Friday, September 27, 2019

FMF: The Truth of SUCCESS


"Oh, that's right, you're just a housewife..." those words have echoed in my mind for the past 20 years.  Said by a "successful" restaurant owner my husband had done some contract work for at the time, this middle-aged man had his sites set on the tangibleness of a "job" being based in the money we make or the education applied.  I smiled gracefully, though bruised inwardly.  Here my husband and I sat, enjoying a rare dinner alone in this cozy lake side restaurant, soaking up the gorgeous mountain view, feeling complete in our roles as husband and wife, when Mr. Owner invited himself to sit with us and shoot the breeze on life and work and his pride in the newly remodeled oppulant restaurant we were dining in.

It was that moment which has become the pinpoint of my passion to BE more than just a housewife and make it known: we are not just anything.

When did success begin to hinge on the bank-roll or degree hanging on the wall?  Who determined that raising children, caring for a home, and administering the plethora of dailies wasn't enough to "count" as viable work?  Even now, after 27 years of caring for home and family, with my youngest peering into graduation and adult life, she isn't the only one being asked, "What are going to do after graduation."  Only, for me, I'm having a hard time understand how my work just stops when her diploma is in hand.

Won't there still be floors to scrub?  Laundry to wash? Dinners to cook?  Life to manage?  Is housewifery somehow lacking a key ingredient to be considered "success"?  What if, for just a moment, everyone took a step back from the bustle of money and degree drives and actually saw and acknowledged where success starts.... it isn't at the teller counter as you cash in your paycheck, nor is it with college degree in hand. 

Success starts in the home with women who have successfully nurtured their family and made the house somewhere people long and love to come back to.

***
She looks well to the ways of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness. 
 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her: 
 “Many women have done excellently,
    but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands,
    and let her works praise her in the gates.

This has been a Five Minute Friday post, please visit link in text to see other great authors as they write about CHALLENGE!  


Blessings,


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

When Marriage Peace is Broken


Oh, where to begin?  I have less than an hour to tap out these thoughts and so many to nail down.... ah, how about the beginning?!

Actually, that isn't so easy either since the "beginning" is sorta muddled up in all that has been flying about the place here.  So let us just grab....

Summer offered a reprieve.

If you have been following me here or in the newsletter on on Instagram, you know what a bang-up year at has been... one of those trial by fire kinds! 

The chaos of home gave way to health and relational issues this summer.  But at least my repair budget had a rest.
Health of some family members, one of which called for me to take my first long-distance solo road-trip since before I was a mother of 4!
Relational as far as my "kids" (I use that term loosely since they are all adults or nearly so) having difficulties with special people in their lives... affecting me because mama is always near to help and encourage.

But we fared well.

School has started with a pretty good launch over all.  Senior year.  Just.wow. 

And then... as if out of nowhere.... WHAM.

Ladies... it doesn't matter how long you have been married... don't take your husband for granted.

Words have power.

God used words to create all of existence and if we were created in His image than it stands to reason our words have power as well.  We can create and destroy with them.

Cozy, I was, relieved that nothing new was breaking and all that had been fixed so far was working.  We have money enough coming to get the furnace fixed just in time for cold weather BUT, even in these cozy reliefs, there was an undercurrent of fear brewing.

Fear which made its way into little corners of conversation with my husband, who is typically pretty chill about finances and trusting me to manage it all well.  Yet, as each week passed and I lamented over just barely enough and we need the overtime so badly... inception happened and he snapped.

Maybe your worries aren't money.  Maybe they are kids or schedules or managing it all... and I am not saying we can't vent on life's concern with our hubbies... we are in a partnership where an exchange of information is critical to keep the machinery of a healthy marriage oiled.

BUT

Yes, there is always a but... as precious and important as our spouses are, God is immeasurably more so. 

My mistake was in taking the worry and ticking away at my husband with it.  Oh, I didn't nag or complain at him, I wasn't frantic or bumbling... but I did fumble on in my fear without any glimpse of Trust.

What I should have done was pray.  I promise, it isn't a cliche` statement.  As these concerns mounted I should have been lifting them, from the heart, to God and TRUSTING Him to take control.  As I collected my peace I could have then discussed my concerns with my husband from an angle of problem solving and resolution rather than unsettled fear and dissolution.  We could then join our prayers, thanking God ahead of time for the work we know and trust He is doing, and peace could have been what reined in each and every conversation on the topic.

I know, there are likely many of you out there who will read this and feel relief in victory you have long since had over a problem like this one... or perhaps your husband is good and faithful to point you heavenward when your heart trembles... I praise God with you for such blessings as these.

But as for me... if I have learned anything this year... it is that it is time I wrote through the mess... sharing it as real and authentic me because I have a feeling that a good number of you struggle in similar ways.  Whether it is trust because you are still figuring it out or trust because, like me, you know you should but you are in a really rough patch and you have grown weary... or perhaps your husband forgets to look up too.  Mine went from secular to saved to... struggling just now.  His heart is still with the Lord but, like me, I think he is overwhelmed by much right now.


Like I said, it is all sorta muddled up.  But here is what I know I am suppose to share... the hard things I have been needing to remember:

1. Don't be continually dripping (Proverbs 27:15)
Yes, talk with your husband, go to him with concerns, depend on him... but if something is troubling you to the point that you are always discussing it or sneaking innuendos into discussions, it will eventually wear him down and the results will be much worse than the struggle.

2. Go to God first and find your confidence in Him (Proverbs 3:26)  
Both you and your husband should always take your cares to the Lord first and foremost and then, with a heart lightened by Trust in God's handling of the situation, come to each other in a solutions-based Christ Confidence mindset... even if you don't have (and are far from) the answers! 

I know what you might say: "But Amanda, my husband isn't going to the Lord so what can I do?"  A quote which became my mantra last year might help:

Resolution One: I will follow the Lord
Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will

Your peace and trust in the Lord can be a blessing to your husband, even if he is not walking that same trust with you at the moment.  I can testify on that!!

3. Your husband needs your respect  (1 Peter 3)
If your family is struggling financially and you are always complaining about money or his pay not being enough... he will begin to feel like he isn't providing well for his family.  It will cause job dissatisfaction along with other secondary impacts.  The best path is to be realistic but positive about the finances and encourage him as a hard worker and supporter of the family.
  • Thank him often for working hard.
  • Thank him for his love and affection.
  • Thank him for his care for the children.
  • Do for him, even little things which can remind him of your love.
Don't wait till he does those things for you.... translation: Don't wait until he "deserves" it... after all, if Christ waited for us to "deserve" His sacrifice for us, we never would have gotten it. (Oh how glad I am He didn't wait!!)

4. Repent (Psalm 139:23-24)
EVERY argument between a couple has TWO parts... hers and his.  Sometimes one part is bigger than the other, but there are always two.  It could be you lost your cool and yelled, walling off all reasonable conversation after that point.  It could be you had unreasonable expectations.  It could be one of any number of things... some obvious and some, not so much so.  We should speak up as wives and share our ideas and opinions BUT, at the end of the day, the Bible calls us to submit*... even when we are certain "our way" is better, God does have a plan and, like it or not, it pours through our husbands first.  So, as hard as it might be, ask God to search you and then humbly submit whatever He shows you (and choke back your pride in order to apologize to your husband if it is needed).


I'm not saying this is the perfect recipe to absolute resolution... but it is a great start for finding peace with God, even if the peace in your marriage is shaken for the time being.  I know.  I am there right now!! So many other factors can and do come into play.  As for now, it has taken a number of days to come to a place of peace with my situation BUT I do feel the presence of the Lord and I am certain He is doing a good work in all of this!

I pray you are enjoying a blissful marriage... but if you are not, you are not alone.  Don't give up but do surrender, God has a good plan if you allow Him to work, especially in the mess.

Blessings,






* Please note, if you are in a physically abusive relationship you may possibly need to consider removing yourself from the situation while both of you seek professional help.  Also, husbands should never ask their wives to do something illegal or unbiblical.  Always follow God's Word first. And, finally, if your marriage has continued to suffer over a long period of time, you both may benefit from seeking counsel with your pastor or another trusted Christian counseling service to help with productive conflict resolution.  The thoughts in this article are in no way meant to take the place of professional help when it is needed.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Five Minute Friday: Challenge


As leaves begin their slow fade from luscious shades of green into hues of yellow, orange, red and brown, my soul feels the eclipse of time... the weight of yesterdays and shoulda-coulda-wouldas and change.  My children, now grown, adults and nearly, puzzle and comment at the challenges and struggles they watch me face: "But isn't this degrading?"... the unspoken implication: why don't you quit... why do you allow such challenges when you could be happier, freer, more full of hope?  

But God doesn't promise us a life devoid of challenge.  As a matter of fact, both the Bible and church history are replete with examples of challenges, both small and large, faced by each devout follower.  These same messages are often also full of inspiration as each challenged individual is strengthened, encouraged and, at times, even overcoming the walls which threaten to stand in their way.

Challenge.  

It isn't the end, rather, it is a call to rise and grow and be strengthened. 

The challenge for a leafing tree isn't letting go.... it is holding on when winter sets in, full of hope, and rising again.  It can take strength to let go... but even more so does our strength and ambition grow when we rise to the challenge and keep going.

***

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 
for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 
And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, 
lacking in nothing.  
James 1:2-4

This has been a Five Minute Friday post, please visit link in text to see other great authors as they write about CHALLENGE!  


Blessings,


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Five Minute Friday: Start


12 years in the planning.  When school started for my pudgy, stringy-haired, academic loving youngest, "the end" was a mere acknowledgement, nothing more.

12 years.

Now, here we stand, 7 months from G-day (Graduation) and I can't help but marvel at the speed with which life runs in the midst of "blinking".

It is bitter sweet.  Truly.  I have watched so many moms suffer deep heartbreak when that last one collected their diploma and stepped over the threshold of academia into the great beyond of LIFE.

A new start.

An aching heart.

I determined, early-on, to try a different approach; pouring into my children while also allowing God to pour alternate purpose into me.  I can't promise the transition will sail perfectly after "the end" but I can admit I am growing more and more excited for this new START.

It will be a start for my daughter, my fourth, my youngest.  Adventuring out into life and all the possibilities it holds.

It will be a start for me as I explore life, for the first time in 25 years, without educating kids and worrying over their rearing at its center. I've had glimpses of this pending start, mixed with potential good and hard... I believe, as long as the Lord's hand is guiding the days of this new fresh start on the future, good will persist to encourage me along it's crisp path.

***
This has been a Five Minute Friday post, please visit link in text to see other great authors as they write about START!  


Blessings,