This past weekend was a big weekend. Well, May is always a big month for me. Lots of holidays packed in there. Mother’s Day, Anniversary, and Birthday are back to back in a 2 week span. 2 of those fell into one weekend this time. So, I had lots of beautiful, grand plans. Friday we were celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary. Yes…SIXTEEN years! They have been "sweet". Well....the bulk of them anyway. Anyway, it just seemed like such a sweet number to me and given how blessed we are in so many ways….was definitely deserving of celebration! Only trouble was, we don’t have baby sitters out here yet. So, I had planned to have a super nice dinner for the family Friday night, complete with candle light. I had it all figured out. I was going to have the house looking great, which would make my husband super happy. I was going to give Jude her bath early, wash her hair and get her dressed & lookin’ pretty for dinner. I planned to do the same for myself. Dinner was planned for 7:00….enough time for the boys to get home from baseball practice, shower, and come to the table looking decent, too. I could see us all there in the candlelight, cleaned up, using the best of manners and having a wonderful meal together.
As you might’ve guessed….my dreams of grandeur were a bit off from reality. I got things looking decent for dinner but didn’t get as much cleaning done as I had planned (though, that’s nothing new). I searched FOREVER to no avail for my big candles and candlesticks for the table. I thought about going and buying some but I knew that would cut into cleaning time too much. I ended up with a little votive holder that we’ve had forever that has stars all around it that the light shines through. So, I thought, “Well, that’s kind of sweet….many memories with this little thing….that’s appropriate for an anniversary celebration.” So, I sat it in the middle of the table and placed clean placemats and REAL napkins complete with rings at each place. It looked pretty good! I had gotten a really good deal on a ridiculously expensive book that my sweet thang of 16 years had mentioned wanting and I was super excited to give it to him. My next search was for tissue paper to wrap it, which I knew I had….I just didn’t know where. It took me another little chunk of time but I did finally find it, along with the ribbon. I did know right where the tape was for once, though! It’s one of those little tape dispensers that you pull out one piece at a time. Very handy…I love it. I pulled the first piece out and that was the last piece. No refills to be found. Seriously? Well, it was secured very tightly with some ribbon. Not what I had in mind, but….no biggie.
Dinner was to be served at 7:00 in my mind. Any later than that and everyone will be starving and Jude may be sleepy, which also means everyone will be grumpy. So, at 3:00, I realize I’ve done all the cleaning that I’m going to have time to do and go pick up the boys from school. They come home and change clothes. I feed them a snack and hurry them back to the car for baseball practice @ 4:00. I get back home @ 4:15 to get supper going. It’s 5:30 by the time I get everything cooking and the kitchen cleaned back up (I hate to have a messy kitchen in the background of a nice dinner….and this meal was to be perfect). I should have been in the shower already! AAggh! Way behind schedule…..do you know how long it takes to dry this thick head of hair?! Then there’s Jude…..I stick her in the bath but I’m afraid there won’t be time for me to dry and fix HER thick head of hair now and I don’t want her to come to the table with it wet…so….a little up do for her it is. Which, she’s not crazy about but deals with it. She was, after all, getting to wear one of her new little dresses. FINALLY, I get in the shower. Maybe the fastest of my life. (Thank goodness my hubby was able to get the boys from ball practice!) At 6:45 I’m drying my hair when Steve and the kids roll in from ball practice. They’re a little late, too. In my mind it was to go like this, “They will get out of practice at 6:00, be home by 6:15ish and they’ll have time to shower, change clothes, and come to the table looking nice, too.”
Fast forward to 7:30. I had given up on my hair and dried the front a little and pulled the rest of it back in a ponytail. Jude didn’t come to the table with we hair but, I did! A little frazzled to say the least, I finally get everything ready and everyone to the table. The boys were clean but, apparently didn’t hear me yell, “Put on some decent clothes when you get out of the shower!” They came to the table wearing pajama pants (that are too short for them but they insist on wearing them because they are comfy), shirts that didn’t match, and disheveled/post-shower hair. Whatever……at least they didn’t smell. We sat down to eat and we were getting ready to say the blessing and in true 12 yr old boy fashion, Preston announces, “Hold up…..I gotta go to the bathroom.” (Wasn’t he just in there??) Anyway, we waited for a few minutes then he yells from the bathroom, “Go ahead without me…..I may be a while!” Nice. This is so not going as I had pictured it.
The candle wasn’t nearly enough light to eat by candlelight but, the kids liked the star votive. In fact, at the end of the meal, Jude was so intrigued she suddenly reached and tried to pick it up…. From the top…..over the flame. To which, I instinctively yelled, “NO!!” …….To which, she instinctively bursts out in tears. That effectively ended our nice, family, celebration/anniversary dinner. After all that planning….what could I do but laugh?
My husband and I have kind of a running joke in these situations now. So, he looks at me and referring to our 16 years of marriage says, “Isn’t this what you always dreamed of??” Actually…..it was better. I really never dreamed of being so happy because I didn’t know what happy was when I said “I do” a week before my 20th birthday. I say “happy” is overrated and I’m certainly not saying that I’m “happy” 100% of the time. There are a lot of things in the course of a day that do not make me happy. Just ask my poor children. Happy was my goal when we first said our vows, but….. I think I’ve found that there’s something better than happiness. Contentment. It doesn’t mean that we’re the perfect family. We’re not. My husband can really get under my skin and I can his, too. The kids behave in ways some days that I can’t comprehend….and furthermore…..don’t always handle well. I gave up dreams of a “mother of the year” award long ago. But, I have 3 beautiful, silly kids and a husband who would do anything for his family and who I can laugh with. So much better than what I would’ve dreamed up on my own. It doesn’t mean that I have everything I could want. Sure….I’d like to buy a new car whenever I get the fever. Correction….minivan. I’d like to be able to take the kids on vacations or fly home whenever we get the urge. I’d like to be able to support and invest in our boys’ interests without thinking about what to cut from the budget. But, we’re far from having those types of luxuries and I still don’t know that I’ve ever been more content…..satisfied with what we have…..and ok with what we don’t have.
All These Years
Sunday was Mother’s Day. I don’t know what it is about Sundays but, they can bring out the best and worst in us. In me. It’s always a challenge to get everyone fed, ready, and to church on time. This would explain why we’re usually late. There’s usually some disagreement in the car between the kids, between me and the kids, or between me and the hubby. This Sunday, everything went rather smoothly and we made it on time. It was a Mother’s Day miracle. Afterward is when the silly disagreements arose, this time between me and the hubby. We were arguing over when the kids started back to school. (Clearly, I would be the expert in that area but my man does love to argue!) As we were turning into our neighborhood, Preston spoke up and asked, “How HAVE you two stayed married for all these years??” All I could think to say was, “By the Grace of God.” And that it was.
I thought about that for the rest of the day. We ate lunch and I made the boys forego the Xbox and go to the beach with the fam (It was Mother’s Day…..I told them it was a day set aside for moms to make their children miserable.) They ended up having a lot of fun. I had fun just watching them run and play with each other without arguing. The day started off warm and beautiful but the fog had started to roll in before we got to the beach and it was getting cold and damp. But, as I was sitting there soaking in the blessings of my kids playing and my husband in his funny hat wading in the water, a warm ray of sun burned through the thick fog over us and it felt so good. I just had to look up and give thanks to God for the many ways He had worked to make that day beautiful.
I couldn’t tell Preston that we were still married for 16 years for any other reason than the grace of God. Not just that we are still married……but that we love one another so much more now than we did that week before my 20th birthday. God had His hand on us long before we started making Him a part of our daily lives. What’s so baffling to me is that it is so unmerited on my part. I don’t mean this in a boasting sense at all….but, at many points throughout my life I have felt the favor of God…..His unmerited favor. Not that He favors me over anyone else…..but, that He truly takes pleasure in blessing me.
If you read my previous posts, you know I’m doing Beth Moore’s study of David right now. In the account of David’s reaction to God announcing to him His covenant….the Davidic Covenant….David was beyond humbled and thankful. I just have to share those verses because they mean so much to me at this point in my life and with my family. To set up the verses, David has just taken his throne after many, many years of trials, persecutions, and battles. He had leaned on the Lord all that time and He always came through for David. David looks around his palace and life of luxury and realizes the grandeur of his dwelling in comparison to the Ark of the Covenant….. God’s presence…..living in a tent! Humbled as he was at this point, he naturally thought, “That’s not at all right!” So, he wanted to build God a magnificent house. Only, God wasn’t at all concerned. Instead, He told David, “I am going to build YOU a house.” Not only that, He told David that He was establishing a covenant with him….that his house would be established forever. God promised marvelous things to come from his family line. He also promised that just as He had been with David all those years from the time he was called from tending sheep as a young teenager, He would also be right there to love, guide, and establish this promised line forever. This was David’s response:
2 Samuel 7:18
Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far?”
[He goes on and on with thanks and concludes his prayer in vs 28-29]
And now, O Lord God, you are God and your words are true and you have promised this good thing to your servant. Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you. For you, O Lord God, have spoken, and with your blessing shall the house of your servant be blessed forever.
I totally get what David is feeling. “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far?”
Saturday, I will turn 29 for the 7th time. That doesn’t seem right, either. I have to admit that as wonderfully different as life is than what I had once pictured it to be at 36, I’m curious to see what the Lord has planned for this next year. The next 16 for that matter! The Lord knows my heart, plans, and dreams. But, as long as He allows me to see His hand in it all as much as He has all these years, "thus far"….. I know that He can make me far more than happy.....He will keep me content....come what may.