Today we are blessed to have a guest post by Jennifer of the Unbroken Woman blog. We have come to know and love Jennifer through our shared commitment to ministry to hurting marriages. While there are plenty of great marriage bloggers out there who minister to specific marital topics (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), SongSix3’s mission is to attempt to minister to the whole marriage – kids, finances, fighting fairly, love, respect, sex, etc. – as much as possible. With that in mind, today’s post is a great story about life with small children, wrapped up in an adventure with some unexpected challenges to be overcome. Read on! ~Jason & Tiffani
By Jennifer – Unbroken Woman
In college, I had one of the most amazing US History professors. His name was Professor Snaples and he could make you want to major in History. I didn’t, but I seriously considered it during my time in his class. A big guy, he wouldn’t hesitate to get on his desk and recite the Gettysburg address, or even something from Hitler that would draw us all in before he told us who it was. Once his lecture was finished, he’d immediately give us an essay on the lesson. This was great for retention and application and we grew to expect the pop quizzes after each lecture.
James 1:2-4 says “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing”
God has an awesome sense of humor! So often when we are presented a lesson that furthers our spiritual growth, a test will soon follow.
The lesson came right before July 4, 2013. A girlfriend of mine, in a discussion exploring all things respect and submission, had shared a story where her parents had planned an elaborate family day trip to a theme park. The mother was passively critical of the father’s plans and eventually he turned around to go home. Due to some unforeseen setbacks, he had made alternative plans that would have still been fun even though it was not the original plan. My girlfriend made a comment that struck me so oddly but in a “here’s your lesson” sort of way. She said that until he got upset about the fairly consistent kind (passive aggressive) criticism, she and her siblings were enjoying the journey. Due to the conflict, what was a fun journey now has a negative memory attached. Realizing that I often kindly (aka, passively aggressively letting him know I don’t agree with his method) criticize my husband’s plans, I filed this away in my, “I will think on this later file,” while committing to trying to enjoy the journey when things are weird or seem a little off of what I think they should be.
My “think on it later” time, or my test, came the night of the Fourth of July. My family lives on a small farm and they have an elaborate, though dangerous, firework show every year. We leave as the sun sets because well, it’s dangerous and we have a long drive back. This year, my husband wanted to take us through a nearby large city’s show on the way home. It was well known for its spectacle and elaboration. I did not want to go to this! But, I chose to trust that my husband, being an incredible man of God, had a divine reason for this or a reason I would not understand unless I just went for it. So, we left right around sunset and headed thirty minutes out of our way to see this show. We made it just in time for the beginning and we kept driving just a little closer and then a little bit closer. The GPS didn’t indicate traffic so we kept driving a little closer and then WHAM! Stopped traffic.
As if divinely concocted, I heard a little voice in my head, “Enjoy the journey.” So, being the peppy morning person that I am, I looked at my husband and briefly explained the story I had been told the week prior and that I was going to just enjoy this…you know, we’ll be out of the traffic jam in about thirty minutes. What was supposed to be a thirty minute swing by had us stuck in completely stopped traffic for hours!
Our girls, 3 and 1 ½, were good for the first (you guessed it) thirty minutes. After that the fits began. Our baby is what we call, zesty. It’s a different word for strong-willed because we really just love the spice she brings in contrast to our soft, obedient oldest daughter. In a situation where we are completely stuck, with her strapped down into a confinement unit (her carseat), it’s almost like someone pours extra cayenne pepper into her and out comes extra zest.
Tempers flared and I kept hearing that voice, “Enjoy the journey.” At one point I wanted to have a discussion with that little voice because it had little to offer in our horrific experience. Just in case I haven’t made myself clear, that night put a whole new meaning in our minds about being stuck in traffic – which says a lot from when one’s husband was raised near LA County. I kept relaying the message to my husband and we both kept re-centering ourselves around that message.
My husband felt guilty for leading us down such an “irresponsible” path, and I didn’t do anything to help that. Remember? I didn’t want to go in the first place. Yet, we did everything we could to help the girls with the situation, while the Zesty One made us consider leaving the both of them somewhere in the downtown area (joking…mostly). During the last little bit of this experience, my oldest asked me to come to the back seat with them and I was shocked that I hadn’t thought of that idea! I was glad to be away from the man who did this to us and they both latched onto me like I had been gone for weeks (even though I was less than three feet away, interacting with them the whole time).
The next day, we were all exhausted and my husband had to head into work. I was pretty irritated that I was so tired and the girls were so grumpy. I had to run a long errand that day. On the way back home, my oldest very cheerfully declared, “I sure hope we get stuck in horrible traffic again!” (Yep! She got her wish… We did!)
Oh the tears that stung my eyes! I realized that the obedience of surrendering to my husband’s leadership led to a divine encounter, allowing me to be tested on a new lesson. It actually allowed the testing of a few lessons I had received recently.
This encounter has changed our family energy a lot in stressful situations. We are now on the lookout for how we can enjoy the journey while still traveling from A to B. Our honeymoon was a two week road trip where we did just that. We took unscheduled detours and did things we did not originally plan to. We genuinely enjoyed the journey so I am grateful that the foundation of our marriage was followed up with the lesson to enjoy the journey.
Honestly, if we get stuck in a figurative or literal traffic jam where our goals are blocked, there’s not much we can do anyway. So let’s turn up the music (which in our world of little kids usually involves Old McDonald), open our eyes and look around at the many blessings – and enjoy the journey!
Images courtesy of EA and digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net