Another piece of motherly advice came during my early marriage. I was frustrated with my spouse and sharing my woes with my mother. Her response was to write my husband a letter telling him everything I loved about him. I tried it and it was powerful. How can someone you love get mad at a list of things that you REALLY love about him? Sometimes when I am the most upset with him, I give him another list. Once I gave him a big heart. I started my list by going all around the outside edges of the shape, around and around and around. He truly loved the compliments, and I squeezed in a few of my frustrations positively, and he got the message. One list, he carried in his bible for a very long time so I knew that it meant a lot.
The Pastor shared one Sunday, that we use the word LOVE too frequently. We talk about how we LOVE pizza, that we LOVE a movie, and that we LOVE going on trips. We were challenged to think about what we really loved and to make a list. Then we were also asked to think about the LOVE of God compared to what we understand love to be. It didn’t take long for me to think that there is no way I’d allow my child to die in the place of someone else. How could God LOVE me so much that he would allow his perfect son to die in my place so that I can spend eternity in heaven? I owe him everything I have and will spend the rest of my days trying to represent Him in a way that brings Him honor and glory. It brings me such comfort to know that my husband and I will once again be reunited in heaven simply because I chose to accept his free gift.
The bible says to love your neighbors. Well God must not have met mine. They are hard to love. They are “from away” and in my opinion they need to go back. Since they moved in, they have been nothing but unkind despite our efforts to befriend them. As a result, I have begun praying for them- really praying for them and trying real hard to mean it. It has helped. Yes, another Mom directive. Two years ago began a pretty rough road for my husband and I, and I have prayed for those in our community that nearly destroyed him. It has helped me and has made it easier to coexist in the same community. Hate is destructive and I refuse to let it enter my heart.
When I think about the things I REALLY love, I love my husband. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed and I bubble over. I am a planner and as a result of our circumstances, I can’t plan. I can’t help but think about the house that we purchased together and how much we love the house and the property. Why would God give us something that we enjoy so much and then take away the man I intended to enjoy it with? One day I shared my thoughts with Mom, and her response made me cry. This is what she said: “Dear Favorite Oldest Daughter, you have a few years in your lovely home with Rusty. Enjoy them. The future will take care of its self.” Enough said.
My mother comes by her good advice naturally. She had a very wise and strong mother. Her mother lost my grandfather while Mom was still in college. After a mourning period, she announced to her family that she had 20 more years to live and she was going to live it. She did, and so will I. My aunt has outlived 2 husbands, and she shares the same bloodline. She is strong as an ox and I know that it is her faith that gives her what she needs. She is a great example and I thank God for strong mentors that will help me through. As a result, I will suck it up and live the remainder of my days in a manner I never dreamed, focusing on the things that I REALLY love: my kids. I am going to take walks on the water, hike through the woods, eat ice cream, lay in the sun, pick berries, and enjoy as many belly laughs as I can.
I am also blessed with really good friends and supportive coworkers that I love. A friend of mine is regrouping. Her youngest child left for college this year. The house that they purchased to house her growing family is too big now. Our coffee date centered around, “Now what?” She shared that she and her husband have come to a similar conclusion as I. A house is just a house, and family is the most important thing. As a result, she is highly considering downsizing so that she can free up funds to fly to her kids. I think it is a good idea. As much as I love this house and our property, except in the winter, I love them more. As much as I want to enjoy the home my husband has worked so hard to beautify, it may be too much for me to manage and would take away from time spent with my loved ones. I wonder what God wants me to do…
Maybe he wants me to just live and LOVE in the moment.