God shared a secret with me.
This goes out to the ones who feel like you’re waiting around, holding all of the responsibilities, while the ones you love have all of the adventures.
If your spouse is in the military, travels with his job, or has hobbies that take hours per week, I can relate. My husband trained for an IronMan while we had a newborn. He’s traveled with his job all over North America while I keep things running on our small hobby farm. And all the while I would be okay . . . until I wasn’t. “What about me?”
I used to feel like I was left behind holding down the fort with our daughter and responsible for all of daily real life, maybe too capable for my own good, while my husband was gone for work more than he was home. This wasn’t a new experience. Life has been this way for years for our family since travel is part of his job. There are perks with travel miles and hotel points, but then there is the loneliness. I would trade in all of the free vacations to not have that empty feeling sometimes at the dinner table, in bed at night, or when I’m sick and life goes on.
I can relate to his road warrior tiredness since I used to travel with my job before staying at home with our daughter. I know work travel is not glamorous but exhausting. I realize he doesn’t want to be gone but is working hard to provide for his family. But it’s still hard to not feel left behind.
Unless you’re not really left behind . . . but become the Sender.
You know who else was a Sender? Jesus.
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17:17-19)
One morning, God revealed to me that my husband is being sent on a mission. It didn’t have to look like a ministry or church or a mission trip in our 2017 ways. God was sending him, sanctifying him through this process (and maybe me, too) to be sent into the world and I needed to get on board and be a part of that send-off.
God whispered to my heart that my attitude and prayers can help equip my husband to be the light in each board meeting, flight, restaurant, hotel check-in, convention, showroom. I can be in the role of the sender . . . not the wait-around-er. I can be a part of sending him into the world, pouring light into him when he gets home, and making going not such a burden, but a delight.
Moses sent Joshua.
Mordecai sent Esther.
Lydia sent Paul.
We have to live in courage to be a sender. We have to know our identity is not wrapped up in what we do or our job title. We have to rely on God to do the work in and around those we help send.
I have to forgive God and my spouse for not giving me the life I thought I wanted, and instead delight in what God is doing in His good plans. I need to ask forgiveness for not always being supportive and for all of the complaining I’ve done.
You can be equipped by the One Who Sends to encourage the road warrior when he returns, only to leave again. With God’s help, you can create a holy environment. You can cast a vision that is bigger than yourself for this challenging time — for your spouse, yourself, and your family. You can have enough Spirit-filled self-control to stop complaining and waiting around for change to happen, and start embracing where God has your family and make the most of it for the Kingdom of God.
We can be the light, expand God’s territory, and pray our spouses will have conversations with people about Jesus who may never otherwise hear His glorious name.
You are no longer left behind. You never were.
Let’s not be wait-around-ers, when God is calling us to be senders.
What a delightful opportunity for us to be modern-day Lydias.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I love how God gave you a gentle nudge (okay or maybe a shove) to look at your attitude. It is so easy to get caught in the trap of the sender, the stay-behinder, the hold-down-the-forter, the everyone gets to go but me person. I realize I often complain way to much about trivial things instead of honoring the purpose that God has designed me for. Sometimes , I wish, I didn’t always have to be the reliable one among family and friends. I want to be the carefree one who flies by the seat of her pants. I, me, my….if Jesus was content in His role, then I need to be content in my role. Each role matters. Great attitude adjuster this am!
Michele Morin says
Stephanie, this is brilliant — and perfect for my season of life in which I’m watching the little boys I’ve loved and poured myself into turn into towering men and go off to start new adventures on their own. I absolutely love what this concept of being their “sender” does to my mindset. And I’m grateful for the privilege of being part of their lives — truly a gift from God!
sharon a says
I had to send my husband off to heaven….be thankful yours gets to come back. I have been the complainer too so can relate. Just a gentle reminder
I’m deeply sorry for your loss….
Blessings to you,
Kelli Palmer says
So very true and thank you for this loving and gentle reminder. Time together on earth is limited and we do need to be grateful for it. I’m very sorry for your loss and prayer for your peace and comfort during this temporary separation. May your faith and the strength of God and more see you through this loss until you meet up again in heaven with your departed loved ones.
Beth Williams says
So sorry for your loss sweet sister! Praying for God to send His sweet peace to you body, mind & soul. I pray you feel His loving arms around you.
Susan Daugherty says
As someone who has done many short-term missions, I have been equipped and blessed by senders. It is so helpful for me to view my role as the one who “holds down the fort” at home for my pastor husband and 5 kids as one of “sender”. As my kids are growing and two are now young adults who serve others, I am beginning to see the fruit of my work here. It really is a glorious privilege!
Nancy Ruegg says
Kudos to you, Susan, from one pastor’s wife to another (now retired): You’ve chosen joy over jealousy in your role as “sender.” May it help to know that the support, listening ear, encouragement, and prayer you expend for your husband and your church are as vital as the sermon prep, meetings, counseling appointments, visits, paperwork, etc., etc., which keeps your husband away from “the fort!”
Thank you for this fresh perspective! It encourages me to evaluate my life from a different mindset- thankful and useful no matter my circumstances.
Lisa-Jo Baker says
Gosh, Steph this is so so powerful! Thank you for sharing this incredibly radical shift in perspective. This one is gonna stick with me!
What a great truth in your message and much needed ! I , am disabled and have been since 2005 , I often feel that I’m ” left behind ” on many days !
You just have me a new and profound way to think and know that I need to be the ” sender ” in my home ! I often have a pity party and think I’m no longer ” needed ” or worthy and this is usually on my eldest days when I feel so bad that my health limits me to do the things I can and want to for my family and loved ones !
Thank you for sharing and what a great message , I am now , the ” Sender ” at my house and that’s a huge responsibility!
Thank you again and hope you ladies have an amazing weekend !
Kelley Light says
Thanks for this great reminder as I far too often complain about my husband’s work schedule…. I’m going to try to remember your encouragement as I send him off to work each day!
I’m interested in knowing exactly what you meant by these words…
“I have to forgive God and my spouse for not giving me the life I thought I wanted,”
I want to believe that because you realized you need to be content about your husband’s schedule and to be an encouraging “sender”, there’s no need to have to forgive God or your husband because of your dashed expectations because they didn’t sin against you…I understand the need to forgiving someone is when they’ve sinned against us and repent and seek forgiveness…I guess this helps me understand that when there are times I believe I need to seek someone’s forgiveness and they tell me there’s nothing to forgive, that I didn’t need to ask for forgiveness because I took something too seriously or misunderstood it or someone…in the same way, God and your husband haven’t sinned against you so there’s no need for you to feel in your heart you need to forgive them…help me if I’m not understanding your thoughts…these are mine and how I understood your words to speak to me! thanks
Diane Bailey says
Okay, go ahead and confess it. You were listening to my conversation with God last night,right?
I am with you when you have the job of being the sender, the one who helps others become successful, who cheers them on as their dreams are being accomplished. Then I dust off my dreams kept in a shoe box in my heart and wonder if mine will ever see the light of day.
I need to embrace the gift of being a sender. And also, look for the places where my dreams have been answered in small ways.
Maybe the big dream hasn’t happened. Maybe it’s just small parts that happen. Pennies in a fountain of hope.
But for those small tokens I need to give heart felt thanks. And I need to thank him also for making me into the image of Christ – the sender.
Thank you for this post, Stephanie. It was much needed today.
Pearl Allard says
Stephanie, I love this! I’m a sender. It’s so much more positive and active-sounding. And accurate. Going to remember this! Thank you.
Oh, how I needed this beautiful reminder today. I actually laughed aloud when I opened my devotional and saw the title, “When You Feel Left Behind.” It was EXACTLY what I (thought I) was praying about last night. Turns out, I think I may have been whining and feeling sorry for myself. Thank you for this small shift that makes radical change. Bless you, Stephanie, for your heart of service to your family and to all of us here at (in)courage.
K Ann Guinn says
Fabulous, life-changing perspective! Applies to so many situations in life, including sending off our children as they become adults. Helps me to focus on giving to others and be grateful for the many blessings I have, instead of dwelling on the things I wished were different. Thank-you.
Thank-you so much for this. As hard is at may be, speaking from being a sender, and a leaver this also reminds us that we are not in charge of holding loved ones back from what God intended for them. I still remember watching my dad as a little girl shining his army boots, and as much as I dreaded him having to leave I remember my Mom would be there just as your little girl too will remember.
Have a blessed day all,
Rebecca L Jones says
That is very interesting, anointed or Christ, one sent . I always prayed to be who He wanted me to be.
Nancy Ruegg says
As I said to Susan (above), kudos to you, Stephanie, for choosing joy over jealousy in your role as Sender. Although my husband and I are retired, I can still be a Sender who seeks to encourage, support, and celebrate the successes of others. What a difference perspective makes!
Beth Williams says
I used to feel like a left-behinder. For a few years it felt like everyone got to live life & work at jobs. I, on the other hand, was the one who always had to be there for my aging parents. It got to the point I had to quit my job & just be a stay-at-home caregiver for my dad. Now I see that God was “sending me” to be a light to my dad & others at the assisted living. It is now my turn to be a send-er & pray for others-both at work, home & at church.
Elizabeth A Curry says
Thank you for this. I read when it was first posted a few mornings ago and the concept of being a sender resonated with me. My husband is successful (and we thank God for that) but he can have long, unpredictable hours. Our teenage son is busy with sports, marching band, friends, academics, and now that he is driving we don’t even get the car time we used to. I am a stay at home mom, a writer and volunteer and I admit to sometimes feeling lonely with them gone so much. Seeing myself as a sender these last few days has given me such a shift in perspective. Being there, offering stability and a positive send-off is important. Yesterday the word “receiver” popped in to my head as my son pulled in from soccer practice. I then realized that it is also my job to make our home a positive, peaceful, warm place to come home to as well. God is showing me ways to joyfully send my boys off and to receive them with love when they return. Thanks again.