Recently, Tim and I had a big argument.
Looking back, I can't put my finger on the exact cause.
It was a series of unfortunate events.
(By the way, I'm pretty sure the author of the book series by that same title was inspired by our family.)
Anyway, Tim and I are under a lot of "suppressed stress" this summer.
Having children in foreign countries, some of whom are in places much less than safe, does something to your emotional state of being.
So we try to stay positive, and we try to keep busy with projects, visits with friends, summer work, etc.,
but the reality is this,
"We walk a fine line between total trust and complete fear."
On top of that, we are in the ministry.
There's just something about me serving in jail ministry and Tim having a sermon to preach that the devil must not like.
So, when he attacks our family, he goes straight for the jugular.
He doesn't mess around too often with little things like our big toe anymore.
No, he aims high. He aims for our hearts.
So, as Tim and I were in a crazy morning of stress and intense anger at everything in the world recently, including each other,
I found myself in a dilemma.
The dress I had chosen to wear to church
(and yes, this lovely argument happened on a beautiful, sunny, Sunday morning)
needed zipped up the back.
In the old days, I could have asked any one of our five kids to zip up my dress,
but times have changed here.
Olivia is the only one I can turn to now for help and she was up in her room, music playing loudly as she straightened her hair,
and I was running late for Sunday school.
So, what was I to do?
I debated going to church with my dress unzipped, hoping to find someone in the parking lot who could help me.
But wouldn't the town talk at such a sight!
I knew I really only had one choice if I hoped to get out the door quickly and with any type of modesty.
So, I asked Tim if he could please zip my dress.
And I left.
As I was driving to church reflecting on our ugly morning,
I realized something.
The devil once again attempted to stop us.
He tried to get in the way of Tim's sermon that morning.
He tried to get in the way of my participation in Sunday school.
He tried to pull apart what God has put together.
He also knew that on that very day we would be talking to our kids for the last time before they left the United States to travel to a location we cannot even safely disclose online.
As I drove I also realized that he failed.
He failed because no matter how angry we get or how frustrated we become with each other or with the stress of life,
there will always be a dress that needs zipped or something else that reminds us that in spite of everything we need each other, we count on each other, we lean on each other.
Life is hard.
The devil loves to make it even harder.
He tries to confuse and complicate every situation we face in life.
He whispers fear and doubt.
He is happiest when we are most miserable.
That's why I'm thankful today (and every day) for things like dresses that zip up the back.
Because these dresses remind me that on my own I can do nothing.
I am, on so many levels, helpless, weak, defenseless, and in need of help.
Thankfully, when we ask for help, God steps in and helps us overcome.
He zips up our spiritual dress.
He helps us face the world prepared for whatever comes our way.
Sometimes it's humbling to ask God for help, just like it was humbling to ask Tim for help on that particular Sunday morning.
By asking, though, we show God we are humble.
We show Him that no matter how crazy life gets or how wrong we might be, we know we can turn to Him and He will help us.
And the same truths apply in marriage.
The Nischan house is one high-energy, faith-driven house.
We are living with kids in three different time zones right now,
and our minds are constantly calculating what time it is for each of them at any particular moment of the day.
Our hearts are constantly praying for safety, wisdom, and peace for all of them.
Trust has become our means of survival.
Occasionally, our stress turns us against each other, before we even know what has happened.
Remembering we have an enemy who loves these moments helps us push through and get to the other side.
The side with the zipper that needs zipped.
I'm pretty sure God helped me pick my dress last Sunday.
And I'm forever thankful.
Humble yourselves before the Lord,
and he will lift you up.
That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in
hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.
II Cor. 12:10