Monday, December 28, 2009

Character and Integrity

Last night Mike and I had a fight. We don't fight very often and when we do it usually isn't one of those knock down kind of things, and last night wasn't any exception. In fact, I don't even know if you can really call it a fight, but it did include crying (on my part) and us falling asleep without kissing each other goodnight so fight is really the only word I can think of. Here's what's going on...My sister is due any minute with her first child. And I mean literally, any minute. She was due on Dec. 18 so today makes her officially nine days overdue. That baby is coming out sometime very soon! I am so honored that she asked me to be her assistant labor coach. I am thrilled beyond thrilled. She and her husband have decided on a home birth, which I am also thrilled about. They have an excellent set of mid-wives and they have spent a lot of time preparing, even taking a 12 week Bradly method birthing class. Mike and I are done having kids, barring some sort of miraculous intervention, and so I have to get all my baby fixes where I can and I am thrilled (have I mentioned that yet?) that my sister has asked me to be a part of her child's birth. I can hardly sleep through the night for fear that I won't hear my phone, which lays about three inches from my head. I am almost as excited for this baby to come as I was for my own kids. Mike has told me, over and over, that if he is at work he won't be able to come home. And that if he is supposed to be going to work, he has to go to work. The whole "he's already at work and has to stay there" thing, I get. I totally totally get it. I've have a plan(s) for if she goes into labor while he's working. But I thought, really truly, that he had to be kidding about having to go into work if he's scheduled. I just knew that he would call his sergeant and let him know that he couldn't make it in because I was gone and there was no one watching the kids. He would look at me and shake his head when I said this, but I knew that's what he would do. And so, last night while I was setting out my clothes, yet again, in preparation for when my sister would call to tell me she was in labor Mike said to me, "Honey, if she goes into labor you can't go. I have to work tomorrow." To which I responded that he must be joking to which he responded he most certainly was not. And there began our fight. I realize now, looking back, that I was asking him to do something that bothered his conscience; to call in sick when he isn't actually sick and neither am I or any of our kids. I realize how much character and integrity he has for not wanting to take advantage of his sergeant's kindness and flexibility. I admire how committed he is to his coworkers for not wanting to leave them in a position to be short staffed. I understand that my needs and wants, most of the time, come before everything else in his life and he will rearrange, to the best of his ability, his life, his needs and his wants in order to accomodate me. But in that moment, in that fight, all I could think was, "Is this IT?" I kept wondering if this would be the fight that would ruin us. Would I disregard him and go to my sister? Would he forgive me if I did? Would I forgive him if I had to miss her birth? Could our relationship survive the potential fall-out from something like this? Was I really going to have to make a decision? For me this was the impossible choice. I think that was what upset me most...that I knew, in my heart, what I had to decide and it hurt me. It still kind of hurts me. And if I talked to my sister and told her my decision it would hurt her. But when I really had to think about it, when I really allowed the Lord to speak to me (which I recognize He was doing the whole time) I know that I would rather hurt myself and my sister than disregard my husband and force him to do something that would hurt him. That I would choose peace between the two of us over all else. That I can be at war with the world, with my family, and even with myself, before I would go to war with him. And he, being in the industry that he is, can know that he does not have to compromise his integrity or character just to please his wife.
To end, I know this story isn't finished. I know Mike is going to do everything he can to make sure I am at the birth of my newest niece. I knew that last night, even if I doubted it for a bit, and I know it today. I know that the Lord knows my desires, and that He knows what I choose, and that He will bless my decision. I'm not saying things are going to go exactly how I want, that would be foolish, but I am saying, there is a blessing in the obedience. And I won't forfeit the blessing.

(As a follow up...Dec. 30 at 5:04 am my niece was born. Mike did not have to work so I was there from beginning to end. God is so good to me...taking care of my desire even when the moment doesn't belong to me. Welcome to this world little girl! And thank you Jesus for giving me the wisdom to make the right decision, even though it was tough. Thank you for the blessing.)

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