He Saw Me

Happy Friday!  It's snowing outside right now and I am sitting on our bed, contemplating what my plans for the evening will be.  Since I haven't showered and it looks cold out, whatever those plans end up being, they won't involve leaving the house!  Ryley and I are probably looking at a night of watching movies or finding a great book to read.  We both could use a bath, but one of us is more high-maintenance than the other!  I'll give you a hint, it isn't me...I think I'll wait to bathe Ryley until I have Travis' help.  I can handle my own bath :) 

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 :) 


roberts05 said...

Thank you for this post. I so needed it tonight as my husband just started his 4 nights of 12 hour shifts. Our 3-year-old and seven-week-old both have terrible colds, so going it alone is not fun.
The baby will not let me put him down...thank goodness for the Moby Wrap (look into one if you haven't already) I was feeling a tad resentful, but your post helped me put things back into perspective.

petrii said...

The Lord spoke something so similar to me a few weeks ago. I was having trouble getting out of my chair because of my knee. And God spoke to my heart and told me that He saw me. He knows. It was transforming to me. After that I started getting up no matter how long it took me, knowing God was seeing every difficult step.

Thank you for this post. It brightened my evening.

Have a Blessed weekend,

Becca said...

i just found your blog from Jenna's and I'm so glad! :-) I love this post - what a beautiful reminder of why we do what we do. And the stuff your husband is doing downtown and with the kids is just amazing! keep doing what you're doing :-)

Elyse said...

Thanks for such a wonderful post. My husband is the youth pastor at our church so I have felt some of the same things. I needed to be reminded of this, this week.
Elyse Shirley

Anonymous said...

I was volunteering at the recycle center just a few days ago and struck up a conversation with another volunteer and when I related where my kids were, what they did etc. I said and my nephew who lived with us is a youth pastor in Mn. and could NOT do it without his wife Stephanie and she should also be on the payroll. We DO love and appreciate you and I know you love doing what you do.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your God inspired words. As I read your post my husband, a pastor is at a missions conference being spiritually fed, while I am home with the kids. Your post helped my lonliness, it often gets hard on pastor's wives when we sometimes feel left out! Thanks for your sweet reminder!

Rebecca Jo said...

WOW - after coming back from a weekend with our youth - I needed to see this... & really want to share this with my husband, because he gets frustrated when I'm with a teen late at night & dont get home until he's asleep - or I leave for the weekend - or have to up my texting plan because the kids want to talk... your words are powerful to me today!

Heather said...

Steph- I love this post so much...this is my second time coming back to read it! (I just love how you has always blessed me from the first post of yours that I read!) We have a lot in common, although my hubby is a teacher/coach and not directly in ministry...but we consider his job a ministry and I can so relate to what Trav does and who he is to those boys!
I do the same things you do at home and although most of the time I am content...we all have our days!!! I love, love, love the idea that God SEES US. Everything we do and say. Challenges me to do evertything with thankfulness and for HIM!