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My Cake Carrier Made Me Pause

02/08/2015 - Author: Jennifer

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If you have read my blog at all, you know that my husband Matt and I have/are in a difficult season of marriage. I believe that if you stay married long enough you just might have at least one. However, I do have things that I like about being a wife. I have been transformed in some ways that have literally made me pause. I am surprised even at some ways I have changed. I have even embraced it. Here are some things:

  • I now don’t mind cooking or baking. I don’t know how this happened. I was content to let others do it and support the economy and leave it to the professionals. However, I rarely have to throw out bad bananas. My husband even found the recipe for banana bread. (Isn’t he helpful)? (I also think that he secretly hopes that the bananas do go bad so bread can be baked, but I don’t know for sure).
  • I have a cake carrier. It hit me this past Labor Day. I was actually carrying a cake carrier with a cake that I baked. Oh.my.word. What.the.heck? I actually stopped and paused on the sidewalk. My husband didn’t get it, bless his heart. I thought that he knew me well enough to know that I was feeling comfortable and out of my element at the same time.
  • I have a slow-cooker. This is a big deal. I have had one before, but I either gave it away or threw it away. I honestly can not remember. So, I wanted to do this right. When we went shopping for it, I was looking at online reviews and everything like that because this was a big purchase. What?! Since I do work now, I think this new kitchen appliance excites my husband more. I have also learned that the slow-cooker can bring on many excited discussions and recipes from gals. I will admit, convenience is the word here and so far, this appliance has served us well.
  • He supports me working. I am happier now that I work outside the home (gasp) so that probably does help. He now makes dinner. I do miss doing that so when I can do it, it is enjoyable now instead of a chore. I was going to stay at home because isn’t that what the good Proverbs 31 woman does? Well, I have an opinion about that. Read at the end.
  • Now, I know that you don’t have to be a wife to enjoy doing or having these things. However, I had to say I do to Matt. I would not have done any of this if I didn’t have this man who enjoyed it. I would not have cared. Now I do, so I did.
  • Here is something that I do believe. I still would have a fulfilled life if God had a different plan for me. Marriage, kid(s), house, etc. does not/should not make one fulfilled. For me, it is a blessing to me that God has allowed me to have this family. Marriage has helped refined me. So has motherhood, but I have been a wife longer, so more refinement has happened there.

Now, my opinion on the Proverbs 31 woman–she shops and has helpers around the house.  Now that is some Old Testament I would not mind bringing back! (Yes, I might be taking it out of context, but lets have some fun here ladies). She works hard and maybe even works out. I do not believe that she did all of it in a 24 hour period. So ladies, calm down.

I do believe that the Proverbs 31 woman is someone all women can look up to, not just wives. I also believe that there are other women in the Bible we can learn from–good and not so good. Check out Rachel’s blog for a series she did about women in the Bible. Good stuff she has over there.

However, I came upon an article that I absolutely love. It is another look at Proverbs 31. It is so unlike what I have heard and believed growing up in church and I think that it is worth taking a look at. I wish I had this article when I was growing up.

I would love to hear what you think. Does the Proverbs 31 woman intimidate you or not?

Be blessed 🙂

Articles:

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/3-things-you-might-not-know-about-proverbs-31

 

 

 

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One Day Mama….

01/21/2015 - Author: Jennifer

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I have been working part-time outside of the home for over a year now. I have to say, it has been great for our family. We have benefited greatly from this. I did gain a lot more of something since working -perspective- and I needed it.

Motherhood is messy. Being a boymom is messy. (I am not saying that having girls do not come with messes, but I can only speak as a boymom. Girl moms, I applaud you for your survival skills and keeping your sanity).  I embrace the mess. I really do try. Yes, there comes a time when I just can’t stand it anymore and we need to clean, but I try not to exasperate me. I try not to get frustrated when I am asked to do something again or when my son asks for my help. Why? One day, the mess will be cleaned up. One day, the questions for help will stop coming (or not come as frequently). Our conversations are going to change through the years and get harder. One day, if he meets “the girl”, I will be replaced.

The super-hero pajama’s will be no more. He will not need to be rocked to sleep anymore. Baking will go quicker because there will be less mess to clean and nobody to help you or teach so you won’t be slowed down. Just breath and try to take mental pictures. Laugh when icing gets on you and flour is all over his shirt.

The legos will no longer be stepped on and nobody will scare you with snake noises. The towers that are being built just to be torn down will no longer be. Nobody will try to gross me out or scare me (because the more disgusting and the scarier mommy thinks it is, the better). That season will come to an end sooner than I want, so I am trying to live it as much as I can with as much enjoyment as I can. My schedule will no longer be broken up by school and other activities. I will one day have a little more free time, but I will need to know what to do with it.

Karen Kingsbury has the best book on this perspective called Let Me Hold You Longer. I encourage you to read it.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t teach our kids responsibilities. They need to function without us. I am also not saying to make your kids the center of your world and life existance.  I am saying (and I say this to myself) to breath, be patient, and try to find the good in it all. Let’s have more fun with this awesome privilege we call motherhood. One day mama, it will be gone.

Be blessed 🙂

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Prayed for Future Husband, Praying for Now Husband

01/12/2015 - Author: Jennifer

Screenshot 2015-01-12 22.57.09Ladies, I know I am not alone. We are told from a young age to pray for your future husbands. We are told to make a list and tell God (basically recite it). Now, I am not saying to not tell God what you think you want. I did it. It sounded so spiritual and Scriptural (Psalm 37:4 anyone)? This was easy for me. (I don’t remember praying for my role as a wife very often, oddly enough). Now that I have been married for a dozen years, I have been humbled by a real lesson:

Pray for future husband=easy. Praying for the man I married and for my marriage=hard.

Not that I have never prayed for my husband or marriage–I have intermittently. They have ranged from blissful lovey-dovey (thank you God for my marriage), asking for God’s favor (please bless this marriage), to desperate (God save my marriage!).

I have asked God a couple of questions when I have prayed:

  • God who is THIS man?
  • Why did THIS happen?
  • Why did I marry him? (I will say that I feel the advice to remember why you got married in the 1st place feels ill-advised when I am going thru a hard season. People change and if he isn’t the same man anymore, I need a new reason).
  • WHO am I? I don’t remember anymore.

I have also been bossy and told God what to do (He is God. He can handle my bossiness):

  • Since You allowed this to happen, help me!
  • My husband does not meet my list/needs/wants that I prayed for or meets my expectations. Open his eyes.
  • He doesn’t get me anymore. Please tell him what I need since me talking is not working.

Why is it hard to pray for my husband? Why do I not devote sometime EVERYDAY to praying for someone that I made a covenant with and promised to forsake everyone else? I have a list of excuses:

  • Facing an unknown diagnosis/future for our son
  • Selfishness
  • Pride
  • Feeling defeated
  • Doubt
  • Life gets in the way. (Social commitments, church, family, etc.).
  • Health issues
  • Family issues (mine and his).

In all fairness, I do also fail to to consistently pray for me. I am a work in progress. I have no excuses.

I type this for a couple of reasons.

  1. I want to be honest and say that praying for my marriage is something I struggle with and I hope that I am not alone.
  2. Go ahead and tell God what you want, but you might be surprised. I married a man completely opposite of what I thought I wanted and honestly needed. Yes, I know saying needed will offend people, but I am just trying to live and learn where He leads and marriage is one of the ways He is refining me. I am trying to go with it.
  3. I can not give up! I can’t give up on this marriage when I don’t get my way or when times are hard.
  4. The Bible says to not stop praying. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Wives are you with me? Let’s commit not making any more excuses and be consistent in praying for the most important relationship here on earth?

Be blessed 🙂

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Being a Safe Place to Land

12/28/2014 - Author: Jennifer

Being a Soft Place to LandHave you ever had to go to someone and talk to them–scared of what they will say or how they will react? I hate having to talk to people if I think that it will start a conflict. I will usually just try to ignore it and hope the issue goes away. Sometimes it works, but not always. I think one of my biggest fears is how is the other person going to react. I don’t feel safe. However, when someone needs to come to me, I don’t want them to be scared. I want to be a safe place.

I want to be a safe place for my husband. If he needs to talk, confide, confess, or just share what is on his mind, I need to have love, patience, and listen without interrupting or attacking.

When my son needs to tell me something, he shouldn’t be scared of how I am going to react. I want him to feel safe with his mom. I want him to know I love him no matter what. Showing positive reinforcement and less frustrations I am sure will help.

When someone needs to talk to me, I want them to come to me with confidence, not fear. I need to be safe when others have opinions that differ than mine. I want them to feel comfortable talking to me.

I need to remember that I am not perfect. I will need to seek grace and help at times in my relationships. So why is it so hard to offer the same? I get so consumed by hurt that I want them to feel hurt. Offering grace is also being vulnerable. Vulnerability can make you feel exposed and make you feel as if you are opening the door to be hurt again. Truth? You are, but is the relationship worth it?

We also have to forgive. It is commanded in Matthew 6:14-15: “14 If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (NLT)

Let’s face it. I feel better when I forgive. Don’t you? I feel better when I don’t lash out or get defensive. There is good in being a safe place. I am working on it. I will get better.

Be blessed 🙂

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A Fearful Wife

12/13/2014 - Author: Jennifer

When you see this title, maybe you thought about fearing God. That is a good thing to do, but that is not what I a talking about here.

I have in the past wrote about 3’s a crowd. Today, I talk about something else that crowds its way into my marriage–a confession really.

I hope you stop over at Unveiled Wife today, check out the article, then offer any advice you have.

Be blessed 🙂2014-05-01 19.30.07

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My 4 year old asked me what temptation is

11/03/2014 - Author: Jennifer

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This past Saturday, my son was helping me make dinner. I love having him in the kitchen with me. I was shredding cheese for homemade macaroni and cheese. He was supervising and making sure the cheese tasted good by eating it before it could be put in the sauce. (I should tell you my son LOVES cheese). After eating more than he should, I told him to please stop and save some for dinner. He could not or would not do it, I really do not know. So I did what any good mom would do–I helped him out by removing the temptation from him. I told him “here, let me remove the temptation from you”. I could not have predicted what happened next.

My 4 year old son asked me what temptation is. This.is.huge! First, we are learning how to form conversations and he did it right. Second, I was challenged.  I tried to define it. (I honestly do not remember what I said). I didn’t pause. It almost felt natural to talk about this. (Divine intervention). God, please let me get this right.

My husband and I are trying to raise our son to want to follow God. I feel like a failure everyday. I am not making Jesus look good with how I live sometimes and I often wonder if my son will be turned off with a relationship with Jesus because of how I lived and what he saw. I have on more that one occasion asked God to fill in the gaps of my failures where my son is concerned.

The next day, I was talking to my husband about faith and wondered if our son will understand. I said I hope he gets his faith, not ours. Not mine. Not my husband’s. You see, my husband and I had piggy-backed on our parents faith for too long. We didn’t search out the Bible enough, we just did what was taught as we were growing up. I feel like I am recently coming into my own faith–meaning I am looking only to Jesus, not what my parents believe or how I was raised in Church to believe.

As parents, we have a responsibility to raise our kids and have God be our guide (Ephesians 6:4), but I can’t force my faith upon my son. I pray that he does believe and accept Christ as His Savior and strive to live for Him. But, I want my son to do it for himself, not for me or his father. Not that I mind if God wants to use me to help show our son the way. What an honor!

What about you? How did you come to know Jesus? Who challenges you to be a better follower and witness for our Savior?

 

Be blessed 🙂

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Shame from Modesty

10/10/2014 - Author: Jennifer

Shame from ModestyThere will always be differences of opinions in church. I do believe that some things need full agreement. One of the ongoing (and maybe never-ending arguments) in church is modesty. Not surprisingly, I have an opinion. What is surprising is how it has evolved/changed over the years. How I feel may also surprise you. First, some background.

I grew up in a legalistic environment. The church said it, so we did it. There was no room for interpretation of the Bible. So, when there was a church function that involved wearing a swimsuit–girls wore a one-piece or wore a shirt. Why? Because guys will lust and we can’t cause guys to sin. That’s it. We were taught that girls just don’t understand guys and that it is a fact of life. This is how God made them. Church never taught guys to look away. There was no telling guys to wear shirts. Guys were not asked required to wear shirts. Oh no. If they work out, they are allowed to show the fruits of their labor. (Are you seriously going to tell me that girls are not going to notice? If you could sell me that you are a great salesperson).

You know what? I now have issues with some of what was being said (and is still being said in many Churches). There are lasting consequences that I live with because of these teachings. Can I share a few with you?

  • It is all my fault if a guys lusts–no matter what is worn. I have had men look from my face to my chest in a uniform shirt. I know this isn’t my fault, but I still may ask–am I to blame?
  • I am ashamed/embarrassed of my figure.
  • Any attention that I may get due to looks feels shameful to me.
  • I don’t accept compliments well.
  • I will zip up a jacket to cover up more.
  • To this day, turning a light on in front of my husband can be weird. We have been married 12 years people.
  • Wearing clothes that don’t sag or make me look bigger can be a huge step for me. I don’t want attention. Here’s the thing–I want to look good, but if a man looks at me and lusts, even though I don’t want the attention, it is in my head that it is my fault.

I hate that it is an issue. I hate that I have been taken on a guilt trip and manipulated into thinking that I will cause my brothers in Christ to sin. I hate that my brothers in Christ (and guys in general) are not taught to glance away. This has also caused division in my marriage. (That is another story though).

I know there are women who crave attention, maybe due to confidence issues–they wear revealing swimsuits/clothing because their worth is based on looks they receive from guys. I think that we should be focused on why or where their heart and mind is and why they wear what they wear. But, what about women who just don’t share your conviction–who let God be their guide and not people in church?

I know that this goes beyond swimsuits. Yoga pants and leggings are making headlines. My opinion–unless you are doing yoga, get dressed. (I feel this way about sweat pants too, FYI). Yes, I get it–if your pants have writing on the back, then yes, you probably want attention. Again, this probably needs to be a heart check/self-esteem check.

I believe that what you wear says a lot about you. I do believe that modesty is important. I also think that guys AND gals should be aware that what you wear can bring unhealthy attention.

Can I say something? Christian brothers and sisters–you will be in Heaven worshipping God along side gals who wore 2-pieces here on earth. Scandalous? It shouldn’t be. There are gals who will always “cover-up” and go to hell. That is sad. Christians will be in Heaven with guys who had no issues performing in body building contests. Christians do not get to Heaven based on what they wear or don’t wear. Let us not forget John 3:16-17. 

For the church to be divided on this probably makes Satan happy. It is a win for him. We need to stop making girls feel shame because they are girls. Growing up isn’t easy. Stop putting added pressure on girls with your guilt trips. Let Church be a safe place. Let it be about loving and serving God with His Word (The Bible) as our guide. Have we caused people to leave church or not want to serve God based on rules that we made ourselves? What happened to John 13:35 “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”?

I want to add that if I am aware of your convictions, I want to honor that. I won’t invite an alcoholic to a pub and I won’t offer them alcohol at my home. If I am aware that you are trying to cut back on sugar, I won’t ask to meet you at a cupcake shop. If there is music that offends you, then we won’t listen to it. BUT, these are YOUR convictions, not what your preacher said. This is MY decision to honor it, NOT a guilt trip by someone else.

I am not saying eat at restaurants that have waitresses and waiters solely for eye candy. Really. I can’t imagine someone feeling good about themselves after their spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend went there? Comparison is horrible in relationships.

Please believe me when I say I that I love people. I value your eyesight and your mind. I don’t want to cause anyone to sin. That said, I believe that we also need to watch what we say, how we say it, and what we do. I think that gossip and arrogance is dangerous and can cause people to stumble in their faith. What a tragedy. I want to cry when I think of how I have failed in my witness when I fail to live for God in how I talked, not what swimsuit I wore. That is on me, nobody else. See what I am saying? There is nobody else to blame but me. However, we blame girls when guys look–and it doesn’t matter what they wear. Guys are not taught 1 Corinthians 10:13. Females have body issues. Let’s not add to it. Let’s teach our boys to respect women and have them give eye-contact (not look at other parts of her body).

To those of you I have judged and have made Jesus look bad–I am sorry. I am a recovering legalistic who is trying to let Jesus be my guide and not what others say. Search Him and tell me what You think.

Be blessed 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Transition

09/26/2014 - Author: Jennifer

Recently, I have closed a chapter in my life and I am excited about that. I also believe that another chapter in my life is closing (and has been for awhile and I just didn’t want to admit it) but this closing makes me sad. I am almost in tears, but I don’t honestly see a need to keep that chapter open anymore. I don’t feel that I can do it–that I am not made to do it anymore.

After dropping my son off at daycare, I asked God why can’t I do it all? Why can’t I be more organized? Why can’t I be more disciplined? I read where these women seem to be able to do it all and I just don’t get it. They seem to be making an impact and I am jealous. I know that jealousy is a sin, so can you pray for me please?

So I need to ask God some questions:

  • What is next? I just want to be obedient (I think).
  • Did I miss what God wanted for me due to disobedience and selfishness?
  • Where do we go from here?
  • Has my whining and complaining caused my husband and I to miss where God wants us? I would like to think God is using me to help guide Matt, but honestly, I think I am a distraction. We should work together to lead others to Jesus, but I am pulling us away and apart. I am not a good example for our son.

I know there is a verse about asking and receiving (Mt. 7:7) but, as my husband reminded me, you have to pray. It isn’t that I haven’t asked God about some of these things before, but maybe I need to get over jealousy, inadequacy, and being hurt by folks before there is clarity. Maybe I need to pray more and, as my pastor has said, have more focused prayers.

I am grateful He still wants to use me. Use us. My mind is a jumbled mess. Will you pray for us? Pray for clarity, contentment, patience and anything else we need?

Be blessed 🙂

Side note–I know that this post might be vague, and for that I am sorry. I hate vague posts, but I am trying to cut down on whining.

 

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The V Word

09/04/2014 - Author: Jennifer

The V Word

 

I recently read an article where the writer had talked about her regrets over not having sex before she was married. Not only did she have regrets, but she had guilt on her honeymoon. As I was reading it, I felt sad for her, and there were a couple of other things that stood out to me.

She said she lost her virginity when she got married. I was a virgin when I got married, but I didn’t lose my virginity–I gave it to my husband. I considered it a gift to him. I can honestly say that I feel that Matt’s virginity is the best gift he gave me. He saved it for me, and I for him. What an honor. When you lose something, you want it back. You can say I surrendered my virginity on my honeymoon.

She had guilt. Ok, this one I could almost relate to. If I didn’t have a friend to talk to before I was married, I would probably have felt guilty also.  I can understand that churches will put the fear of God in you with the purity pledges and whatever else they scare you with. I don’t think churches emphasize emotional bonding that comes with sex–that you leave a piece of yourself with every sexual partner. I felt sad for the writer because instead of having one of the most amazing, once-in-a-lifetime bonding experiences with her husband, instead she felt only guilt about losing her virginity.

I was raised in church and I feel like I was given the myth that you will have a perfect marriage if you both are virgins. If you don’t have sex until you are married, then you will have an amazing marriage. Yes, my husband and I were both virgins when we married. Does that mean we didn’t have issues? No. Does that mean we had the best sex ever on our honeymoon? Well, I guess, but only because we didn’t have sex before. What am I most grateful for? That my performance isn’t compared to anyone else. It is hard enough to deal with my husband’s porn addiction and all that comes with it. I am so glad I don’t have a real experience to compete with.

She said she would of had sex when her husband was her boyfriend, if she could do it all over again. I would be surprised if she didn’t have guilt then. Her source of guilt is not being a virgin until she was married. She felt guilty because she was caught up in the rules of the church. Being a virgin when you get married is not your ticket to heaven and not being a virgin when you are married does not send you to hell. Not having a RELATIONSHIP with Jesus sends you to hell.

I don’t known if churches today talk about sex or not. I do know that sex does not seem to be not a big deal in church today. What do I mean by that? A lot of people in the church are having casual sex. I don’t get it. How.do.you.have.casual.sex? How do you treat sex like it is no big deal instead of a gift? This makes me sad.

I have no regrets about saving my virginity for my husband. I don’t think that makes me a better Jesus follower. In the end, being a virgin when you get married has benefits, but it should not become an idol.

Anyway, just some of my thoughts from an article.

Be blessed:)

 

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The Blessing of Community

07/23/2014 - Author: Jennifer

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These past few weeks have been a blessing to me because of community. Here’s a short rundown:

  • I have had the privilege of  meeting new ladies at Bible Study. This excites me because of my work schedule, there are not many opportunities to do this, but I found one and signed up. I am so glad I did.
  • I was blessed to attend an Unveiled Wife Meet-up. I learned a few of things.
  1. My personal, quiet time with God is lacking.
  2. I need more accountability.
  3. I also feel more passionate for marriages.
  • I also said good-bye to a friend who is relocating. We met at our mutual friend’s Rachel‘s house. We have A LOT going on in our lives, but we made the time. I am glad we did. These women bless me and challenge me and I am grateful to have them in my life.

These communities are of different ladies, but there are a few similarities.

  • They share to help others and offer hope when you cling to Jesus. Really, there is no other way to make it through.
  • I really do love the generations that are represented. They bring life experiences and wisdom.
  • I also love and appreciate the seasons we all are in. We can all make a contribution.

We need community. It started in the beginning. Literally. God made Eve for Adam so he wouldn’t be lonely. I am not saying everyone needs a spouse. I am saying that we need human interaction. We need to make time. Stop making excuses. Be a part of community. Hopefully, you will bless others in the process.

Be blessed 🙂

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