Dear Younger Me
If I could go back in time, 20 years, I’d be 36.
I was married 15 years with four kids ranging from teenager to toddler.
If I could tell that younger wife a few things I’ve learned since then, I’d ask her to sit down with me. We’d share a warm cup of coffee with vanilla caramel cream, because I know that’s her favorite.
I’d look in her eyes and speak gently, with no judgement, just tenderness.
What would we discuss? Grace.
Give grace to yourself, sweet friend. You are trying with such vigor to be the good mom, the good wife, the good friend, and you are good.
You’ve become good at masking your own fears and failures, while determining to correct everyone else’s. Slow down. Breathe. Allow the grace that God has lavished on you guide your thoughts, your words, your actions. Trust His words. His grace is sufficient, and you are not failing. You are thriving when you look to God and trust in the cross.
He says to us, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Grace feels better on your kiddos, too. Your kids sure aren’t perfect, so maybe, just maybe, you could adjust your expectation of their behavior to match their stage of life. Would you remind them (and yourself) that each of them brings you such joy just being themselves?
Could you lighten up a bit and laugh with them each day? Could you give yourself permission to have more nights like that one night, when it was past all the normal bedtimes and you suggested everyone get out of bed, turn off all the lights and play hide and seek? Remember all that silliness? Yeah, that’s a memory. Do that more often. Give them just a little more grace.
And then we’d talk about that husband of yours, who loves you over the top – yet might not be the best at showing it. I know some days you’ve been running all day long and hurrying to get dinner going, hoping the noodles cook faster than usual to simply get food on the table before you all run out the door for that one more tee-ball game.
Will you pause, just for a second, when he comes in from work? Say a quick hello, maybe even offer a gentle smile communicating, “I’m glad you’re home, and in the midst of this crazy evening chaos, I’m glad you’re still the one that shares it with me.” When he walks into the kids’ bedroom at bedtime and causes pandemonium by wrestling with them or telling them funny stories from his childhood, join the giggles. Don’t stifle them. Let him be their dad, the way he wants to, even if “good nights” are 15 minutes late.
And young friend, one more thing. I know you have joined that awesome Ladies’ Bible study group. You are learning SO much about God from HIS word, about how to love and serve people. Trust me, God will use everything you learn for good and for His glory. But, let me caution you about this: If what you are learning is causing you to rush home to judge, shame or berate your husband about what he is NOT doing, please be patient and remember grace. If you believe your husband isn’t leading your family, pause. That time you’ve spent correcting him, determine instead to pray for him. Grace with gentleness, over time, sweet friend.
Just more grace.
Wife Step: Pray for your husband when you would rather correct him.
But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. 1 Peter 3:4
For more encouragement and living in grace, grab your copy of Dear Wife: 10 Minute Invitations to Practice Connection With Your Husband.
Saying yes to Jesus in walking by faith has charted an unexpectedly challenging, joy-filled journey for Susan Wilder. From preschool teacher to writer, speaker, blogger, her sweetest moments come through encouraging women to seek God first and realize the hope we have in following Jesus. Tender love for her husband, Frank, daughters Katie, Kellie, and Mollie, son Clay, sons-in-law Chris, Tim and Tolliver drive her hobbies of cooking and reading. The title of Mimi to four grandboys is more precious than ever imagined. Just ask, she’ll tell you all about them. Susan currently serves on staff as the Women’s Ministry Leader in her local church. Blog: www.byfaithandcoffee.com