It's Sunday night and I'm just sitting here thinking about what a great weekend it has been. We really needed it. It was a great ending to what had been a crazy week for all of us. Mattie has two different cheerleading teams that have practices on 3 different days. David is the head coach of Patrick's flag football team and Michael is playing flag football on another team that practices at a different time and location. I have worship team rehearsal on Tuesdays. David and I barely saw each other and when we did (and I'm going to be completely honest here) I was often a little bit grumpy and/or in a rush. I would blame my attitude on hormones or lack of sleep but that would be the easy way out and I'm sure nobody really wants to hear about my hormones anyway.
This weekend we reconnected and had some wonderful family time. As things began to slow down, I was reminded of what a great man I'm married to and what an awesome father he is and how blessed I am to have him in my life. I proceeded to tell him so at every available opportunity. I could tell he really needed to hear those words and I really needed to say them. I apologized to him for my grouchy and impatient moments and asked his forgiveness. He, being the gracious soul that he is, accepted my apology with open arms. I, being reasonably intelligent and grateful, ran into them immediately. Great weekend.
I wasn't always lucky in love. Remember that old song from the '80's called "Love's Been a Little Bit Hard On Me?" Well, I can certainly relate. Whether it is family relationships, friendships or romance, I'm one to give my heart completely and without much reservation. I don't seem to be able to do it any other way. What is given freely can sometimes be taken for granted, and sometimes at great emotional expense to everyone involved. Sometimes people grow apart. It just happens even though we wish it wouldn't. I have often been one to hold on and try to keep working at relationships that were long dead and deserved a decent burial. I'm working on that issue but being the optimist that I am...I can't seem to help but keep hope alive in the back of my mind that everything will work out in the end. That's just what I do. I hope. I'm a 'hoper.' Cool. I made a new word.
When David and I met and fell in love I knew way down deep that I was in it for life. It really was the first time I had ever felt that way. I just knew. He wasn't the most likely choice for me, or I for him for that matter, but we chose each other anyway. I am outgoing and outspoken and, well...'out there' while he is laid back, practical and even-keeled. We totally balance each other out. Once, one of our friends asked David why we worked so well as a couple. He said (I'll never forget this) "I give her structure and she gives me life." He says cool things like that. It is true, though. We compliment each other. Both figuratively and literally. We have both made it a practice in our marriage to be kind out loud. We are each other's best friend and biggest fan. I think he is the best thing going. He thinks the same about me.
For us, love is not just a feeling. It is a way of life. It is at the center of every interaction in our family. When we became 'we' I had to alter the idea of 'me.' When I became a wife and subsequently a mother I realized that life was not all about me anymore. To be frank, I wasn't doing all that great on my own anyway. I didn't like going it alone. So, now I'm not functioning in the role of an individual anymore. The needs of the team have to come first. That is what love really is, isn't it? Putting the needs and desires of others above your own.
Do I have 'poor me' moments? Sure I do. I had a few last week. That usually happens when I allow myself to become overwhelmed and convince myself that I am doing everything in my own strength. So silly of me because without the grace and mercy of God, I would have nothing. He always picks me up and places me back on solid ground. Then I remember that God gave me an amazing partner in life and I know I can do anything as long as I stick with him. The truth is, even if I did not have David in my life, I am secure in the fact that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. With that knowledge comes unsurpassed peace.
My challenge is this: Be mindful of those God has given you to love and do it openly with unbridled enthusiasm. Shower them with (sincere) compliments. Speak words of love and encouragement in place of judgement and criticism. Sow seeds of faith into them so they know you believe in them. Love freely and without the expectation that your actions will be returned exactly as they are given. Forgive and forget. Be generous and verbal with your applause for their accomplishments. Be kind out loud. Love. Really, actively love the ones you are with every day. I guarantee this will have a boomerang effect on your relationships. That's right...I said guaranteed. Or your money back. (Minus shipping and handling, of course).