It’s The Little Things

Two weeks ago today, I sat in a chair by my husband’s hospital bed and cheered him on as he drank a cup of broth- his first real food in four days. I watched him lick his lips and savor each drop of that warm, salty liquid. Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean the most.

That was pretty much the theme of our entire experience at the hospital. It’s the little things. The week before he wasn’t feeling very well and thought he was catching a virus. His energy was quickly depleting, his blood pressure was running low, and when his feelings of light-headedness progressed into nearly passing out, we went to the ER. It was there that he was diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer, presumably caused by one of his medications. In 24 hours he lost over 3 units of blood and within 48 hours he was down a little over 4 units. A quick surgical procedure repaired the hole and a transfusion of 2 units of blood helped him start the healing process. A tiny hole, half as thick as a ramen noodle brought the strongest man I know to the brink of death. Literally. If he had been his usual stubborn self and refused to go to the ER that night, he would have bled out and died in our bed. It’s the little things.

It’s the little things that can cheer us up. It’s the little things that can tear us down. When life is turned up side down, it’s the little things that we miss the most. When life is plugging along blissfully, it’s the little things that trip us up. It’s the little things.

It’s also the little things that help us remember the big things. While Bob and I were both miserably uncomfortable in the hospital, neither one of us wanted to complain about it too much. We were just so grateful that he was alive. Grateful for friends who stepped in to help with the kids so I could be there with him. Grateful that the doctors were able to locate the bleed and repair it. Grateful that we knew we would be going home soon. Grateful that we have insurance that will pay for it. Grateful that he was receiving good care. Grateful our children were safe. We were just grateful. Why? Because it’s the little things.

hospital feet

This is a picture I took while sitting with Bob at the hospital. I think it will always be one of my favorite pictures of us because it reminds me of the little things that I so often take for granted. It’s so easy for us to get hung up on the things that go wrong in life. There is pain and evil and disaster lurking around every corner, it seems. It’s easy to get discouraged and to feel like giving up. It’s easy to fall into a trap of complaining and whining, or worse, becoming angry at the circumstances of your life. That’s why it’s so important to be remember the little things. That’s why this picture means so much to me. In the end, all that mattered to me that day was that I was there by his side. Yes… it’s the little things.

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Weapon #2

Weapon 2

It’s no surprise to us that the enemy likes to creep around in the dark. Most crimes are committed at night, after the sun has gone down. That’s when we’re the most vulnerable. We can’t see the danger around us and our attackers can sneak around undetected. At the time of day that we are ready to relax, let our guard down, and rest the evil in our world rises from the shadows and attacks. Satan is no different than the common criminal on the street. He preys upon our vulnerability. He waits for us to shut our eyes. That’s when he pounces.

The Bible says that satan blinds the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the Light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4). He doesn’t have that kind of power over those of us who have given our hearts and lives to Jesus but that doesn’t keep him from trying. Satan uses the darkness to his advantage to prey upon the weak but he uses it as a weapon against those who stand strong with the strength of Christ. If we’re not guarded, we may find ourselves covered in a mask of darkness. But don’t worry, Jesus has already overcome the darkness.
How does he use the darkness as a weapon in marriages? First, he blinds us from seeing ourselves. Have you ever been so busy looking at your husband’s faults that you didn’t see your own? When we fail to look at ourselves and examine our own hearts, we miss an opportunity to become more like Jesus. That creates one of those cracks in our character and in our marriages that we talked about last time. When we allow a crack in our marriage, the enemy likes to stick a wedge between us and pry us apart. Second, the enemy blinds us from seeing Christ at work. Have you ever been so fixated on what’s going wrong that you missed what’s going right? For the first three years of my marriage, I stayed fixated on the fact that my husband flat out refused to ever buy me flowers. We went round and round about it and the more I brought it up, the more determined he became to never buy them for me. For three years, I wore blinders that kept me from seeing the amazing things that my husband DID do for me. Finally, one day I realized (with God’s help) that I had been deceived. I had allowed myself to become so hurt by what I chose to look at that I missed the healing that was all around me. Now, when my husband comes home and brings me a Coke from McDonalds, because he knows they’re my favorite, I smile to myself and say, “There’s my flowers.” Or when he turns the electric blanket on for me before I crawl into bed, I smile and think, “There’s my flowers.”
So how do we protect ourselves from this weapon of a mask?

Step #1- Keep your eyes on Jesus. When you stay fixated on the Light, the darkness has no room to creep in.

Step #2- Pray for night vision goggles. Our soldiers use them in the dessert to see the enemy approaching at night. They can launch a counter-attack before the enemy can even get within range of hurting them. Being prepared is key. The best offense is a good defense.

But we all have momentary lapses of doing the right thing, and we turn our eyes elsewhere. So, what do we do?

Step #3- Pray for open eyes. God WANTS us to bring our A-game onto the battlefield. He is more than ready to rip the blinders off for us. We just have to ask Him.

But what do we do when we realize we’ve been stuck in the dark for a long time? Won’t ripping the blinders off hurt?

Step #4- Pray for new eyes. Our God is a God of second chances. And third chances. And five millionth chances. Are you afraid to see what’s in front of you? Are you afraid of the light? Ask Him for new eyes. He’s a merciful God. He will give you eyes that are ready to embrace the light and see the truth in love.

When my husband and I have arguments, I used to pray, “God, please help him to see that he’s wrong.” Then God started working on my heart and I began praying, “God, please just help him to see that I’m right.” God did a little more work in my heart and I began praying, “God, please just help us to see the same thing.” Now I pray, “God, help us to see each other through YOUR eyes.” A dear friend of mine used to say that every morning she would pray for God to give her new eyes to see her husband. I think this is a beautiful prayer and I try to remember to pray it often. When we see our husbands through new eyes, we can more clearly see them the way God intended us to. And seeing the light of God’s truth makes the darkness flee.