“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” (Ps 127:2)
I was stumped. I wondered if Solomon, for all his wisdom, might have benefited from my ADHD meds for better focus. The various ideas in Psalm 127 seemed too random and disjointed to be together. Finally, I cried uncle, and turned to God and a favorite commentary for help.
God didn’t disappoint. The message, it turns out, was very cohesive and underscored the same words of advice my husband and I heard the night before about how to help our relationship weather the latest round of special-needs-stressors. We thought the answer concerned family vacations. The answer from God, however, who had apparently been talking with our therapist was–?
Rest for our relationship with each other. Rest from our morning-‘til-night efforts to stay calm and carry on getting kids to school (especially one who doesn’t like to get on the short bus), distributing assembly-line meds, getting to work to pay the bills that still tell us we’re in the red, and putting out nightly fires of homework stress and angst about tomorrow.
“So what kind of vacation would you like to arrange, if you could?” Our therapist had asked me after I expressed frustration about too many working vacations and my longing for experiences that were just about enjoying time with our own family.
I paused to think before responding. “Well, next summer some getaways with each of our kids would be nice so they could feel like we were doing something just for them. Something to make them know they are more important.”
“But what about for you and Adrian? What about your need for time together? Isn’t your relationship even more important?” he asked.
Now I was really stumped. My husband and I had moved heaven and earth the previous fall to manage one overnight getaway—the first in years. Didn’t that count? And what did this have to do with trying to arrange a family vacation?
Turns out, a lot. And God was apparently trying to make sure I didn’t forget it thanks to a seemingly disjointed, ADHD-impersonating text from Solomon. Yes, our kids need us to change how we vacation. Yes, they need real rest from the daily stresses of life.
But like so many couples trying to meet the needs of their special needs family, our children have become first in our focus (our time, energy, finances), while our marital relationship has become a distant second. If we want our children to feel more secure and if we want to have the emotional energy to ensure they felt even more loved, our counselor told us, my husband and I need to give our marriage permission to be important. We need to build in a regular habit of rest together. Our counselor dared to suggest at least 4 small getaways a year.
For so long, my husband and I have worked hard and made hard choices according to our priority to care for our family, never realizing that one of those priorities was supposed to be us. Never realizing that when God gives his loved ones the gift of rest, we are actually supposed to use it. Who knew?
–Kelli Ra Anderson
Question: In what ways might you and your spouse make rest a higher priority in your marriage?
Latest posts by Kelli Ra Anderson (see all)
- Calming our Anxiety in Special Needs Parenting - August 24, 2015
- Victory in the Seeming Loss of Special Needs Advocacy - June 22, 2015
- Retreating in God’s Hands: respite for the special needs parent - May 25, 2015