Not afraid

I mentioned last week that there are some changes going on at work. Tomorrow morning, we have another meeting.

Tonight, I’m fretting about it. I have no idea what’s going to happen, but that doesn’t stop me from speculating and reacting to my speculations. So, Brian stepped in.

Brian walked through some situations and asked me some hard questions. He made sure I wasn’t letting my pride interfere and that I was thinking about this from several points of view. He also pressed me to figure out where all of my feelings were coming from.

Honestly, it was annoying. I wanted to stew and pout. But Brian did the right thing and asked me hard questions, pulling me out of my funk.

I’m still not excited about tomorrow. But my mind is clearer and my heart less heavy. I’m grateful for a husband who is not afraid of the tough stuff.

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Bonus for you all

I’m rather peeved right now. I’m peeved because it’s my husband’s night to blog. It’s my husband’s night, he said he would do it, and after three hours of Women’s Development, I come home and he’s asleep. When I tell him to wake up and do the blog, he says he will, and in 30 seconds is snoring louder than he was when I woke him up.

Okay, let’s be honest– I’m actually pissed. I woke up long before him this morning and am now up long after him. I was on my feet all day, had an emotional evening (that I’d really like to talk to him about right now), but no– he decided to go to bed before his responsibilities were taken care of.

This is marriage, folks. I’m pissed at the snoring lump beside me. I want desperately to be asleep (since I have to wake up in six hours), but I’m so livid at my husband that unless I stop and pray and forgive him, I’ll just lay awake for another half hour thinking about how upset I am and potentially plotting against him.

I need God. I need God to help me to be the wife I committed to be even when my husband isn’t living up to who I think he should be or my expectations… or even when I’m tired and cranky and am wondering why in the word we committed to write every single day for this first year. On the upside– you don’t typically get to see this side of me– so there’s the bonus for you all. I am normal and I do get mad.

So, I’m signing off tonight upset, but with the knowledge I can’t stay this way. We posted the fruit of the Spirit in our home for a reason– those are our marriage goals. I’m pretty low on the love, patience, and kindness right now– and I am wrong for that. Brian takes care of me when I am worn out, so tonight, I should see this as my turn. I pray that I can see that.

Advice and Experience

One of the best parts of the Development program at church is the chance to connect with other men and share our lives together. What has been particularly good for me is the relationship that has formed with the elder assigned to my group. It has been an invaluable relationship to build.

One aspect of the program is periodic one on one meetings that cover a wide range of things. This morning our meeting really focused on our marriage and how it was going. In talking with Devin I brought up some things that I have been trying to improve upon and we had a good discussion. Specifically I wanted guidance how how to serve Lindsey better with her current needs, and how I can help ensure we are always on the same page. He was great, and had lots of good solid guidance based on his experience, some of his past counseling of others, and of course the Gospel. It was great time of learning for me.

I’ve discovered that I need this. I need someone who knows the path I’m taking and has wisdom to share. I need someone to ask me the hard questions and holds me accountable. I don’t know if this will always be true, but I will be surprised if it isn’t. Guidance like this is making me a better husband.

A lot of failure

Last night I posted about priorities, and how so far in our marriage I have not really taken Lindsey’s priorities up as my own. This has caused tension, and a few arguments. My post and our discussion yesterday had me thinking all day today, and I kept coming back to one thing: I am called to love and serve Lindsey. That is my primary duty as a husband, and honestly it is something I want to do well. Yet, I fail. Consistently.

This failure is no surprise to… well, anyone. People are not perfect; we are all broken and have our failings and blind spots. The biggest implication of our brokenness in a marriage can be seen in a simple math problem:

1 person who fails + 1 person who fails = a lot of failure

As I have posted before, getting married does not solve your problems. It doubles them. This may seem too simple of an explanation, but my guess is that any married person, anyone with siblings, or really anyone who doesn’t live alone in the wilderness knows this to be true. This is the profound, and yet faulty, ground upon which all human relationships are built.

Because this is the case, we only have two options: we can play the game of balancing wrong against wrong and apology against apology, or we can extend grace to one another and tear down the scoreboard. In our house we strive for the latter, but I confess that I often revert back to scorekeeping. I’m like the soccer dad whose kid plays in a no-score league and yet can’t help but to keep track of the goals on his iPhone from the sidelines.

So today my prayers and actions have been towards two goals. I have sought to look to the example of the one who washed his followers feet and sacrificed all for them, and serve my wife first. Second, I have confessed that I cannot change myself on my own, I need God to change my heart. That’s the only way to fix anything within me.

“Will it work?” you ask. I dont know for sure, but I have faith that it will.

Through similar prayers God has changed my heart unbelievably over the last six years, so this faith of mine is not blind. The only way for me to know is to keep pressing on, to keep seeking change through God, and keep serving my wife.

Honestly, it sounds like a really good plan.

Story Team

Brian and I are both on the Austin Stone Story Team. This is a group of artists within our church that want to tell the stories of what God is doing. Photographers, writers, and editors collaborate to share these amazing stories.

Brian was already on the Story Team when I met him. He’s a writer– a pretty good one. I was so envious when he first told me about the team. It sounded like something I really wanted to be a part of, and the knowledge that he had been selected for it made me think it would be quite some time before I’d have the chance to join.

I was wrong. Thank goodness! The Story Team got to a point where they needed editors and Brian helped to get me connected. Eventually, I’d like to write, but for now, the blog entires and my own personal journal keep me plenty busy. With the wedding and end-of-the-school-year craziness, I wasn’t able to actually edit a story until June.

It was marvelous– my own wondrous word puzzle to solve! Writers submit 650-800 word stories. Editors produce a 300 and 650 word edit from the original story. The 300 word edit was the previously mentioned puzzle of fun– literally removing more than half of the words and maintaining the writer’s original storyline– awesome!!! I was fortunate and my story was really well-written, so my job wasn’t that difficult. But it was still such fun! (Is my word-nerd, grammar-geek side showing yet? Hmm?)

Brian kept checking in on me to see if I needed anything. He probably hadn’t heard me that quiet all summer. I was a woman on a mission– I was going to edit this thing and I was going to do it well! I did run into trouble when I got to the writer’s feedback. I’m supposed to provide feedback to the writer about the changes I made. But I have the problem of knowing that a change needs to be made but NOT knowing the particulars or special language to articulate WHY I changed it. I need work there– maybe a mentor-editor for the next few rounds.

When I finished my edits and uploaded them, Brian gave me an enthusiastic high ten (that’s two high fives, for those of you who need some math practice). It was a shared success. We’re on this team together and serve together. It’s so wonderful to have this shared interest and talent, and then get to DO something with it together. And who knows… maybe someday I’ll get to edit one of Brian’s Story Team stories… mwahahahaha!!!

This past Sunday, the story was in the bulletin (that’s the 300 word edit). The longer version is up on Facebook now. Click below to check it out.

Here’s the story!

This is for the NPR

“So… you could bake some chocolate chip cookies. They’re my favorite,” he says.

My immediate thoughts: I already have dessert planned for our guest tonight–We’re leaving town tomorrow and won’t even be here to eat them– Why does he act like they’re aren’t any sweets in the house when I went grocery shopping yesterday– And how am I supposed to lose weight with cookies on the counter?

My response: I look up a killer chocolate chip cookie recipe, go to the grocery store, and make an entire batch of deliciousness. They’re coming out of the oven when my husband walks through the door. Why? Because I love my husband and want to make him happy.

I frustrate Brian. I annoy Brian. I drive him crazy at times. I test his patience, I steal his covers, and I listen to NPR. The least I can do is bake him cookies when he says he wants cookies.

I won’t always be able to make him happy. I won’t always bring him joy. There will be times he wants something from me that I just can’t deliver…

…but not today 🙂

PS– This recipe really is killer. I think it’s the almond extract. I’m a huge fan of all five recipes I’ve tried from this site (and yes, I do use their flour– the organic): King Arthur Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies

The stay at home wife

I have become the stay at home wife.

Now that school is out, I’m home all the time. I am excited to take care of my husband and my home. I’ve been baking, cooking meals, doing laundry, organizing and unpacking– all sorts of wifely duties. Today was consumed by laundry, ironing, cooking, grocery shopping, and finding permanent homes for some of my things. So, after dinner dishes were cleaned up and I sat back to review my day, I couldn’t figure out what I’d really done.

I thought about it for a while. I mean… the fridge is full and so is my husband’s belly, the hamper is empty, all Brian’s work clothes are ironed, and there are clean sheets on the bed. Things were accomplished today, but yet, I didn’t feel accomplished.

I mulled over this for a while. Then, it hit me– in doing what I did today, it allowed Brian to do what he did today. My husband had important work calls to be on. He was on time for them, caffeinated, and fed. Brian is working on something for a ministry at church. He had a chance to work on it while I did the grocery shopping and cooked dinner. Then tonight, we were able to lounge on the couch after dinner, watch a show, and then talk and laugh. We were not worrying about the laundry or chores, because they were done.

I am fulfilling an important role right now: I’m serving my husband. It’s beautiful, really. It’s what we promised each other that we would do on our wedding day. And now, with summer, I get a chance to live out that promise and serve a little extra.