trust God, as He so plainly asked me to do years ago. It will be difficult to change my thinking after years of habitual worrying, but I have a Friend in the heavens praying for me, and Who has promised to transform me by the renewing of my mind by changing the way I think. Thank You, LORD, my Redeemer, for not leaving me the way I am.
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;
Let those who love Your salvation say continually,
“The LORD be magnified!”
Since I am afflicted and needy,
Let the LORD be mindful of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Do not delay, O my God.
Psalm 40:16-17, emphasis mine