Between packing, moving, and getting settled in Texas, I’m going to be extremely busy this week and next, so I’ve asked a few of my best blogging buddies to pinch-hit for me. This first guest post is brought to you by the irrepressible Dwija of House Unseen, Life Unscripted. If you haven’t made it over to her blog yet, you must go! She is an absolute delight, whether she’s regaling you with tales of Wal-Mart-ing in rural Michigan or describing the ways their family was shown Christ’s love during their journey. And for all you Groundhogs out there (because let’s be honest, that should be our mascot. Who among us identifies with a Crusader? A Groundhog, though. We can get down with that.), she’s also a UD alum. So read this lovely post, drop her a comment letting her know that you appreciate her visiting us, and then skip over to her blog and get to know her!
As you probably know by now, when I’m presented with a challenging circumstance, when the road gets a little bumpy and the things aren’t going the way I wish they would, I clam up. I need time to process the valleys of life. The peaks…well, I shout those out eagerly! Like yesterday, for example, with my celebration of the awesomeness of total strangers. Today, on the other hand, is different. Today I’m ready to share something with you that was, or perhaps should have been, more difficult to celebrate.
On the Friday before Mother’s Day, my husband was laid off.
Now see, if I had posted this the day before Mother’s Day or the day after Mother’s Day, there would have been many condolences and true sadness and real concern from all of you, my dear friends, both those I know in flesh and those whom I’ve come to know and treasure over the past few months. There was absolutely no way that I was going to saddle any of you with that worry. If my friends were less empathetic or we had another real source of income then I might have considered it, but they aren’t and we don’t, so I didn’t.
He had actually come home early from work that Friday, with a six pack in his hand and a smile on his face. I knew something was up. But I didn’t ask him outright and he didn’t tell me outright, because he also needs a little time to process things, and if we were both processing it at the same time, well…that might not have been good. In fact, it would certainly have been bad. Better one at a time, truly.
So Friday and Saturday passed, with every suggestion by me that I ought to get to the store before he took the car again on Monday being shrugged off by him nonchalantly. And then on Sunday, Mother’s Day, as we sat around the breakfast table before leaving for church, I insisted, emphatically, that it didn’t matter if it was Mother’s Day. We had to go to the grocery store after Mass. End of discussion.
“Well” he said, “I have sort of a surprise for you.”
“Um, I don’t have to go to work on Monday. Or ever. Yeah, so, the car will be here and….”Silence.
“Yay….?”, he suggested cautiously with an apologetic smile.
“Uh, are you serious?”
And of course, he was. The contract that he’d been hired to help fulfill had fallen through. No contract means no money means no work.
I hope you’ll know what I mean when I say I distinctively felt the pivotal nature of that moment. Or better, I felt the pivotal nature of my reaction to that moment. I could have choosen to be sad , disappointed, worried, or worst of all, angry. If I had gone down any of those paths, most people would consider my response justified. But would it have been? Would it have made my family any more joyful or peaceful? Would it have improved my relationship with my husband? Would it give him his job back? Clearly, the answer to each of those is “no”.
So I took a deep breath and nodded my head. I forced a smile. “Well, it’s not like it paid all that much and you certainly weren’t enjoying yourself.” The look of pure relief that came over my husband when he heard those simple words was undeniable. I knew he had been nervous, maybe even a little afraid. Probably a whole lot sorry, even though there’s nothing he could have done. He wanted nothing more than to make me happy, but he had no choice but to tell me truth.
Remember my struggle with worry? My tendency to let myself fall into despair? Ever since I admitted that to all of you and committed myself to trusting Jesus the way my sweet little girl trusts me, the calm I’ve been able to enjoy has been nothing short of incredible. That morning, Mother’s Day, as I stood next to my husband at Mass, I felt no fear. There was not a trace of concern in my heart. Not a bit of frustration. No anger and no animosity.
I stood there with my dear husband and my four children and was instead overwhelmed with joy. I almost couldn’t contain myself. I wanted to tell everyone I saw. I wanted to holler it from the rafters. I want everyone I’ve ever known to know it. And if you already know it, come on and shout it with me. The peace of Christ is real! He is always there, ready to give it to us. It’s just so “understandable” to deny Him at those pivotal moments. But don’t deny Him. Soften your heart. Banish the fear. Take the peace that it is rightfully yours and revel in a life of peace!