A few weeks ago, Benjamin took a last-minute trip to the states to attend his brother’s wedding. The wedding wasn’t last minute, but our decision for him to go was last minute. We had peace that this was the right choice to make, even though it meant that I stay behind in Thailand with the five kids for eleven days. I knew I wasn’t alone and that all would be well, so we booked the ticket.
We booked the ticket Thursday night, and he flew out Friday evening to head to Bangkok before he caught his international flight to Chicago. What a whirlwind! Before we could blink, he was off. I hardly had time to figure out what I would do with all of this time with just me and the kids! That night I created a countdown for the kids to put stickers on every morning. We were going to do our best to stick to counting down the days instead of the hours, because that’s what my heart wanted to do. There’s something about your love being on the other side of the world that causes you heart to palpitate. I have a new appreciation for my mom who was a military wife and experienced 6-month separations frequently.
We woke up for our first full day without Daddy and promptly put a sticker on our chart. Whew! One night down. Too many more to go. I was determined to keep attitudes cheerful all around. I began to cultivate a plan. A plan that would make the time go faster but also help us keep accomplishing Daddy’s goals for our family. I mean, even though he was gone, he was still the head of our home, and I wanted to make sure we stuck with the plan.
By day 4, we didn’t get to our countdown chart until night time. Life was just so busy! One of my favorite pastimes is shopping, and so I took my troops, and we headed to Chiang Rai for a little bit of shopping. Sales galore! Jackpot. The only problem is that my drawers were already too full, so I had to clear out one of Ben’s drawers. It was fine, because he was still gone for a while. He didn’t need it. All of his bathroom stuff seemed kind of in the way too, so I boxed it up.
Day 6 came around, and I didn’t notice the missing calls from Ben. I was too busy cleaning up messes, working on projects, and watching movies. And I was WAY too exhausted to even think about reading my Bible. My kids asked about Daddy less and less.
Day 8 came around, and I finally saw Ben’s messages, but got busy and forgot to reply. You know how that is. Some other Americans were in town, and the men were extra attentive, so I needed to make sure they had a good American meal. I really enjoyed the attention! (Stick with me, folks.)
By day 11, I forgot I had a husband. If we had coffee together, you wouldn’t hear me mention his name. You would be surprised to find out I was married when you heard it later. Why hadn’t I said anything? To be honest, he isn’t really my priority anymore. It’s not that I don’t love him. I’m just forgetful. So many other things seem to be urgent. Other things seem to be a higher priority in this moment.
Ok…I can read your thoughts right now….Alyssa?!? What in the world has Thailand done to you???? I’m curious to know if your opinion of me began to change as you read this account. Ha! My opinion of me would change! It seems shocking, doesn’t it? How can a wife forget about her husband that she just claimed to love so immensely? How can she claim that she loves him when she doesn’t even make it clear that she’s married to him? How could she?!
But isn’t this what can happen to us as we get busy in our lives? We start out exuberant about the love we have for God. We are SO appreciative for what He has done in our life! What a glorious Savior who would stoop down and love us the way He has. But then comes “normal life,” and we get busy. It doesn’t happen suddenly. It doesn’t even happen as fast as 11 days!
Gradually, material goods start to appeal, and the things of the Lord take the passenger seat…or even the backseat. Eventually, we find it hard to take the time to read God’s Word…He’s trying to speak to us, but we aren’t reading the message. Ok, we finally get around to reading, but we don’t reply in prayer because we just. Don’t. Have. Time. Does this sound like love to you? And finally, we feel the thrill of being accepted by the world. Oh, they approve of how I dress! They approve of my success! They approve of the way I present myself. It feels really good. Until we realize that the One that we are to seek to please is the One who looks on our heart. He’s the One who loves us unconditionally.
My question for you is this: Do you love God? Ok you probably just answered “yes!” Because we know that’s the right answer. But what does your LIFE say? Is it clear to everyone around you? Where does He stand in your list of priorities?
This story above is mostly fiction. Benjamin did in fact take a last-minute trip to the States, but it was incredibly hard not to count down the hours, and there may have been tears on some days because I missed him so much (AND because it was hard not to be overwhelmed by the intense responsibility). I am very much in love with my husband, and I think anyone who saw me during that time heard me talk about how much I missed him. 🙂
All of that seems normal for a husband and wife. Why don’t we treat God that same way? Why do we hesitate to talk about Him TOO much because it might come across as over the top? Can we ever talk too much about the One who delivered our souls from eternal destruction? God loves me even more than my husband.
Are you still in love with God?
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."Galatians 2:20
Serving the Lord in the country of Thailand, Alyssa is the wife of missionary Benjamin Hall and mom to five young kids. Each day seems to bring new adventures as she studies the Thai language, homeschools, and ministers to the many little hands that reach for hers. Of course, music is almost always part of the day, whether by listening, singing, or playing and it now echoes through the voices of little ones. Read Alyssa’s salvation testimony here.