Trials

The Tomato: A Story About the Details

Last night, I was cranky.  

 

We had just gotten home from celebrating our soon-to-be-born niece at a baby shower. 

 

We brought home our older niece, this baby’s big sister, to have a sleepover with her cousins.

 

As I heard the giggles coming from our little ones down the hall, I felt myself becoming more and more the opposite of what I was hearing. 

 

I was completely, utterly frustrated.  

 

I was angry. Down. Depressed. 

 

Without going into detail, we’ve, once again, been finding ourselves severely attacked by Satan.  

 

We have found ourselves confused as we see others not struggling, others that have what we’ve asked for for years, and haven’t received.  

 

One of those things being, that we’ve dreamed about potentially adding on to the side of our house. More bedrooms, a much needed garage. Nothing fancy. Just basic.  

 

Now, for the past four weeks, as we leave our nook in the woods, we are greeted by the very addition that we want for our home, but cannot afford.  

 

The house directly across the street, newly remodled and purchased by a family of three, is building a very large, albeit, slightly overkill addition for their home. 

 

Its exactly what we’ve been hoping for. 

There’s more to why we feel this way. There’s a lot more I cannot tell you, and will be revealed in eternity. But, trust us, there’s several perfectly good reasons why we feel almost forgotten in the financial blessings department. 

 

So, we had this conversation about how it’s very difficult to see beyond this life. It’s very difficult to keep our eyes on an eternal reward we can’t effectively imagine.  

 

In fact, I have no idea what is waiting for us.

I’m sure it’s great. I’m sure it’s worth the struggle here, but it’s tough to trust that God still cares about the details when He doesn’t allow things for us, but for others. 

 

Do you ever feel this way?  

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Around 8PM, I was in the kitchen cutting a juicy, plump, fresh organic tomato.  

 

A warmth came over me. A familiar warmth.  

 

And I stopped cutting for about half a minute, allowing His Spirit to speak. 

 

I really saw the tomato for what it was. I mean really, really saw it. With spiritual eyes. 

 

A beautiful, detailed, amazing creation of God. 

 

It was full of purpose, beauty, and provision.  

 

If God can care about the details of a tomato, surely He even more so cares about the details of my life.

 

Of your life. 

 

But He went on further.  

 

The redness of the fruit: representing the freedom found in the shedding of His blood. 

 

The fruit itself: a representation of how He is the vine and we are the branches. We have the ability to bear fruit.

 

Tomatoes grow on vines. Are you actively growing thru your times of struggle?

 

It’s easy to grow when it rains, but what about times of drought? Are you willing to allow the elements to dry up your fruit?  

 

The seeds inside the tomato: a representation of duplication. 

 

Are you trying to actively duplicate yourself, starting first with your family, and then with your communities? Making disciples of Christ is what we are called to do. No matter if we’re in the valley or on the mountain top. 

 

Purpose. 

 

Cared for. 

 

Perfectly loved and designed to nourish the lives of others. 

 

I must say, I was so thankful for the reminder in this little tomato.

 

I was thankful for the reminder that God, always, always, always cares about the details of our lives.  

 

Why? 

 

Because He’s a detailed God.  

 

He’s an orderly God.  

 

And He certainly never ceases to show us His perfect love, even when we don’t remotely perfectly understand.  

 

 

 

 

When Your Husband Works A Lot

This post goes out to all of the women that experience loneliness to a greater degree. It's for the women who rarely experience any reprieve in their homemaking and child rearing. It's for the mother and wife of a husband that works very hard and very long hours. If I could just hug you right now, I would....and hand you a latte. 

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Our whole marriage my husband hasn't had your typical 9-5 job. The closest job he had like that was at the very beginning of our marriage when he only worked at one small hospital over thirty minutes away from home. Even then, when one chooses to work in the medical field, 9-5 doesn't really exist. It's work, until...kinda hours.  

 

And then, there are emergencies. There are unexpected's. There are times when even your own child's birthday can't be an excuse to leave out and join the party. It just isn't a very forgiving field to work for. 

 

Before you assume my husband is a doctor, I want to clarify that he isn't. But what he does do is very high stress and very vital to the workings of countless medical centers across the southeast.  

 

He's very, very good at what he does. Troubleshooting is his natural gift. It's the way his brain ticks. He not only manages several employees, but he also works his own projects, attends every meeting, and is on the phone CONSTANTLY troubleshooting problems with the other techs over the phone.  So essentially he does his own job and just about everyone else's job over the phone simultaneously, amongst other responsibilities. 

 

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When my husband comes home, he's done. But it doesn't end there. He then has to take calls and route everyone for the next day's work. This process can take an hour or more.  

 

His hours everyday are "when we need you (could be anywhere from 3am-9am) until the job is done (anywhere from 4pm-1am or completely overnight).  

 

I never, ever know when he's gonna walk through those doors on any given day; Or if he even will.  

 

Its tough. Somedays I handle it better than others. And while I'm used to it, it's not easy, and I'm guessing it never will be.  

 

Its really hard. It's hard to be thankful and grateful and supportive and loving and understanding. I battle all of those countless times a day, every.single.day. 

 

Because, I would love, more than anything, to have a family meal every night. To sit around the table and converse and enjoy home cooked meals that were excitedly prepared to be complete the moment I can expect his presence.  

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I would love to not have to endure an hour or more of him taking phone calls and "tying up loose ends" when he gets here after the children are in bed. Because, I know he'd rather not do that either. That's not enjoyable to him. 

 

I would love to share bathtime/bedtime/and nighttime routines with the best man I know. My best friend. To laugh, to experience, to tag team those last few hours of the day because I'm just as exhausted as he is...and receive no paycheck and experience no euphoric exhaustion. You know, the kind of exhaustion that one gets when they've successfully accomplished a hearty day of work and noticing results? Yea, no. Depressive exhaustion is more like it. The exhaustion that comes with just surviving all day. 

 

I would love to know that my talking to him at the end of the day wasn't quickly sapping the rest of whatever energy he has left. His brain is fried and his "talking" card is fully hole-punched by the time I'm ready to get my first punch on my own card.

 

It's lonely. It's depressing. There is no break. And by the time the children make it to bed, I have no "extra" to tackle all of the stuff I couldn't get done in the day with two school-agers, two preschoolers, and a young toddler. None.

 

Add to that mix chronic fatigue, hormonal issues, and anxiety and fear and it's no wonder I'm ready to bound out of the door when my mother-in-law shows up to give us a couple of hours on the weekend. It's the only time during the week when I feel I can breathe a little. If it wasn't for that...I tear up thinking "what if she didn't offer that"?...I seriously do.   

 

So, for those mamas and wives out there who just are barely hanging on. Who endure a hundred or more hours a week completely and utterly alone. Give yourself some grace. So what if your house isn't a showplace. So what if you give your kids popcorn and apples for supper because you think "what's the point of making a fabulous meal?" when you know your husband won't make it.  

 

It's hard. It's so very, very hard. But it's equally such a blessing to have a husband that does what he can to make a life for his family. When or if you discover the formula it takes to be more happy and supportive than frustrated and lonely, let me know, eh? 

 

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If you're a mama whose husband has a great 9-5 job and a predictable schedule with minimal travel, or can work from home, please recognize the blessing you have. I know a lot of you say "working from home" isn't always the blessing it seems to be, but trust me, to a degree, it really is.  

 

It doesn't help that I happen to be completely crazy about my husband and love being around him. Completely.in.love. Miss him so much. 

 

So I challenge you, wife, to make a little extra effort to love on your husband while he's away today. Send that text, make that phone call, send him a cute selfie of yourself that shows you're thinking about him a little extra today. He'll appreciate the love and not the frustration knowing that he is disappointing you again for not making it for supper.  

 

And it'll warm your heart too as you practice unconditional love. 

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Oh, and Godspeed. 😁😳💗 

 

Love, Alicia