Thursday, August 27, 2009

Home Alone, Safe and Sound!

"I cried out to the LORD, and He heard me from His temple in Jerusalem. Then
I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely, for the LORD was
watching over me."
-Psalm 3: 4-5 The Living Bible Translation

My husband travels a lot with his job. From our early days of marriage, his job would take him out of town for 2 weeks at a time as the organization he works for was moving it's headquarters to the Charlotte, NC area and he was assisting with the move. Now, he travels quite often, usually once a month anywhere from 3-12 days at a time.

I've had to get used to it, and with two small children, this can be very hard at times. You never realize how hard it is to parent until you have to do it alone. 24/7. Everything---meals, entertaining, baths, discipline. Whenever friends hear that I am single-mommying it, I usually hear these responses:

1. "How do you do it? I would go visit my parents for the week!"

2. "I couldn't do it. I would go absolutely crazy being alone for that long without help!"

3. "Don't you get scared staying alone? I would be terrified!"

Well, I would be lying if I didn't say that all of these haven't been true before and sometimes still are. To answer the first question, now that I have children, it isn't as easy to just pick up and go to my parent's or in-law's houses for the week as it was before I had them. The kids are involved in different activities and we have our weekly routines, although it is a lot easier in the summer time. And to add in the second question, yes it is hard at times with no help. Both of our families live at least 2 hours away, leaving us with no family in town. I have to mentally get in the frame of mind that I will be the only parent to these children for "X amount of days". I will say it usually gets harder at the end of the time that my husband is away, especially the last day, and the 4:00-7:00 hours of the day are pure chaos at our house, with the kids screaming or whining and me about to go over the edge! One thing that helps me and my attitude is to hire a babysitter for a night sometimes just so I can go out to Bible study or go run some errands---alone! I also try to have one thing planned to do each day so that we can get out of the house. We meet friends at parks, or just go to Target to walk around. A change of scenery and getting around other people is a big help!

The third question is the one I hear the most. There is something about the sun going down and the night entering into the day that takes down a person's guard and makes them vulnerable. I have to say that I do enjoy putting the kids to bed and knowing that I have the entire night to myself to do whatever I want. But there are times that I sit on the couch and see my dog's ears perk up as if she's heard something and I become a little bit paranoid. And the hardest part? Finally deciding to head on up to bed, while turning the lights off downstairs and walking up the stairs alone. This is when my mind has played tricks on me in the past and I wonder, "Is someone outside watching me through the windows? Do they know I'm going to bed now? ". See?! I would never think things like this during the day, but just because it's dark outside, my mind starts to think crazy things and I don't like it! Then I slip into bed, turn off the lamp on the night stand and usually say a prayer like, "Okay, Jesus. Get us through the night safely. Protect our house and watch over us! PLEASE keep us safe!". This all changed last November.

My husband was on a trip out of the country and our daughter had a school program that we couldn't miss. The babysitter came over to watch our son and after I gave her the instructions for the night, my daughter and I left for her preschool. As I backed out of the driveway, I noticed an old pick up truck parked near our house under a lamp post with just it's parking lights on. "That's kind of strange", I thought but went on my way. Once I got to the school, my mind was very uneasy and I sat through the entire school program praying that God would protect my son and our babysitter. What a relief when I got home and saw the truck gone and everything at home was safe. The next night around the same time, I went to go get our mail and the same truck was in the same spot in the same scenario as the previous night. Our neighbors across the street came home from work as I was getting the mail and they noticed the truck, too. We called the police to report it just as the car pulled away. Normally I wouldn't be scared, but the fact that it was there 2 nights in a row worried me a little. Plus...I was ALONE! That night as I went to bed, I left the outside lights on, the lamps on downstairs and placed our feisty chihuahua in her crate right by the front door. I hesitantly closed my eyes to sleep that night. How strange that the next night, I read these verses in the Bible before I went to bed:

"I cried out to the LORD, and He heard me from His temple in Jerusalem. Then I lay down and slept in peace and woke up safely for the LORD was watching over me." -Psalm 3:5-6

Talk about the Bible speaking at the right moment! It made me so happy to read that and I instantly felt so safe. That same week in my Bible study, the topic was on feeling safe. The passage was discussing that as humans, we go to great lengths to feel safe. We get alarm systems in our homes, we lock our doors and recheck to make sure, we carry mace with us as we walk through dark parking lots, we get dogs to protect us by barking if danger lurks outside. But as Christians, the best security we could ever have is GOD! The power we have just by asking Him to protect and watch over us is amazing. I've always known this but when I read that, with the experience I had had that week, it was like a light going off in my head!

When I told my friends about what took place last November, most of them said, "Donna! You are crazy to stay there by yourself. I would already be at my parent's house!" Believe me, the thought did occur to me. But I realized if I can't feel safe in my own home, with God watching over me and my children, where can I feel safe?

So, now when my husband travels and I turn off the lights to go to bed, I pray Psalm 3:5-6 asking God to help the children and me sleep peacefully and awake safely and I close my eyes knowing that we are safe in OUR home. My husband and protector may not be there physically, but our God is going to protect us with His hedge, as he always does. I know this to be true. If that doesn't make me feel safe and secure, what will?!


HPS said...

Donna! This is excellent. I've found myself fretting lately especially over safety-safety of my child-at home, out and about. I've let the Jaycee Duggard/Elizabeth Smart, etc. coverage consume my mind and it's gone crazy from there. Thanks for using that verse and your illustration to get me back in check. It doesn't get any stronger than the Lord's protection. Amen and Amen!

Glenda said...

I am so proud of you. There are times that only God can give us absolute peace through His Word. I love the verse He gave you. I love you.

AmyA said...

Thank you for this. I felt the same way last week when my husband was out of town - I hated it! When my mind started to wander and imagine the "what ifs" I asked the Lord to redirect my thoughts and focus on what is good and lovely. I struggle with fear a lot, and the verse you give is a great one to say over and over again. Thanks!

Sherri said...

Donna, your words bring peace to my heart tonight. Thank you so much for your wisdom and God's word that we can apply to our own situations.

Ashlie Miller said...

GIRL! That is good stuff! It's funny that my hubby didn't really start traveling much until our first son was born. But I try to remind myself that he is doing good work and that God obviously has something for me to learn that I may not learn otherwise. Thanks for expressing this and answering questions that our family members all wonder about ;-)