Hey,Weak Woman. That’s Me Too!

I enjoy sharing my life with others, but I especially prefer to give account of the good stuff. I mean when something wonderful happens who doesn’t want to shout it from the rooftops. Hallelujah! God’s so good! I’m so blessed!

Accomplishments, promotions, areas where life is going really good; that’s the stuff I like to promote. So what happens when something unravels and falls apart? Usually I sit silently in my own discord and disappointment, I feel a measure of shame perhaps, and I definitely don’t point out the own egg on my face for sure. 

It’s not that I don’t expect hardship, struggles, or setbacks. I do. And I know life isn’t perfect. I shouldn’t strive for perfection, but maybe just the desire for excellence in my day-to-day. Yet when things don’t work out you usually won’t know about it. Sound familiar?

You’ll know all about my two year old conquering potty training in a week, but you might not hear how she completely reverted back to peeing her pants this week. I’ll spill to all my friends about that literary agent interested in furthering my writing career, but I’ll hold the disappointment close to my chest when he doesn’t call or return my emails. Some of the really great stuff I might even fear mentioning at all. After all, what if it doesn’t work out?!

It’s true; I get pretty excited about victories in my life, but I grow sheepishly silent over the failures. In my weakness I suffer in solitude and silence, and you may never know the inner turmoil of which I suffer. 

And I guess that’s fine. People want to celebrate with one another, and keeping the less celebratory items to oneself is just kind of a natural response. But where I really can mess up is in my own response to setbacks and mishaps. For in my apparent weakness I just feel weak. 

2 Corinthians 12.9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

  

I suppose it seems rather foreign to celebrate where we fall short, or to brag about where our vulnerabilities lie, but God’s word always has a tendency to turn our thought processes away from what seems natural in this world. And because of our inability to accept weakness as the opportunity for Christ to shine in our lives we erroneously believe that we suffer through these issues alone. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

First off the woman whose life appears practically perfect in every way has her own struggles. She just keeps them close like all the rest of us. So what you end up seeing on Facebook as you hurriedly scroll are beautiful pictures and plenty of good news. And while that’s all well and fine it’s not the entire picture of the flawed lives that exist in this world. 

I mess up daily, and plans fall through. I yell at my kids too much, and I cheat on my Paleo diet at least once a week. I have a permanent baby pooch, and some days I want to strangle my child when we’re “trying” to do homeschool. I fear the decisions I make are the wrong ones, and many times I question if I’m hearing God right. I recently used a photo app that took my wrinkles away, and then I wondered in shame who all could tell the difference. And in that moment I realized my face and my life were quite wrinkled and worn, but that was okay. I wanted the wrinkles!

It’s in the ugly stuff that occurs, the disappointments, and the situations that don’t go as planned where God can scoop in and most definitively show us His grace. In our brokenness we open our eyes to His majesty, and finally see what a work He’s been capable of all along. And that’s really what’s worth bragging about. That’s what’s really boast-worthy, and with that in mind we really should be talking about our weaknesses a little bit more. 

But the most important part is that we’re not alone in weakness. We’re certainly not alone among our peers as each of us falls short every day, but of biggest mention is that even if we do feel alone we are not. The Lord is always there. Always. 

So hey, weak woman, I’m there too! I’m right there with you in all our lovely imperfection, and I’m right there too with my own beautiful mess. 


45 Alternate Job Descriptions for Nurses

When I became a nurse I quickly realized that the roles I held were many, and that the expectations for the duties I performed far exceeded what I had expected. Suddenly I was confronted with this multitude of hats that I was to wear when performing my job as a nurse, and although I was honored I’ll admit that I was also overwhelmed. 

Indeed in Nursing the expectations of performance are high, and while that’s understandably so it is also difficult to say the very least. Over time, though, you begin to understand that being a nurse is much more than listening to heart tones or coming up with the perfect nursing diagnosis like they taught in school. In fact nurses hold multiple roles, and the title or job description that they could go by are plentiful. Here’s just I few I came up with off the top of my head. 

1. Helper

2. Healer

3. Cook

4. Waitress

5. Maid

6. Friend

7. Motivational Speaker

8. Interim Physician

9. Physical/Occupational Therapist

10. Addiction Counselor

11. Social Worker

12. Lifesaver

13. Mindreader

14. Spiritual Guide/Minister

15. Psychologist

16. Babysitter

17. Mediator

18. Relationship Counselor

19. Masseuse

20. Hairdresser

21. Teacher

22. Security Guard/Bouncer

23. Entertainer (maybe this is just me)

24. Nutritionalist

25. Advocate

26. Investigator

27. Dental Hygienist

28. Biomedical Engineer/Electrician

29. Information Technology (IT) Specialist

30. Banker

31. Podiatrist

32. Comedian

33. Phlebotomist

34. Case Manager

35. Drug Dealer

36. Personal Assistant/Servant

37. Apothecary

38. Politician

39. Researcher

40. Customer Service Representative

41. Interpreter

42. Infection Control Specialist

43. Secretary/Receptionist

44. Life Coach

45. Miracle Worker

As you can see by the above list that’s a lot of hats for one person to wear. Some of those mentioned above are actual titles of other professionals, and for their hard work I’m eternally grateful, but when they cannot be at the bedside then nurses are willing to try and fill their big shoes. I can only hope we do the roles justice. 

With so many duties involved in the healthcare field and necessary to perform quality patient care it’s hard to come up with just one description to encompass everything required, but I guess they did pretty good when they came up with the title Nurse. 

  

So be sure to thank a nurse today for all they do!


The Truth About How Much it Really Costs to Have Children

I often see articles here and there about the high cost involved with becoming a parent, and these posts even offer to break it down for the reader. They talk about the high price of formula and diapers, the rising, exorbitant cost of daycare, necessities such as food and clothing of course, but then they also include things you may not consider, like providing a vehicle and a college education. It’s pretty daunting information. 

  

When I read these articles I find myself shaking my head in agreement at some parts, yet also raising a quizzical eyebrow at others. But overall I think my response when I read about the inherent price that exists when you decide to become a parent is that I think about what it has personally cost me. 

When I became a parent, like from the moment I saw that positive pregnancy test, things changed. I don’t know if you could actually say that God flipped a switch in my life or what, but I do believe at that very moment He lit a fire under me. A fire to change me, refine me, and begin the teaching in me of what it was like to live for someone other than myself. 

As it is now I find that parenting has cost much more than I bargained for when I first threw the idea around with my husband for us to get pregnant, but it’s not exactly the price of all the diapers that ranks up there as a top cost in my brain. Not even close. 

You see when you become a parent a strange thing happens with time. Suddenly there seems to be much less of it, but ironically you have more things to do. Yet even in the small chunk of time you manage to carve out between work and other responsibilities you come to realize that not even that tiny slice is yours. It now belongs to someone else. 

So pretty quickly you begin to understand the investment you will have to make for your baby, and it’s certainly not just a monthly deposit into a college fund. It’s an investment of time. 

It’s true. When faced with the cutest boutique clothes ever, the latest fad toy, or simply cuddles in my lap I can guarantee my children will pick snuggling with Mom. And though they may falter in their decision if it’s something really cool like an America Girl doll or Shopkins, when it comes down to it all they really want is my time. They want to cash in on the investment of time with me. 

The cost of diapers is ridiculous, but there’s always someone who would suggest using cloth ones. The price of formula should be a crime, but there’s always a mom who will tell you breastfeeding is free if you’re able to do it. Kids don’t care if they’re wearing Gymboree, Walmart’s Garanimals, or even thrift store hand-me-downs. Mom and Dad probably care more about what classes or sports are on the Summer agenda. Organic snacks are super-keen, but drinking from the water hose rather than bottles never killed anyone that I know. And though children do require basic necessities such as nutrition and medical care the biggest cost of being a parent is simply being around and being a responsible role model to your kid. 

When I became a parent my whole life turned upside down, and everything about me changed. Cigarettes were thrown in the trash and bottles of water replaced the case of beer in my fridge. The girl who loved to go get drunk and sing Karaoke became the woman who felt completely content sitting on the sofa at home holding her daughter. And as I sat there staring into the big, blue eyes of my baby girl I realized she was counting on me. 

From that moment forward it wasn’t about just me anymore; now it was about the life for which I was responsible. She needed my love, my devotion, and my time. I was determined to invest every ounce of myself into this new life, and that’s the real cost of parenting. That’s the one thing they don’t always mention, but the one thing that they should. Because when you make the decision to become a parent it will cost you the selfish life you once lived, and you will be required to give of yourself selflessly day in and day out. Forever. 

I suppose the most interesting part to me is how you don’t even mind. You worry more about the cost of dance lessons, private school, or insurance, and you don’t think a thing about the lifelong investment of personal time, energy, and emotional/physical resources that encompass the role of a parent. It’s like it’s the hardest job on the planet, but you do it for free. And you’re fine with that. You’re fine with it because the payoff of holding a sleeping baby cannot be given a number value, and the reward you receive when you look at your child is immeasurable. 

Somehow it makes it all worth it. The cost of being a parent is the biggest debt you will ever have, but the gift you receive in your heart cancels out any price you pay in effort or time. The joy somehow makes the cost seem irrelevant. 

And that’s why people keep having babies even as the cost of living rises. It’s like once you see how rewarding raising a family is, and you accept that the real cost is your precious time then you’re able to make it work when it comes to diapers, college tuition, and all the little, monetary stuff in between. 

The truth is the real cost of having children has no quantifiable price tag, but also of note is that the payoff of raising them is priceless all on its own. 

Spring in Mississippi

I love Spring, and even as I start downing Zyrtec and Claritin like they’re the latest street drug craze I still remain optimistic for the trumpet sound from Mother Nature that warmer temperatures are on the horizon. Indeed I grow giddy, and I flit around in excitement similar to the twitterpated birds I see flying past my open window. 

As my weather app tells me of the pleasantly rising degrees and rays of beautiful sunshine second their emotion with beams burning brightly through my undrawn shades I pull out my wrinkly Capri pants and observe my un-manicured toes with mild disdain. 

Even my kids catch the Spring Fever, and I watch in amusement as they dig for last season’s suit while hollering, “hey Mom, can we go swim?”

We all run outside in sheer abandon, shedding our socks along the way, and one of the many joys running through my fatigued, post-winter mommy brain is does this mean flu season can go away now?!

Warm air swims around my restful body, I feel the slightest breath of wind across my face, and as I lower my sunglasses to watch my children picking me bouquets of Spring flowers a tranquil peace surrounds me. They’re running off all that pent-up, Winter cabin fever, I think satisfied, and although my tan is seriously lacking I work my Momma shorts like nobody’s business. 

Ahhh, Spring has finally come, I think. I eagerly purchase sleeveless Easter dresses and go about the grueling business of changing out children’s seasonal wardrobes. I get the taste within me for a good grilled burger, and when I stop and sniff the air I can already taste that charcoal goodness on my anticipatory tongue.  

But somehow in my excitement for new beginnings and a longing for Summer I always forget a small fact about Spring in Mississippi. Every year it gets me, and somehow it always catches me unaware as if I wasn’t a Southerner at all. It’s bound to happen though, each and every year. For sure enough one day, after a week of basking in the seventy degree sunshine, I will walk outside excitedly, and immediately (and sadly unexpectedly) slip on a piece of ice that appeared on my driveway overnight. 

  

Mississippi in Spring is kind of like my hormones after I had my second child: completely unreliable, slightly bipolar, and most definitely erratic. It’s like one minute we’re all warm and welcoming, but then without notice and completely without warning we rip the flowered welcome mat out from under your flip-flop clad feet and greet you with a bitterly cold demeanor. You might even dread the moment you let your guard down with eager anticipation for our warm arms to embrace you because the sudden and frigid presentation make us seem even colder than we ever were before. 

Spring in Mississippi is kind of like that, and even though it seems I would have a kinship with such an erratic weather-patterned region I still forget the split personality that is the beginning of Spring down South. 

And as I shut my windows and turn on the heat, pulling out cardigans to place on the children, I try to remember that I should enjoy this last spell of cold weather. After all we all know it will be pushing ninety degrees come this time next week. 

So there you have it; Spring in Mississippi, and I always enjoy all five minutes that this supposed season lasts. Don’t you?

A Letter For the Atheist Who Mocks Me

*If you are an atheist, but do not mock Christians then this letter is not directed at you. I do hope, though, you will read it too.

Last night I was on Twitter when I came across a gentleman with an obvious affection for sarcasm. Naturally I was drawn to read more as I too am fluent in that language, but as I perused his tweets I was reminded how sarcasm can be used as a cruel mockery of people who are different from yourself. Indeed as I read along I was taken aback by his blatant and unnecessary ridicule of Christianity in his numerous, 140 character-long sneers. At least every fourth or fifth tweet was a jab at Christianity, and I wondered why?

And the thing is I see this a lot. A lot more lately. It’s pretty common on social media to see those who do not believe in God poking fun of those who do, but I typically stay quiet on the issue. I allow their comments to slide as I know arguing with a stranger on Facebook won’t usually end with me offering the plan of salvation to an open heart. Plus on the flip side my heart hurts when I see fellow brothers and sisters in Christ attacking nonbelievers in an air of judgement with a snide remark of “hope you like it hot.”

But I suppose a tender heart breaking for humanity can only take so much pain, and a warrior for God’s kingdom can only remain complacently silent for a time. With the vast array of emotions within me I felt the need to put it down, and here is what I would say. 

Dear Atheist Brother, 

I suppose you noticed the brother part, right? Well, I address you as such because that’s honestly how I see you, and although you don’t believe that God is our Father, I do. Just because you don’t acknowledge our family tie does not mean it doesn’t exist for me. So in my belief of Christianity, and the fact that I believe you to be my brother, I have a special love for you in my heart. Because my Father loves you, I love you also. 

But I want to explain that love a bit. It’s not a flowery, emotional love that I have for you. In fact realistically it would be near impossible for me to have a love for someone who ridicules me, and I cannot honestly tell you it’s similar to how I love my spouse, my aunt, or my best friend. It’s not the same, and loving you is harder, but because I try to see you as Jesus sees you I can ascribe that your life has worth. As a creation of God I love you, even if you don’t believe in such a foreign kind of love. And though you may not believe me, that you may in fact think I’m just using words I’ve been taught to say in my Christian faith, I can tell you this. I have never been more sincere in my life. I love you. 

I suppose that’s what makes it so hard when you mock me, when you ridicule me, or when you hurl your cruel insults upon my family name. Because of that I have to make myself love you all over again, but I do it because He loved you first. 

I feel so many emotions when you laugh at something I hold so dear, and one of the first thoughts I have is always to question why it is necessary for you to pour out your scorn on me. I mean, if you don’t believe in God then why do you keep talking about Him? Why do you take up so much energy to make fun of me that I do believe? Why are you so concerned with what you call my “imaginary god” from a “fairy tale book” that you wish to point out to me how false you think my beliefs are?! Are you that concerned for your fellow man that you need me to see things your way? If so you’re going about it all wrong. 

Now I realize you could flip the script on me there. We as Christians are often vocal about your non-belief, and many will work diligently to have you see eternity from their point of view. You do realize that Christians feel this urge to witness to you because they believe in eternal life and they believe that you must accept Jesus’ gift of death for your sins to live eternally with Him? That’s why they’re driven, but I’m confused as to why you are. Why do you mock my belief in God when you believe in nothing? What purpose does that serve other than to be cruel and simply make a mockery of my belief system?

Aside from my confusion I honestly feel anger. To take something that you know I feel so strongly about and call it a farce is beyond offensive. To me my Lord is everything. He is more important than my spouse, my children, my home, my job, or even my own life; so to call this fictional offends me on a level you cannot imagine. 

I am sorry if at any point someone bearing the title of Christian has ever treated you poorly, offended you, judged you in a condescending manner, or made you feel less. We know it’s not our place to be a judge, and we know we are to always respond in love, but that doesn’t always happen. You see, Christianity isn’t a magic pill that suddenly makes a person practically perfect in every way. Rather it’s a lifestyle where one desires to do better, to be better, and I’m sorry if someone treated you other than how they should have. 

Regardless I am consistently upset by arrows of condescension from you and your friends insisting to tell me how ridiculous and delusional I am for believing in God. Sometimes it seems like people can worship anything freely nowadays, be it celebrities, their pets, or themselves, but try to worship according to the Bible and you are a freak of nature. Well, I’ll happily continue my Jesus freak walk all the way to eternity. I just wish I could do it without your brutal commentary along the way. 

But do you know what’s worse than my shock, or even my anger? It’s the feeling I have in my body when I read your words. A lump in my throat follows this ache in my chest that becomes a pit in my stomach. It’s the feeling of heartache, and my heart breaks when I read your comments. My heart breaks for you because I still love you. Despite your tauntings I love you anyway, and though you don’t believe in eternal life like I do, I still believe in it for you. Though you mock my God, He is your God also. 

  

I can recall a time when I had nothing to believe in. I remember an emptiness in my life that I tried to fill in so many ways, but they always fell flat. You think I fear a fictional character, but the fact is that because of Him I have no fear. I don’t fear your ridicule, and I do not fear death. Rather I have a hope that burns like a fire within me making each day a better one. 

Your words hurt me because I’m human and susceptible to those inherent emotions, but thankfully my feelings are not what rules my life. And while I do feel good, in fact I feel great, it’s something far exceeding that that governs my life. This peace that I have in Jesus tells me that though I will be persecuted for my Christian life that my strength will remain in Him. 

So though your words hurt me they do not break me; they only break my heart for you. 

Lovingly Yours,

Your Sister

Five Characteristics of a Virtuous Wife

We live in a world of social media where our happiest moments are captured at the snap of a button, edited with the most complimentary filter possible, and then shared for all to see. It’s most always the beautiful moments that we open up to others, and the less lovely instances are quickly deleted so as never to see the light of day. 

As a Christian woman it’s easy to dress up your family in color-coordinating outfits, haul everyone hurriedly off to church, and smile pleasantly at passerby’s of your pew like you are the happiest family to ever be, and like there were never raised voices and tears prior to your arrival for Sunday morning service.

  

Let’s face it, we’re all human, and our actions will never be quite as they should be. We will always be in the good race to obtain those traits presented in Proverbs 31, and we will fall short many times, but too often we miss the mark of where it all starts. Too often we as women desire to give ourselves to our community, our friends, and our congregation, but The Lord is calling us to start in our home. 

The calling of a Christian woman starts on her own doorstep, and until we can perform as Christ intended within our own home then all the smiles, tithes, and pretty pictures presenting a loving family mean nothing. Our mission of love must start in our home, and only then may we successfully flow love from there. 

It resides with how you treat your children, and it begins with how you interact with your spouse. God calls His daughters to be women of virtue, and this is such a lofty position we hold. It’s one that we should take with utmost seriousness, and we can never underestimate the role we serve in furthering the Kingdom by being Godly wives. 

There are certain characteristics a virtuous wife exhibits, and her calling to be like Jesus starts in her relationship with her spouse. 

1. Helpmate. Wives are called to be a helpmate, and this call to companionship is of extreme importance. A helpmate is a team player in the marriage, and a helpmate understands that each partner in the holy union must give all of themselves to further the relationship. It’s not a 50/50 kind of deal, but more like a 100/100. A helpmate understands that somedays their partner may not be at their best, but it is in these instances that a true companion steps in to pick up the slack. 

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: 
10 If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! 
11Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 

12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.


2. Trusts. I do believe that trust is something that must be built, and it is also something that must be maintained, but too often in relationships women find it difficult to trust. Due to instances where they have been hurt by a man, be it a father figure or another relationship, many women find trust a difficult characteristic to walk in. Their past pain makes them untrusting, but God calls us to put faith in our marriage. Some men are untrustworthy, but all of them are not. We must be willing to surrender our hearts completely to our husbands, and put faith in their actions. A virtuous woman places her trust in The Lord, and through the healing of that relationship she may find it possible to build and maintain trust in human ones also. 

3. Compliments. A virtuous wife strives to build up her man, not tear him down. She will desire to speak life into her marriage, not be the death of it. She will seek ways to find the best attributes of her spouse, and she will ruminate on those. She will fan the flame of his confidence, she will inspire him with loving words, and she will back up her compliments with adoring actions that represent her praise. A virtuous wife realizes her affections will be reciprocated in time, but she doesn’t perform based on what she can get out of the relationship. She serves the marriage out of selfless love, and while walking in this mindset she finds it quite easy to speak words of love and affirmation to her husband. 


4. Honors. A virtuous wife strives to honor her spouse. She realizes from God’s word that honor in marriage is a characteristic for both parties, but she doesn’t act honorable only when she feels it’s reciprocated. She honors her husband because this is what God commands for her as a wife. She knows diligence will show her a return of what she puts forth, and she understands her loving respect of her husband honors her relationship with The Lord. 

A wife who honors her spouse gives him the freedom to make decisions for the family, and though they are a team unit, she still honors him when their opinion differs. A honorable wife encourages strength in her husband; she doesn’t strip it from him. An honorable wife trusts The Lord to work in her husband’s life, and she doesn’t try to take that job away from Him. If you trust The Lord to help your husband lead the family then you have to let go of trying it lead it solely yourself. A virtuous wife doesn’t fear her husband by honoring him, rather she fears The Lord. 


5. Prays. I think this is the most important. A virtuous wife prays for her spouse, but it doesn’t stop there. She prays diligently, without ceasing. She prays selflessly, not praying for what’s in her best interest, but in what’s God’s best for him. A virtuous wife knows her best contribution to her husband is her prayer life for him. She knows that in so many instances she cannot change circumstances or change her spouse, but that nothing is impossible with God. 

There are so many characteristics of a virtuous wife, and I only mentioned a handful in this post. I would encourage you to read over Proverbs 31, as I’ll include it below, and ask God to speak to your heart about how you can strive to be a more virtuous wife, mother, and woman. I know that personally I fall short in so many ways, but my desire is to continually seek how I may become a better representation of Christ in my daily interactions with others. And I know that it starts in my own home. 

Proverbs 31:10-31

10 [a]A wife of noble characterwho can find?
    She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
    and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
    all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
    and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
    bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
    she provides food for her family
    and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
    out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
    her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
    and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
    and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
    and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
    for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
    she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
    where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
    and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
    she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

    When Holding On Holds You Under

    It never feels good to be on the receiving end of hurtful words, and conversely it feels even worse to me to be the responsible party for hurting someone else. Even when my intentions are pure and hurling insult is the farthest thing from my mind, it is devastating to learn I’ve been misunderstood or my actions mistaken for something other than what I wished them to be. 

    I often times find myself in a world where I am misinterpreted, people are cruel, and relationships are difficult to maintain. This is human nature I suppose, but the worst part always seems to follow. It’s the aftermath of confrontation that truly wounds me. 

    When I am hurt by another I have a tendency to hang on to that pain, and somehow in my mind the emotions of it all multiply into more of an issue than ever truly existed. 

    When I fall short in my own interactions with others I definitely hold on tight to my mistakes. I ruminate on my inadequacies, and I beat myself up worse than any enemy could do. 

    I hang on to hurt, and I hold on until it holds me under. For some reason I let it needle into my brain, and the worry of an unpleasant situation pushes me under while a spirit of repression tries sneakily to drown me in the tumultuous waters of this life. 

      

    1 Peter 5:6-7

    Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

    When I hold on to worry or when I hold on to hurt I wonder what I’m really holding on to? Am I holding on to my trust in The Lord or am I holding on to an unrealistic desire to please man?

    And while it’s great to learn from mistakes I make in my human relationships I cannot grow and move forward in Christ if I am holding on to instances where I failed. I have to let go of where I fall short and give that over to God. No one can learn with their head under water, but rather they must rise above the waves of hurt, rejection, and disappointment. 

    People will hurt me, they will disappoint me, and they will misunderstand me. I will hurt others, I will fail at times, and I might even fall flat on my face. But my reaction after hurt, betrayal, or mistakes made is what matters most. I cannot hold on to what doesn’t go right, but I can hold on to God’s promises for my life. 

    I will not please everyone, I shouldn’t try, and I most definitely cannot allow disappointment to rule in my heart when I do not. If my life, words, and actions reflect highly upon my Creator then I am on the right path, and though I may not see it, one day I will be rewarded for a steadfast walk. A walk that aims to please God, not man. 

    Relationships are wonderful, and we were made for such, but failure in the realm of human interaction cannot control me. I cannot allow it to hold me under and prevent me from moving forward in the life God has for me. 

    John 14:27

    Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

    The world gives me anxiety, but my God gives me peace. Satan would have me drown in my worry over pleasing everyone I encounter, as if holding on to mistakes I’ve made or rejection I’ve experienced can help me in any way. But The Lord wishes to mold me through these interactions, grow me, and refine me. And then He wants me to let go and move forward in peace. 

    One Thing About Parenthood That Is Easy to Forget

    As my oldest daughter grows in age I am beginning to see what it’s like to be the parent of a busy kid, and as we rush to dance class or school I realize just how hectic having a child can be sometimes. I think back to the beautiful, precious moments where I rocked a swaddled baby to sleep, and I miss the sweet stillness of those moments. 

    The interesting part is that back then I was eager for her to grow. I wanted to hurry past the colicky nights, and I couldn’t wait for her to sit, then crawl, then walk. And while I try to remember exactly what her chubby, gummy smile looked like my reminiscent thoughts are interrupted by proclamations of “I’m bored Mom. Let’s go.”

    As it stands now we’re often going, and even if it’s nowhere important there seems to be this air of urgency that creeps in unaware, pushing me to get little socks and shoes on wiggly, growing feet while proclaiming hurriedly, “come on! Let’s go!”

    So often I find myself rushing from here to there, and even when there’s nowhere to go I find myself on edge over mundane tasks such as fixing dinner and getting the laundry completed. In the midst of my everyday the little voices of my children keep asking me repeated questions, making multiple, continuous requests for my assistance, and all the while I’m just longing for a nap. For them, for me; either way. 

    I recently planned an outing to visit the Easter bunny at the mall, and I dressed my girls for the part. Tiny panty hose and socks, smocked dresses with matching bows, and weary words from this woman right here of, “come on. Hurry up. Let’s go.”

    And as we drove along the highway, an hour-long journey to get there, I attempted to listen to a sermon on my phone. From the back seat excited voices asked how much longer, and the toddler cried, “hold me” and “I have to pee!” So I paused the sermon before it had even gotten good and started, and I said, “okay baby. Momma will stop.” And then I smiled. I smiled, and I was so happy I did. 

    So often, too often, I forget the most basic fundamental of parenthood. I let this absolute truth pass me by in favor of frustration, and I miss out on precious moments. In my rush to go here, and my determination to do that I miss it. In my laundry list of things to complete, and in my ever-present fatigue I lose sight of what my children truly are to my life. 

    But as I sat in my driver’s seat of my minivan, looking into the rearview mirror with a goofy grin plastered across my face, I remembered the important part. I realized the solid truth that I too often forget. My children are a gift. 

      

    As we later ate in a fancy restaurant, and they grew restless with the wait, running amuck out in the aisle, I still smiled at the opportunity I had before me. Indeed I had been blessed with the opportunity to raise tiny humans, and I had been charged with the lofty position of molding young minds for a future generation. Not only that, but I also was afforded the ability to watch their characters shape, and for their personalities to blossom into the beautiful women of God that they would become. 

    Was it frustrating at times? Oh my goodness, yes! And that was okay. It was okay to be tired, frustrated, and confused, but I couldn’t forget the basic calling that had been placed in my hands. I couldn’t allow the difficulty of the task to rob me of the joy, to make me blind to the rewards that were right there for the taking. 

    My job was to raise these wonderful babies, but it was more than a job. It was also my gift. My gift of motherhood. And I realized then, as I had before, that this time is fleeting. This time of sporadic questions and “hey mom, look here” or “hold me;” these moments were speeding by. One day I would look up from folding laundry, and these gifts of dressing little girls in homemade frocks would be gone. 

    My only choice was to savor the time I had, to enjoy every passing second, for they passed too quickly. Parenthood was hard. It was aggravating quite often, and an under-appreciated title for sure, but it was mine. It was my gift. I could lose sight of that, or I could hold it tightly and breathe in its sweet fragrance. 

    That day I chose to breathe. I chose to smile. I chose to not forget that parenthood is a gift. 

    He’s Not Happy, and That’s Not Your Fault

    Over the years I’ve spoken with more than a handful of female friends after their discovery of infidelity by their husbands. Naturally they’re always highly distraught over the situation, no matter the details, but there seems to be a singular theme I notice. Of all the different couples and varying circumstances involved there’s always one thought that prevails in each of these women. 

    They wonder, what did I do wrong?

    They wonder what they could have done, or what they should have done to prevent such an atrocity from befalling their marriage. Most never see it coming, and they wonder how they missed the signs. They wonder, what did I do?

    These hurting, betrayed women look inside themselves searching, often times frantically for the reason of this break of trust. They look in the mirror and they ask themselves, is it me?

    Questions then persist like “should I have tried to be sexier?” Or “was I not attentive enough?” They grimace, and ask, “was it the extra weight I gained after the baby?” Maybe even, “should I have been more aggressive in the bedroom?”

    And even if the man says, “it’s not you; it’s me,” all a woman will hear is “it’s me.” She’ll think, it’s me. 

    I remember when my ex-husband came home from work and stated seriously, “we need to talk.” I wasn’t expecting the conversation that followed, and later as I sat alone crying I wondered what I had done, and also what hadn’t I done right. I racked my brain trying to pinpoint the cause of his words that rang in my ears. His words of, “I’m not happy anymore.”

    In the deepest moment of my despair I remember crying out to God, and in that moment He impressed a few things upon my heart. He told me that my husband wasn’t happy with his job, and he had sought another. He wasn’t happy with our friends, and had looked for new ones. He wasn’t happy with our home, and wanted a new house. It came down to the fact that he wasn’t happy. He wasn’t a happy person, and I was just one more thing he wished to change in his search for fulfillment. I honestly felt like God said, “it’s not you,” and I can’t explain the freedom and peace I felt at those words. It wasn’t me. 

    Do I believe I made mistakes in that relationship? You betcha! Was I the best wife I could have been? Absolutely not! And for that I am sorry. But I also had to understand that all the blame could not be placed on my shoulders. Sometimes, often times, that’s what we women do. We take the blame for bad situations, and we wonder what we could have done to prevent them. 

    It’s popular among Christian literature for women to discuss the types of wives we should be, and the actions we should take to help ensure a happy husband who doesn’t stray. I can get along with that to some extent. I’ll admit that I shave my legs every day, and that I dress nice and put on makeup more for my spouse than I do myself. I mean, it makes me feel good, but it also makes me feel good to look appealing for him. 

    I choose to serve my husband, and I’m eager to please him in our marital bed. I rarely say “no” if you know what I mean. I do work at my marriage, and I do work on myself to be the best wife I can be, but I also know that the outcome of our relationship doesn’t simply rest on my shoulders. He is responsible as well. And if he’s not where he needs to be in life then no amount of smooth legs, makeup, or hot sex can change that. 

    If a man is not happy with himself then he will never be happy with you. If a man is not where he needs to be in his relationship with Jesus then your relationship will likely suffer, and you cannot prevent it. You cannot be your husband’s savior; only The Lord can be that. 

    Every human heart is like a vessel. It longs to be filled to full capacity, but it can only be filled satisfactorily by the love of God. If your spouse’s heart is not complete by a relationship with Jesus then they will always be lacking. For a time they may try to fill that void with you, and when that doesn’t work they may try to fill it with pornography or even with another woman. This is not your fault, and we as women must realize this. 

    If he is not happy it is not always your fault. Maybe he’s just not happy. And that is outside of any control you have. I’m sorry. 

    

    It hurts. Infidelity hurts, betrayal hurts, and broken relationships hurt. But what really hurts is when as a woman you allow these situations to affect how you view yourself. When you allow an indiscretion to change the way you see yourself, and this view is in opposition to how God sees you then you are wrong. When you allow these hurts to change you, and you carry them like extra luggage then you are acting in error. You are acting like 90% of the female population, but you are still wrong. 

    Despite the straying of your spouse you are still beautiful, and just because he doesn’t want you, this doesn’t make you undesirable. You’re still a beautiful child of the King. You’re an injured bird, but this doesn’t mean you can no longer fly. You can heal, and you can move forward in your marriage. You can move forward in forgiveness, and you can have a wonderful relationship. 

    This isn’t about divorce, and it’s not even about cheating. Not really. This is about understanding as a woman that while you are an important, main player in your marriage that the responsibility of your spouse’s happiness doesn’t rest solely on your shoulders. Only Jesus can heal hearts, and only He can fill an empty one. You can love your spouse, but you must also pray. And you don’t just pray for their relationship with you. You pray for their relationship with Him. 

    Sometimes he’s not happy, and that has nothing to do with you. 

    For the Worn Out Woman

    

    Dear Weary Lady,

    I see you, and I understand. You wake up, the same time as yesterday, in the exact same way. You drag your exhausted body down the hall, and you force your eyes to somewhat open as you make another pot of coffee. The same as yesterday. Even the creamer is the same. 

    You get cranky kids ready, and you count to ten trying not to yell as you risk running late. You kiss your husband goodbye, a quick, perfunctory peck, and you repeat yesterday. 

    The kids still throw fits, and you wonder am I teaching them anything of value? God, I’m horrible at this!

    The same bills come due before you know it, and another month has gone by much like the last. The weather changes, different holidays come and go, and you notice the kids are growing when their clothes no longer fit. 

    Your boss expects more than you can provide, and when you get home exhausted from another long, demanding day you are rewarded with more people demanding what’s left of you. Dinner, homework, laundry, baths, and bed. Repeat. 

    Other than a new season of your favorite show coming up not much else excitement is on the horizon, and a melancholy discontentment caused by the everyday mundane is like an albatross around your neck. It drags you further down into the burdens you see as your lot in life. 

    What happened to dreams of doing more, being more, feeling like your life amounted to something of importance? As it stands you feel like just another cog on the wheel that makes this thing called life spin the same circle as the day before. 

    But what if I told you that you make a difference? What if I told you that your life matters? It does; we matter. 

    Every dirty face you wipe and booboo you kiss is another lesson in love and compassion that you are impressing upon future generations. 

    Every meal prepared and tender kiss given to your spouse is serving to build  a relationship. It’s a beautiful love language that kindles the fire of your marriage, and it is not in vain. 

    Every lesson taught, no matter how many times repeated, is building a foundation for future leaders. 

    Every service you provide whether at work or home is building on something beyond yourself, and when done in a spirit of love you will be blessed for it, even if you cannot see. Especially when you cannot see. 

    Colossians 3:17

    And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    So many days it seems like my efforts go unnoticed, or that the many little things I do are useless. I pick up the same toys day after day, and I make the same meals over and over. I wash the dishes once again, and complete an endless supply of laundry. No one may notice or even say thank you, and I wonder why I bother. 

    I may do things at work that never get acknowledged, and when all I crave is a “thank you,” I may instead receive a snide, unkind remark. 

    Yet I matter. What I do matters. What I say matters, and if somehow, someway something I say or do can positively impact another life then I am blessed. 

    I may not see the outcome of my efforts, but they are there. I glimpse them in little things my children do that let me know they really were listening, and my heart smiles. 

    I see them in the patients who return to my work and say “thank you. You were so kind when I needed it the most.”

    I see it in my husband’s smile and the warmth of his embrace after a long day apart. 

    You cannot always see the mark one life makes on another, but it is there. I know that wherever God places me He will use me mightily as that’s how He works. The least I can do is enjoy it. Every day is a gift, even the ones that seem to run together. In the toughest of times I can be used best to shine the light of God’s love, to be an example of His grace. 

    Knowing this is easy. Remembering it on a daily basis is the hard part. 

    I see you worn out woman, and we are the same you and I, but God is using us for His kingdom. Even a weary heart can spread the light of Jesus. 

    Galatians 6:9

    Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

    Don’t give up, and do not forget that you matter. We all do, and the work we are performing in our lives gives glory to The Lord. Keep up the good work, pray without ceasing, and remember that you are important. What you do is important. 

    Empathetically Yours,

    Another Worn Out Woman