Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rear View Mirror

One Sunday morning we were late to church. Oh wait, that's been every single Sunday for the last four years.

But something special happened on this morning.

Brian was driving and juggling listening to me analyze why he made us late and the kids screaming various demands and grievances in the back seat. He would reach back trying to reach Madison's pacifier and tell Silas something to the tune of "If you touch her one more time, you know what will happen!" as the car swerved slightly with all of his movements. I critiqued the morning's timeline and picked at my face in the mirror before my "we're late" ritual of putting on my makeup in the car. I think he was flinching his jaw and imagining scenes from "Throw Mama from the Train" with me replacing the character of "Mama" but I would have to verify that with him.

Brian tried the old futile method of achieving silence, turning the radio up. Way up. It didn't work. I joined his efforts and tried distracting the kids. I heard sirens in the distance and said Listen, there's a fire truck! They didn't care. I resumed my analyses and picking. A long while later I looked over at Brian and saw colored lights reflecting on his face.

I gasped when I saw the police car in my make-up mirror. "Oh no, we're being pulled over!" Then my heart sunk because I've come to learn the following law of nature: being late + being distracted = Brian speeding excessively. Kids, turn on the charm when he gets to the window.

Much to our surprise when Brian rolled down his window we heard through a loud speaker SLOWLY STEP OUT OF THE CAR AND PUT YOUR HANDS ON THE VEHICLE!

My jaw dropped as I watched Brian slowly exit the car and assume the position. More commands followed from the speaker. STEP TO THE BACK OF THE VEHICLE! Then the officer got out of the car. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING SIR? Brian stared in confusion. He began screaming at Brian. The quiver and intensity in the officer's voice made it evident he was pretty shaken up. Then things became clear. I'VE BEEN CHASING YOU FOR MILES! WHY WOULDN'T YOU PULL OVER? I could hear Brian try to explain, My kids were screaming in the back seat and my rear view mirror was pointed down to - THERE IS NO REASON FOR ME TO HAVE TO FOLLOW YOU FOR THAT LONG WITH MY SIRENS AND LIGHTS ON! THERE'S NO EXCUSE!

I was thinking to myself, Actually, sir, there is a perfectly good reason and my husband just gave it to you. The radio was blaring and all mirrors were pointed at the children.

But thankfully my husband had more sense than me. He listened as the officer vented more feelings of flabbergast and then apologized repeatedly and agreed that there was no excuse.

Then I saw the officer head to my window. Keep in mind I wasn't feeling too sharp that morning. I was staring at his face, watching his eyes with hopes that he would look back, notice the kids in the back seat and have mercy. After waiting a while he raised his eyebrows as if to say "Hello?" and motioned for me to roll down my window. I jumped to it and saw him revel in the glory of my radiating picked-at, no make-up having face. He asked to see my driver's license (still trying to get to the bottom of why we were trying to run from him). I set the bowl of cereal I had in my lap on the floorboard then grimaced when I looked back and remembered Brian had packed the diaper bag. Fat chance he thought to grab my wallet.

I smiled sheepishly and started explaining. Well you see, my husband packed the diaper bag yadda yadda yadda. He didn't buy it. All I could think of was to offer to have him follow us back to our home and I would get it for him. From the back seat Silas fervently (and repeatedly) asked Why is the police man angry at Daddy?? Mommeeeeeeeeeeee, WHY?? 

After a few minutes of asking the same questions and getting the same answers the officer gave up. Maybe the kids worked their magic. Maybe it was Brian's humility. Most likely it was my stunning beauty but regardless, and much to our amazement, he let our little circus act off with a warning.

Laughter replaced the bickering and we were all smiles when we showed up before church ended.

Lesson learned:
You really should point your rear view mirror at the road, not on your darling little angels.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Healing of Our Marriage

About 3 years ago, Brian and I started really going to church.  I don't like that phrase because we ARE the church so how can we go to ourselves. Maybe I should say we started being the church or being a part of the church, the body of Christ.

Whatever you call it, a big part of it is living our lives in the open. Letting others know what we were doing, thinking, and feeling and letting God use them to POWERFULLY remind us of who He is, who we are, and grow us up.

This has led to us dealing with stinking death in our marriage.

It's too difficult to squeeze into a nutshell but it has involved us getting to a place where we don't love each other very well and aim much of our efforts at our own interests and stay angry when our interests aren't served. When this goes on for a long time, you start to not like each other as much. Which has been heartbreaking because we've always really liked each other. Wrap this and much more up and put it in a pressure cooker of very young kids, remodeling our house, then selling our house and moving and you've got a glimpse into our discombobulated mess. I've come to find out our marriage is vulnerable to brokenness just like everyone else's.

This was on our favorite vacation ever, Miami.
 I didn't know it at the time but Silas was a tiny dot growing in my belly.

Recently I decided I wanted to write about this journey we're embarking on. I want to remember all of it - the hard parts and the awesome parts. Because I serve the best and most faithful healer, and because Brian and I have our hearts set on honoring our covenant and each other, I have hope and anticipation for what's to come. Years from now, I don't want to forget what He's brought us through. And since there's no use hiding the light, I'm gonna put it out for all (3 of you) to see.

Let's begin with the first installment.

I've been called to

For the previous 13 years, I've been honing my skills of manipulation and control. My motto: I want Brian to do a certain thing/be a certain way and I'M GONNA MAKE IT HAPPEN. That may involve hour long explanations on my needs and his shortcomings, staying angry, silent treatment, or just good ol' emotional distance. 

Instead, I've been called to this: Lord, this is yours. I'm going to stop messing with your creation, get off the potter's chair and let you do your beautiful work in your time. I give it up. I set it down.
I trust you.

What does this look like in real life? Right now it's alot of shutting my mouth and praying. Sometimes this happens in mid-argument or even mid-opening statement. I can feel the gentle whisper from my Father, "let go." I'll suddenly get quiet and close my eyes. Brian is usually confused. And because I've hurt him with the silent treatment in the past, I'll tell him I'm not shutting down but I have to stop talking and pray now. And "praying" in these instances doesn't always look the same. It has involved screaming about how bad this hurts, asking for healing for both of us, asking for healing for Brian and not me because I didn't do anything wrong!, or feeling so overwhelmed that I just close my eyes and climb into my Father's arms and rest my head on his shoulder (like my children do to me when they're spent) and stay there for a while.

I don't have huge amounts of clarity or insight yet and that's ok. I've just begun to dip my toe into the waters of change. Things are actually still pretty messy, unclear, and unchanging most of the time. But it is already beautiful. The way my Father gently leads me. The way he has spoken to us through others. The little signs of new life starting to sprout in our marriage. Really cool sprouts we've never seen before.

It's looking like he's much better than me at being in charge.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011