At night, when the sun has set and the dark settles in, it's when the knots come. Slowly they tighten and churn in my stomach, arising the demon of anxiety. The lists, used to being crossed off faithfully the last 15 years of my life, are left hanging, day after day, week after week, unfinished, and in most cases, untouched. Why can't I get it all done? I've cut out so much in the last few months to allow quiet space but still, the to-dos linger. I let the anxiety choke out joy and peace. So at night, the thoughts of all I need to do, want to do, plague my mind.
It is something that in the last six years I've come to recognize. Stress, anxiety: it makes me angry. It makes me lash out at the nearest loved one. Sometimes that means my children receive the brunt of my uncontrolled emotions. More often, however, it is my husband, the one who vowed to love me for better or worse.
In the dating, falling-in-love phase, everything was so pristine. Our view of each other mostly untarnished. Just as time slowly erodes at our bodies, so has the veneer of my inner self. In marriage, all is exposed. And yet, he loves me. He really, really loves me. Only he who loves me could time and time again remind me that we are on the same team. Every time I let my stress turn to anger, I forget. Though I treat him as the opponent at best, my enemy at worst, his hand will softly stroke my cheek moving a stray strand of hair out of my face and remind me, We are on the same team.
When these words of his actually venture through my ears and penetrate my heart, I can breath again. The temper stills. The knots, they cease churning. There's hope: my team, they have my back. The lists still remain uncrossed and untouched, but the truth that I'm not alone, it lingers sweetly. And the darkness of my inner demons is shattered by the light of my husband's loving response.
Our team has two little players. They have a bird's eye view of their momma's weaknesses of anxiety and anger, that coupling not being comprehensive. They also hear I'm sorry, please forgive me while I'm whispering in the depths of my heart for help from on high. Because Jesus, He's the only one that will keep this team together, and whole, and mended in the midst of all of us being cracked, clay pots.
For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
2 Corinthians 4:5-7
These photos were taken by the amazingly talented Hollie Rouse at Rubigirl Photography. We are so grateful for her work!