journeys as a wife

Lessons from a Wife of a PhD Student


I have a confession to make. A few mornings back I was so grumpy towards my husband. I was selfish, and the opposite of supportive and gracious towards him. Why? Well the short answer is that I was frustrated that he has been working on the same paper for quite awhile. I did not understand why he could not just buckle down and finish the paper, so that we could have more time together, he could get better sleep, and not feel defeated when he was home.

A little background... I got a degree in communication, an entire department committed to setting short and long term goals. Set goals. Meet goals. Set more goals. Meet more goals. And so on and so on. However, studying to obtain a PhD in Civil Engineering could not be more different. It is tedious, ongoing, and slow. That is just part of the package deal...and I have had the hardest time in supporting my husband in this calling. I do not do slow, I struggle with methodical and tedious, and anything ongoing causes me stress. 

My selfishness however, goes much deeper than just frustration towards a paper that happens to be taking a few weeks to complete. There is a deeper heart issue taking place; a sin that I have since begun to see needs to be brought to light. As I have pondered that morning, my attitude, and heart these verses have come to mind.

"An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones." Proverbs 12:4

"A continual dripping on a rainy day and a quarrelsome wife are alike..." Proverbs 27:15

"When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent." Proverbs 10:19

"A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back." Proverbs 29:11

"She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life." Proverbs 31:12

"...and let the wife see that she respects her husband." Ephesians 5:33

Wow. Each of these verses seem like a cold bucket of water being dumped over my head. I had become self consumed in my relationship with my husband. It was all about me, my irritation, my need for more time with him, my lack of understanding of the time commitment his degree requires. Rather than uplifting and supporting him, whether I understood the demands of his job or not, I chose to do the opposite. I found myself tuning him out as he laid his burdens and feelings of defeat before me. I would complain about how consumed he has been with this paper. I was that continual dripping, that rottenness to his bones. I was giving full vent to my spirit, using many words to express my own frustrations without thinking for a second how my word would impact my husband's heart as he absorbed the full blow of my irritation. 

So why am I sharing this? Because I know I am not the only selfish wife in the world. I know some of you can relate to this realization that you are expecting your husband to serve you at all times, and find yourself not truly considering his needs. I am sharing my struggle with you because I know I am not alone, and because there is freedom in honesty. There is freedom in transparency and vulnerability. 

Satan desires nothing more than to get us entirely focused on ourselves. When we become self absorbed, he is overjoyed! He has us exactly where he wants us, and when we are in this place we will begin to spiral down into a deep self consumed pit at an alarmingly fast pace before we even know what has happened. 

So as I am fighting to pull myself out of this pit, and bring this struggle fully into the light here are things I know are true. 

I am called to respect my husband, to be his helper,and  to support him. I am called to speak life into his heart and not bring rottenness to his bones. I am called to lay my frustrations aside and carry his. I am called to silence my own irritations and pick up his. Does this mean I am a doormat? NO! This means I am a partner in a covenant relationship, in which we bear one another's burdens and love each other wholeheartedly with SELFLESSNESS. I desire to bring good to my husband and to lighten his load, so I am choosing to rely on the Holy Spirit to give me the ability to hold back my words quietly and to give me the strength to lovingly support my husband in his pursuit of a PhD. 

I have recently found deep pleasure in reading some of the Puritan Prayers found in The Valley of Vision book...I think that they are a beautiful literary depiction of my sinful heart. They remind my of the poetic yet emotional writing style of David in the Psalms. Read this prayer in light of this post, and be filled with hope found in the grace of our Heavenly Father. 

"O God, may Your Spirit speak in me that I may speak to You. I have no merit, let the merit of Jesus stand for me. I am undeserving, but I look to Your tender mercy. I am full of infirmities, wants, sin; You are full of grace.
I confess my sin, my frequent sin, my wilful sin; all my powers of body and soul are defiled: a fountain of pollution is deep within my nature. There are chambers of foul images within my being; I have gone from one odious room to another, walked in a no-man's-land of dangerous imaginations, pried into the secrets of my fallen nature.
I am utterly ashamed that I am what I am in myself; I have no green shoot in me nor fruit, but thorns and thistles; I am a fading leaf that the wind drives away; I live bare and barren as a winter tree, unprofitable, fit to be hewn down and burnt. Lord, do You have mercy on me?
You have struck a heavy blow at my pride, at the false god of self, and I lie in pieces before You. But You have given me another master and lord, Your Son, Jesus, and now my heart is turned towards holiness, my life speeds as an arrow from a bow towards complete obedience to You. Help me in all my doings to put down sin and to humble pride. Save me from the love of the world and the pride of life, from everything that is natural to fallen man, and let Christ's nature be seen in me day by day. Grant me grace to bear Your will without repining, and delight to be not only chiselled, squared, or fashioned, but separated from the old rock where I have been embedded so long, and lifted from the quarry to the upper air, where I may be built in Christ for ever." 

Also, in other unrelated news...WE ARE GETTING A PUPPY! Ben and I could not be more excited to add a little fur baby to our family of two. We were notified from the breeders we had chosen to go with a few days ago that a litter had been born...5 little girls and two boys. We will be able to pick up our little girl, who we will be naming Piper, on June 2nd. She is a cockapoo pup, a mix between a cocker spaniel and a poodle, and a whole lot of adorable. Cannot wait to share more with you and introduce our little Piper girl to you all very soon!



Happy Happy Monday!

BLOGLOVIN' // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER // PINTEREST // FACEBOOK 


A Harvest of Blessing

Submission in Marriage

I have said this a lot lately but I am going to say it again, I want to make sure that the way I am handling this blog never leads a reader to think, "Man, this girl has got it all together." I want this to be a place of honesty, because to be honest is to be vulnerable. So while this blog is not my journal by any means, I do want to be careful that I do not turn this space into a place for me create a false reality for myself.

So today, let's talk about submission in marriage. 

Most of us have all heard this verse, "Wives submit to your husbands, as to the Lord." Ephesians 5:22 I think that women often find themselves subconsciously resenting this verse. Many wives interpret this as the Lord saying we are lesser than the man. He is the king and we are the servant, submitting to his every command and wish. Can I tell you though, this is not what we are called to as wives. 

The Lord has placed the man in the role as the head. He is the leader, and the stronger one, but that is not why we submit to him. We submit to our husbands because they serve as an earthly picture of our Heavenly Father. We love, serve, submit, and care for our husbands because we have been redeemed by a gracious Savior and are called a child of God despite our own sinfulness. So we submit to our husbands as we would if our husband was Jesus Christ himself. That changes things doesn't it? We can no longer base our submission on our husband's performance, because we are sinners who have fallen short of the Lord's grace yet we still receive that grace...so we find ourselves longing to lovingly submit to the one who represents undeserved grace.

Since I am being honest here, this is so hard! I love being married to Ben. Marriage has been the greatest gift and blessing I have ever been given. Yet it has been the most sanctifying experience of my life! Submission was something I began to resent in the early months of our marriage. Who was my husband to tell me if I was gossiping, or having a bad attitude? Who was he to make me talk out our conflict when all I wanted to do was go to sleep?...well he is my established leader, my head, and he is called in that same passage in Ephesians to mirror Christ as He sanctifies his bride. So he is called to do those things by Jesus Christ. 

WOW. 

So I began to realize I had no right to not submit...If I wanted to walk in obedience with the Lord then I must, no matter what, submit to my husband. Even when I feel he doesn't deserve it. If I look for the Gospel in my marriage through the practice of submission this is what I find... I am a sinner, my husband is also a sinner. We are guaranteed to have conflict because of this fact. However, Jesus Christ loved me despite my constant sinfulness, and He calls me his own even when I don't deserve it. Jesus does not hold my wrongs over my head or silently punish me for my mistakes. Marriage is to be a picture to the world of unconditional love, love that is not based on emotion or who is right. So I am to submit to my husband not because I am lesser, or a servant, but because I want the Gospel to be seen in my marriage. I want our marriage to look more like my relationship with Jesus. 

So while there have been moments I have looked my husband in the eye and told him I did not want to submit to his leadership (true story), I am constantly reminded of the unrelenting love of our Father when Ben so graciously deals with my sin in love and tenderness. 



Marriage means sanctification. Sanctification means difficulty. Think about gold that must go through the fire in order that all impurities can be removed...so that the gold may be sanctified. Then in order for the fine metal to be transformed into precious jewelry, it must be bent, hammered, beaten even into the final product. So it goes with marriage. It is full of joy, and full of sanctification. I am thankful that the Lord is patient with his children and that he does not measure us by what we do right or wrong. His grace abounds.

Check out this other great read on marriage/submission- 5 Admirable Traits of an Early Church Marriage

Much Love,

Rachel

Creating a Peace Filled Home

Happy Sunday! I have started taking off blogging for the weekends. However, I had the privilege of appearing over at the Our Yellow Door blog yesterday. Sweet Rachel (the face behind the blog) asked me to write a post about creating a home that exudes peace. Creating a peaceful and joyful home is something I have become so passionate about as a newlywed. It is such a sweet journey to make a house a home. 


So hop on over and give Rachel some love at Our Yellow Door and check out my thoughts on creating homes filled with peace!

And get excited for a week full of some really fun and exciting posts, plus a guest blogger! YAY!

xoxo,

Rachel

Living Room Tour.

I have loved so much seeing several posts lately about what home means to different bloggers. So I decided to share a little bit of our humble abode with you all today. We live in an old Victorian home that has been split into several apartments. 

5 fun facts about our apartment:

1. We have the front porch, plus a porch swing, and we do not have to share with anyone. 

2. We are walking distance from my favorite bagel shop, coffee shop, Mississippi State's campus, the Farmer's Market, and our favorite local pizza joint. 

3. Nothing, not one single thing, in this house is symmetrical, level, or straight. There are cracks, gaps, holes, and anything else you can think of. And you know what? we love it! most of the time. Our house has its own personality, it makes weird noises, sometimes smells funny, but it has been fun making this funky place our home.

4. Ben tiled our shower, which is something he has never done before and it is beautiful. (See pictures here) We have also built a lot of our own furniture. We love to create, and Ben loves wood working so it just seemed to makes sense. Plus it has saved us a ton of money. 

5. My closet is in the living room. There are only two small closets in our entire apartment, so I keep my clothes in the larger of the two...which happens to be the one in the living room. 

So we love this place, it is quirky, but it is home to us right now. It couldn't be more perfect for us in this season of life. I think one of my favorite parts of creating a home with the man I love has been being able to do just that. No one has told me these have to be the colors you use in this room, or you have to buy these pillows to match that. I have gotten to style and decorate our home exactly how I want. It is a work in progress. We are always working on some new project so a DIYer's work is never finished I guess.
Also, having a "home" even though it is a downtown apartment has been one of my greatest joys as a new wife. Having a place for my small group girls to come and hang out, a place to host showers, staff meetings, game nights, and dinners with company, being able to do those things in a place we have already invested so much love into now that is a joy.


So without further delay I give you our living room. I decided to only do one room at a time, so more to come later on. 



{Fun Fact: all, yes ALL, of our furniture in this room was given to us by family and friends. It was a huge blessing to us}


{Fun Fact: my grandmother made the green and blue crocheted blanket pictured, and Ben made both of those gorgeous large rustic picture frames}


{Fun Fact: see that door right there? that my friends in my lovely little (emphasis on little) closet}


{Fun Fact: Ben is currently working on end tables for this room and our bedroom. They are not finished yet but the tops will look like this and will be stained and finished. Oh and they will have drawers. Isn't my man talented?}


{Fun Fact: We have lots of pictures of ourselves in this room. Haha hopefully we can fix that over time. Also the framed picture on the bottom row, middle frame, this was a gift from my mom. She hand wrote all the names of God and places where they are found in Scripture in calligraphy. It is such a special gift}


{Fun Fact: That is Ephesians 5 typed out with our faces in it!! How awesome? This was a gift to me from one of my bridesmaids. She made it for one of my showers and it has become so special to be, vintage chipped frame and all.}




{Fun Fact: We use that little furnace so much. Wish it was a real fireplace. Also, you can read about the chalk paint recipe we used to paint this beautiful entertainment center here}



{Fun Fact: We got our super plush and comfy rug (that is huge, 8x11) for just $80 at Lowe's. It was such a steal and a purchase we are really proud of}

Well that is it. Like I said, our home is a work in progress and we are always adding, rearranging, or changing things inside. But the best part is that we can totally do all of that as much as we want to and no one can tell us we can't! FREEDOM! (slightly dramatic, sorry). But really making this little space homey for ourselves and all our guests has been a blast. Hope you enjoyed seeing into our home.

Happy Saturday, we are headed to get biscuits from a local biscuit baker, and a steamy Americano from my favorite coffee shop right down the street.

XOXO,

Rachel