When we first got married, my husband was almost never home. Thank you, Navy.
This was the pattern for the next 5 years of our life, and then he went to work at a power plant. Shift work. Still almost never home.
I had friends who were amazed at how I went through nights all by myself, made trips by myself, took care of all the things...by myself. And I was just as amazed at all they couldn't (or wouldn't) do all by themself.
Then, he went into ministry. Became the teacher at our basically two-room church school, and I went back into the work force, teaching kindergarten in the room next to his. This was a huge change in our daily interaction!
Moving ahead a few years, and we are in the car. Together. All the time. Thank you, deputation.
Off we go to Thailand, and we start heading in separate directions for language and grocery shopping and just getting things done, and all of a sudden, I am one of "those women." The one who hate being without my husband. I cannot figure out how I am ever going to be able to tell all that he missed during the day when we have so few hours at night. I mean, we have to sleep at some point.
We have been doing life together for the past 16 years, but the way it plays out has changed with each season we have weathered together.
Complete. Entire. Whole.
My heart has pieces of it invested in many places and lives, but the whole is given to God.
We talked about how our family did not feel complete, and we tried to have another baby, but it was not God's will at the time. There are times we come together and ask the Lord to give us other children to love, certain the longing to feel whole is from Him who completes us.
Our oldest lives on the other side of the world from us. Some moments, my breath catches in my throat as the reality of our new whole covers me. One of our girls has really struggled as she sees the future separated by oceans and land, afraid we will never come back together. The other one sees God's arms as wide enough to hold us all, no matter where we are. Ministry, deputation, furlough, have glued us together, and having pieces of our set spread out is hard, but there is so much comfort in peace in knowing God is there and here.
I understand better now the look parents and grandparents have when their entire family is gathered under one roof. They love time with each individual piece, but to have the all the hearts God has given them all within arms reach? Well, that becomes a treasured moment.