Our family has been through many opportunities for growth during the last couple of years—car accidents, unemployment, financial struggles and attempts to recover, health issues, death, relocation, and changing churches. The cycle has repeated itself more times than I care to admit. It’s like we’ve been on some kind of nightmare merry-go-round. As a friend of mine recently said, “Stick a fork in me. I’m done!” Yep, that’s about how I feel some days.
Dissatisfaction and complaining have knocked at our door on a regular basis and as a woman, it’s been all too easy to jump on the complaint train and take a long trip, dragging my friends and family with me. As the years have passed and we’ve become a bit older and wiser, we’ve learned to focus on God’s blessings and not on the things we don’t have. But it hasn’t been easy. We’ve had to constantly resist the urge to complain and had to remember that God always provides. We’ve had to continually remind ourselves that life is all about faith in God and not faith in an employer or the job he provides or the money that job supplies. Our faith is placed in God and not in any man or woman in our lives. He’s the only one that will not let us down.
But when you’re struggling through tough times, it’s extremely easy to make an enemy out of your spouse and to lose sight of the bigger picture. It’s hard to remember that you’re a team and you have to stick together. We’re in a battle against strong forces that would love nothing more than to see our homes destroyed. We have to stay on our toes. When we cast aside complaining and all kinds of strife, everyone seems to feel better—even if the circumstances don’t change. And that puts us one step closer to winning the war!
I’ve realized that as a wife and mother, no matter what situation or trial or hardship we find ourselves in at the moment (because there will always be one), one thing remains the same. Walking through these struggles is an opportunity for us to build up our homes instead of tearing them down.
What does that mean? You know, take the lemons and turn them into lemonade! And it starts with our relationships with our husbands.
Because I am a very open person, I am prone to telling more details about my life and what happens behind our closed doors than I should sometimes. My husband doesn’t like to talk about our private lives. And he really doesn’t like to whine and complain in public and he prefers that I don’t either. He would rather we talk about the blessings God has given us than the things we are doing without or the things in our past that have hurt us. After all, no matter what we’re doing without, we’re still far wealthier than the majority of this world. No matter how uncomfortable our mattress may be, as my husband recently reminded me, some people don’t even have a mattress. No matter what our troubles, there is always someone with tougher struggles. I feel wealthy beyond measure…in so many ways…when I look at things from this perspective.
By constantly complaining about (and even just talking about) not having the things we want or need—like food and clothing and paid bills—I am tearing down my home. When I whine and complain I cause my husband to want to stay home and avoid any interaction with people because he can’t trust that I am going to “behave myself” and bless others instead of dragging everybody down with our woes. I send a message to him that I think (and that everyone else thinks) he does not make enough money to pay for things. I send a message that we’re not happy with our marriage or with the different aspects of our lives.
By constantly complaining, I inadvertently tear my home down and convey to my husband that no matter what he does, it will never be enough. For shame, for shame!
This is not at all what the desire of my heart is and these messages I may be sending are not at all the truth. I love that he’s private and doesn’t go around blabbing about all my mistakes. I love that he cherishes our private moments and doesn’t boast to his friends. I truly appreciate his efforts to be the breadwinner and I love the fact that he knows it is God who provides, not himself. I watch him head off to work every morning with his sack lunch and his coffee, shoulders held back, ready to face whatever he has to face. He shares with his co-workers about our tight budget and always brags about my cooking when they ask what he brought for lunch that day. I love him for facing the wolves every day so I can stay home, manage the home, work my part-time job, do ministry, and write books.
Building up our homes must start (after committing it to the Lord) with watching our words and actions and making sure that they glorify the Lord and honor our husbands. To build up our homes, we must look for opportunities to serve those in need, therefore, pointing those in our homes (and those whom we serve) directly to the Great Provider. God wants to prosper us when we seek Him and when we leave the details up to Him. God’s ways are immeasurable. We make things easier on Him when we do our part to build up our homes instead of tearing them down.
I long to make Proverbs 14:1 a verse that I live by – a verse that provides a blueprint for a well-built home. Won’t you join me?