Marriage and politics. Weird combo right? What do the two have to do with each other? Well- relationships.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned thus far in marriage it’s this: whenever I believe my opinion to be right and my husband to be wrong it never turns out well for us. I hold no grace, no understanding, no compassion and no empathy for him. I may utter words like “you’re crazy if you think that” and want to cancel him in that moment and pretty much “unfriend him.”
Well if you reread the above paragraph and replace the words “my husband” with a person of opposite political beliefs, I find myself in the exact same situation. We are no longer united and our relationship suffers a blow which can sometimes lead to no relationship at all.
Relationships are sacred you guys. The good news is, and there is good news, that when I change my mind from being right, to trying to understand, my marriage takes a huge leap forward and grows deeper in love and intimacy. And this is where it’s at with politics too.
As crazy as I think my husband is sometimes in the trenches of an argument, I soon realize that when I switch my mindset to try to understand him, he doesn’t seem so crazy anymore. I almost always get to a place where I can see where he is coming from even if I don’t agree 100% and then we move forward in some kind of compromise. We can do that too!
This is no different than what we are facing today. It’s hard. It takes work. But isn’t it worth it? I hate turning on the TV and seeing people kill each other over their differences. I hate opening my social media and seeing people who were friends become enemies.
This work is important work. But we must all do our part. I don’t know exactly where this country is headed but right now it’s hard to see the light. But I have no doubt that if the people come together and do the work, we can be the change we want to see in the world.
I want to understand you and I want you to understand me even if we don’t agree. I want to get to a place where love and peace reigns in our hearts again. God loves us both and political opinion will never change that.
When Silas was first born I was neurotic to say the least. Looking back, I probably had a bit of postpartum blues and my anxiety was through the roof! I worried about EVERYTHING. Trust me, my husband has some stories. “Is his room too hot? Oh no, now I think it’s too cold. Should we get him warmer pajamas? I think he’s too hot in those PJ’s.” Poor Neil! I had some crazy moments but that is the life of a first time mom! So when you’re feeling like a bit of a wreck, know that you are normal and then take these three tips I learned for your second time around.
1.) Let them fall-
“A child who has not been bandaged has not been well parented.” – Dr. Benjamin Spock
It is completely normal for your kids to get bumps and bruises!
When Silas fell the first time, I felt SO AWFUL. I thought I was a horrible parent and a failure. “I should have been there.” As I’ve grown and had a second baby, I recognize that those little bumps and bruises are lessons learned. And as they get older we need to let them experience the bumps and bruises of life too!
Here’s a mom tip: when they get hurt have some “boo boo buddy” ice packs on hand. For some reason those little buddies make them feel a little better just at the sight of them. I linked them here.
2.) Refrain from doing what your kids can do for themselves. I know how hard that is, especially when it’s just easier to do it yourself and even easier when there’s a time restraint. But I have watched Silas become a truly independent 2 year old because I follow this rule. I must warn you, the result isn’t always perfect but “praise the effort, not the outcome.” And as we do this, I truly believe we will feel ready to let them fly when it comes time.
3.) God loves them more than you do-
I literally couldn’t sleep at night for the first 9 months of Silas’ life. I stared at the monitor constantly. But the one phrase that changed it all for me was “Jill, God loves Silas even more than you do.” And every night after that, I would repeat that to myself. Then when I had Scarlett I fully trusted her into Gods hands. Of course I had to do my part as a mom to keep her safe with things like “no blankets and pillows in the crib” and I check on her often when she is playing on the floor. But I’m not nearly as panicked as a mom because she was God’s long before she was mine.
Just like when you start to get dizzy, the first thing someone says is “maybe you need to step outside and get some fresh air.” Or like when someone comes along that’s pleasantly new and different, we hear “you are like a breath fresh air.” Just the thought of those words calm me.
As a mom with 5 kids (3 of them being little), if I’m being honest, I look forward to taking the trash out or getting the mail to get that breath. C’mon stay at home mom’s, I know you can relate. We can feel a sense of emptiness, weariness and lack of connection and stepping outside re-centers us even if it’s just for a moment.
But what if stepping outside isn’t the answer? What if there’s a better answer? One with more longevity in keeping us strong and stable for the whole day.
“Peace be with you. Then he breathed on them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit.” John 20:21-22
What if instead of breathing in some fresh air, we breathed in the Holy Spirit in those weak and weary moments? What if we remembered that God is as close to us as the air we breath because He is the air we breath?
Take a deep breath. Connect to the Holy Spirit. Ask Him over and over again throughout your day where to go, what to do and what to say. Filling up on the Holy Spirit and letting the spirit lead will give us all the peace, love and joy that we are in search of, if we just remember to do it.
Being a mom is one of the greatest privilege’s of my life and I want to treat it that way. Help me to remember that you are as close to me as the air I breath. Let me connect to my breath and Your Spirit, especially in hard moments. Guide me in the way I should go. I know that whenever I let you lead, I come out victorious and filled with your love, peace and joy. Thank you for motherhood and all you are teaching me. Thank you for making me more like you on this blessed journey. I praise you. In your precious name.