As I sit this morning, listening to the robins outside, watching my cat look out the window at the birds, and gulping the coffee my husband made for me, I realize I am content and at peace.
For most of my life, I’ve felt somewhat unsettled. Everything was a preparation for something else that would be coming along. My husband and I were at odds in different ways throughout much of our marriage. The physical and emotional exhaustion of parenting wore me down. My eyes were so busy looking around at the future and at other things that I wasn’t always good at seeing the blessings surrounding me. Sometimes, I simply couldn’t relax enough to be able to notice anything outside the details of my life.
But here, this morning, I know that I am surrounded by blessings. My husband and I have been in a bit of a sexual slump this past week, largely due to some medical challenges and medication transition. I’ve been bummed, and he hasn’t known how to respond to that. But yesterday, he came home from work, took one look at me lying on the bed as I was reading my Kindle in my underwear, lavished sexual blessings upon me, and then let me bless him. Neither one of us was expecting that, and it provided something we both needed.
My husband has been unemployed much of the time over the past four years. He has now landed in a job that not only provides what we need financially but also draws on his strengths and gives him great joy in his work. I prayed for him to find a job where he can be happy, and I am incredibly grateful for that. Work life is good for me as well. I have a job I love at a college where the mission is truly a ministry. Every day, I can see that I’ve made a small difference.
In a few days, I will celebrate Mother’s Day. For years I had ridiculous expectations of how the day should go, and–no surprise–the day would never live up to them. Then, for a few years, I gave my family a specific list (printed on flowery paper and posted on the fridge) of what I wanted: breakfast in bed (yes, I indicated the menu), church, no laundry, at least 15 minutes alone with each child, at least an hour with my entire family together, and at least one hour completely alone by myself. Oh, and flowers. Now my children are all young adults. They all have jobs. Last night, one son borrowed my car so he could go to the mall and get me my Mother’s Day present. The kids have been busy planning my day for me. They’ve been working together to give me a good Mother’s Day.
All three kids will most likely be moving out later this year, within a few months of each other. As I experience empty nest, I will be able to rely on a marriage that is stronger than it’s ever been. Three years ago, I dreaded this time, wondering how on earth I would manage being stuck alone with my husband. Now, I actually look forward to it.
I find that I am smiling a lot these days. Despite the little slumps and irritations, I know–and feel–that life is good. I am seeing God’s handiwork in my life and in the lives of others. God has always blessed me, and now I’m finally letting myself see it.
I’ve lived so much of my life not fully experiencing the blessings God has sent, either because I wouldn’t let myself see them or I wouldn’t set aside the stresses of my life to be able to soak them in. I wish I’d figured this out years ago, that letting myself see and experience the blessings in my life would, well, bless me. (I know. You’d think it would be obvious.)
It feels weird to be feeling this way–but weird in a really good way. Finally. So I soak it in, prepare to go pour my second mug of coffee, and begin my day with a joyful heart.