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Pinterest and the Bakken

26 Oct

Since moving to the Bakken, getting off Facebook and starting to communicate with the world around me, I’ve refound my love of crafting. It’s not always an easy task since I have 5 littles who always want to help, so I have REALLY found my love of crafting with my clothes and make up. Pinterest has been my go-to for new fun things to try.

So here are a few Pinterest inspired things.

This is me with soft hair, I curled it with the curling iron upside down, and then used pins to pin it back. Sprayed the HECK out of it, since we live in North Dakota where the wind don’t stop, and LOVED the way it turned out. Made my pulled back look not as severe as it usually looks with my straight hair. Inspired by some of the pinterest do’s I have seeing…since my hair isn’t long enough to braid, I had to get creative.

Then I went to a Mama’s Craft night through the church. I was uninspired, so I watched a fellow blogger/crafter/adoptive mama/daughter of Christ make this scarf.

I LOVED how simple it was to make and how cute it looked, so the next day, I made one myself.

I LOVED it, now I am in the process of stealing all of Big T’s old shirts and repurposing them. ;) Don’t tell Big T but he has been wondering where all his undershirts are going. ;)

Another idea I decided to not just pin, but to actually do was this:

 

After tracing the hand of each child, I let them decorate the back, and then I wrote the Scripture verse I want to pray for that specific child on each little hand. This idea as far as I can tell was traced back to this blog.

And last but not least, I have been trying my hand at healthy recipes. The most popular one that I’ve noticed blowing up the Pinterest boards is these new “chocolate” muffins. Let’s just say that the Grimm littles are not fooled by imitations. And these hit the garbage quickly. It’s been requested that any recipes I try off Pinterest that are healthy are to only be consumed by me. Big T and the Littles want real food…and real chocolate. ;)

 

I have found that living in an area where activies (aka shopping) is not as easy to do, I am getting more creative in my downtime. Just call me the Crafty, Betty Crocker of the Bakken.

 

 
 

It is well with my Soul

25 Oct

More than ever I have been convicted that this blog isn’t about me. It’s about what God has brought me through and how it is my desire to glorify His name.

Why was I convicted yesterday? And some of you might even be asking what convicted means. It means that I had this strong feeling from the Holy Spirit that lives in me, to do something different than what I have been doing.

Yesterday I went to the doctor. It’s something I’ve needed to do for a LONG time now, but I like to think that ignorance is bliss and so I just walked around in lala land until I could no longer pretend the pain away.

I have a whole list of symptoms: Swelling of my feet and hands. Unexplained weight gain Inablitity to heal from a simple cold Pressure on my chest And just a general overtired feeling

So I listed off all these symptoms for the doc, and she wanted to run a bunch of blood tests. As she was checking over my body she ran across a lump. A golfball sized lump on the side of my neck.

While normally this would not cause alarm in me, my uncle died at a young age from lumps in his neck. So of course my very active imagination goes straight to “I am dying, thank you Jesus, I am coming HOME!!!” (Did I mention I’ve been really sick and tired?)

I didn’t expect blood test results for a few days, and today I have spent a lot of time praying about my mysterious lump and what God would have me to do to glorify Him through this. I kept thinking about a dear friend of mine that went to be with the Lord unexpectedly this summer. How I wished she has told me (or anyone on her blog) that she was sick. In fact if you read her blog (and I suggest you do because it’s a good read) never do you even see a hint of a serious illness. She was just gone one day. And that made me so sad that I was never able to petition the Lord for her healing. So I want to be honest with my blog readers.

I am sick.

I don’t know what is wrong with me.

Many test results have come back negative, but a few have come back positive. I have an autoimmune disease. This we know for sure. But it is still to be determined which one it is. So as of right now I am just waiting for more test results, an ultrasound of the mass on my neck and on the Lord.

Tom was home when I got the call on some of the test results. He saw me google the few things they threw around as possibilities for why I have felt so bad. He saw me cry because none of them are treatable, just manageable. It all was seeming a little bleak. Then 5 minutes passed and the phone rang again.

I recognized the number, and it’s a number I’ve grown to loathe. I answered it anyway, and braced myself for whatever new round of bad news I was about to hear.

“Mrs. Grimm?”

“Yes.”

“I have good news for you.”

(Finding this a little hard to believe just because of where this call was coming from.)

“The State Supreme Court has upheld the decision to terminate parental rights on the birthfather of *Mr. Man*. Congratulations, we can now move towards adoption.”

In a barely audible voice, I say “Praise Jesus” and start to cry.

When life was getting dark and cloudy, God shone the Son in a way to show me that He still sees me. He is still the same God, the One who loves me beyond all measure and always keeps His promises.

While it might be all wrong with my body, it is well with my soul.

 

Changing the way I serve.

24 Oct

I’ve always been a doer. I am constantly on the move. I loathe being still, and will clean toilets before I just sit and do nothing.

When we lived in Montana this was an easy life style for me. I would NEVER call Billings a “big city” but compared to the Bakken, it is. If I got bored, I ran to Target or TJMaxx to kill time, and spend dollars. If for some reason I was home bound (heavy snow and the thought of getting 5 kids dressed in snow gear and in the car can make me want to pass out), then I would rearrange furnature. Tom (and my dearest friends) would always know that something was up with me when they would come over and the house was rearranged.

Yesterday I realized I’ve did 10 pinterest recipes/crafts in one day. Which is the equivalent to moving furniture or shopping…but I can’t shop here, and the house is set up so there is only ONE way the furniture could sit. As I was texting a girlfriend of mine the pictures of the stuff I’d been doing, it dawned on me that I was “keeping busy” so that I didn’t have to be quiet before the Lord.

Last week when I prayed I heard something from the Lord that I didn’t want to hear. I have once again chosen delayed obedience (read that DISobedience) over obedience.  The move here has brought many changes and me being a doer is changing. I am learning more and more that my true place is in my home. And my act of service for others is prayer. I’ve always wanted the spot light. I want to be seen as the one who brings the meals, watches the children, and cleans the house, general “taking care of your neighbor” kind of stuff. But circumstances here have changed that.

I have cried out to the Lord. WHY I AM I SO TIRED?! I want to go serve, I want to do these things, but you have taken away my energy.

And I always hear the same reply: Pray.

I pray all the time. Or more accurately stated, I speak to God all the time, but most of the time it’s a one way conversation. I don’t take the time to listen, and I rarely take the time to petition for the Lord on behalf of my friends, and family (unless there is a specific request).

Over and over, I have heard that I need to be praying more for others as my act of service. And just now the message finally hit home.

God will change His plan if He is petitioned. You can only petition God through prayer. So, I am getting on my knees, as it seems I don’t even have the energy to stand anymore.

Maybe that’s why…maybe God wanted me to realize that on my knees is where I need to be, not standing. And it taken such a blatant thing as illness for me to figure it out, and get still before the Lord and petition Him for change.

 
 

Being Different

08 Oct

I often hear the saying “I am going to just be who I am, and if people don’t like it that’s their problem.” And I will be completely honest, I’ve said it myself. However since aligning myself with the Word of God, I have realized this is an unbiblical statement.

When left to our own devices we show how depraved we really are. We choose to not filter ourselves in the name of being “real.” But at some point being “real” is also just being plain mean. And while Jesus was at times offensive.

“Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me.” Matthew 12:30

He was never offensive for the sake of being right and justified, or being “himself.” He was offensive in the way that is gentle and thought provoking. He simply pointed to the Father in everything that He did.

I think many Christians are under the assumption that because we have Christ in us, that gives us freedom to be who we are. Wrong. That gives us freedom to be who we are IN CHRIST.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say speak your mind and if they don’t like you, screw them.

No, it says that you are to deny yourself (Mark 8:34), and to count others as more important than your feelings (paraphrased by me Romans 10:12 ).

This way of thinking is acceptable for those who don’t know Christ. But if you are a follower of Jesus this way of thinking is toxic to your walk.

Your life should be markedly different from your unbelieving friends. This means the world should see less of you, and more of Christ.

 
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Wisdom from Jelly

04 Oct

She toddled into the bathroom as I was putting on my make up this morning. Looked around to see what her pudgy little hands could get into, and found her treasure of the day. The empty toilet paper roll was all she wanted.

“Uuk (look) my spy scope!” she says and runs off to play.

I giggle thinking of what a blessing she is to my home. I love her fresh perspective on everything. Mostly I am a little envious of her contentment.

She is the 3rd of the middle children.

She came after the 10 toy rule, lives in hand-me-downs, and isn’t allowed to have “special stuff” because we share everything. She has 3 mamas…well they try to be her mama but she will have none of that. But she has people who try to boss her around every day, and she just rolls with it. She is delighted with the simplest of things…a toilet paper roll.

Wow, do I need to take a lesson from a 2 year old.

Contentment.

It’s something that Tom and I have often struggled with in our marriage. And something we are currently waging war against in our home.

Back when Tom and I first got married, I would dread Sunday mornings. Oh, I loved sipping coffee together, and reading the paper. But I hated what would ALWAYS happen when Tom reads the paper. He would pull out the For Sale section and look at homes. And look at homes. Every week he would call on some home that he thought would make a great deal. Oh it used to drive me nuts. It’s been years since he’s done it, mostly because we don’t get the paper anymore. And also because he realized that this was a weakness of his. Instead of letting it consume him, he waged war against it. He has decided to be content with the home that God has provided for him.

I do it in other ways. I compare my body, my family, my church, my husband, my house, my clothes…everything. And I seem to always come up short of someone. Right? Isn’t there always a B.B.D. (Bigger, better deal)? Yet, if we choose to keep our eyes always open for the B.B.D. then we miss out on the blessings of what is right in front of our faces. The toilet paper roll that is a spy scope.

Scripture tells us to be content with what we have. (Hebrews 13:5) And that we are to be content whatever the circumstances. (Philippians 4:11) But what if what you have is a mess? What is you are living in a broken marriage? How are you to find that contentment?

The secret to being content is Christ. (Philippians 4:12)

Our souls will not find rest without Him. We will always be looking for the B.B.D. and we will discover, sometimes through very hard ways, that there is no B.B.D. than Christ.

Being content in every situation doesn’t mean that you are filled with happiness over what is your lot in life. It would be hard to be delighted to be in a marriage that is falling apart, illness, or loss of a loved one.  When you find your rest in Him, then you can be content knowing that this is where Christ has placed you. For a reason. He doesn’t allow things to happen just because. He doesn’t do anything on a whim. He has a perfect plan for your life. If you press into Him when circumstance threatens to steal your joy. Then girl, you will be amazed.

You were made for more.

You were not made to live in the drudgery of life, just plugging along getting through each day to reach the next. You were made to thrive. And to bring Him glory. So let your contentment sing out to the unreached. Show them how you are different from the rest. Show them that the B.B.D. that they are seeking can be found in the B.I.B.L.E. (cause that’s the book for me).

I want to look at the drudge of life (the empty toilet paper roll) and see the amazing! (The spy scope!) That can ONLY happen through Christ who gives me strength.

 
 

Loving the Hurting Child

28 Sep

In my last post I am sure my tone was d.o.n.e. with Mr. Man. Let me just emphasize this is NOT the case. And never will be. While he was not born of my womb, that child was born in my heart, and my mother’s love for him will never die, and is just as strong as the love I feel for the children that I birthed.

I just get frustrated. While seemingly every mom can sympathize with the old “it’s hard being a parent” saying, very few understand what it means to parent the hurting child. That is SO much harder. I can’t even begin to tell how much harder it is. But I am going to try.

Let’s start with how easily I forget.

In all areas my memory is not the best. I feel that God designed that specifically for me; it’s hard for me to keep an account of wrongs, because I forget them so easily. But in just the same breath, I forget what I’ve done to others, or more specifically I forget what has been done to my son.

There are things I don’t want to remember. Horrible things that are best left in the deep recesses of my mind. And while I am able to function “normally” (that is quoted, because who really is normal?) my son isn’t.  I take for granted things that I didn’t necessarily teach my other children, or were taught to me, but were actually taught….like trust.

Mr. Man learned at a very young age not to trust. That people hurt him.

Last night at dinner he said something very profound to me.

If he is good at the end of the day at school, then he gets a star, if not…then he doesn’t. And he has had no stars this week. What Mr. Man’s teacher hasn’t figured out, and what I am just now learning is that doing the opposite of what you would normally do with a child in trouble is what works for Mr. Man.

You confront the behavior, correct it, and then nurture him. If you continue to punish him, he will punish you. And it’s an ugly cycle.

At the dinner table he announced that he no longer likes it here, and would like to move somewhere. Somewhere they will give him stars. At first my feelings were hurt, because I just assumed he meant without me. But then I asked…do you want me to go with you, or do you want to go alone?

“Go with me, everyone go with me.” As he motioned around the table. He meant for the whole family to move again to some place new. It struck me as odd that he would think we can just pick up and leave when things aren’t working out, but the more I thought about it…the more I realized that has been his whole little life.

I only know of the 8 families he has lived with. 8…the child is 5 ya’ll. That’s a lot of mamas. And not all of them were very nice. I only know of the 15 professionals who have told them that they love him, but when the job gets transferred, or they switch jobs he doesn’t hear from them again. Oh, that is so many people in a little 5 year olds life. And those are just the people I know about. This child has more history in 5 years, than most of us have in our whole lives.

But I so easily forget it.

All I see is the child who is acting out, and honestly it is the most unnatural thing for me to want to wrap my arms around a child who is being naughty, and hold him. Cuddle him. Rock him.

Things that should have been done in his very first days of life, but weren’t. No one loved my baby. No one came when he cried because his diaper was wet or he was hungry, or he just wanted to know that someone was still there to take care of him. No one.

That messes a kid up ya’ll.

And while I am firm believer that my child will not be a product of his past. He will not make excuses for his behavior, we still have to correct the things that were done to him, and that will take time. I can’t erase it from his memory or mine. I have to face it, tough it out, go through it with him, and pray for redemption and healing.

I love a hurting child.

Cut me some slack. Cut HIM some slack. I am going to look frustrated, worn out, and grey at an unusually early age in life. But I will not trade him for anything. It may take every ounce of what I have to give to show this boy that we are NOT ever going to give up on him. He will always get stars in this family because he is LOVED and wanted, and never leaving. I am going to do it. It’s worth it.

So let me thank you in advance for the grace that you will show my son when he acts a little different from the rest of the kids. And let me thank you for allowing me a safe place to lay it all out there.

I am learning that loving the hurting child is a little more complex than I originally thought. I appreciate so much the support I’ve been given, and any mom who loves a hurting child with me, girl I am PRAYING for you.

 

Obedience vs. Tyranny

26 Sep

I am really struggling in my parenting skills at the moment. I have 5 such very different personalities; I could go on for days about how each of my children is unique. However…

4 out of my 5 children can be left with in a social situation that I or Big T are not attending (for example: school, childcare or AWANAS) and I know that they will be on their best behavior. I know that they will be as sweet as can be, and I can trust that they will be respectful and obedient at all times to the adults that are in charge.

1 of my children is throwing me some curve balls. When I am at home with this child, they have very age appropriate typical childlike behavior, there are some fits and acting out, but for the most part this child is well behaved and obedient. It is the RARE day where this child is in a bad mood for the whole day, and usually can be reasoned with as to why it is important to be respectful and obedient.

In the last month this child has been asked to not return to some activities because of their behavior. It wasn’t until then that Big T and I realized we’ve just assumed that this child was like the rest of them and knew that when Mom and Dad aren’t there, they still need to treat the other adults with respect. Recently I was asked to attend a conference with the guidance counselor, teacher and principle of the school to discuss this child, and I ended up bawling my eyes out. I don’t know what to do.

You see this child was the one not born of my womb. There are so many hurts that he carries with him, and he has learned at a very young age that not all adults are trustworthy, nor worthy of respect. For him respect is earned, it isn’t a right just because you are “in charge” of him. And if he doesn’t get a good, warm, fuzzy feeling from you…well, watch out. He will be hell bent on making sure you know he doesn’t like you.

I have so easily forgotten the child that we were given back in November. The one who didn’t trust me, and wasn’t sure if he was going to like these new adults that are in his life. These adults say that they will be there “forever,” but he’s heard that before. He’s heard it all before, and everyone that says that they love him and care for him; they always either hurt him or end up leaving.

This child has some brokenness. That doesn’t excuse any of his behavior. It’s just not okay to throw your pencil at a teacher, or chuck counting bears across the room because you are done with math. His brokenness makes me tenderer towards how to deal with these situations. I tend to show him more grace that I would any of the other children, and we “start over” more often. Yet, there comes a point when he’s been naughty all day at school, and then comes home continues in the naughtiness that I have to do something about it.

So I take away privileges. I remove toys. I talk with him about his behavior. And I pray.

Goodness, how I pray.

God has shown me through this boy how fickle I am towards God. I have a total Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality. There are times when I am completely devoted to Christ, and other times when I turn and want to do things my own way.  God give me unimaginable amounts of grace …but at some points, He allows the natural consequences to occur. And they hurt, just like a loss of privilege, or remove of the things I love.

I honestly don’t know what I am going to do with this child. I am at a loss at the moment. It’s only 4:30pm and he’s already taken me past the point of allowing him to be around any of the other children, and lost being able to go to a fun activity tonight. It makes me sad for him.

I want him to see that obedience always leads to better things, but all he can see is that it feels good to do what he wants in *that* moment.

Wow, I can be a lot like a 5 year old.

 
 

Finding the real Me

20 Sep

It’s not easy to always put on appearance. I’ve done it for so long that it seems like second nature to me. It’s not that I am intentionally trying to fool anyone. It’s just that I was taught for so long that it’s better to put on a happy face and pretend that things are okay than it is to risk rejection and humiliation when you let the real you come undone in front of anyone but the steamy bathroom mirror.

A couple of days ago I was digging through the archives of my blog and I stumbled upon a few family pictures from my early 20’s. I cringed at the lack of style, makeup and pose. I cringed at the fact that I wasn’t the “perfect” version of me that I try so hard to be each day. But I also missed that girl. She was so confident and had no reason to hide behind layers of makeup.

(Picture of Me, Goob and Sissy taken in 2008)

It’s almost funny to me that the older I get the more I start to only allow others to see what I want them to see. I fear that if I continue down this path then I run the risk of becoming altogher fake. I don’t want this! God doesn’t want this either. I have come to realize that it’s easier for me to let it all hang out emotionally. I have no problem disclosing all the kinds of messed up that I am, yet I am still not giving you the full effect because you can’t see it. I wear my appearance like a mask…I can tell you all day long about the issues that I have, but if you don’t see them, then they aren’t real.

(Picture of Me and BIG summer of 2012)

About a month before we moved to the Bakken I told my husband that I was ready to get breast augmentation done. I’ve given birth to 4 children and this body has seen tighter days. My husband in his wisdom told me that he loves me the way that I am, but that if this was something that I needed to do for myself then he would write the check. I made my appointment for my consultation.

I arrived at my consultation in the best physical shape I’ve ever been in. I sat there with the doctor and told him everything that I wanted from my new breasts. He encouraged me to go beyond what I originally thought I wanted, and so I tried those out. Standing in the mirror looking back at myself, it was all I could do to not run out of the office. The mind tape that played through my mind was horrific.

“Well, if you get larger breast, then you will need to always been in this good of shape or better, or you will start to look large. Maybe you should have a tummy tuck at the same time. I’ve always hated the cellulite that resides on my butt, and my nose is a little large for my face.”

At the end of picking myself apart, I left the office went to the room down the hall to schedule my surgery for a week before we moved.

As I sat there and she listed out the prices for everything that I wanted to have done I looked around the room. In the picture frame on her desk was my neighbor. A neighbor I’d been evangelizing too.

“Hey that’s my neighbor! How do you know her?” I asked

“Oh, I thought you looked familiar! That’s my daughter. I have watched your children play together through the fence.” She said to me

She asked how I wanted to pay for my surgery, and I told her that I was going to need a little bit of time to talk this over with my husband and with God. At that statement she said that was understandable and I left.I realized that this girl would know I was fake, she would see that I didn’t really trust God the way I said I did, because I’d always told her that beauty was on the inside, not the outside. And here I was trying to make my outside into something it was never meant to be.

I prayed and prayed about what to do. There is no place in the Bible that says cosmetic surgery is a sin. And I believe that just like some things are spelled out for you as a clear “no-no” there are some things that God omits because that is a personal journey that He is going to take you through.

My husband had made his wishes known. He loved me for who I was, not who I wanted to pretend to br. No matter how you slice it, cosmetic surgery is still fake. It isn’t wouldn’t make me who God created me to be, and I already had plenty of issues of trying to be someone that I am not. In the end, I have decided that was the best $200 I could have spent on a consultation. I no longer wonder what I would look like with perky, pre-baby breasts. I know.

But I also know for ME. (Please hear these as personal statement for myself, if you relate, awesome, but I am not condemning nor condoning cosmetic surgery, I am simply stating what I learned for myself.) That trying to alter my appearance on a permanent basis was not going to fix what I was really trying to do, I was trying to hide. I wanted to hide from all the mistakes that have taken its toll on my almost 30 year old body. I wanted to turn back the clock and start over. But by doing that I am erasing some of the best years of my life. These are years that are riddled with overwhelming joy and tremendous heartache, but also miracles that only God could provide for me.

While I am still not brave enough to let it all hang out physically, and go makeup less. I am trying to make baby steps to be more real. The me that God created me to be.

God is pretty clear in His Word on what He desires His baby girls to be:

“I want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God” 1 Timothy 2:9-10

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3: 3-5

Those verses don’t say you shouldn’t have wear braids,look nice, or wear makeup. But they DO say that is not where your definition beauty should come from.

Father,

Keep me real; remind me who I am in You, Jesus. I am not beautiful because I am up to date on worldly fashions; I am only beautiful when my Spirit is right with You. Help me to remember that I don’t need to hide emotionally or physically from my Creator. That you made me this way, and allowed these trials to come before me to bring me closer to oneness with You. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And YOU, oh Father, You make no mistakes that need make up to fix. ;) I love you! Amen

 
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A Home for “Tough”

19 Sep

A few months ago we were preparing to adopt two boys.

The cry of my heart had been to have Mr. Man back, and the Lord granted me the child that I prayed for. Except now that child also had siblings.

When we had Mr. Man the first time around it was just him that was placed into foster care, the details aren’t important, but his biological brother remained with his biological mom. I met him one very cold day outside of the place that we met up for family visits.

“Tough” was sitting in the car waiting for his mom to visit with Mr. Man. He was sitting in the backseat without anything to read or play with, in a car without a heater, with a man who was not his father, nor someone that I would dream of leaving my child alone with. When I came out of the building with Mr. Man, Tough came up and wanted to give me a hug. When it was time to go and I started to put Mr. Man into his car seat, Tough tried to climb into the car also. My heart broke, I knew that this child was not to come with me, even if I loved him and wanted good things for him. So I gently got him out of the car, but also scooped up a few random toys and books that littered the backseat.

“Would you like these things?” I asked him.

“Oh yes, I would.” He replied ever so politely.

“Alright, they are yours. Be a good boy and we will see you next week.”

“I love you.” He said to me as he hugged me goodbye.

Little did I know that years later I would love him to.

Tough was supposed to come and live with us. He was supposed to move to North Dakota and be a Grimm. There were all these plans that were made for Tough, but they were the plans of man and not of an Almighty God. So those plans failed.

Once again the details are not important, but I didn’t know when I created the nickname for Tough, how true it would become. I got the call today that Tough was displaced from another adoptive home. At the age of 9 (tomorrow is his birthday) he is still homeless, and family less. My heart aches for this child. I know for reasons bigger than me and my plans, Tough will not come to live in my home. But please, I beg you dear readers of this blog, friends and family members…please join me in praying for a permanent home for Tough. I don’t want him being “tough” to also make him hard because of the things he has gone through in his short life. Pray for redemption from these hurts, deliverance from the sins he has witness and come to accept as normal, and pray mostly for a relationship with the One who can make all things new. I thank you for that!

 
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Back to Basics

18 Sep

 

I’ve always been a social butterfly. I never understood why my parents would tell me that school was my job. Clearly, it was for making and hanging out with friends. In my marriage, I am the one that likes to invite people over. Or wanting to accept invitation to people’s homes, or throw a party, and Big T would always say no. “I want it to be just our family.” He would say to me. Ugh, I would think. It’s not that I didn’t/don’t like our family. I just LOVE having lots to do, and people to meet and talk too. So against his wishes, I would volunteer us for things, or invite people over. (Chances are if you have eaten at our home there was a HUGE fight before/after you came, because I didn’t check with Big T to see if it was a good night to have someone over. (Since with him it was never a good night) So I would just take it upon myself to make the decision to invite someone over.

You see…I’ve spent the last 8 years of my marriage, telling Big T that I want him to lead our family, but secretly wanting him to lead only when it was in line with what I really wanted. Being joyfully submissive has never been strength for me, I would say, I’ve been more reluctantly submissive, and sometimes just straight up defiantly unsubmissive. I didn’t understand that if I CHOOSE to joyfully serve my husband there are blessings to be had in obedience. All I wanted was to do it my own way.

Since moving to North Dakota some things have come to the light that have made it very clear that I am not capable to choosing my own way. I clearly need to be lead, and if I wanted to continue to live in the manner that I was living in then I was going to lead myself right up to a divorce.  It wasn’t until it got THAT bad, that I decided it was time to make a change. I didn’t like the way I was leading me, or what was happening to our family. So I decided to take a leap of faith and allow my husband to do what he was always meant to be and that is the head of our household.

When I was refusing to listen to Big T and his wishes of me just spending more time with the family, I would get into this place of feeling that my home and my family aren’t good enough. But I was choosing to be TOO busy to do anything about it. Clearly my standard was not the Bible, for had it been, I would have realized that I needed to spend more time with the family like my husband was requesting, and I needed to give up the control to him so that I could enjoy the blessings that God had in store for our marriage.

Through my choosing to put others in front of our family that meant that Big T did a majority of the housework. In the last 8 years, I have never once had sole responsibility of our home. I am very blessed to have a husband that likes to tidy up around the house, and who likes to cook. However, I was starting to take this blessing and turn it into an expectation. I would be so busy outside our home that when Big T would mention that I needed to get caught up on the laundry I would go into a tyraid.

Doesn’t he know that I am busy?! Shouldn’t he just see the slack and do it?! Goodness…and if I did end up having to do housework I would punish him come bedtime, clearly I was too tired from all my housework to be a loving wife. Oh how ugly this can make a wife. How was I expecting my marriage to thrive when I was choosing to not listen to my husbands’ needs and then punish him for expressing them?

Just recently I’ve been shown that this is not what God has in mind for my marriage. He has something much better in store of us, that is- if I would do my part. Doing my part means that I need to joyfully serve my husband in every area and make him desire to come home and see me. To get started on this, I decided that I would talk to Tom and see what his top 3 things are for me to be doing. Clearly, I can’t be superwoman, but surely I can handle mastering 3 items that would make Tom feel loved and appreciated.

One night while *he* was cooking dinner. (See, I really have an amazing husband!) I asked him “Tom, if you could only pick three things for me to do well, what would they be?”

Without batting an eye he said “Keep our home. Be engaged with our children. Take care of yourself.”

Um…wow. I was a little taken aback by how quickly he responded. This must have been something he had been thinking about, and wanting to tell me for a long time.

I was looking for more specific items, for example: rub my back after dinner 3x/week.  These items were so broad, and so…well, HARD. But I was determined to do them.

It wasn’t until I set my mind to doing these items that I realized how much I have been just going through the motions of keeping a home! Goodness, I clean only when things are a disaster, and do laundry, only when we have nothing to wear. I keep our home out of necessity, not out of service to my family.

Thankfully, I stumbled upon this blog and gleaned some amazing tips from Darlene on how to keep my home, and serve my husband joyfully. I will admit that today was the FIRST time since we have moved to North Dakota that I am scrubbed the bathroom floors. Ewww…I know…we’ve lived here almost 6 months. I am determined to not let those things slide again!

Being engaged with the kids is a constant struggle, but it is something that I am determined to do more of. That means more cleaning on downtime (when the big Littles are at school and the little Littles are napping) and less cleaning while they are home. It also means that it’s time to find areas that they can assist me in the keeping of the home.

Last night I did a 10 minute clean up with the kids, and was AMAZED at how well it went, and how nice the house looked afterwards. There is hope yet.

The last item on his list was one that I should have had him clarify. I naturally assumed that he meant “take care of yourself” to mean, I need to look HOT at all times. So I stepped it up at the gym, working out like a freak (which I LOVE, so isn’t really sacrificial), and I started following fashion blogs and learning to do my hair and makeup. It wasn’t until a couple of days ago when I confessed that I was exhausted from trying to stay put together that Big T informed me that I take care of my appearance a little more than what Big T would expect of me.

Flabbergasted, I said “but you said to take care of yourself as something you want me to do. “

“Jenny, I meant take care of you emotionally. I know you thrive off of Bible Studies and getting together with other ladies. I want you to do those things too, but I want you to prioritize our family first.”

Whew-while this seriously relieved me of the stress of trying to always look amazing for him, it also meant that I have to do something that doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s not natural for me to place my family above my friendships. I know this is a very sad statement to make, but I just always assume that my family will be there, and my friends need me.

Well, here’s to turn back the clock to being a helpmeet to my man, to joyfully serve my family, to be involved with my children and to stop checking off the number of activities we do/volunteer for, and people we have over for dinner and start relishing in the time we just spend together enjoying our family. The Grimms are going old school.

Have you ever experienced a life changing realization like mine? Would you mind sharing?

 
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