He’s gone, again. He travels so much. Why can’t he just stay home with us? Why must his job take him all over the world at all times of the year? Why does it have to be this way?
It’s been this way for our entire marriage. Sure, it’s not as bad as it once was, but no one likes to have their husband gone for days on end. I really have a hard time with it. I struggle to turn the switch on and off.
When he’s gone, I have to man the house alone. I’m the one peeking out the window when the dog growls in the dead of night armed only with my frying pan. I’m the one giving the toddler his bath when I haven’t had a bath yet myself. I’m the one eating alone, sleeping alone. Nevermind, of course, that’s Mark’s alone too.
However, once the man of my prayers makes his way back home, I’m supposed to go back to being the helper, the tender, loving wife within seconds. I go from taking care of everything to releasing those burdens back to him, letting him wield the frying pan.
I know some of you are naturally kind and tender and so you’re shaking your head in disgust at me. I don’t blame you. My mother-in-love is one of the most giving women I know. She sacrifices and sacrifices and sacrifices, never getting much in return, and yet, she continues serving selflessly. She would never think of turning off her emotions and shelving them for later.
When you walk in the door, the whole world stops. You are her priority. I’ve seen her drop everything when our men return from an outing to go hug and kiss them all. I’m still standing in the kitchen mixing flour and sugar mentally checking off the next thing I need to accomplish. The same could be said for Mark’s return from work trips.
It’s the ultimate, modern day Mary and Martha scenario.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. ~Luke 10:38-42
To apply this verse to my life, my situation:
…And a woman named Leigh Ann welcomed him into her house. And she had a husband called Mark, who went off to work because this was God’s call on his life, the way that he provides for his family. But Leigh Ann was distracted with much serving, namely giving baths, fixing meals, cleaning house, paying the bills, and wielding the frying pan at possible burglars. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my husband has left me to serve alone? Tell him to get his butt home and help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Leigh Ann, Leigh Ann, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. You must choose the good portion, which is love, reverence, respect, and worship.
Last year, I shared with you my mission statement. My life goal is to create a home that makes it impossible to not think about God. One of the ways I strive to accomplish this goal is by being committed to intentionally love my husband by affirming his leadership, passionately pursuing him and meeting his needs, and partnering with him to fulfill God’s call on his life.
That’s my God-given mission with an action plan. Why do I have such a hard time remembering this when all my husband wants when he comes home is for me to give him a hug, look him in the eye, and by all means, tell him I missed him? It’s the little things that I’m terrible at.
I’m selfish, unkind, self-worshiping, cold, bitter woman. That’s me at the core. It’s ugly, isn’t it? I’m naturally bent toward works-based righteousness. I serve, but I expect something in return.
Thankfully, God does not leave me in my selfish state. He has a plan to change me. I believe He will finish the work He began in me years ago. He will bring it to completion. I haven’t arrived yet. I’m a work in progress. I need God’s grace and God’s help by the working of the Holy Spirit within me to mold me into a loving, kind, and respectful wife. I get a glimpse of these beautiful, godly characteristics on occasion, and I praise God for His work.
In the meantime, I will battle. I will pray for deliverance, and I will pray that when the moment of temptation comes, and it inevitably will come, I will turn toward the door of love and grace. I pray that I will turn from the deathly kingdom of self and instead enter into God’s Kingdom-work of loving my husband the way the Church loves and adores Christ. And you know what? God is good for His word.