Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness...
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted...
Isaiah 58:6 & 10 (ESV)
The last two weeks I’ve been quiet about our real life because the love of my life was leading a medical relief team in Iraq. For security reasons, we were asked to not mention the trip while it was happening. The reality in the Middle East…and specifically Syria and Iraq is heartbreaking (click here to learn more). I actually avoided reading detailed news reports while Val was gone, simply to keep my heart at peace trusting God with my man serving in the midst of such profound suffering and persecution.
While Iraq is technically considered a war zone, Val was not actually serving in the middle of the conflict, but was offering medical, emotional and spiritual care to Syrian refugees who had fled from Syria to Iraq. I have yet to hear all his stories, but am waiting to hear how the God of the Universe touched lives through this medical team.
While Val was away, my mom spent a full two weeks with me helping me take care of my three boys. We both worked so hard. I kept telling her that she was just as much a part of what Val was doing over in Iraq as Val was because there is no way that he could have gone over without her helping me. So, indirectly not only was my mom helping me, but she was actually making this medical trip possible. (Thanks, Mom!).
This is my part of the story:
A year ago, Val went to Iraq and I stayed home with our two big boys while I was also in the midst of that dreaded first trimester of pregnancy. It was awful. I was impatient, unkind, edgy, sick, and beyond exhausted. I felt alone. I hated how frequently I lost my patience with my boys while Val was gone on that trip. Even with a friend helping me for the last half of that trip, I was pretty certain I never wanted Val to go on another one of these trips.
God has been so at work in me that I am a different person this time. Not only am I not pregnant which makes a huge difference in my ability to handle caring for our boys while Val is on a trip like this. I am also no longer trying to hold everything together. I asked for the help I knew I would need. Not only was my mom here for two weeks, but a good friend also came out for a few days. I haven’t attempted to cook more than simple things like grilled cheese and hot dogs. This trip has still taken a toll on me; however, I am still at peace. This was not the case a year ago when Val went to Iraq. I was at the end of myself by the time he came home a year ago. Now, I just want a long afternoon to recoup.
God has been working in me. He has been working in our family. He has been resetting us in healthy rhythms and relationships within our little family. I am learning my limits and living within them. Our little family is also more at peace. It’s hard to put into words, but us slowing down our life and going so very slow these past few months has been the best thing we have ever done for our family. Our boys are so much more at rest in themselves. I am so much more at rest in myself. And there is a renewed life and energy in Val.
In stopping and slowing down and taking a year to rest, we have melded together as a family in a way I couldn’t have ever imagined. I used to say my dream was for our little family to be at rest with each other…our home as a place of peace. I think it is beginning to happen. The peace is becoming a lasting reality and not momentary dream between events and demands. This peace has remained almost entirely even with Val gone for ten days.
For the first time, we as a family might be truly stepping into the wind of the Spirit in our everyday reality, rather than running on a hamster wheel of just trying to manage our life.
Photo credit: Valerie Monson