Why I'm Taking A Second Look At Mommy Guilt (Part 3)

Why I'm Taking A Second Look At Mommy Guilt (Part 3)

"My life wasn't meant to look like this!"

I've thought that to myself many times during the past six years. On a couple of occasions, I even ventured to helpfully inform God about His apparent mistake. (Perhaps He needed some honest feedback in order to give me the enjoyable life I felt I deserved, considering all the hard work I'd done for Him?)

In my enthusiastic planning for motherhood, my thinking had been binary. There were two parenting paths I could take: returning to work part-time or caring for our kids full-time. Chronic illness? It was never part of the equation; it didn't even exist as a category in my thinking!

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4 Reasons to Have Hope When You're Hurting This Holiday Season

4 Reasons to Have Hope When You're Hurting This Holiday Season

I love the holidays with all those picture-perfect moments and photo-worthy family gatherings. I love thinking about and planning for the fun activities and festive meals we’ll participate in. Most of all, I love savoring the birth of the Savior - Christmas is such a wonderful time to reflect and think about all that Jesus did on my behalf.

But maybe you’re not eager for the holidays this year because you’re hurting. Maybe a recent loss - or a loss associated with either Thanksgiving or Christmas - has dampened your joy, and you’re not really sure how to feel happy when, inside, you’re still suffering deeply.

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Wash His Feet, Day 31: Become A Student of Your Marriage

Wash His Feet, Day 31:  Become A Student of Your Marriage

Friends, we’ve come a long way in this “wash his feet” challenge! From praying for our husbands to telling them we love them, we’ve covered numerous ways to bless them. Some assignments were easier than others; many will take a lifetime to perfect. But each one had the sole purpose of blessing our husbands in the Lord.

Let’s look back over this challenge. Note what worked and what didn’t. Which things most blessed your husband, and which ones flopped? Which ones made the greatest impact? Observe your relationship with your husband. Where are you strong? Where are your weak points? What can you do to improve?

Today, become a student of your marriage. Take what you’ve learned from this challenge and apply it. Completing these assignments won’t do you much good if you don’t learn from and grow by them!

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Wash His Feet, Day 30: Tell Him You Love Him

Wash His Feet, Day 30:  Tell Him You Love Him

Some years ago, when Jon was working nights, going to school during the day, and finances were incredibly tight, he grabbed me out of the blue and hugged me.

“Man, I love you so much!” he said as he embraced me.

I hadn’t realized until he said those words just how much I needed to hear them. We’d basically been ships passing in the night, it seemed at the time, and hadn’t been able to see one another for more than just a few minutes here and there. We hadn’t been able to connect as much as I had wanted, but that one phrase was exactly what I had needed at that moment.

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Wash His Feet, Day 29: Embrace Him

Wash His Feet, Day 29:  Embrace Him

Confession: I’m not a touchy-feely sort of person. (I’m sure that’s no surprise since I’ve shared before about how introverted I am and how I really, really need my personal space.) Sure, I give friends and relatives a quick squeeze hello, but that’s about the extent of my tolerance for physical touch.

And I guess it’s a good thing I’m that way, because Jon’s not overly demonstrative, either, especially out in public. Seriously, trying to hold hands with him - which I actually wouldn’t mind on occasion - is a near impossibility. It’s just not his thing!

But when it’s just the two of us, we actually do cuddle on the couch, and we both enjoy it (unless I’m cold and grab my blanket, at which point he sits as far away from me as possible since his CSF leak makes him run hot all the time).

So, even though no one would accuse us of being the overly-romantic, lovey-dovey types, we do both occasionally appreciate the gift of physical touch. And I have a feeling a lot of people are like us, where even if it’s not their greatest enjoyment, they do need it once in a while.

With that in mind, today’s assignment is to embrace your husband.

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Wash His Feet, Day 28: Write Him A Love Note

Wash His Feet, Day 28:  Write Him A Love Note

While gift giving may not be my specialty, writing is one of my favorite activities ever. Whether it’s creating a hand-written note or typing out my thoughts here on the blog, I’m happiest when I’m putting down thoughts on (sometimes digital) paper!

Jon and I used to exchange notes in college all the time. And I kept them all! I have three or four shoe boxes full of them. We loved passing notes to one another between classes or via campus mail. It was a simple and fun activity that we could afford.

Sadly, as the busyness of marriage and parenting has encroached on our time, we’ve almost completely abandoned this once-enjoyed expression of affection.

Today, I want to change that! Our assignment is to write him a love note.

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Wash His Feet, Day 27: Give Him A Gift

Wash His Feet, Day 27:  Give Him A Gift

My sister is one of the best gift givers I know. She can pick up on and remember subtle clues people give off about their likes and hobbies and has a knack for turning those interests into a perfect gift at Christmastime.

Me, on the other hand? I’m terrible at giving gifts. I never know what to get for people, and making it even worse is the fact that I really don’t care for shopping. Going into a store to find a gift, especially when I don’t even know what, exactly, I’m after is not my idea of a good time.

Whether you’re an expert gift giver like my sister or your gift-giving skills are more like mine, today, why not give your husband a small gift?

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Wash His Feet, Day 26: Spend Time With Him

Wash His Feet, Day 26:  Spend Time With Him

Who do you most love spending time with? What lengths do you go to in order to be able to spend time with that person? Before Jon and I were married, I lived almost 40 minutes north of him, but nearly every day, he’d drive up after work to see me. I don’t want to think about the time he spent driving or the cost in gas that it took to come visit, but I loved that he was willing to put in time, effort, and expense to spend time together!

Once we’re married, it’s all too easy to forget to spend time with our spouses. Caring for the kids, keeping house, jobs, and so many other things often derail us from spending quality time with our husbands. And while each of these can be a good thing, they should never prevent us from spending time with the man we married.

So, today’s assignment is to carve out time to spend with your husband.

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Wash His Feet, Day 25: Learn From Others

Wash His Feet, Day 25:  Learn From Others

Do you enjoy studying other people? I do - not in a creepy way, of course, but in order to learn from them. Most people have something to teach us, either in a positive or negative way.

I especially enjoy seeing how other spouses interact with one another, noting who takes which responsibilities, and watching for things I can learn and incorporate into my own marriage.

In fact, I feel that learning from others is one of the best ways we can improve in our own marriages. Why? Well, when we see someone else doing really well (or really struggling), we can benefit from it without having to test out and learn everything ourselves through trial and error.

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Wash His Feet, Day 24: Work With Him

Wash His Feet, Day 24:  Work With Him

“My husband and I just don’t work well together. He does his thing, and I do mine.”

“I could never start a business with my spouse. It just would NOT be good for our relationship!”

Have you ever heard someone say something similar to the above quotes? Have you yourself ever expressed a similar sentiment?

I’ve heard plenty of couples say that they don’t work well together. And honestly, it kind of makes me scratch my head! If they don’t work well together, in what areas are they compatible? While I don’t think that every couple needs to go out and start a business together, I do think we all could improve at working alongside our spouses, whether it be a home project, planning an event at church, or learning a new skill.

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Wash His Feet, Day 23: Speak Up for Him

Wash His Feet, Day 23:  Speak Up for Him

Have you ever been wrongly accused of something? It sure hurts, doesn’t it? It’s one thing to get miffed when someone else calls you out on your sin, but to be accused of something you’ve not done brings a special kind of misery.

One time, largely due to my miscommunication, a close friend accused Jon of something he had hadn’t done. I felt horrible, and I quickly spoke up to correct the misunderstanding.

Not everyone is going to love our husbands the way we do, and not everyone is going to understand their reasoning for leading our families in the way they do. In those times when our husbands have been misunderstood or their intents have been misconstrued, we can and should come to their defense.

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Wash His Feet, Day 22: Keep Track, Not Score

Wash His Feet, Day 22:  Keep Track, Not Score

Of all the assignments in this challenge, today’s is the one I’ve been most dreading. Why? Well, we’re going to dip a toe into some potentially uncomfortable waters: physical intimacy. (Cue all the embarrassment emojis.) But even though this topic makes me squirm, a series on serving our spouses simply wouldn’t be complete without at least briefly addressing this sensitive subject.

Even though it’s a little embarrassing to talk about, for most of our married life, I’ve kept a record of our intimate moments. I don’t even remember what prompted me to start such an odd habit, but over the years, it’s been helpful to be able to look back and notice trends and patterns.

I honestly think this is an excellent practice for all married couples. But doing so also comes with a few cautions as well.

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Wash His Feet, Day 21: Be Available for Him

Wash His Feet, Day 21:  Be Available for Him

Do you ever feel as though you and your husband have no time to connect with each other? Many wives struggle with this, so if you do, know that you’re not alone!

The reasons for this feeling of disconnectedness are numerous. It could be anything from your husband not needing as much emotional connection to conflicting schedules that don’t provide a lot of breathing room.

Spending time with one another is crucial to the well-being of every marriage, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to make happen! Today, I’d encourage you to be available for him.

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Wash His Feet, Day 20: Let Him Grow

Wash His Feet, Day 20:  Let Him Grow

A couple of years ago, Jon decided that he wanted to learn to cook. And he wanted me to learn along with him. (That probably gives you an idea of my culinary skills, or, rather, lack thereof. Ahem.) He thought it would be super fun to take one night a week where we would plan out a meal together, watch a zillion Youtube videos on how to prepare it, and give it a try.

It would have been so, so easy to squelch his enthusiasm. I could think of a number of reasons not to pursue this idea. For one, I strongly dislike cooking. We also had limited time and budget for such an endeavor, so I kind of thought, “why even bother?”

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Wash His Feet, Day 19: Forgive Him

Wash His Feet, Day 19:  Forgive Him

For the past couple of days, our Wash His Feet challenge assignments have been hard ones - letting him lead and Biblically confronting him. Today’s may well be just as tough:

Forgive him.

Some of us will have a pretty easy time of it today - we have wonderful, Godly spouses who don’t often do things that need to be forgiven and who are quick to seek our forgiveness when they do.

But for others, this assignment is going to be hard. Even among Christian marriages, there are extramarital affairs, secret sins, and other deep-seated issues that aren’t easily forgiven. Sadly, I have seen marriages lost over one spouse’s refusal to forgive the other.

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Wash His Feet, Day 18: Biblically Confront Him

Wash His Feet, Day 18:  Biblically Confront Him

I shared yesterday that I’ve really struggled with speaking up in my marriage (and, really, speaking up in most situations that call for confrontation). I love encouraging people and hate being at odds with anyone, and confronting someone often means risking making someone upset with me.

There will be times in our marriages, however, when the right and Biblical thing is confronting our husbands in love. And that just makes me want to run and hide!

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Wash His Feet, Day 17: Let Him Lead

Wash His Feet, Day 17:  Let Him Lead

Most women who grow up in church have learned about the Biblical roles where the husband leads and the wife submits. While these are clearly taught in Scripture (see Ephesians 5:21-24 and 1 Corinthians 11:3 if you need a refresher), how to live out these roles can be a little less clear.

In general, I’m a pretty submissive person. I don’t feel so compelled to stick to my personal preferences that I demand my own way. Even so, I still find it difficult at times to submit to Jon’s leadership! I can only imagine that letting your husband lead is even more difficult for those of you who are more dominant and feel strongly about your own preferences.

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Wash His Feet, Day 16: Read A Good Marriage Book

Wash His Feet, Day 16:  Read A Good Marriage Book

Have you ever wanted to attend a marriage conference or go on one of those marriage cruises? I know that in the past, I’ve felt bad that Jon and I have never gotten to participate in one of these kinds of events.

Before we get into today’s assignment, I’m going to share a bit of a bombshell here: I don’t think conferences and cruises about marriage are necessary for a happy, Godly marriage. Bigger bombshell: I even think these things can, at times and in certain situations, be detrimental.

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Wash His Feet, Day 15: Help Him

Wash His Feet, Day 15:  Help Him

In the King James Version of Genesis 2:18, we read, “And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” The term “help meet” isn’t widely used today, but the concept (according to Google) is that God created a helper for Adam who was suitable for him.

I’m rather intrigued by the thought that Eve was specially created by God to be Adam’s suitable helper. And that concept got me thinking: am I helping Jon in the way that God designed and intended me to do? Are you helping your husband in the same way?

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Wash His Feet, Day 14: Support Him In His Interests

Wash His Feet, Day 14:  Support Him In His Interests

Does your husband have a talent for something or a hobby he enjoys? Are you actively encouraging him to use his gifts or to pursue his interests? If not, you should be! This is an excellent way to serve him.

Yesterday, we talked about encouraging our husbands. Today’s assignment builds on that framework: support him in his interests.

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