It is raining. When I look out the kitchen window I see gray and shadowed images. What a contrast this is from the view just a few days ago.

My head knows that nothing has really changed. That the morning light is there. Behind the clouds. Behind the rain. Behind the shadows. But my heart responds differently. Emotionally. It takes on a bit of the gray and the shadows.

I feel tired. I want to wallow in the day’s grayness, my heart’s grayness. I want to dismiss the beauty. I want to laze the day away (or at least read for a good portion of it). I want time to myself. I don’t want to be a mama right now. I don’t want to be a wife right now. I simply want to be.

And I realize that these are not things unique to the rainy day outside.

These are things with which I struggle even on bright, sunny days. Trying to find the balance of me.

Perhaps today’s struggle is influenced by the 4:00 a.m. wake up call from our five-and-a-half-year-old last night. The wake up call that started as a whimper and grew into crying. She was having a dream, a nightmare. She wasn’t even awake. But I was.

And then we all were as I grumbled and groused and growled. In my groggy state, I was irrational. And angry. And desperate. Desperate to be asleep. Desperate to be alone. Desperate simply to be.

Enter my genteel, soothing, rational husband. Who had the opposite effect on me, my irrational anger ratcheting up and now directed at him. As if he has any idea what it’s like to be me. What it’s like to be a mama. What it’s like to be on duty 24 out of 24 hours each day. What it’s like to struggle.

Grrrrrrrrrrrr, I grouch at him. Grumble, grumble, grumble, I shout as I stomp down the hall. Grouse, grouse, grouse, I add as he tells me everything is okay and to go back to sleep.

Like he has any idea.

Except that he does. Because he knows me. Because he knows my needs. Because he listens to my heart’s cry. Even in the midst of my grumbling in the wee morning hours when my irrational brain needs comfort as much as my five-year-old girl’s does. Needs calming. Needs sleep. Definitely, desperately needs sleep.

Like he has any idea.

Except that he does. Because he is the one who is calm in spite of the early hour. Because he is the one who is gentle even though his day was as long, longer actually, than mine. Because he is the one who planned to be up at 4:00 a.m. anyway in order to chase his dream.

Like he has any idea.

Except that he does. Because I see him struggle. I see him struggle to be the best man he can be by the choices he makes. I see him struggle to grow stronger in his faith and be a spiritual leader. I see him struggle with new challenges, with the unknowns of tomorrow, with the priorities of today.

He has plenty of an idea.

These are my thoughts as I watch the rain falling outside the kitchen window. So instead of dismissing the beauty, I choose to embrace it. To seek it out. To discover the beauty that comes with the rain. I watch the way a single raindrop hits one glistening leaf. I watch the way puddles form along the driveway. I watch the rippling rings from each drop grow and overlap. Rings form and grow and fade.

And instead of wallowing in my heart, I pray.

Dear Jesus, I whisper, thank you that you are God and that you love me. Thank you that you reveal beauty even in gray and shadow days and in wee morning five-year-old nightmares. Thank you that you do not abandon me to myself, to my emotions. Thank you that you gifted me with a man who is gentle and kind and convicting. Thank you for a man who reflects your Spirit in our shared life. In the early morning moments. In the daily emails we exchange. In the way he looks at me, the smile he offers, the joy he provides.

As I draw my attention to the things of today, the rain echoes with my gratitude. And my heart responds differently. It reminds me of joy.

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