He's the balloon. I'm the string.

He's the balloon. I'm the string.

I’ve always loved to read. Little House on the Prairie was a constant companion of mine when I was younger. As I’ve grown and gotten older, reading has taken a backseat, though. It’s one of those things that I just don’t make time for – unless it’s from the Goffs. And by Goffs, I mean Bob and Maria. I LOVE how they can make the gospel come to life through sharing their own wild and crazy experiences and somehow relating them back to Jesus.

Recently, I have found major comfort in reading Love Lives Here by Maria. It is a recollection of her life as a mom and wife to Bob. Early on in the book, she shares their personality differences and how it took several years to really figure out that she and Bob were nothing alike, and that was their STRENGTH.

“Here’s the thing: I’m not trying to be like Bob, and he’s not trying to be like me. We’re each trying to be like Jesus. God didn’t make us the same, so we’re not trying to act like we are. I think that’s where sometimes people get confused, and a lot of tension enters into their relationships. If you feel like your ambition isn’t big enough because it’s not the same ambition someone you love has, don’t buy the lie and change who you are… Celebrate the differences. Laugh about them. Work with them. End up at the feet of Jesus with them.”

I am entering year 5 with my Coach, 3rd married. Each season, there has been a struggle for me in two ways:
1) Feeling like I don’t do enough.
2) Feeling like I can’t do anymore.

Now, that’s an oxymoron, isn’t it? Here’s the thing: My nature is to be super involved and in charge of whatever is in front of me. My husband is the exact opposite - he’s as laid back as they come, never getting his feathers ruffled about anything but Friday nights and UGA football. So, when it feels like he doesn’t care if I am more involved, it can bother me. On the flip side of that, however, there are days that I don’t think I could do ONE more single thing - between running my own business, taking care of our two kids, keeping up with laundry, and feeding everybody - that is enough.

All three seasons, there has been a constant battle between the two - am I doing enough, and I can’t do another thing. Such is life as a mom and wife, right?

Year 3, however, and thanks to Maria Goff, I have a new approach. Football season is not mine. It’s my husband’s. I truly feel, more than ever, that my job is to sit back and support him. I don’t have to run all the things and be all the things. My number one job is to support him.

During the season, it’s almost like our roles flip. Typically, I am the one with the big ideas, chasing all the dreams, etc. But, during the season, I feel like it’s my job to provide stability and predictability - so that when things go crazy at football, he knows home is still good (mostly, anyway).

Maria goes on to say this: “Bob brings fun and adventure and risk and spontaneity to our marriage. I give stability, predictability, and home life for everyone to return to. His passion is to make the world a better place for everyone. Mine is to make our family a better place for generations to come.”

Replace “everyone” with “his players,” and there you have it - our roles during the season are perfectly explained. My goal this season is to change my mindset, to realize that we both have a purpose and as long as I try to work against his, this is going to be hard. But if I show up as his cheerleader (pun intended), day after day, and spend time in prayer for him and because of him, then we both win.

We both play to the strengths in which we are called during this season of life. So, when the days are long, I will celebrate the career that my husband is building. When supper is cold when he gets home, I will give thanks he’s coming home. When Sunday is cut short because of meetings, I will laugh with my children while watching our favorite movie.

When it feels like my business is challenging, I will remember this, too, is only a season. When things are just plain hard, I will turn to Jesus.

“When Bob goes to countries in conflict, he brings lots of balloons. When I come, I bring lots of string. Balloons without string are pretty easy to find. You’ll usually find them floating away over a nearby rooftop. All strings without balloons leave you looking like you’re going to start a macrame project. Together though, they make for tremendous joy. Like Bob and I, they work pretty good together.”

When Austin goes to football, he brings balloons (not really, but go with me). When I come, I bring string. Together, we make for great joy. Like Austin and I, they work pretty good together.

He is the balloon, and I am the string. Let’s do this thing.


Elizabeth K. Oliver is married to Austin Oliver, offensive coordinator at Jeff Davis High School in South GA. She's a business owner at EK Creative, a small business marketing company, and mom to 2 boys Taft and Clay and a goldendoodle, Miller. In their spare time (when is that?), they love going to the beach. 
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