I watched the sun quietly set, reminding me I’d made it to the end of a somewhat lengthy day. We had been walking around the city for several hours with our five kids in tow as the rain began to fall. The rain caused the temperature to drop so not only were we wet, we were cold and weary.As I pushed the stroller up the last stretch of sidewalk into the hotel, I felt her hand rest placidly on my shoulder.
“I just wanted to tell you that I’m amazed by your family. I’ve been watching your boys and can’t believe how mature they are and how much they love each other. I can even tell how much they respect you and your husband just by the demeanor they take on when you speak.” I stood there silent, trying to form the words, but found myself unable to speak… so she continued on.
“I know sometimes as moms we second guess ourselves and wonder if the decisions we make raising our children are the right ones. So, I want to tell you how impressed I am with your boys and that I think you’re doing a great job. It’s been a true blessing just to watch you and your husband parent your children.”
I could feel my face getting flushed and my heartbeat quickening which meant I knew what was to follow. I tried to take a deep breath and blink away the tears but despite my efforts warm tears filled the rims of my eyes.
You see…what the woman in the hotel couldn’t have known is that the season of parenting we find ourselves in has proven to be quite difficult. Our oldest son is going from a little boy to a young man and the things we’ve learned in the last 12.5 years of parenting are practically irrelevant and more days than not I’m on my knees begging God for grace.It wasn’t the time for me to tell her that just last week my husband and I were fasting and praying on behalf of our boys, begging God to help us be the parents they need because it felt like we were failing at every turn.
There was no way that woman could have known the concern in this mama’s heart but we serve a God that knows every tear we cry (Psalm 56:8) and He knew that in that exact moment I needed to hear those encouraging words.
I’m sure to the woman it was just a kind compliment. She simply gave words to the thoughts running through her mind. But to this mom, it was the Spirit of God calming my soul and reminding me that He is in control.
As I continued up the steps to our hotel room I was astonished by the power of one simple compliment. One encouraging word, spoken from a thoughtful heart literally changed my entire outlook.
In that moment I made a promise to myself. The next time a kind thought lingers in my mind I won’t let it stop there. I will open my mouth and say the words because those words could be what the Spirit of God uses to breathe life into another person.
I was stuck on an airplane with no in-flight entertainment for five hours which made it the perfect time to continue my last post. If you are new to this post, go back and read part one first. If you’ve read the beginning, you won’t mind me diving right back in where I left off.
- When two humans vow to live life together, “for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part” there are going to be arguments. Just like all couples Britten and I disagree, we argue and as much as I hate to admit it, I can have a pretty hot temper. Thankfully the Lord knew that about me and gave me a kind, patient husband who NEVER loses his cool. No matter how upset I get or how intense a disagreement may be, he always remains calm and self-controlled. In fact, he usually smiles lovingly at me and tells me my spicy temper is cute, and it’s hard to stay mad at someone that’s telling you how cute you are.
- In 14 years of marriage I’ve done a few absent-minded things. I lost a thousand dollar Canon camera. I threw my diamond earrings in the trash can at a drive-thru window, only to realize it the next day. I could tell you more but for the sake of my pride I’ll stop here. But, what is even more dumb founding than my absent mindedness is that in the midst of my costly mistakes Britten always responds with kindness and love. I can’t count the number of times he’s looked at me and said, “Babe…it was a complete accident, everybody makes mistakes.” He has never once talked down to me, made me feel stupid or even told me what a careless mistake it was. He always gives me a hug, wipes away my tears and tells me it’s ok.
- I work part time as a personal-trainer and group fitness instructor which means when I go to the gym for myself I don’t have the mental capacity to think about my own workout, thankfully I don’t have to. Every time I step inside the gym I have a workout Britten has programmed especially for me. He knows the type of workouts I like, keeps track of what I’ve been doing, knows what goals I want to accomplish and he programs workouts to specifically help me reach my goals. A personal trainer having a personal trainer sounds a bit odd but it keeps me accountable and encourages me to push myself.
- I recently finished the series “Anne with an E” on Netflix and have moved on to “Hart of Dixie” which tells you I’m a glutton for warm-hearted, girly shows. As you can imagine, my husband is not. Can you blame him? But that doesn’t’ mean I need to watch them while he’s at work or sit on the couch alone at the end of a long day because well, that would be boring. He knows I love these trite little shows so he sits down beside me and chooses to be present. Granted, he may be reading an article online or texting his brother about political issues or Back Squat PR’s but he still chooses to be right beside me and that makes my heart flutter.
- Our four oldest boys are school age and we are beginning our ninth year of homeschool. I’m incredibly grateful for the privilege of educating our boys at home and at the same time I’m tired just from typing the previous sentence. Being a homeschool mom is an amazing gift and opportunity to teach your children to lift their eyes heavenward. In my humble opinion, it’s also an incredible use of one’s life but it’s exhausting to a new degree. That’s why it’s vital to have a husband that loves and supports you in your role as a homeschool mom and Britten does just that. He shares the homeschool load and holds me up on the days I can’t do it alone. That may mean I bounce curricula ideas around while he gives feedback, or he prays for me as mom and educator but sometimes it means I leave the house for a few hours while he steps in as the substitute teacher. Him giving me the gift of time away has led to a renewed sense of calling, a greater appreciation for mom as teacher and some hilarious impersonations of Britten’s teaching from our boys.
And if that weren’t enough to convince you why my love for Britten has multiplied exponentially over the years come back next time for part 3 of 14 Years and 14 Things.
I’ve read the articles and talked to enough couples to know that marriages change. That’s just reality when two people who say, “I do” live life together.
Things don’t stay the same. There is growth. There are setbacks. People develop certain patterns or ways of thinking. And sadly, often times those changes can have a pretty negative impact on the important relationship we call “marriage.”
There has been no shortage of change in our marriage. Its hard to fathom how much has changed since we first sliced into the infamous 6ft tall wedding cake.
Have we changed in our 14 years? You bet! Are we different people than we were the day we said, “I do?” Of course we are. But what those articles forgot to mention is that sometimes those changes can make you fall even more in love with your spouse than you were on the day you got married. There are so many things I love about Britten that I didn’t know about him in the early years of our marriage.
And in honor of our 14 years, I’m sharing 14 things I love about my man. Of course I love that he works so hard to provide for our family, he’s an amazing dad and that he loves Jesus Christ and loves to tell people about Him. But, if you’ve known him for any length of time you already know those things. I want to share the reasons I love him that you may not know about. So, without further ado, in no particular order here are 14 things I love about Britten.
- He shops for me. Yep, you read that correctly and it’s one of the main ways he blesses me. After shopping for and clothing our five children I’m usually too tired to give much thought to my own wardrobe. My incredibly stylish and fashion forward husband knows that about me so he serves me well by choosing clothes that he thinks will look nice on me and that he likes. I give him the sizes and tell him what kind of clothing I need and he does the rest. Dream. Come. True.
- He brings me cookies at 10:30 p.m. Confession: I try to be conscious of my diet and the amount/types of foods that I eat but I have zero control when it comes to Double Doozies from The Great American Cookie Company. More times than I care to confess my sweet husband has gone out after 10:00 at night to get cookies for me just because I want them. As a matter of fact, it’s 10:09 p.m. on Tuesday night and he’s currently driving to The Cookie Company as I type. Shameful, right?
- Because I eat a lot of cookies, I have to counter it with healthy eating at other times and we all know it’s easier to eat healthy when you have someone to do it with you. Which brings me to the next reason I’m completely smitten with Britten. Do you see what I just did there? He’s always up for my preposterous health food ideas. I’m constantly bombarding him with wonky ideas like, “Let me put butter in your coffee” or his personal favorite, “We are going to drink this Detox Drink three times a day for two weeks.” But no matter how crazy my ideas are, he plays along. And it’s not because he needs to. It’s because he knows it’s important to me.
- He tells me daily how beautiful, smart and talented I am. On the night of our wedding rehearsal Britten’s great uncle shared a bit of advice with the young groom-to-be that has stuck with him for the last 14 years. His Great Uncle James said, “Don’t ever let a day go by without saying something kind to your wife.” His Uncle James would be so proud to know that Britten took those words to heart and not a day goes by that he doesn’t tell me that I’m an amazing mom, that he loves being married to me or how thankful he is for the work that I do in our home.
- He hauls me all over town and has never once complained. I’ve mentioned before that there are challenges to living in a country where women are not allowed to drive. I use Uber a lot to get around when Britten is at work but if he’s at home he will drop any and everything to take me where I need to go. I’m not crazy enough to think that he loves driving me around but that’s what makes it even more special. Despite the fact that he has other things to do, doesn’t want to get back out or is just plain tired he never lets me know that. He puts a smile on his face and crawls back in the car to drive me all over town.
I could fill the world wide web with the many reasons I love my husband but in an effort to keep this post from getting too long I’m going to stop at five. Join me later this week and I’ll finish out the list.