Fruits of the Spirit…

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Fruits of the SpiritI’ve been feeling convicted lately.  Living this life is not easy.  I’m sure there are a lot of single parents out there that have some of the same issues as military spouses.  To me, the differences are that we are uprooted from where we once called home, our support system, we worry about our spouse, and sometimes our marriage.

People around me tell me that see a strength in me.  I see weakness.  I do the things that I feel God has called me to do.  To most people, I think that I show most of the fruits of the spirit.  Where I fail is showing them to my boys.

I want my boys to follow the rules, to be nice, to grow up to be good men.  It seems that I’ve become so frustrated with their behavior that I have overlooked my own.  The past few days, God has opened my tired eyes to see that while I am all of these things to everyone else, I am none of these things to the two people to which it matters most.

I am far from patient… I am angry… I am frustrated… I have blown-up… I yell… I criticize… I am just plain awful.  Granted, this is not every minute of everyday… mostly because they are at school for part of the day.  That’s a sad statement, but I’m being real here.

Why am I like this?  Are others in this boat of shame with me?  God has gifted me with these two healthy, smart, athletic boys and I am not treating them with the goodness, kindness, and patience that he intended.  I have become so caught up in trying to keep everything going.  Somewhere down the line, I lost sight that I am their example.  They follow my lead… and they are doing it very well.  They argue, they speak in an ugly tone to each other, they blow-up, they yell, they are not patient… they are… me.

Tonight, I am going to talk to them.  I am going to apologize for my behavior and try my hardest to be the best basket of fruit I can be.  I know that I will slide and that this will be hard.  Some of the fruits of the spirit are not my nature, but I can try.

For those of you that are in this boat with me, I ask you to try.  For those of you that have it all together, I ask for your prayers as I start this journey.  It’s always painful when God shows you your faults, but I’m thankful that He still loves me and that He’s still working on me.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness ans self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

Peace…

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TogetherThere we were at the airport… looking like dorks.  We were trying to take a picture of ourselves before he left.  We were joking and laughing and couldn’t get a good shot.  It didn’t help that it was 5AM and we were on day 2 of our early morning airport arrival.  There was a guy sitting directly in front of us.  I think he thought we were crazy.  I laughed to myself thinking that I would never see that guy again, but my husband would probably end up sitting next to him on the plane.

It’s been almost two weeks since he left.  It feels like more.  I can’t speak for him, but I did much better on this good-bye.  I was devastated a year ago.  I had such a fear of the unknown.  Two years is a long time.  I didn’t know how we would do it… if our marriage could withstand it… if I could manage that long with no help.  I don’t know if this will make sense, but this time I was just able to focus on the good-bye.  I didn’t have all of the fear.  I am sad because he is gone, but now I know that we can do it… I know that our marriage can withstand it… and I know that I can manage.

No day is easy.  In fact, they are all quite difficult, but we make it.  I discovered a peace the day he left.  A confidence that we can get through this.  It may not be pretty, but there is an end in sight.  And, ultimately this is only temporary.

God has sustained us this past year.  He has surrounded us with people who lift us up when we need it most.  The people who God put in our lives bless us every day.  I pray that I live my life to bless others in return.

 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

The Gift…

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photo by Ann May Photography

photo by Ann May Photography

The past few days have been a whirlwind to say the least!  We enjoyed having my husband home more than words.  Being able to hold him, smell him, and hear his heartbeat after so long were gifts that my soul craved.

The past few days were a series of gifts.  Gifts for which we will never be able to fully express our gratitude.  The gift of most of the cost of his plane ticket being given to us by our church family.  The gift of a limo ride to and from the airport.  The gift of Ann May Photography taking pictures for us at the airport.  The gift of friends waiting at the entrance of our neighborhood to give my husband a true hero’s welcome.  All that was just the first few hours!

We were able to spend time with family and most of our friends on New Year’s Eve.  I’ve written a blog about “Showing Up.”  Sometimes, that’s all you need to do to show someone you care.  We are very loved and I know my husband felt that from the time he stepped off the plane and into our arms.

We managed to work in some fun activities while he was home.  We saw a few movies, went to St Augustine, Florida, and the three boys took a helicopter ride with Old City Helicopters.  My husband was able to see my youngest son’s basketball practice and his first game of the season.  We witnessed the marriage of two great people.  We even shared a few meals with some great friends.

The most important gift was my husband and I got to accompany our youngest son as he professed his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior and witness him being baptized.

We also got a surprise gift of an added day to share together.  My fried brain thought that he was supposed to leave on Wednesday.  We went all the way to the airport and tried to check in to get his boarding pass before we realized he wasn’t supposed to leave until Thursday.  While waking up at 3:30am was a huge pain for us and for our friend that came over at 4:30am to sit with our boys, it was so nice to leave that airport holding his hand.

I titled this “The Gift” because I truly feel that every moment of these past few days was a gift from God.  Our time together and the love that was shown to us was the best present I’ve ever gotten.  It was like all the good that we’ve ever done came back to us in a flood.  It was a wonderful experience filled with memories that will last forever.  Thank you to everyone that spent even a moment with us, making it happen, or simply praying for us.  (Pictures below)

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17