Recently I stopped by a local consignment shop to drop off a few things and also to check to see if I had built up credit from clothes I had dropped off at the beginning of the season. The store worker informed me that I did indeed have a small amount of store credit saved up, so I decided to briefly take a glance around the store before heading home to finish up school lessons and prepare for Gabriella’s ballet lessons.
This is a small shop and very kid friendly. The children walked about, checking out the toys and goodies, while I scanned the racks. We were the only customers in the store and the clerk started a conversation with me that began with general chit chat and ended with me leaving incredibly thankful for the life I have, even with its bumps and bruises.
It all started innocently enough when the clerk asked me where my children attended school. Of course, I shared that we are homeschooling which then lead to the infamous, “Wow, I could never do that!” comment and then spiraled into a conversation that included topics from staying at home with my children to discipline to cooking most of my meals from scratch at home. All of this is everyday for me, so I have to be honest and say that there are many times when I am absorbed in my own little corner of the world and forget that many others live life very differently.
This cashier told me about how she longed to be at home with her children but how her husband was completely against the idea. She told me about how he had a quick temper and that they argued often. Their home was always on edge because there wasn’t peace between them on many subjects. She spoke of the jealousy between them being so intense at times that she couldn’t even stand the idea of her husband going hunting or fishing without her because she didn’t trust him alone. Then she posed a question:
“How do you and your husband get along so well that he has no problem with being out working and you being home all the time? You guys must have the perfect relationship.”
At first, I didn’t really know how to respond. My marriage is great, but it is certainly not anywhere near perfect. Alec and I have traveled a very long and bumpy road. We’ve teetered on the brink of divorce before he gave his life to the Lord and I started listening to what God has to say about how godly wives should behave rather than what my selfish flesh whispered to me. It was very rough before I began to realize what love really means. We have disagreements. We get frustrated with one another. We work hard to maintain the ground that we’ve gained over the years.
I said a quiet prayer in my mind to help me say the right words to this woman who was obviously unhappy in her own marriage. Then I told her the truth. My marriage is not perfect. It at times has great flaws, but the glue that holds us together through all the weather is Jesus.
If not for Him, my husband could very well still be lost in the trenches of his sin, caring more for worldly pleasures than for the well being of his family.
If not for Him, I would still be so consumed with being in charge and asserting my will through nagging and complaining that my rebellious nature would have driven a permanent wedge between me and my husband.
If not for Him, my children very well may be one of the statistics. Children of divorce, shuffling from one parent to another instead of being raised by both of their parents in a home following God’s design.
If not for Him, all would be lost.
As I spoke, the woman seemed to be really interested in what I had to say, so I hope my words helped. She said that she knew God, but avoided church, so I can only pray that the Lord will guide her wherever He wills her to go. I pray that she and her husband find their way to a better marriage through Him. I’ve been where she is and I know the pain and loneliness that comes with the troubled waters of a stormy marriage.
But the thing that really made this entire encounter stand out to me was that I felt a deep sense of appreciation and thankfulness.
I was thankful to God for all the changes that have come in my life because of Him.
I was thankful to have a husband who is ready and willing to support his family so that we can follow God’s will.
I was thankful that my children no longer have to worry about whether or not Mommy and Daddy will still love each other tomorrow.
I was just….thankful. And burdened because it had been a long time since I had told Alec just how much I appreciate everything that He does. So I picked up the phone and called him to tell him just that.
Sometimes it is so easy to forget how good you have it until you meet someone who doesn’t.
Have you told your spouse that you appreciate what they do recently?