We’ve been married almost a decade, and I thought I knew everything there was to know. I certainly didn’t anticipate any secrets. Yeah, we’ve been through a lot of changes over the years, but nothing quite like the last nine months or so. Our lives have been altered drastically this year alone, and I found myself trying to make my way through the midst of one of those shifting sand situations right at the exact moment my husband sent me a text I wasn’t expecting.
Ok, let me rewind a minute and get this just right. Friday morning, I guess it was, I was driving down the dark highway on my way to work. I chugged coffee from an insulated thermos, hoping it would provide the fuel I needed to make it through the day. See, the prior day had been what you might call a challenge. No, let’s be honest. It was hard. It had been a bad day at work. It had been one of those exhausting, uncontrollable days you often have when you work hands-on in healthcare. After a day like that, it’s hard to go back and do it again. So I found I was trying to encourage myself about it, and naturally, I was praying too.
As I thought about how challenging my previous shift had proven itself, I also began to think about my life surrounding it. As a Travel Nurse in my first week at a new assignment, I was still learning a new, computer charting system, but also learning where they kept the saline flushes. In the middle of all that I remembered feeling my phone vibrate in my pocket, and when I finally found the time for a lunch break I had retrieved a text within. It was from my husband who traveled on assignments with me, and kept busy homeschooling our children, among other things.
It read, “I️ just want you to know I️ love you so much. And I️ don’t say it much but I️ very much appreciate what you do for our family. Hope your day goes well and can’t wait to see you tonight. No response needed I️ know you’re busy, but you are loved and appreciated. 😘😘”
In the middle of me running around like a chicken with my head cut off, and trying not to appear like a chicken with my head cut off, he had sent this message.
Later he sent another. He was wondering if I needed any of my scrubs washed since he was doing a load of laundry?
Towards the end of my shift, he sent another text. He was just wondering if tacos sounded good to me for supper? That’s what he was cooking.
I had worked a long day, but when I got home I was welcomed by a kiss, clean house, a fragrant candle from Target burning on the counter by the door, and the wonderful smell it created when mixed with the background aroma of freshly made tacos. We had munched those, watched a favorite Netflix show, and he had rubbed my tired feet on his own accord.
So as I drove down the road on this dark, Friday morning thinking about work, thoughts of my husband overshadowed any trepidation I felt about the new job. And it was at this moment I felt the Lord speak to my heart the truth about my spouse.
“He is your gift.”
That’s all He spoke, but the revelation was enough. My husband was a lot of things. He was my best friend, he was my partner in parenting, and he was often times a voice of reason in my rambling thought-life. But he was also my gift, my gift from God, given to help improve my life here on earth. He wasn’t “the other child I raised,” like I sometimes heard women say. He wasn’t just a roommate to pass time with on a daily basis, and he wasn’t simply the significant other I laughed with yet also fought with about bills and child-raising. He wasn’t my life-saving anchor, he wasn’t “The One,” and he wasn’t my reason for being. The sun didn’t rise and set in his lap, but neither was he just someone to help keep me from feeling alone. Instead, he was my gift. That was the truth of it. An all-knowing God had brought our paths together, again over the years, and he had placed us both into one another’s life as the helpmate, encourager, and inspirer the other needed. My husband was that gift I needed, especially after a long, tough day, and I was blessed to have him.
In life, we don’t always encounter perfect situations. In fact, in this world we seldom do. But there’s one thing we can do. Instead of focusing on the less-than-perfect particulars of life, or the straight-up awful situations, we can weed through it all to see the gifts from God that are all around us. Many times that’s a spouse. For me, I know it is. In a tumultuous, changing life you can take your support system for granted. Or you can realize the truth that your person is a gift from the Lord, given to you to be the hands and feet of Jesus. In the middle of such a horrible day, I had no doubt the Holy Spirit had prompted my husband to reach out to me and serve me so selflessly. My gift had listened.