sending backup

Ten years ago on the eve of Thanksgiving Chris picked me up from work early. We had been dating for a little over a year and I was so looking forward to spending the holiday with his family and friends. We drove to the east side of Seattle for dinner and Chris accidentally locked his keys in the car on our way inside the restaurant. He seemed nervous and distracted (SO unlike him to be nervous like that). We ordered steak and potatoes and wine and ate our dinner over candlelight, it felt like we were the only two people alive.

After dinner and the bailout of a second set of keys to unlocked the car door he gave me a present, my most favorite Amy Grant Christmas album, Home for Christmas to listen to while we took a short drive up to Snoqualmie Falls for cappuccino and dessert. I was a bit nervous myself the date was just so perfectly planned and special and the holidays were in the air making it seems all that much more magical to me.

After we had some treats at the lodge he suggested a walk to overlook the falls and as we headed down the deserted path I spotted some twinkle lights up ahead. We got closer and I could tell something was up. In a clearing there were rows of lights and a small table set with flowers and a bible and a chair for me to sit. Chris spent the time there on his knee telling me for the very first time that he loved me and of course asked me to marry him under the black starry night with his friends and brothers cheering in the distance!

It was so special and every year right before Thanksgiving I am again reminded of that time when we were so young and in love, just starting out on our adventure.

Fast forward a decade to a scene late this morning. I called Chris around eleven in hysterics. This job as a stay at home mom of four and a husband who works two himself, weekends and holidays, to support our not so little family, this job had snuck up and taken my breath again. I felt strangled by all that I had to do with two screaming babies and a list a mile long. I consider myself a pretty seasoned mom at this point but since we moved from three to four kids there has been increasingly more moments where I honestly just don't know how it is even humanly possible to complete all that I need to in order to survive. Sitting down or taking a day off is not an option - it can be lonely and frustrating and all out desperate. I called him to ask him a simple question but he could tell I was on the edge.

About forty five minutes later he walked through the front door with a tray of holiday drinks from Starbucks and a huge grin on his face. He said "babe, I brought in backup. Drink this peppermint mocha, I have an hour what can I do for you?"

It was a moment I will never forget and it was as magical to me as that night we were engaged. He was telling me he loved me all over again while he held a crying baby with one arm and did the dishes with the other. Getting spit up on and missing his one lunch break to go workout with some guys down at the mission.

We have been at this life together for ten years already. It has in so many ways gone by in the blink of an eye. In other ways it has been hard, exhausting, full and crazy. That stark contrast of hope and suffering the way life always plays out. But today I was deeply reminded of how loved I truly am. Not only by my husband but by my maker who set before me enough strength for this day knowing that a little backup from Chris was the perfect antidote to my weary heart.

I want to speak to all you hairied mothers out there who will be up late tonight working your fingers to the bone or driving your van for miles with a fussy infant who is off their schedule. Or if you are alone on Thanksgiving with no family around you, or sick and unable to travel or wherever you might be. I want you to know how deeply loved you are too. How God himself does not require anything, ANYTHING more from you than an open heart. That you are beautiful and more than enough. And that He has got you even if it feels like too much.

I also wanted to share with you this short clip from Seattle's Union Gospel Mission - Chris' workplace and calling, partnering with Churches to take action and be a part of what God is doing in our city. It is his heart and ministry along with so many others. If you have a moment I invite you to watch it - and remember that God does make beautiful things and is at work at all times in more ways than we could ever know.

Happy Thanksgiving - may we all be able to truly reflect on the big and small ways that we are so very blessed.
xo Rebekah


  1. Wishing you a beautiful and blessed Thanksgiving! xo Heather

  2. Oh Rebekah...what a beautiful story! And Chris--you are an amazing husband and dad!! :) Don't let parenting 4 get you down. You CAN do it! You have my number--I'd happily come give you a hand. One day, before you know it, the days of diapers and crying babies will be past and you will wonder what happened.

    Hugs and prayers to you,

    a mom on the other end, whose college kids are (mostly) home for Thanksgiving, but finds herself missing the days of diapers and snuggles and drippy kisses...

  3. love guys and your story so much. and i love how you tell your stories, Rebekah, with such a hopeful heart and eyes set on Jesus in and through all of the ups and downs. you are a deep encouragement to many, myself most definitely included! i LOVE that Chris surprised you like that today, that it was in his heart to love you in this special way, on such a significant day for you guys! just beautiful. so looking forward to celebrating the holiday with you guys and all our Gough family tomorrow! (PS: Remember how we spent the night together in Granny's room the year before this one that you wrote about, before Kyle and I were even dating? I remember Paula coming in that morning as we were waking up, and giving us the warmest hugs and kissing our cheeks and telling us through tears how happy it made her to have us sharing the holiday morning with her... Such a rich story God has woven and continues to weave. We are blessed. I love you, sister! xoxo)

  4. Rebekah,

    We've never met, but I dare say, we would be fast friends if we did. I cried as I read this, because, even though I only have two little boys, several things that you wrote resonated with me, not the least of which is that our husbands seem to be cut from the same cloth.

    I love the work of the Union Gospel Mission. We now live near Portland (Oregon), but while my husband was in seminary on the east coast, we were very close to a couple that ran the local UGM. What an amazing ministry, to say the very least.

    Happy engagement anniversary and a very happy Thanksgiving to you. God is good.

  5. Happy Thanksgiving, Rebekah! This is love. Thank you for sharing so beautifully! God is SO good!

  6. kristen took the words right out of my mouth. So many of my friends with little ones spend all day on facebook about every little spill and every little cry and even though you have a tough season some days you are always looking for that bright moment. I really appreciate that because I feel like you are always so eloquently telling Gods story. THinking of you lots lately :)

  7. This was so powerful...and what a husband!!!!

    Oh, and mine proposed to me at Salish in the gazebo overlooking the falls too :) with a table and roses and a chair. Best day ever.

  8. Happy Thanksgiving! So much to be thankful for in this post. I know that this is such a hard season, but I just love the family that you and Chris are building--those sweet faces and hearts and minds that are taking shape under your watch and are becoming who they will be by watching you both. It is awesome to watch! Love to you today!!

  9. I'm not capable of writing the words to express how much I live this post! I'm so proud if both you and Chris for surviving this long season if sleepless nights and messes and your time and body not being your own..yet you manage to love each other and create beautiful things..all of which glorify The Lord.

    You are an inspiration!

  10. What a cute story, I am very happy to read it. :) How wonderful to experience love like that!

    As for me, I am quite sad today but reading this cheered me up a little, even if I'm not sure myself do I believe in God or not- it is still a story full of love, faith and guidance and I like it so much, esp. the fact it being true. And I'm not a mom myself but I can still relate to the situation being at home while the husband works, 'cause my man is very busy from his work and I spend most my days at home taking care of the house while studying. It can get stressful at times, especially since I have some troubles with anxiety and depression. Actually, just a couple hours before I read this I called my man crying. And he is on his way home, but it takes so long. Reading this really gave me a little strength, so thank you and I am happy for you!

  11. Such a beautiful story and encouraging post. I have four kids too and can totally picture the situation. What a sweet man!

    I live in Seattle too. This video is really inspiring. I totally teared up. It makes me want to get involved more. Thanks for sharing!

  12. That was perfect. I loved every bit of this post.

    I don't know if this is encouraging or not... I mena for it to be... but I found the transition from 3 to 4 to be (by far) the hardest for me, too. I started having anxiety attacks at one point. I kid you not.

    I had always poo-pooed the whole "Me Time" movement. It didn't seem Scriptural... it seemed self-serving and self-centered. Somewhere between my son's (he's our 4th) 2nd and 3rd birthday, though, I realized that I was not the mom I wanted to be because I wasn't actively seeking rest. I needed a Sabbath! It sounds silly to have to say it, but I feel like I suddenly realized that I was a *physical* as well as a spiritual creation! And the physical part of me needed care.

    I know a couple of moms who trade off an entire morning watching one another's children every week. So, each mom gets a whole BIG morning completely alone 2x/month. They make it work... and they bless one another and their families that way. In our own family, my husband makes it happen. But there are lots of different possible scenarios.

    Why am I telling you all of this? Oh, yeah... I just wanted you to know that you are not a bad mommy for being wiped out... for crying under the strain. For *feeling* the strain. You're not inferior or missing something. There just comes a point, and at different times for different women/families, where rest & solitude are more obviously needful. I will pray right now that you can figure out a way for refreshment to happen.

    I enjoy your blog so much. I need to comment more often!


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