So, today’s post is going to be a little different. A little rambling. A little all over the place. But I know God works in all situations and I know for a fact that He often shows up BIG in the middle of my chaos. So I pray today that He shows up to bless you. I hope He leaves you feeling encouraged and loved in spite of my possible shortcomings!
My husband and I just got home from a week away in Belize! Yup. Belize it or not!:-) It was a wonderful trip and thoroughly needed. We are not the kind of couple to take that time for ourselves. When we only had our two little guys, we did get away for a night or two a couple of times.
Then, after adopting our daughter, that changed. Her needs were great and leaving her for any amount of time just wasn’t an option. A year ago, we took a big step of faith and left all three kids in the care of our new, but very treasured and capable respite care worker. It had been five years since we had that kind of time together. And now we took an even bigger step and went away for the whole week. This was the first time since we had become parents. That means 13 1/2 years! And guess what? They were all just fine! Even better than fine!
Let me guarantee, it will not be another 13 1/2 years before we take time for each other again!
It was long overdue.
Here are 5 important conclusions I came up with while having time to think!
My husband is a pretty neat guy who makes me laugh a lot.
We still love the same things that we had in common when we met 17 years ago! We love adventure and are almost always ready to discover new things!
We both make all our decisions with our children’s best interest in mind and taking care of our marriage is in the best interest of our children whether it feels selfish or not.
It’s not a waste of money to take time for ourselves. It is an investment that gives awesome returns!
We need this.
When hardship falls upon a marriage, our individual weaknesses are triggered. Our thorns rear their ugly heads and intensify the pain of the hardship.When hardship falls upon a marriage, our individual weaknesses are triggered.#marriage #taketimeforeachother… Click To Tweet
When our daughter came home to us with more physical, mental, and emotional special needs than we could have ever imagined, our world was rocked. What we had dreamed of would never be and all that we had known was forever changed.
Recognizing our weaknesses.
My weakness is self-confidence. For as long as I remember, in spite of educational accolades and accomplishments, the whisper of ‘not good enough” taunts my heart and mind. Friends, I know truth. I see truth. But something deep in my spirit doubts what I can bring to the table. When it came to my daughter, I tackled all the obstacles with logic and strength, but I heard the whispers that said, “You can’t help her. You are making mistakes.You are not a good enough Mama for this child.” And as my daughter rejected my love and threw every effort back at me, my thorns intensified the pain.
Bryan’s weakness is emotional disconnection. He is a get-it-done kind of guy. I often tease him that on his headstone, it will someday read “I’ve checked the final box.” Sometimes it is a tremendous benefit and it helps me see situations from a logical perspective instead of an emotional one. However, when hardships strike, he emotionally disconnects and it becomes his thorn.
He couldn’t fix our daughter.
He couldn’t solve the problems.
He couldn’t make it better.
But he could fix things at work so that is where he went.
I was hurting and doubting my worth. He was hurting and fixing things at work. I couldn’t reach him and he didn’t even think to reach me. Our thorns were wreaking havoc.
But for God.
He kept protecting us. He kept our paths straight. He reminded us of our commitment and His gift of our love. He sent us just who and what we needed in the moments we needed them most. He held us up above the pain.
And got us through to the other side. Our daughter is doing better and our support systems are in place so the fiercest parts of the battle seem to be at peace … for now.
We finally stopped a few months ago to look at each other and say,”We are worth this.” And I am so thankful we did!
Now, Belize is beyond amazing, and I know it may not be that level of “getting away” each time! But getting away is important. Away from work. Away from responsibility.
It is a time to …
Focus on each other and remember why we fell in love in the first place.
Get respite from the stress of the hardship. Over the years, the intensity takes its toll on health, as well. Stress does awful things to a body.
Rejuvenate our spirits. Hardship puts us in overdrive, often leaving our spirits desperately dry.
I was so convicted of the importance of time away I began to feel a nudge from God. I want every couple to have the opportunity to get away to rejuvenate themselves and their marriages. But God rested my heart on the parents of children with both physical and mental special needs.
Getting away is extremely difficult for parents of special needs children. You must have specialized care from someone you can trust and you must have the funds. Most families do not have a lot of extra income because most of it goes to medical bills.
Marriages are crumbling, families are hurting, and they don’t often have the resources to make things better. So what if there was a ministry that raised money to help these families? There are organizations like Make a Wish and HopeKids, but usually these organizations focus on long-term physical or terminal medical diagnoses. Usually they do not include the families of children with mental and behavioral illnesses.
I don’t know exactly what this looks like, but I know it’s on my heart in a big way. I also know I wanted to write it here where others can see it. Will you please pray for this? Pray for the vision to fully evolve and for doors to clearly open or close with the people or resources that are needed? Also, if you have any ideas or connections, I would love to hear from you! I can be emailed at lorischumaker at gmail dot com.
I want to leave you with a few pics of the awesome wonder of God’s beauty found in Belize.
I regularly link up with these encouraging sites.