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.