I had plans for today. There is so much to do this week. It’s our first Christmas at home as a family. We are usually with my in-laws but this year they are coming to us. It’s my first opportunity to create the Christmas of my heart. It’s the one holiday that Australia and the US truly share. The one chance each year I get to feel connected to my roots and my home. This Christmas is very, very important to me. I have so much to do to get ready.
Our 2-year-old is sick. He was puking over the weekend and is still not his normal self. Today he was only happy if I was holding him. And so for hours I sat holding him. One load of laundry sat finished in the dryer and another sat finished in the washer. A double batch of GF DF SF muffins cooked in the oven too long. A half-done shuffle day remained piled high in the bedrooms.
I know. Sitting with my kid is more important than the stuff that needed to get done. I know. And I loved sitting with him. I loved that it was my arms that gave him peace. It was so relaxing to forget everything and be.
I smiled at a thought: For a mother’s arms and lap to always be ready for her children… she should be sitting on a couch at all times. Hmmm. I would make a fantastic lady of leisure.
The shift hand-off happened at 6.15pm. He gets home from work and I leave for worship practice. His question reminded me of something else that had been sitting unfinished all day, “Do you have a plan for dinner?”
We had been given a beautiful piece of salmon. I had pulled it out of the freezer to thaw. It had been sitting in the sink since noon. It was now room temperature. Ruined.
I hate waste. I especially hate waste that is due to someone’s mistake or stupidity. That salmon was such a rare treat and I had wasted it. Had I? Was it wasted? I asked him if it was still usable. He didn’t help me. He answered my question with a question. And in a moment I was totally overwhelmed.
Everything closed in on me. All the things I wanted to get done for Christmas. All the things that needed to get done for our guests to be here. All the things that didn’t get done today. And I lost it. I raised my voice in frustration. He repeated his question. And I did something we never do: I walked away. I had to. I was so angry at myself. And I had to get ready to leave.
Our 4-year-old quietly followed me upstairs to the bathroom. She could tell something wasn’t right. My husband is a gentle and caring man. We rarely have conflict like this. I ruined the fish AND I created a conflict that affected our kids. I was even more angry at myself.
On my way out the door I tried one more time to get my emotions steady and communicate with him. One kid was crying to be picked up. The other nagging about dinner. For the second time, I just had to walk away. And off to worship practice I went. With a rain cloud above my head and deep disappointment in my heart.
I got home at 8.45pm. Shift hand-off number two. He was going to church to help set up stage lighting for Christmas services.
He let me try to apologize and ramble about worship practice and talk about my Christmas preparation stresses. He generously and patiently let me verbally process. Then he told me he’d made GF DF SF SF sausage cornbread for dinner for us and walked out the door. The door swung back open, he leaned back inside and smiled, “I love you.” My heart melted.
I’m eating this special meal and feeling so loved. He made it with me in mind. He could have just made himself something but he went out of his way to provide for me. He could have been angry about the fish too but he let it go. His love and care heals my anger about the fish. His grace and forgiveness heals my anger toward myself. I’m so grateful for my man who chooses to love me even when I’m unlovely.
I can’t help but think about the Christmas message: God’s love and care and grace and forgiveness poured out for me. I fail and ruin life everyday but He continually loves me. I’m so grateful for Yahweh who chooses to love me even when I’m unlovely.
“God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” (Romans 5:8)
” Let them come back to God, who is merciful, come back to our God, who is lavish with forgiveness.” (Isaiah 55:7b)