I am the third of four children with no sisters. I always played with the boys: baseball, basketball, kick the can, or ghost in the graveyard. My oldest brother also looked out for me – it helped that I was never the worst player so it was easier for him to overcome the “but she’s a girl!” objection. My mantra was, “keep up with the boys, or get left behind.”
When I met my husband in college and found out he was a hunter, it did not take long before I asked him to take me to the range. It was not long before I had my own bow. Our first hunting season we were dating, I shot my first whitetail. And to brag just a little, it was a perfect shot. Only a few seasons later, I harvested my first doe and buck with my bow.
Fast forward to today. My husband is still an avid hunter, while my duties at home have kept me from the woods. If you had asked me a dozen years ago if that would ever be in my future, I would have laughed and told you, “Not a chance!” I firmly believed that my duties as a parent would be able to be perfectly shared with my husband – we were a team and if I could do things just as well as him, there would be no reason to not be able to share in extra curricular activities evenly too.
Here I am at home, while my husband is on his third elk hunting trip. These elk excursions are in addition to the traditional Wisconsin whitetail hunts every October weekend – Thanksgiving, and annual April turkey hunting… and the occasional pheasant hunting when his friends want an extra dog to flush birds. For perspective on how that equal share of duties thing is going: I have deer hunted one day in the last six years. And my husband hunted that same day.
My heart is sincerely joyful for him. It does not seek to compare the time I have “running our home” compared to the time he is hunting. My husband comes back from the woods with stories to share, big hugs for us, and when we are all lucky, something extra to eat/store in the freezer. The healing aspects of nature lifts him spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. When my husband returns it is to a home that is happy to see him, not resentful of his time spent away.
Truth bomb here – yes, I am often tired and the days spent alone without his help seem to last three times longer than a normal day. When my mind starts to drift into a space of envy of the quiet, I am reminded of a reflection of the differences between men and women – specifically, where Jesus physically met them in the Bible.
Peter, James and John were called out of their boats and were with Jesus on the mountain top. Meanwhile, Jesus met the woman at the well fetching water and went to the home of Martha and Mary to see them. Despite the differences in settings, neither men nor women were left without a personal encounter with Him.
Jesus is always present. Jesus is here with me doing dishes, bathing children, in the tedious loads of laundry. Jesus is with me when I miss my husband and wish for him to give me a three minute break so I can go to the bathroom without someone needing me. Jesus is with me when my children are too quiet (y’all know that is at least a 30 minute clean up.)
Jesus is with my husband when he is discouraged by lack of animal sign, or sign of a predator. Jesus with my husband when he misses home or feels defeated coming home empty handed after days without us. Jesus is with my husband as he learns the land and how to better cooperate with it. Jesus is also with my husband while he is quite literally at the mountain top, teaching him something important about Him. And when I am in the valley of the home, Jesus is likewise teaching me something important about Him.
What’s really more important: my “keeping up” with my husband’s hunting, or my relationship with the Lord and how He wants me to grow in relationship with Him?
So, to all the other wives with hunting husbands, regardless of your stage in marriage, take heart. Jesus is there to train you both so when you are together again your hearts will be stronger and directed toward Jesus, and therefore stronger with each other. Our love and steadfast faith for the Lord is all that matters. How God uses our health, husband’s hobbies, or daily work is to bring us closer to Him. It’s not the circumstance, but how we joyfully use our circumstances out of love that will bring us joy. Jesus alone is the source and summit of our happiness.