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!


A Harvest of Blessing

Inspiration for the kitchen lover

Pretty things make me happy. The kitchen is my favorite room in our house. So kitchens, with pretty things in them, seemed like a wonderful idea for an inspirational post. Here are my recent favorites when it comes to the ideal kitchen. Enjoy! 

classy kitchen
Image Source: Better Home & Garden

Teal + Copper. I may never own copper pots or pans, but there is never a time that I see them that I do not swoon. I love the rustic/cottage vibe they put off, and there are copper pots in Downton Abbey so of course I want them. :) Love the simplicity of this space. It is clean without looking cold, and organized without feeling like you cannot take your shoes off and be a messy cook!

white pitchers
Image Source: The Art of Doing Stuff

I love these pitchers. They are very aesthetically pleasing and just make the whole counter space look clean, which is always a good thing. 

free botanical prints
Image Source: Poppytalk

Botanical prints. I think these are just lovely and guess what? you can print them yourself at home FOR FREE! Follow the image source link and print these little babies, put them in frames above your cabinets or simply tape them to your fridge! 

colorful kitchen china
Image Source: Garimpando Frida

I am a color kind of gal. I love bright, I love bold, I love patterns. So mixing these plates and mugs is right up my alley. Love how illuminating it is to this little white shelf, just makes it all pop. 

cozy kitchen
Image Source: Hooked on Houses

I told Ben when I saw this image the other night, "Honey, this could be our kitchen one day, can't you just see kids running around in a kitchen like this?" I love this kitchen. It is livable. Don't get me wrong, I love all the gorgeous BHG kitchen images out there just like the next girl, but I want my house to be livable, inviting, and comfortable. I want my kids to feel free to mess things up, and guests to feel immediately welcomed and at ease...this kitchen seems to give off that feel. It just seems lived in, which is a great characteristic in my book. 

cottage kitchen
Image Source: Country Living

This one maybe not so much giving off the "lived in, mess me up" vibe, but still gorgeous just the same. I love the chunky woven baskets and the rustic wooden island. 

vintage soup cans
Image Source: Under the Sycamore

How adorable are these? They would be cute year round in any room of the house, but the kitchen just seems like the perfect place for vintage soup cans. 

modern simple kitchen
Image Source: Better Home & Garden

Simplicity is bliss. That is what comes to mind when I see this kitchen. I love the wine crate drawers, and subway tile backsplash. And oh the windows...one day I want a kitchen with gorgeously large windows. (gorgeously large? can I say that...hmm...I am gonna go with yes).

How would you describe your "kitchen style" what makes your heart happy? Check out my previous post "Kitchen Wishlist" for some fun handmade items to add to your kitchen! 



Why I support handmade and small.

Good morning friends, it is bright and early before the sun here and I seem to have a lot churning around in my mind. So I thought I would come over here to share, encourage, and hopefully inspire a few of you. 

Do it yourself projects, websites like Etsy, and being crafty are all the rage right now. I think there is a good reason for this...people long to create meaning. We long to bring significance to the world and to share that significance with others...and often that desire leads to creating. It is encouraging to me to see people creating, not just running down to the store to buy something (not that there is anything wrong with that)...but people desiring to use their own two hands. I find that I am wired to create. I may not be incredibly gifted in one type of hobby or skill, but I have a very strong determination to learn and get better at whatever hobby I am into. 

So why am I saying all this? Well I think that "hobbies" or skills, gifts or talents, or whatever you want to call them are God-given and should be cultivated, supported, encouraged, and affirmed. (Some of those words may be slightly redundant but I am just trying to make a point hehe) We know in the Bible there are spiritual gifts mentioned, (1 Corinthians 12:1-11; 14:1-5; Romans 12:6-8) and I am not ignoring these or downplaying them. I think it is so very important to ask the Lord to reveal our gifts to us, such as mercy, prophecy, hospitality, etc...however those gifts are not what I am focusing on necessarily in this post. What has been on my mind are the gifts like--woodworking, sewing, crocheting, baking, having business savvy just to name a few. These things are not necessarily spelled out in the scriptures, but does that mean that being passionate about these things is not supported and encouraged by the Holy Word of God? NO, they are supported.

Let's take a look at Proverbs 31 (for those of you not familiar with this passage, it is written by a king who is reciting or recording an oracle that his mother taught him, it lays out the qualities of a godly woman and wife, and is a great passage to turn our eyes to as women as how to manage our homes, marriages, and lifestyles to bring glory to the Lord)...

"She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands." (vs. 13)

"She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens." (vs.15)

"She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard." (vs 16)

"She perceives her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night." (vs. 18)

"She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle." (vs.19)

"She makes linen garments and sells them, she delivers sashes to the merchants." (vs. 24)

"She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness." (vs. 27)

The passage goes on to say that this type of woman is to be praised by her children and also her husband. Wow. Those verses speak to baking, sewing, selling, buying, being a business woman...these verses affirm the idea of creating. It is a way to be a blessing to others, which in turn shows the love of our Father and brings him glory. It is a way to keep us as women from becoming lazy and idle in our free time, which helps us to manage our lifestyles and homes well, which brings the Lord glory. All of this brings the Lord glory.

So...why do I support handmade businesses or small businesses? Because women that step out in faith by using gifts the Lord has given them to bring him glory through creating inspire me. I feel like they are a picture to the world around them of something the world cannot fully understand. The world tells us, follow your heart, do what makes you happy, why? to make yourself happy, to make money, most importantly for yourself. But godly women striving after this Proverbs 31 goal do what they love not for themselves (though it may bring them immense joy and fulfillment) but they use their gifts as blessings to those in their households and other outside their homes...and greatest of all they use their gifts to bring our Father God glory. Bringing him glory is why we are here, if we forget that we lose sight of our mission as a child of God.

I have been so inspired by other blogs that I follow, Etsy shops, and just individuals that love creating. These people have pushed me to use my free time more wisely and to really dig and find out what my passions and giftings are. So I thought it would be fun to begin periodically sharing a business I support here on the blog. (Handmade Highlight) Sometimes I may have interviews with the individual, other times I may just tell you a little about them and include a link to their website. I will try to do this once a month or so. I think it will be a fun way to honor and highlight some really inspirational people as well as push us all to be more creative in our ministry as women.

So for today I am highlighting my dear friend Sera Beth Pinkard. Sera Beth and I were sorority sisters in college and became dear friends towards the last year of school. She has a huge heart for business, fashion and puppies (her little pup Marley is one of the cutest things ever). Sera Beth owns a small online clothing/accessories store called Edna Grayce's. (oh did I mention she is getting married in just a month? she has started this whole business all while being engaged and planning a wedding! what a gal!)

Sera Beth loves the Lord, and desires to use her business as a way to bless others in a very tangible way. A portion of all her sales always go to various charities, organizations, and causes. She does not charge shipping on her items as an additional way to bless her customers. All of her pieces are great for women of all ages, they are modest, flattering, stylish and affordable. Here are a few of my favorite pieces. 

(just bought this beauty of a cardigan from Sera Beth yesterday. Its warm, cozy, and goes with so much. Perfect piece to dress up a t shirt)

I asked Sera Beth a few questions so that ya'll can get to know her just a tiny bit better...So here she is...

Rachel: "What drove you to start your own business?"
Sera Beth: "I had the desire to be able to determine the heights of my own success and didn't want anyone else to do that for me."

Rachel: "How do you pick out pieces for your store?"
Sera Beth: "I have three things I usually go by: my intuition when I see new items, customer feedback, and I also invest a good bit of time following fashion bloggers to stay on top of the latest trends!"

Rachel: "What is your favorite scripture verse?"
Sera Beth: "For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)"

Rachel: "What are your top 3 closet staples?"
Sera Beth: "For the winter season they have been my Frye boots, basic color fleece leggings, and scarves. You can put those on with any top, dress, or sweater and have a cute yet comfy outfit."

Rachel: "What inspires you most?"
Sera Beth: "I have to say I always thought my dreams and goals for my life were always too far fetch but in college I read the book, "Rich Dad Poor Dad" and it gave me the affirmation that I was wired with an entrepreneur's mindset!!! We are just wired a little different in our thinking process. I promise I am not crazy, that book really did inspire me to live out my dreams to the fullest."

Thanks so much Sera Beth for being the first business highlighted in my new blog series Handmade Highlight. Love you sweet friend, and I am so proud of all the work you are doing!

Everyone head on over to Edna Grayce's Website and check out all the adorable stuff Sera Beth has right now. I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed when you purchase from this little lady.

I hope this was as inspirational to you as it was for me. Let's push each other to be doers and use our free time to cultivate gifts in order to bring the Lord glory and to be a blessings to others.