"I'm working on a project for work. I'm going to have to go to France next month," my husband said as we were having dinner one night. Selfishly, my first thought was I'd like to go to France -- I wonder if I can tag along??
"Unfortunately," he continued, "I don't think there is a way for you to come with," just as though he was reading my mind. (He knows me well enough to know that I am always up for a good trip -- especially to a country I've yet to visit.)
I'd be lying if I told you that my heart wasn't envious. Even though I knew he would be working the majority of the time he was traveling, there are days as a stay-at-home mom that the thought of escaping to a glamorous European country sans toddler sounds glorious. I was envious that he would get to eat delicious food, drink extraordinary wine and sleep uninterrupted for an entire week!
After a few days of stewing in my envy, I asked God to give me a new perspective. I genuinely became excited for him and the opportunity this trip presented for his career. I also became more and more excited for my time alone with my son. I had BIG plans filled with lots of fun activities for the two of us. I also began to dream of catching up on unfinished books and new shows on Netflix!
Then my husband left and reality set in. I should have known better than to set expectations for the week -- whenever I set expectations my days NEVER go as planned. Within the first 48 hours of him leaving, my son napped for a whopping 30 minutes, refused to go to bed at night, performed his first public meltdown, had a horrific diaper incident which left both him and me needing a bath before bed (you don't need the details, trust me) and my over decided to stop working. I was exhausted -- mentally and physically.
In all honesty, I was exhausted spiritually, too. My prayer life was saturated in self-pity: always, "Why me, Lord?" I hadn't picked up my Bible at all those first few days. I thought about it often, but always ended up making lots of excuses as to why I didn't have time. I knew in my heart that I needed to make time for the Lord. I knew that even a small amount of time with Him would help put things into perspective and get me through the remainder of the week until my husband returned home. On Day 3, I finally picked up my Bible -- but instead of picking up where I left off in 2 Samuel, I decided to try something I had recently read about. I've been trying to memorize more Scripture so I decided to simplify my Bible reading -- not to minimize my time with the Lord but rather enhance it.
As much as I enjoy reading through chapters of the Bible, I find that sometimes I get in a rut and need to change things up a bit. Summer was off to a rough start and the last thing I wanted was for my time with the Lord to seem like a burden. I opened my Bible and the first passage I read was one of my favorites and a reminder which was exactly what I needed in that moment (I love how God works!):
Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks.
Rejoice: My husband has a career that allows me to stay home with my son.
Pray: Lord, this week is off to a rough start. So often I allow the negative to rule my thoughts and fester in my heart. Change my heart. Help me to see these challenges as opportunities to love harder.
Give thanks: Thank you, Lord, for the blessing you have provided our family by allowing me to stay home full-time. Thank you for keeping my husband safe and allowing him to grow personally and professionally through this opportunity. Be with us the remainder of this week. Fill our home and our hearts with peace. Amen.
This was God's will for me; not to be in France with my husband, but to be with my small son who needed his mom to help him through his own difficult week. What started as chaos ended as peacefulness. The remainder of my week certainly had ups and downs, but I continued to remind myself of this passage, reciting it and meditating on it all week long.
My husband returned home and, while it was a welcome relief to have an extra set of hands to help, I now feel much more prepared for the next time he has to leave us.
Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. Repeat.
It really is that simple.