Brandy Seago has been married to her husband, John for 7 years. John has worked as a Legislative Director at Texas Right to Life since before they got married. Brandy and John have experienced 4 ( 2011,2013, and 2015) sessions as a married couple. They have two children Nahum, 13 and Sophia, 11.
I always chuckle to myself a little bit when asked to write or speak on what life is like during my husband’s busy season at work. I laugh because it’s always ironic to me that while I am looked to for wisdom and guidance on the topic– what many people don’t really know is how many days of that difficult season I spend in helpless tears over what God is allowing my family to walk through. Let’s not get too carried away- someone could spill a glass of milk and I would cry because I was so emotionally spent. Don’t I sound fun to be around?! I’m learning though that sometimes it refreshes our hearts to see that real people leading real lives really struggle at times. I adore reading from pioneers of the faith who have gone before me on that lonely road of difficult seasons- they encourage my soul and remind me to press on. But there is something about reading the blog or post from a mom who is living deep IN the trenches and fighting for joy each day right NOW. So that’s what I hope this can be for you.
Some seasons are just hard man and my family and I have been through some pretty dark ones; but nothing beats the season we just came out of. My husband serves as the Legislative Director of a non-profit prolife organization. He spends six months every other year working 90-hour weeks in the state Capitol here in Austin. There are a few things God taught me over the last six months that I pray I won’t lose sight of.
The first thing I had to learn was that even though it felt like I was only surviving, God was still sanctifying me. I usually tend to look at spiritual growth as always having a hopeful attitude, still disciplining my children even when I can’t stand them because that’s what I’m supposed to do, and having a clean home because I HAVE to care for what God has given me…. Oh and all the while attending church and women’s Bibles study, showing that yes I’m struggling but God is just SO SO good. (Sarcasm) Let’s be real- I don’t always believe that God is good. I don’t always discipline my kids out of love. I don’t always tell the truth when my friends ask me how I’m doing. Yet the truth of the matter is- God meets me in that. He meets me in my struggle, on the mornings I can’t get out of bed because I just can’t face another day without a husband at home. And that is not just surviving, that is sanctification. The changing and molding of my soul to fully rely and depend upon my Maker. So I encourage you, even if you feel like you are just surviving your current season of life– the Holy Spirit that has set up His dwelling place IN you is shaping you to look more like the Son. John Piper said it well when he said, “Sanctification happens when the gospel preached and the Spirit poured out meet with power in the human heart.”
Outside of the Spirit’s pouring out in our lives, Piper points to something else that is important: the Gospel preached. John 8:31-32 (ESV) says “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” This verse always reminds me of that scene in Braveheart where William Wallace (Mel Gibson) is encouraging his fellow Scottish men to fight England… and he says, “They can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom!” It was quite the motivational quote and has been quoted since the movie was released. Those men fought hard for freedom and many of them died. Freedom can come at a high cost. It came at a high cost to the Lord, who lived a sinless life and died a painful death, to set us free from sin that easily entangles us. And John tells us that the truth of Scripture, abiding in God’s Word, will set us free. The truth of God’s Word unravels and unwraps me from myself. Whether I am reading Scripture early before my day really begins, or I am sitting under the preaching of the Word in church, or am sitting with three or four good friends fighting sin together based on the truths of Scripture. The Gospel is a healing balm for my soul during the more strenuous and lonely seasons of life. There was nothing sweeter the past six months than sitting at the feet of Jesus, soaking in what He wrote for me. It’s in the Gospel that I remember of Christ’s sacrifice for me, making the sacrifices I make for my husband so small in comparison. It’s in the Gospel that I remember Christ’s powerful victory over sin, death, and evil and it reminds me that He has ultimate control over the evil that surrounds my husband’s job. And it’s in the Gospel that I see true grace, making the process of giving my children grace much simpler. The Gospel changes us. Invest in it. Spend time soaking in God’s Word. Memorize it and use it to fight sin and fight for love and grace.
Another thing the Lord really pressed into me over the past few months is that I should not do tough seasons alone (or really any other season for that matter.) About two months into the session, our church went through a very difficult and painful trial. It really hurt some dear friends of ours and our family. I remember being so frustrated with the Lord because I felt robbed. Here I was going through a hard season, and now I have to HELP and LOVE other people that are hurt?! (Sounds pretty holy right?) Through the course of that difficulty, the Lord kind of blew my mind. He reminded me that loving others and serving brings healing to my wounds and pain. He showed me that in all of my smallness, He is big. Big enough to deal with my mess, big enough to deal with my friend’s mess, and big enough to deal with THE mess… the problem of sin- which is at the core of all my issues. Amidst the hurt, I had so many friends reach out to serve our family while John was away so much. They would keep the kids a few hours so I could just be alone. They would invite us over for dinner so I didn’t have to cook another toddler meal of hotdogs and veggie sticks. But more than all of that, they would check in on me spiritually and pray fervently for me. I have done sessions where I was not surrounded by believers, and I look back on that astonished that I (or my children) lived through that.
God is good, guys. He gave us the Church. Fellow believers to lock arms with us and walk straight into battle not worried about the outcome. Do we get wounded? Yes. But Christ came and was wounded most so that by His wounds we could be healed. Do we hurt? Yes. But Christ was hurt by separation from the Father on the cross so that we would not have to spend eternity separated from Him. Are we pushed to our limits? Yes. Because Christ gently nudges us and says, “I am limitless.”
In the hard seasons of life and in the easy ones, run to Him friends. It’s in His life, death, and resurrection that we find wholeness and peace in the middle of a crazy broken life.