Confession time. This week, I had a moment. Now, if you don’t know what I mean by “a moment,” you might once I’m done describing it. You know, those times when logic gets the boot and we just let emotion run the show. Where the tears seem to flow freely even when we don’t want them to and the reasons for it are as lost to you as a needle in a haystack.
Well, actually, when my “moment” came over me this week, the reason was not very hard to find. It was all over the bathtub and the carpet outside of the bathroom. It was all over the bath toys and the porcelain and the smell of it was all up in my nose. If you haven’t guessed it, it was poop.
My daughter, who we have finished potty training and who has pretty much mastered the art of using the porcelain throne had some tummy troubles, threw caution to the wind and pooped all over the tub during bath time. And then she had the same troubles again right outside the bathroom door while she waited for me to clean out the tub. It was terrible. It was nasty. It was apocalypse now all up in the bathroom. And all this came after a day that had been spent fighting the typical battles that come from the terrible two’s and my own frustrations.
I held it together for the most part, cleaning and sanitizing everything and then drawing a new bath for the kids. The rest of the day went on and bedtime came as usual and then, when we were lying in bed, my sweet, unsuspecting husband opened the door for the freak out.
“Are you ok babe?” he asked me.
“Sure. What do you mean?” I said.
“Well, you just seem a little overwhelmed today. Not completely your self.”
That was it. He had opened the hatch and the crazy, cuckoo birds were free. Cue the hysterical “moment” I’ve been leading up to. Declarations of how my day was, “Nothing but poop!” and how, “Everything is a battle.” Tears came over a day that, in my head, had seemed so awful and my wonderful husband offered solution after solution, and encouragement after encouragement all while I shot them down. It finally ended with my mentioning that it was late and I had to be up at 6:30 to get our son to school. I hadn’t meant it to be sassy but I’m sure it came across like it and thus ended my drama and selfishness for the night.
He had only meant to help me talk it out, to encourage me and to touch base but instead, he got to have a front row seat to my complaining and selfish pessimism. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he never tried to touch the subject again. I hadn’t been open to the (very good) solutions he had offered to our terrible two’s struggles or how he had validated my frustrations. I had just wanted to be mad and wallow and to choose to see the negative. Who would want to open that can of worms again, huh?
My wonderful husband. That’s who. The next morning, he made the kids breakfast and helped me get them dressed. He made sure that I got to shower and get ready in complete, uninterrupted peace. He checked in with me throughout the day and jumped at every opportunity to lighten my load. Why? Because we’re married that’s why.
I had my moment, the one that revealed where I was struggling to walk well in my calling of motherhood. He saw as the walls cracked and selfishness and anger were creeping in. He heard it all but instead of judging me or resenting me or taking a step back so I could figure out my heart issues on my own, he pushed in close and decided to serve and love and help me. Instead of letting my struggles be my struggles, he made them ours and he did all that he could to create a space for me to be refreshed and find the place that I needed to be in.
I know this is not a monumental struggle. I know that it might seem small, but the message and the action that was demonstrated in these ordinary circumstances is not small at all. My husband saw the worst of me. He sees it all the time actually but what I have in our marriage is a place where the worst of me can come out and then be worked out with a helpmate.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NIV
Within the space of a marriage, our worst selves are safe to be revealed not so we can dwell with them, be comfortable with them or embrace them, but so we can find our way away from them towards righteousness with the help of someone who loves us unconditionally. Nothing on this earth mirrors our walk with Christ better than that.
Love, the bedrock, the motivation, the heart, and the soul of marriage and of Jesus sacrifice for us as well, is the reason for this. Why? Because 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6 says that “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”
The very feeling and action and power that is synonymous with marriage is something that has selflessness and servanthood and safety at it’s core. It takes no pleasure in evil but pushes and perseveres until the truth of who we are in Christ is revealed. And then it rejoices.
That is marriage. The ever present, ever persevering force of love that propels us towards our goals of righteousness.
As if his actions didn’t speak it clearly enough this week, my husband said something today that was beautiful and profound.
“You’re supposed to do everything you can to help your spouse achieve their goals.”
That doesn’t just go for getting a promotion or running a marathon. That applies to spiritual things too. Things like helping your wife, the crazy, frazzled stay at home mom, find peace and power and provision from Christ to mother in grace and joy.
This week, I’m praying about ways that I can do that for Scott. Will you join me in seeking the Lord about how we can help our husbands grab hold of the things that God is doing in their hearts? Will you pray about how to make your marriage one that better mirrors the love and safety and motivation that we find in Christ? Because I promise you that the “moments” are going to come where the not so good sides of ourselves or our spouse will be revealed but within them, we get to make room for God to use us and our promise to each other to propel us towards righteousness.