“Babe, I don’t want to leave you behind & I’m afraid that I will”
Words from my husband’s mouth back in the days when we were just dating. Before we considered forever, we were friends who decided to give love a try. My husband was (and still is) known as the man who was always busy. He had a full schedule filled with seminary classes, speaking engagements, church position responsibilities and more. He was very desired and I, well, I wasn’t. At the time, I was working a job I hated, doing spoken word poetry every now and then, while having a very deep desire for something more. Something better.
Years later, married with children, our life together looks much different than it did the day he spoke those words. My husband is still busy. He is still desired. And he is now employed doing what he loves most. He is fulfilled in almost every area of his life and I was very resentful. After leaving my job in 2015, I began a journey to freedom and fulfillment. I wanted what my husband had. I wanted a career that would fulfill me and pay me to be fulfilled. I wanted people to call on me and recognize me for my gifts.
Earlier this year, I wrote about my discontentment with life in my birthday post. Having given birth to my second child in two years, I had been feeling exhausted and as if none of my efforts to acquire a fruitful career were producing any results. I was feeling like my husband was leaving me behind.
I became resentful.
And there were levels to it.
Every day I watched my husband leave home and go to a job he loves while I stayed home with our baby. I was taking care of a household while also hustling to make my dreams a reality. It all felt hopeless. I felt as if his life and his responsibilities were more important than mine. Never wanting to appear unsupportive, I’d say yes to my husband’s needs and obligations until I realized that I had put myself in a position of unhappiness. I seldom said yes to myself. For many months I would get upset when he had an engagement. I yielded to his responsibilities for his job or ministry because well, he is the man and he makes majority of the money. I love him and he should get what he wants.
One day, one of my good friends helped me realize that I had to stop looking at him and look at myself. I had to ask myself why I was unhappy and I had to remind myself that I have control. I could simply say what I wanted instead of being upset that my husband was good at advocating for himself. With a little help from my counselor, I began to learn to advocate for myself. Instead of suppressing my desires, both small and large, I began to express them to my husband, communicating my need for compromise.
“Through compromise, came freedom.”
Sitting in my husband’s shadow crippled me. I felt as if I was powerless. The more I said yes to myself, the more free I felt. The more empowered I became. The more I took risks and stepped outside of my comfort zone.
But there were levels to it.
While I was experiencing freedom through compromise and saying yes, there was still anger concerning my desire for a substantial career. A few weeks ago, while watching my husband preach at Oasis Church in Lithonia, I heard the Lord ask me, “What if you’re supposed to be supporting your husband right now?”
I knew exactly what He was saying to me. Right now, instead of being resentful that my “career” hadn’t taken off, or that my husband was receiving all these requests and benefits, I needed to acknowledge and embrace this season of my life. Right now, I’m supposed to be supporting him by taking care of the house, taking care of our kids when he’s away, while also hustling and doing my freelance entrepreneur thing on the side.
I’ve always been the type of woman who prides herself on her intellect and abilities. For the last year or two, I’ve neglected to acknowledge that all that I do requires just that, skill and intellect. I’ve neglected to appreciate the beauty of where I am.
God is showing me that for right now, this is where I belong. This is where I belong and I’m good at it. And I realized that I would love where I was if only I would embrace it.
I finally understand the beauty of timing.
We could probably all agree that timing plays a role in almost everything we do. I’ve always viewed first as best. I thought that because my husband’s career was taking off first, he was better. He was more important. I’ve wanted things to come in MY timing. Most of us do. We want what we want, when we want it. Except, we don’t know enough about the way things work to properly dictate timing in a way that would actually satisfy us.
For example, if it had been up to me, I probably would have never intentionally tried to have children. I knew that children change your life. I knew that pregnancy and childbirth weren’t the most enjoyable experiences on earth and I was willing to push those things off for as long as I could. However, God’s timing was that I have two kids, back to back, by age 27. I have no idea why this timing was best. But I’m confident that in a few years, I’ll have a much better understanding and I’ll be so grateful that things worked out the way they did. When you’re following God’s will for your life, His timing is just perfect. No matter how much we fuss and fight, it just is.
I finally understand the truth about greatness.
My perception of greatness meant career, money and nice things. Well. What my husband helped me realize is that greatness does not only apply to career. Greatness is a word that covers a broad spectrum of things. He and our great friend, Kerrione, reminded me that I’m a great wife and mother. I beast when it comes to taking care of my household. I’ve maintained a blog for over four years. I’m a poet who gets requested to speak. I have an organization called Life on Top and so on and so forth. I’m great.
“The timing of someone’s greatness does not determine their level of greatness.”
We will all meet our desired places when it’s time. The details of our lives all fit together like a great puzzle and if we could just acknowledge our piece in it, instead of trying to fit ourselves in a space not designed for us, life would be better.
From this day forward, I no longer feel as if I’m standing in the shadow of my spouse. I’m standing next to him. As his help. He’s standing next to me as mine. We work together to make life better and I’m finally able to recognize the greatness in myself and the beauty of my own life. I’ve stepped out of the shadow of my husband by simply realizing that he was never the problem. I’ve realized embracing where I am and recognizing who I am has killed my resentment and strengthened my love for life. And I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.