My husband is gone tonight (after being gone all day-not that I'm bitter) doing a great thing with his small group of JH boys. Today he volunteered at one of the metro middle schools, which he does often actually, but he forgot about it until this morning, when he happened to read an email. There went our casual Friday together...He helped a group of students who were learning how to ski at a local place. If you know him at all, that is the PERFECT activity for him! He loves to ski, and is a natural at it of course, and he loves junior high students. He said he spent most of his time helping kids figure out their equipment and survive ski school! I know he loved it and the Lord blessed him when he went to the chalet to get lunch, a Mom recognized him from church and bought his lunch...I always love little reminders like that from the Lord....He knows our every need and provides in the neatest ways. Tonight he is in downtown Minneapolis with his group of 8th grade boys. They are serving dinner to homeless people and loving them like Jesus would. I wished I could have gone with them, but they were going to be doing a lot of walking and standing, in the cold and falling snow....not a great idea for this preggo.
Speaking of junior high boys, I want to share one of those moments that makes me remember why we are in full-time ministry. Last night, he got the sweetest email from a boy who has had such a difficult life. He's seen more heartache than any kid should and God has brought him to Trav for "such a time as this." He thanked Travis for being "like a Dad" to him, which brought tears to my eyes and melted Travis' heart. This kid's Dad died when he was young and most of the men in his life since then have left. It was so sweet to us because it makes all the long hours, sacrifices, and hard days worth it. God will use every part of your life for His glory if you'll let Him. Some hard things that Travis went through as a kid were part of the plan the Lord had for him today. He is able to relate to kids, especially those with similar backgrounds, so much better than someone who hasn't walked through hard times. I love my husband for many reasons but I admire him even more. He does such an incredible job of investing in kids and making them feel loved and accepted. That makes me cry for Ava, because she's going to LOVE her Daddy and that makes me sad for all the times I feel so selfish for wanting to keep him home with me, when I know there are kids, like this particular boy, who need him. That is one of the hardest things about being married to a Pastor. Lots of lonely days and nights, that can make you feel resentful if you're not careful.
It's not always easy to be the one at home, holding down the fort :) Sometimes I hate that I get stuck with the "business" of running our home and our life, while he's out doing ministry and spending time with people...but a few years ago, when I was really struggling with accepting our very non-traditional lifestyle and losing the battle at becoming bitter, the Lord showed me very clearly that I had a role too. He helped me realize that He saw me. He saw the time I put in opening the mail and paying the bills. He saw the hours I spent cleaning the bathrooms, planning the menus, hauling groceries, and doing the taxes. He saw the nights I spent alone, the weeks I worked more hours, and the Sundays I drove to and from church by myself. He saw it and He validated it. He helped me see how those little things that I do, and sadly, not always with a pure heart, help free up my husband to give more of His time to what the Lord has called US to. My behind the scenes, mundane, insignificant "stuff" mattered. Don't get me wrong, Travis told me I mattered and He appreciated what I did too, but he honestly didn't know half of what I really did at home. And soon I realized, I didn't really know half of what he did at work either. His ministry life was not as glamorous as I thought it was and there are things that he faced and burdens he carried that I am glad I knew nothing about.
And so I learned a very valuable lesson. The grass is not always greener on the other side. Travis' call to ministry is very public and when I decided to marry him, my first call was to support him in that. I don't resent it and I don't hate it (most of the time). The Lord has blessed me tremendously by giving me a mind for organization and a love for all things "home." In our marriage, the way that I can help Travis the most, is to take care of things at home. I have learned to embrace this as best I can and to even enjoy it! So although I'd rather be out with Travis tonight, I'm ok with being at home, candles lit and the bills paid :) Ryley and I will probably watch a movie in our jammies (well, just me in jammies) and maybe I'll make some cookies. I'm happy that 10 boys are getting my husband's full time attention tonight and a memory of service and outreach that they probably won't ever forget. I know that not everyone gets to share their husband for ministry reasons, it would be much harder for me to accept his time away from home if I knew he was in a bar somewhere....but I'm so glad and thankful that he'll come home fulfilled tonight and I'll get share in the blessing of that.
I hope you know that whatever the Lord has called you to do in this season of life, He sees you doing it and He will reward your faithfulness. I have a feeling I have another lesson in this area coming, especially when I'm going to be home with Ava and most likely feeling like a single parent, but it always calms my heart to know that I'm not un-noticed in His eyes. Every act of obedience is significant to the Lord. Even when it involves dusting, laundry, mail, or vacuuming.
Hope you enjoy your Friday night tonight, no matter how unglamorous it may seem :)