Tuesday, February 19, 2008


This post will resonate with some of you-- and some of you will totally not get it. Because some of you have being emotional and revealing your weakness down pat. But some of you will know what I am talking about and will identify with my struggles. You will know what I mean when I talk about feeling like you have to be tough all the time and never show weakness. If so, this post is for you.

Last week I was at my Momtourage group and we were sharing areas where we have "weeds" in our marriage. (We are going through Melanie Chitwood's book "What A Husband Needs From His Wife" and were answering a question she had included based on an illustration she used in the book.) I had just shared that one of the weeds in my marriage was struggling with anger against my husband for "leaving me" to travel with his new job. Just as I laid all this out there, my cell phone rang and my daughter told me that Curt was at the grocery store without his cell phone and the baby had woken up and wouldn't stop crying and would I please come home. So, I had to leave early-- just after I said all this to these ladies and without any time to share that I am really working through these things and slowly coming to terms with this new life. I hated that I left them thinking I was really struggling.

Sure enough, at church on Sunday, I had several of them come up and ask me how my week had gone and share that they had prayed for me through the week. I nodded my head and thanked them, but deep down inside me, something rebelled. I didn't like it, as crazy as that may sound. They were perceiving me as "weak." I could hear them clucking their tongues and saying to each other, "The poor dear, she just needs prayer." (Though I know they didn't do that. They don't even talk like that!) Instead, I wanted to be strong and in control.

I wanted to be the one praying, not the one receiving the prayers.

And then God reminded me. "What kind of week did you have?" He asked me as I stood in the lobby, absolutely mortified by what my flesh perceived as pity from my friends. I ran through the week in my mind-- some great things had happened, I had had a good attitude, and life had been pretty good.

Like a petulant child I mumbled, "A good one."

And He answered back, "Silly girl, your week was blessed because they prayed you through it. Rest in those prayers. Appreciate those prayers. And learn what your weakness can bring you."

I remember as a young teen watching the movie "The Outsiders." (Did anyone else have their room decorated with clips from teeny bop magazines featuring the stars of this movie? Just askin'.) I can still vividly remember a scene where Dally says, "You gotta get tough so nothing can touch you." And for some reason, that resonated with me. I was going through the pain of my parents' divorce and remarriages and I thought, yes. That's the key. Just get tough. Don't let anyone close enough to hurt you. But let me tell you that eventually, those pesky people slip in the cracks. And yes, eventually, something does touch you-- and no amount of "getting tough" can keep that from happening. Nice idea. But it totally doesn't work.

Posts like this and this show my weak spots. I am learning to be more honest about my weaknesses-- and that I don't have to always be "on top of things" and "in control of the situation." I was raised to believe this was best-- and indeed my toughness has helped me weather many of life's storms. I am thankful for my emotional fortitude-- but I am also learning that being weak is when God shows Himself strong. Going around acting like we don't struggle, don't cry, don't doubt is never giving God room to move on our behalf. It is never giving others the blessing of interceding for us. And so I am learning to honestly say some of the toughest words of my life: I need prayer. And then to rejoice in those who will pray for me instead of being ashamed of needing it.

I am learning to love my weakness and to reveal the parts of life that bring me to my knees. It is freeing, but terrifying. It is being "tough" in a most unexpected way.
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Busymom said...

Hi Marybeth! I was reading your blog about your new traveling husband. I have only known life with a traveling man. Somewhere into our marriage of almost 14 years, I had to come to terms with my resentment of feeling like a single mom when he was gone. I would countdown the days until he would return home and rescue me from my tired,exhausted self. After praying through my feelings and emotions of this lifestyle I found myself in, I heard God calling me to rejoice about it! HUH??? I had to start enjoying the time with my kids and find things about him being gone that were a blessing, not a burden to bear. So, here's some things I came up with: I don't always have to make a "real" dinner (Our treat when Dad is gone is French Toast w/Blueberries). If I do cook, I can make things my hubby doesn't really enjoy, but I do. My hubby (as you know) is a little more structured than I am, so I can kinda let things go and be spontaneous when he travels. Of course, the kids usually get to bed too late when he is gone, but we have fun!!! I get to have one of my kids sleep w/ me which is a treat for both of us! And, I also get a break from wifely duties. I also need some time to myself and it just refreshes our relationship to get a breather now and then. I could go on...but these are my things that I rejoice in, you probably will have your personal list as well. I think the hardest part of his eractic schedule is that I can't ever make solid plans at times. But, I know he is working hard to provide a comfortable living for us. He has to miss some of the kids events, which he loves to go to. He also gives up some of his own personal desires to be with us at home, because he is gone a lot. While it sounds so inviting to a "stay at home" mom to get to travel, eat dinner in a nice restaurant, fly to a far away place and be among other adults, my husband says he would always rather be at home. I know he means it. The grass is always greener. But, I have made a choice not to resent, feel sorry, burden my husband, or complain about the job God has provided for him. I hope I have sent encouraging words and not "lecturing" words. Us "traveling husband" moms need to constantly encourage one another. We also need to thank our husbands for the sacrifice they make as well. On a funny note: it never clockwork something always happens when David leaves. Things break, need repairs, someone gets sick (me last time), my schedule is packed and I have to be three places at once, it goes on and on. It's just humorous really, at this point. But, I always seem to manage and thanks to some kind women in my life, I get a hand up when I feel like I'm drowning!
Take care friend!!! Becky Peed

Alyce said...

Morning Marybeth..
It is tough to ask for prayer sometimes. But then sometimes, its one of the strongest things we can admit that we are weak and that we need intercession! I am in a small group Bible study and at the end we go around and suggest to the others what they can pray for us for that week. Sometimes when there really isn't anything "major" going on in our lives, it seems that the little things aren't worth mentioning..but you know what..they are..and God cares! And that is encouraging!!

Cheri said...

I too struggle with not wanting to be weak. I think it stems from listening to my dad scream and yell all the time as I was growing up. It was either that or he wouldn't talk for months at a time.I watched my mom just sit back and take it. I told myself no one would ever treat me that way...and get away with it, anyway.
I just recently started a had to have been a God thing because since I started it I have really got in touch with my weaker side. I sometimes share things so personal for me. The amazing thing about it is that God has answered many prayers because of it.
Thank you for being so transparent and know that you are so-- not alone!

Anonymous said...

Hi Marybeth,

I used to mourn about a traveling husband...until he died.

Amy Wyatt said...

Greg has to travel often too and like Becky we have a fun list of things we do when he is gone, one of which is the kids get to sleep in my bed. (Not sure how that would work with 6 but at least the one without a bed right now might want to sleep with you LOL). It does take getting used to. I'm glad you have a group of friends to lift you up and that you are realizing He shows himself so much stronger in our weaknesses. It is a lesson I am still learning too... believe me. Remember you not only have your real friends there in NC lifting you up in prayer... but all of us blogging friends too. I enjoyed your devotion today too. Have a great week.

Debra Zantman said...

I used to have a traveling husband for many years and it was hard however it was always wonderful when he would come home and we have our precious weekend together. I am praying for you.

Honea Household said...

Wow! You just spoke everything on my heart. Thank you for being so real and honest. I will lift you up in prayer.

I need prayer, too. I'm going to learn to say it better.

Victoria said...

I totally related to you when you felt rebellion because they had prayed for you. I have felt this way a number of times, looking at it from completely the wrong point of view. Thanks for opening my eyes to this. As a new leader (pastor's wife) I struggle to know when/who to show weakness too. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to bring us all this message. And I always enjoy your blog!
God bless you!