Mark and I have been waiting for “Life As We Know It” to come to redbox so that we could watch it. And it came out this week, so I ran to redbox on my way home and got it. We watched it last night, and both of us agreed that it was the best movie we’ve seen in a while (not hard to say that though, because we haven’t even been going to redbox lately. I can’t remember the last movie we watched before this one.). And it was good in the sense that we could totally relate to caring for a baby and trying to make a family work.
Earlier that day, I had just told Mark that parenting has been the hardest and most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think I’m totally alone in feeling that way. And what struck me during the movie was that none of us have a clue of how to be parents. It’s not like you get an instruction manual when your child is born. It’s not like you’ll have any clue of what temperment your kids will have. Really, all you can do is your best and pray A LOT! 🙂 But the hardest part for me has been to put aside my dreams and desires in order to help pay the bills and raise my kids. And it’s not any easier to watch my husband put down his dreams as well in order to feed his family and keep us sheltered. During the movie, the couple struggles to pay their bills and to figure out how to balance raising a little girl and pursue their career goals. It was good for me to see a bit of that struggle as I sometimes feel like we’re the only ones. It’s tempting to never see beyond your bubble but to only see what’s right in front of your face. And it’s easy to let go of your dreams in order to accomplish the day to day, have to get it done now items of life.
In a few weeks, Mark and I will have been together for 5 years. And as I think about the things that we used to write to each other while we lived apart, I think about how I was the idealistic dreamer, and he was the romantic realist. Or something like that . . . maybe I was the idealistic realistic and he was the romantic dreamer?? Regardless, I had lots of dreams and goals to accomplish, and mine were pretty lofty. He had an idea of the world that involved him going down a certain path to his goals and dreams. He is much more persistent with a long term perspective than I am. But we both had ideas of what we wanted to do and how we wanted to get there. And now, 5 years later, I’ve forgotten a lot of those things. My goal is just to get Ryder to a point where he’s somewhat obedient. My day to day goals are to get to work on time without any tamper tantrums, with a good lunch for Ryde and me, and to keep my peace all day. I have yet to accomplish those things. 🙂 If you asked me where I’d be in 5 years, I’d have no idea what to say. If you asked Mark, he’d have an answer. Yet he’s not had any time to pursue that answer.
Yesterday, we also discussed ideas for how I’m going to continue working and caring for 2 children. I said that I would need help with this and that, and Mark’s reply was so I’ll have no time to write. And at first, it bothered me that he said that. As if I’ve got time to do what I want to do. But then I saw it from his perspective, and I realized that he’s right. So that solution won’t work. I don’t want to keep putting off his dream. And if my dream has to be on hold for a season so that his can be accomplished, then that’s okay. I can do that. As a family, that’s what we’re here for – to help each other move forward.
And the point of saying all of that is to say this – I feel like God is teaching us endurance right now. And I feel like it’s been a very hard lesson. I’ve not got much endurance. We joke that I start things, and Mark finishes them. 🙂 But I’m being forced to stay in situations that I don’t want to be in. I’ve kicked, screamed, shouted, pouted, submitted, and finally surrrendered. And now I’m realizing that it’s more than just surrendering. God doesn’t want us to just endure. He doesn’t want to hear me say, “ok, I give in,” then mope around. He wants us to endure with peace and grace. He wants to see joy on my face as I endure. He wants to hear me laugh, which has not happened in a long while. He wants me to bless my husband and my son and help them thrive. He wants me to dream as I endure. And His grace is sufficient in all things. It is possible to scrape a bit of time to volunteer here or there and for Mark to get his writing time. But we’ve got to be looking for those opportunities. We’ve got to move forward even if it feels like we’re only moving an inch at a time. We’ve got to live with purpose and with a vision. And a lot of this may only make sense to me, but it’s stirring up in me that this is what this season is about. God’s hand is at work; it’s just taken a while for me to see it. 🙂