Sometimes love is cooking breakfast at 9 PM

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One of the things I’ve been working on this month is building up others around me. My focus is on my family–my husband and my daughters.

And even though it takes a lot of time and deliberate effort, I’ve realized it isn’t too hard for me to find special ways to make their days better, easier, brighter.

I’ve been doing little things for my daughters:

  • Learning hobbies they love
  • Encouraging them to continue trying when we both want to quit–and succeeding
  • Miss Crafty and I went on an impromptu window shopping trip
  • The Inventor and I built a Minecraft Lego kit together
  • Having a 3 person race in the middle of the park and not caring who was watching our moment
  • Giggling like school girls, and joining in with their immaturity instead of letting the weight of adult stress take over

For them, it is about time spent. Taking every little moment and just enjoying it. Letting them know that they are perfectly loved for who they are right now.

It has been a little different with my husband.

We have an awesome marriage, and one I am thankful for. I hear stories of people who struggle to like their spouse–not love, but like. Who struggle to share the same air, let alone a room or bed. It breaks my heart.

This is not us.

And I am very grateful for that fact.

So building him up looks a little different than your average marriage self-help counseling book.

I was stuck. I couldn’t think of what to do for him. So I prayed.

It hit me like running into a brick wall.

Every day brings something new for him. Whether it be learning a new skill at work or school, or dealing with difficult customers and improving customer relations. Change is always around.

Instead of building him up, I needed to be the constant, the one he can always depending on to be there no matter what is going on or the need, the one thing that doesn’t change.

The foundation so to speak.

Instead of changing, growing, encouraging, I just am.

That shift in thinking has changed our family dynamic in a very real way these last few weeks.

I spend all day with the girls, taking breaks for myself scattered here and there, so when he is home it is about him.

  • It is cooking a hearty meal so he has the energy to get up the next morning and do it all over again.
  • It is massaging his sore arms and muscles to give him relief at the end of the day.
  • It is having a cold pitcher of water in the fridge when he walks in the door.
  • It is playing our online game together when he wants and his arms allow.
  • It is understanding when he has to take a break, and watching a movie with him during those down times.
  • It is suffering through those ‘guy movies’ because it is not about what I want to watch, but about him being able to rest and relax in his home.
  • It is sometimes sitting on the couch quietly beside him because he has no energy to talk, but being there for when he wants to.

 

It is being there as the constant, to love and support him, the one person who can give him stability in the midst of daily change and chaos.

 

So when he called me Monday night on his drive between work and school and mentioned he didn’t have time for lunch, and he had forgotten his dinner in the work fridge, there was no hesitation in my mind as to what I should do.

I asked him to call me when he left school so I had time to cook him dinner before he got home.

He just wanted boiled eggs and toast, but I knew he needed more to recover from the lack of food that day and to be ready to go to work the next morning.

I wanted to give him a surprise, a gift of love.

Instead of curling up to a movie after the girls went to bed I waited for his call. And when he called me at 8:30 I pulled everything out of the fridge and warmed up the griddle.

At 9 I started cooking him a full meal of sausage, eggs, bacon, and toasted English Muffins.

And when he walked in the door at 9:30 PM I had a huge plate of sausage, egg & bacon sandwiches waiting for him.

 

Because being a foundation built on love is about doing whatever, whenever, and giving selflessly of yourself to provide security and stability.

And sometimes that means cooking breakfast at 9 PM.

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When the Foundation Crumbles

Jamie's foundation is her family

Jamie had a wonderful life. She was a stay at home mom to 5 children ages 7 and under. Yes, there were problems but nothing she couldn’t overcome.

Then her foundation started to crumble. She started having problems in her marriage. Her life slowly started to erode around her.

Shortly after Valentine’s Day in 2009, her husband left.

They had decided on a trial separation. Jamie desperately clawed to keep things together. She wanted to make things work in her marriage.

[Tweet “”I kept thinking this couldn’t be happening. That he could come around and come home…””]

 

“I remember not wanting to get out of bed and when I did I would sit on the couch for hours. My mom and other friends would come over to make sure the kids were okay, fix them meals, and force me to eat. I felt like someone died and I ached so badly I thought I would die too.”

Jamie’s life continued to fall apart. One night she was sobbing in her room, alone. In her pain, she cried out to God for help.

“I felt such an enormous presence. I fell to my knees, head down, but I didn’t feel low enough. I laid face down crying and praying. I felt enveloped in warmth and love. I felt such a peace.”

While Jamie’s foundation crumbled, she was not alone. God was with her to provide comfort when she desperately needed it most.

Unknown to her, her husband’s friends were encouraging him to leave and file for divorce. He listened to them.

A short 7 weeks after her husband first left, Jamie became a divorcee and single mom to 5 children.

During their separation, her husband had agreed to take care of all the bills for the house. A week after the divorce, Jamie learned that bills hadn’t been paid for about 3 months. She was facing financial ruin.

[Tweet “At risk to lose everything, Jamie’s entire foundation crumbled from underneath her feet.”]

Life began to move around Jamie.

Those that knew Jamie surrounded her with love. Some parishioners of her church found out about her crisis. Through her mom, they helped pay her bills and get her 2 months ahead. Her mom helped with other bills.

They gave Jamie room to breathe.

Jamie started to assess her new world. A flat world where new goals and dreams could be built. A reality where she had to provide for her children alone.

She realized that she needed more than a job, she needed a future.

Jamie had two choices. She could get a minimum wage job that would barely provide for her children. She could work so many hours a week that she would become an absent mother. Or she could struggle through the next few years, go to college, and build herself the career of her dreams.

Jamie opted for college. She enrolled in a local college to study Elementary Education.

That first year was the hardest. Jamie couldn’t find a job that would be flexible around her school. She pinched every penny she had, making it stretch farther and farther. She relied on the support of family and friends, including her ex-husband’s grandmother.

[Tweet “Humbled and grateful for the help, Jamie began to re-build her foundation.”]

She discovered a job placement program at her school. The program is designed to help current students find jobs in their future careers. Through this program, Jamie interviewed and got a job at a local grade school.

When working she taught computer classes for kids grades K-8. She also worked one on one with students who needed extra help in reading and other subjects. She helped in the kitchen during lunch hour and with small groups of children usually during science and reading time.

Jamie gained a lot of on the job experience.

But Jamie had her family to worry about too. She couldn’t simply go to school and work, and then relax at the end of the day. She had to take care of her children.

Her mom moved in with them to assist Jamie. For 2 years she took classes on Saturdays so that she could attend closer to home. She cut back on some work hours to focus on her studies. She missed a Christmas play and several of her children’s basketball games.

Jamie did homework whenever she could squeeze it in. She studied during lunch and breaks at work. She squeezed in a minute here and there when students were working independently on a computer project. She stayed up late into the night doing homework so her evenings were free to spend with her family–as long as there wasn’t a night class.

Jamie chose to sacrifice a lot in hopes of building a better foundation and future for her family.

And as Jamie continued to press toward her goal, she saw a brighter and better future. She relied on family and others closest to her to help her through the unimaginable.

She laid her heart heavily before God and asked for Him to help her—and he gave her strength.

“I have cried that it’s not fair. I have questioned what I have done to deserve it. But God has used situations, experiences, and even people to show me that He has provided. That every time I have trusted and put my faith in Him, He has come through for me.

I thought I was faithful before, but I have seen my faith grow to new heights. And that faith has allowed me to grow as a person, not just as a Christian. Whereas before I was a quiet, shut in woman who felt unworthy, useless and unloved, now I’m a woman who is more confident, outgoing, outspoken, and active.”

graduation

In December 2013, Jaime graduated from college. In a few weeks, she begins a job as a teacher’s aid. One day Jamie dreams of having a full time teaching position and her own classroom.

[Tweet “”God gets all the glory for getting me from where I was to where I am today.””]

Without the support of loving friends, family, and strangers, Jamie would not be where she is at today. But above all, Jamie knows that her foundation would not be strong without her faith.

 

~Crystal

 

Every Thursday I share your stories on Living In Green Grass. Sometimes they are stories of faith, overcoming, or perseverance. Sometimes they are stories of contentment and joy. Regardless, they are your stories. If you would like to share your story or nominate someone else, please click here or on the “Share a Story” tab above. Thank you! Without your stories Living in Green Grass would not be the same.

 

Shared with:

Thought Provoking Thursday

Thriving Thursday

Friendship Friday

Essential Fridays

Faith and Fellowship

Beauty Observed

Fellowship Fridays

 Wake up Wednesday

Whatever Wednesday