"Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." - Michele Donnelly
As I sit on my front porch, listening to the sounds of the woods, while all the children sleep, my mind is spinning with a very large "to do" list. Isn't that like us moms, always planning, thinking, moving. But the Lord wants us to slow down, appreciate the small things, and spend time in His presence. For us type A personalities, this is NOT easy!
Lately, it seems like more and more couples have reached out to Walter and I regarding their families problems...especially marriage issues. (what does this have to do with slowing down?? just keep reading). Since we just celebrated our 28th wedding anniversary I thought I would share on how we "made it." No, it's not been easy. We have been through some very difficult times. But here is a lesson we have learned.
NEVER make a decision on exhausted emotions.
Have you ever felt like you were drowning in the sea of life? Working long hours, homeschooling children, church obligations, running from the soccer field to picking up your teen up at work....the list never ends. You are in complete survival mode. When you live in a realm of thinking you won't make it, how will the bills get paid, and if one more issues arises you will surely drown. It the midst of being tossed in the sea of life how does a marriage survive?
When your emotions are exhausted they will send you false signals. When you are tired your perception of a situation is altered. And so many live in the idea that "if we can get through this we will be just fine, if we ever get little Johnny through school we will shout the victory, if we ever get these bills caught up we will dance all night, if you survive this cancer, if little Suzy will just get off drugs, if you just get this promotion life will be so much better. But statistics say that most marriage fall apart AFTER they survive a major issue. Why? Because they are emotionally exhausted.
I remember praying for what I have now. When we were first married we had nothing (seriously!). I remember praying for a home....now I have one. I remember becoming pregnant with our first child and then losing him to a miscarriage....now I have ten beautiful children. I remember praying to pass another nursing exam...now I am a registered nurse with a bachelor's degree. I remember us praying in the money just to buy groceries, dreaming of purchasing a van, and taking a vacation. I remember trying to find change for gas money, praying over sick babies in the night, and using the library card as our only home school curriculum.
Walter and I have survived many storms. But what do you do when survival doesn't feel like you thought it would? I think sometimes we underestimate how much our dreams will cost...a strong marriage takes work, parenting can be frustrating at times, careers can be demanding. It reminds me of the story of Paul in the bible-he is on the ship, survives the storm, finally lands in Malata and collapses on the shore. Nope, no victory dance for Paul. He just falls down, exhausted. But he gets back up.
Are feeling like Paul? You finally got to the shore and you are completely exhausted? Why aren't you happy? Here is a secret to a successful marriage-remember the storms. Remember how much you both have been through and survived. There is nothing wrong with being tired. There is nothing wrong with being frustrated. Just don't make a permanent decision on a temporary situation.
So many of you have shared your hearts with us. You have survived so much...but now you don't think your marriage will last. But before you make an exhausted emotional decision take a deep breath. Stop what you are doing. And remember the storm never lasts forever.
Grab your spouse by the hand (yes, I know you have not touched in months but do it anyway), walk away from the house and kids (sit in the car if you have to) and pray together. I know that some of you have never tried that...but do it anyway. You are in a storm...what do you have to lose? Remind yourself why you fell in love, laugh about the storms you have conquered, and make a new commitment to weather another storm....together. Your children are depending on you. You CAN do this!
I want you to take a moment, and listen to No Longer Slaves by Bethel Music. Whenever I feel like I am drowning, I listen to this song to calm myself down and remind me that I am not a slave to the stress or any of the issues I am dealing with. I know that I am a child of God and He will help me through the hardships of life.
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Is one of your children married/engaged? If so, tell me what you do to make their spouse feel like they are part of the family in the comment section below!
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