My wife (Amy Livesay) wrote and posted this article on her personal blog a while back. It touched my soul at the time, and it still does. I wanted to share it and repost on treelinepursuits.com. I hope you enjoy it!
There are blog posts that I write, that just beg to be written. I almost can’t avoid writing them and this is one of them. I am desperately afraid this will come out wrong. I am afraid that this will seem selfish or like a sense of entitlement on the part of my husband. And in some ways, perhaps it is selfish. There is one selfish thing we all need to do if we are so fortunate.
We all need to clear out the space and time to selfishly encounter God.
Here we go…..
The Big Question
Tonight, one of my friends asked me, “So what do you think about Mark doing all this hunting, being gone for work and then also being gone so much for hunting?”
This is a dear friend and I truly appreciate her candor because honestly, most people don’t ask. I can just tell they wonder or perhaps they think, “Is she crazy?” “What is she thinking?” or “That must really stink.”
Mark has to fly back to Missouri twice in the next few months for work and then is also going hunting for several weeks. It is a lot of time to be sure and the question was and is a valid question.
It is a question I have already dealt with, however.
I have sought the Lord and prayed over our lives for years now. Sometimes I don’t know what to do. Often times the path is not clear. Mark and I do not see eye to eye on a lot of things and so there is often conflict. But there is no conflict in this area and the path is very clear. I know this is a good thing. I know this is what we are called to be doing right now.
There has not been one time since we have been in Montana, and I don’t suspect there will be one time, where I have one ounce of bitterness about Mark’s hunting. I don’t sit at home and lament that I am here with the kids by myself. I don’t think about things that he could do if he were here. I don’t think about whether it is fair or not. I don’t care about the money. I don’t harbor hidden resentment.
When you read 1 Corinthians 13, does it say anything about being fair? No, it doesn’t. It says love keeps no record of wrongs. And while I do not feel like this is a “wrong”, I also don’t keep a tally sheet about what he gets to do and what I don’t get to do.
I am full of joy. I am super content. I am doing what I feel God has called me to do and be sure, write this one down.
There is no better place to be than in obedience to the will of God.
Why We Moved to Montana
One of the main reasons we came to Montana in the first place was because Mark needed to be outside, in the mountains, hunting, fishing and seeking adventure. These are the things that fill his cup and his cup was empty.
We are all broken. I was broken, still am broken and will always be broken. But by the grace of God, I had found my completion in Christ. At some point, I came to the end of myself and thankfully landed at Gods feet. When I landed there, I began to heal and I began to see things differently.
In Genesis, the first account of man and woman, it says that woman was created to be a “helper” to man. Before you get all riled up about woman being the helper of man, let’s look at what helper really means.
The Hebrew word that was used for help is the word ezer. The word ezer was used only in the Old Testament. It was used 21 times, 2 in regard to the role of the woman and 16 in reference to God’s help.
This word help is not the meager little word help that we use when we tell our kids to help set the table or when we help our husbands fold their laundry. It is a life sustaining, all in, sacrificial sort of help. It is the sort of help that God gave and continues to give. It is the help God wants us to give in our marriages.
When I married Mark, I became that helper to him. Actually, that’s a lie. I didn’t become that helper, unfortunately. I believed everything the world told me. I lived in the truth that marriages are supposed to be tit for tat. You give to me, I give to you and when the scales get too out of balance, we are going to have problems.
But a couple of years ago, I started studying marriage (mainly because we were so horrible at it.) And I realized what a precious role I have been given. I am the one and only one that God has created to be Mark’s helper.
Mark was broken, is broken and always will be broken, but in his brokenness, he could not see a way out. While I had found my way to Jesus, he was still stuck. He was not the man God created him to be. As his helper, it is my great honor and obligation to help him know God, to give him the space and clarity and the truth he needs to know God. My first obligation is to know God myself. My second, my very second role in life is to help my husband do that.
When he knows God, I am blessed, my kids are blessed and the world at large is blessed. When he operates on his own, it’s a disaster just as it is for me and really for everyone.
Making Space for God
When I run, I hear God. I don’t purposefully pray like some people do, I just have this free space and God reveals his truth to me. I have a rule that I cannot go running if I have not read my bible first. So, he speaks to me when I run, but also because I am abiding in his word.
Mark has the space to meet God when he hunts.
Your husband may be different, but I believe that most men need to be wild and untethered. We live in a very scheduled, very boxed in America where men can’t be men a lot of the time. They work 50 hours a week, then spend their evenings and weekends helping with family or going to ball games or whatever. And, I think it squelches their spirit a lot of the time.
That’s not necessarily my fault or your fault, but it is the truth.
Mark has always had a very wild spirit. This is one of the many reasons I fell in love with him. Now that we are married, that wild spirit often both ticks me off and impresses me. But the fact remains that I know whom I married and to ask him to be anything other than that man won’t work.
The balance comes in helping him channel that wild spirit into the right things.
Enter Me, The Helper
I fail when I try to force Mark into a mold that he was never meant to fill. The box the world puts him in or I put him and some times the one he puts himself in is not his truth. It is not where he thrives.
I have lived with a man who never got to be wild except when he got mad at someone. I have lived with a man who did not realize that the mold he put himself in was not working. And, you know what? It was not good for anyone.
In January of 2015, I suggested that we move to the west. I suggested it because Mark needed it. He was so beaten down and so tired that he couldn’t even think about how to correct it. I am sure he knew things were off, but he could not see a way out.
Be sure, that it was only by God’s grace and leading that I suggested this. I had been suggesting things for years to no avail.
And, by God’s grace the doors flew open for us to not only move to Missoula Montana but to have an amazing support system of friends and a church that build us up regularly in the Lord and hold us accountable.
Now I am living with a man who gets to go out in the wild and feed his soul. You know what that looks like? It looks like a husband who is not just grateful to me, but to God.
He is active in bible study (what? You might need to read that sentence again), looks forward to church, prays with our children, prays at the dinner table, reads his bible and is pouring into the lives of others. He shares his full cup with our family and our friends. We hike, camp, ride bikes, are all learning to fish and the kids are learning to shoot their bows.
I don’t have all the answers for all people. I am not saying that all men need to hunt 6 months a year (sorry guys), but I am also not saying they don’t. It is HARD to filter the world and society’s expectations out, but it is my job to know my husband and help him become the man God created him to be regardless of what the world says.
How do you know? Again, I don’t always know, but the best way for me to know anything is to read my bible every day, pray every day, and wait until I do know. Don’t miss the waiting. God is not our genie.
I know my husband was born to hunt and as he leaves next Thursday on one of many trips, I will once again greet the day with thankfulness to our great Lord and Savior. He has delivered us from much. I pray that he will continue to mold us and use us to serve his kingdom.
May we all clear out the space and time to selfishly encounter God today and every day.
As you can tell my wife is amazingly supportive of me and my adventures. I certainly do not deserve it! We are planning for her to write a few articles to help engage some of the wives out that are married to backcountry fanatics like me. This article was originally posted on her blog. Her blog can be found at; www.amylivesay.com.