There on the arm of the couch were their little outfits. They were lined up nice and neat and ready to go. I saw them and wanted to completely lose it. I felt unloved and ignored all because of these little outfits still neatly folded up on the arm of the couch. How threatening these little things can sometimes be to our feelings.
Sunday mornings are hard on me because leading praise and worship means I have to leave early. I can't eat breakfast with my family, I can't help get the kids ready, and I can't drop them off in their classes and watch them run off to play with their friends. There's something about missing out on those little moments that makes it hard. And despite the fact that I absolutely love leading praise and worship, I was almost in tears this morning as I left the house before anyone else was even awake. I left my hubby and three babies all snuggled comfy in our bed, and I headed to church. I left with a heart full of love at the site of them all asleep, and I headed off to do what I love to do, but for some reason the desire to be with my family was so very strong this morning. Perhaps it was because a local pastor lost his 17 year-old son yesterday and I was feeling especially sensitive to that tender spot in my heart for my family. Insert reason number one I was already vulnerable.
Last Sunday, when I picked our daughter up after church she was wearing grey sweatpants with a completely un-matching dress (yes, a dress over sweatpants) and her brother's big brown jacket. It really caught me off-guard A) because it didn't match B) because it was not her nice clothes by any means and C) because I forgot her daddy had to get her ready for church in the mornings. He doesn't always do a bad job dressing them, and I know it's hard for him to get them all ready for church and drop them off without my help, but I made sure to mention to him that it really bothered me how he had dressed her for church. I don't dress my kids in the latest styles and they are by no means the best dressed, but it was just something that really bothered me deep down in my core when I saw how they were dressed. Insert reason number two I was vulnerable.
This week, I decided I was going to make things easier for my hubby, so I picked out their outfits for church, put them on the arm of the couch, and showed them to him. I made sure I told him that I got their outfits ready at least three times the night before. I made sure I even showed him where they were. I was half-joking because I wanted to "make sure" he had no excuse to forget where the clothes were. He laughed and said, "I will not forget." Insert the reason those clothes still sitting on the arm of the couch made me want to completely lose my mind.
After being so upset having to leave my babies that morning I excitedly went to pick them up from nursery. My son, who is 8 months old but wears 18 month clothes, was stuffed into a nice outfit that was a size 9 months. My daughter was wearing a blue and white hand me down sweater that has been loved to death and is falling apart with bright pink pants that are about 3 inches too short. Insert the straw that broke this momma camel's back.
As irrational as it may seem, in my vulnerability, the sight of my children in these clothes made me feel completely disrespected. I had lovingly picked out their clothes, laid them out in an effort to make my husband's job easier, and made sure he knew where they were. He told me that he could not find the clothes that morning, that he did remember me telling him, that he did look for them, but that he just didn't see them. And I walk in to see them right there on the arm of the couch in the exact spot I left them. Insert my feelings of uselessness, being unloved, like my words mean nothing, like my feelings mean nothing, like everything I do is a waste of time.
It sounds funny reading this to some I'm sure. I know there is a woman saying, it's just clothes, and I really, honestly wished I could have seen it that way. But in that moment it was about all of the times I have felt ignored. In that moment, it was all about my husband telling me with his actions that what I said to him and what I did for him just doesn't matter. In that moment, I was d.o.n.e. We all have that moment. Whether it's over a little thing, like an ignored request, or whether it's a big thing, like a broken promise, or whether it's just a long string of everything. Insert my "what do I do now" face.
I wish I would have been able to respond graciously to this, but I didn't. We were meeting my family for lunch, but, honestly, the sight of my kids in those clothes was just too much for me to handle, so I went to the restaurant and asked my husband (who was already sitting at the table with my family and our kids) to meet me outside. And I did lose it. The tears poured down my face, and I told him that I could not believe that he would treat me that way. I threatened that if he went to baseball that afternoon that I would never forgive him because the thought of him following through on a commitment to someone else when he had deliberately ignored a request from me was too much for me to handle. Insert my "I wish I could turn back time" face.
We don't always act appropriately when something goes wrong, no matter what that is. It's all in the details when it comes to our feelings as a woman. The little things remind me that you will respect me in the big things. If I'm feeling insecure, the little things are the things I will cling to the most. Friday night we had spent the night celebrating Valentine's Day. The fact that we had gone to my favorite sushi restaurant, gone to an amazing Cirque du Soleil show, and had a completely perfect night enjoying each other's company meant nothing in that moment when, because of a few pieces of clothing, I felt completely disrespected. Sometimes we really can't control how we feel about a situation, but we can control our reaction. It reminds me of the verse, "In your anger, do not sin." Our feelings are not sins, sometimes we cannot control it. How I felt about those clothes, there was nothing that I or anyone else could say to convince myself to feel anything differently about it. But, what I could have done was chosen to react a completely different way. Insert me here, praying that next time I can act with self-control and grace rather than acting out of my hurt feelings.
Those clothes are still there, sitting on the arm of the couch. I figured it makes it easier on me tomorrow when I need to dress them. Luckily, after a good cry, a good nap, and a fun night of laughter with friends, my feelings are being mended. Now I just have to pray that in my moments of hurt I will learn to lean on God rather than allowing these moments to place the weight of the world on my shoulders.