Remember, someone is always watching and listening

shutterstock_79737895-520x338Weariness did not even begin to define the bone-deep exhaustion I was feeling. Lifting the weight of my body off of my bed in the mornings felt like an impossible task. Three hormonal teenagers,  a budding year old, Clay with a ruptured disc that caused him excruciating pain with each step; a book deadline; a daughter in and out of the hospital being tested for a brain tumor and my mom falling and breaking her hip were just a few of the issues that occupied my thoughts each day.

Resentment was exploding inside my brain. “No one appreciates all that I am doing to keep this family together. Cooking, washing, teaching, caring for everyone, running them to appointments, lessons, doctors and listening beyond midnight to teens pouring out their angst,” and I mounted up the lists of my depleting responsibilities in my mind. This fueled my frustration with Clay, laying next to me in bed, and seeming not to notice my burdens.

The sun was just beginning to peak through the crack in the window curtain reminding me that there was little time left to sleep. I was willing Clay evil, selfish thoughts when the Holy Spirit gently nudged my conscience. “He needs you to encourage him. He is so discouraged because of bills, pain, and the insecurities of life all around him.”

Really, Lord? I am the one needing encouragement!”

But slowly, willing my arm reach over to him and gently scratching his back, I  confided, “I just want you to know that I really love you and respect how bravely you have born your ruptured disc.  I know you are in such pain every day, but I am praying for you,” I softly whispered, in sheer obedience to God.

Quietly, almost imperceptible, he responded,”I am so relieved. You have every right to be mad at me.  I thought you were disappointed in me for not paying attention to you or taking care of you. But I have been so down about the overwhelming issues in our lives and constantly in pain, and I have not meant to neglect you–there is just so much. Thank you for being patient with me. I really appreciate you and love you.”

And he reached over and gently embraced me before crawling out of bed, grimacing pain painted on his face.

I turned over and slowly slipped out of bed, donned my soft, well worn robe and padded quietly toward the kitchen for my first cup of caffeine.

As I approached the door of my bedroom, I saw my 10 year old son laying quietly on our bedroom floor, cuddled in a comforter and staring up thoughtfully from his soft pillow.

Mama, I was sleeping here because I had a real bad dream, but I knew you were so tired I didn’t want to wake you up. But I heard you and Daddy talking. It made me feel happy to hear you all comforting each other and saying, ‘I love you.’ I want a marriage just like you when I grow up—where my wife and I love each together and are partners in life. That would be so much fun to live with your best friend.

I didn’t know he was there. I am so glad I didn’t lash out from my own feelings of frustration. I realized you just never know when your children are listening or watching.

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  1. robin says

    Oh, that wasn’t the story I expected, but it certainly was the one I needed to hear. Thank

  2. Tina says

    So true, and a wonderful example to share – just lovely. This really spoke to me today, Children take in so much when they are younger.

  3. says

    Thank you. It is so important to consider our husbands, encourage them, and pray for them. I’m like you in this story…often wanting my own pat on the back. We all have burdens and it is so important that we show love to one another as Jesus said. “Love One Another” is our family rule…it covers everything. When our words and actions reflect his love between my spouse and I, our sons are seeing what a marriage is meant to be. Jennifer

    • Beth W. says

      Jennifer, that has been our family rule for the past two weeks! It has been amazing to me how it has so positively affected both the kids and the adults in our family!

  4. says

    Oh Sally, thank you. That story touched me from both angles. Our kids are always watching and listening & learning from my life example. Oh how I must keep guard to lead them well.
    We are also walking tough roads right now. I’m weary and weighed down. Some days I just can’t get up to do the housework. I feel like you just shared my story. From the hormonal teenager down the the oodles of doctor visits for our 2 yr old who has an unknown diagnosis, to a hubby who just lost his job working at our church in Colorado Springs. You spoke hope to me through those paragraphs. Thank you,

  5. Janee Ackermann says

    That was beautiful. Totally crying thinking of all the times I do lash out. Praying I can be more sensitive to the Spirit and more focused on the needs of others rather than my own. Thank you, Sally.

  6. says

    This is so needed – I am feeling tired and worn-out myself. Thank you for reminding me that I still need to show love to my family, not demand understanding of them for my problems!

  7. says

    Sally, thanks so much for sharing this. When my children were young I felt the same way many times. Isn’t it amazing how just a few loving words can give such great courage to our loved ones?
    What a blessing!
    Love you,

  8. Sam says

    What a great post! I remember balking at one time at the idea that my marriage should come before my children, but as you’ve so beautifully illustrated, when we prioritize our relationships with our husbands, the children benefit tremendously…so it’s really a win-win. I also love that you said what you did out of “sheer obedience to God.” When we are feeling worn down, used up, and low on sympathy for those around us, it can feel impossible to do the right thing. But right actions often need to come first, and the good feelings will follow.
    Thanks for this reminder, Sally. God bless you!

  9. says

    Thank you so much. I needed this message tonight. It spoke to me on multiple levels. God is truly using your work to further his kingdom. Thank you, again.

  10. says

    Thank you so much for sharing this Sally. As the first “robin” said, this wasn’t the story I was expecting, but I definitely needed to hear it. So many of us don’t really get what marriage and family is supposed to be about in God’s eyes. As Christians, we are to be witnesses of the grace that God so freely extends; no better place to display that than in our homes.

  11. says

    I really needed to read this. Three days late, I’m just now getting to this email. This is so “our life” right now. Who would have thought at 50 years old, we would be raising a 4 year old grandson, and trying to save 2 prodigal daughters (one of them the boy’s mom). My husband is retired, and his health is not the best. Right now he is diabetic, and in a lot of pain from a ruptured Achilles tendon. I struggle with being supportive of my husband, still working outside our home, and many other daily tasks. I thought I was the only one who has a kid sleeping in their bedroom floor! Thanks for the encouragement!

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