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Thank you all for reading. I am going to take a break from writing here. My husband believes I make things up. I say that with sadness, but no anger or anything else. Maybe I do. I love to write. But apparently writing is not something that is helping him. He wants me to leave him alone in a way. And yet he wants me to love him for who he is. I still have that to figure out, and I guess I am taking advantage of this last post to do so.

God is good and doesn’t need me to work out His plan. He shall be greater and I shall be less.

Please pray for my kids. My husband says it is ridiculous that I don’t trust him. Maybe so. Maybe he is okay with the kids. But I still am very concerned about their safety, no matter what anyone says, and I will pray and pray and pray for them and their physical, emotional, and spiritual safety. If anything gets me back on here it will be because I need to be their advocate.

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Being Reconciled

New Year’s blog posts written by thoughtful Christian moms are nice reading material. Some people choose a word to concentrate on during the year. Some people find larger meaning in small things that happen to them around the holidays. Some share their favorite books of the year. I wasn’t really planning on writing a New Year post this year, but I heard a great sermon this morning (best sermon of the year, so far!), and it got me thinking…

The minister asked if I was Reformed enough to believe that when God sees me, He really sees Christ. I am a good child of the Reformation because I understand total depravity (I am sinful since conception) (The T in TULIP). Why do I bounce back and forth between hope and despair? (And I do.) I should not separate myself from Christ. I am in Christ, and therefore the broken relationship between myself and God is restored, and it cannot be broken again.

In human reconciliation, the person who does the offense needs to bring about reconciliation to the offended. I honestly didn’t know that. And that’s important to me right now. But God does something different. He is the One offended against, but He offered up the means of reconciliation (Christ).

Once I am seeing myself in the light of Christ, I can look at everything and everyone through that different and new lens. I need to be a peacemaker as much as it is possible. There’s that word again: peacemaker. Not peacekeeper. I know from my counseling and Boundaries reading that being a peacemaker means hard things.

If I was going to pick a word for myself this year, I’d probably have to go with “peace.” It’s one of those big concepts: you want it but you’re not sure how to go about getting it. And God promises it. So you’re supposed to have it, and you probably do, somewhere. You just haven’t learned how to recognize it yet. Or you haven’t unwrapped it.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope you find God’s peace, too.

Support in Marriage

I have lots of life and relationship issues to think about right now. Writing them out is part of how I think through them. I have a private blog I use for the more confidential and emotional things. But I decided to write this one here because I’m thinking more people want to know how they should be supporting their spouse.

My husband claims I do not support him. Okay. Whether or not that is true, I want to find out what supporting a husband looks like. So, I do some research and come up with this article by Boyd Bailey. I feel like what he says is true. Here’s a quote:

A man needs to know his wife trusts his decision-making and his ability to provide for his family. Her confidence in him propels his self-confidence to higher levels. Your belief in your husband builds him up to believe in himself. It is difficult for a man to rise any higher than the opinion of his helpmate.

Bailey also writes about being patient with him and trusting him to the Lord when things aren’t getting done. Pray for him to be the leader God wants him to be.

How do I stand up to these things? I think the question is more like, how have I stood up to these things in the past, and how has my situation changed recently? I think I did trust his decision-making and his ability to provide. Until I couldn’t anymore. And I did believe in him. Until that became foolish. I still find myself rebuking myself for not believing in him, for not being more supportive. Because I know that’s what wives are supposed to do.

But I read on to the husband’s instructions, and I learn what they are supposed to be doing, and it is written for my husband. I wish he would be more interested in me and my blog and what I’m interested in so that he could read this.

As a husband, it is imperative in God’s sight that you lovingly lead your wife and children. You may feel your wife is more qualified, smarter, and more spiritual. These all may be very true. However, God’s plan is for you to take the position of leadership in the home. She is looking for you to do whatever God has told you. Prayer is your mantle of responsibility. See it as a privilege to enjoy and not an obligation to tolerate. She will trust you more and more as you remain trustworthy.

It takes time to overcome a track record of distrust. Remain in the process of listening to God, following His commands, and then leading your family to do the same.

Track record of distrust. That sounds so nasty. But that’s what he has, and he seems to expect me to try to win him back somehow. He expects me to make him fall in love with me again. But really, he needs to be praying and listening to what God is telling him, and how can he be doing that if he’s blocking out his spiritual leaders from the church? He needs to be leading in love. He wants me to lead him in love.

How do I love him right now? I pray for him. I do what I can to show him that he needs God’s guidance. There’s not much I can do. My support is nothing if he’s not leaning on the same God I’m leaning on.

In a way, the revelation of writing this post is disheartening. I can’t fix things. But in another way, it is hopeful. I can’t fix things, but God knows all about this, and He understands what my husband is supposed to be doing. He understands why I can’t support my husband the way a wife supports a trustworthy husband. He gets it! And He can help me.

Portrait of Sunday Reed

Portrait of Sunday Reed by Moya Dyring, 1934

You never really know where a rabbit trail is going to take you. I set out to find a work of art that suited me. I searched for “Sunday art” since today is Sunday and that’s quite an ordeal of good and bad. I wanted something calming, maybe a landscape, but I ended up being intrigued by this portrait of Sunday Reed. She was an art collector in Australia. There’s a book about her. She had a unique life, it would seem, but the photo images showed her with her husband and children, and they seemed loving.

Is this calming and Sunday-like? Not really. But it’s human. And the portrait hints at something beyond human–something lovely and ethereal. I looked up ethereal. Something delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world. The color combination reminds me of grocery bags, but also chalk, and… and… a painting I made in the little art walk-through room at Ripon College. It reminds me of the way that room smelled. This painting is about memory, I think. At least, it is for me, right now. I love how paintings can pull you in like that. This is one I would enjoy hanging on my wall.

What Could I Sell?

In my quest to explore ways I can help earn a living, I explored Etsy. I have a friend who does well selling her homemade things on Etsy, so it’s something I needed to look into. What could I sell? Drawings. I explored drawings. There’s a lot of neat artwork on Etsy, and the prices are really all over the board. Some people are practically giving away original art, and some people are charging hundreds of dollars. I could do artwork made to order. You know, someone gives me their wedding photo and I make a drawing of it with some design-y stuff in the background. Or I could experiment with watercolor. I could appeal to the cat crowd. I think my family is officially cat-crazy enough to appeal to just about any cat person. (Don’t tell anyone, but we sometimes have 10 cats in the house, all at the same time. They stand at the window and give us guilty looks. Or pleading looks. Or they shiver and look pitiful. Almost any look is good enough to entice one of us to take pity and open the door. Zoom! They’re all in. I generally have to defend my cereal bowl at breakfast. I’m not really complaining. I love them.)

So anyway, I went about doodling this afternoon, trying to come up with something that looked salable. Eh. I don’t know. My heart’s not into the made-to-order stuff. And I think my heart should be in it. If I’m going to draw, it ought to be for the sake of the art, not for the sake of the money. Otherwise, I’m probably going to make mediocre drawings.

Why don’t I apply that standard to my writing? I mean, I don’t love writing blog articles for healthcare staffing companies, but I just wrote one. I write for money. I think there’s something more practical about words than art. Words can certainly be artful, and if I’m going to write poetry, I’m going to write for the love of it, not for money. But if I’m going to write about leadership trends, then I do want to get paid. Does that make sense?

Somewhere along the line today, I remembered that I’m trying not to be ashamed of who I am. I am an artist and a writer. I am a home educator. I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a Christian. Right at the moment, I am not earning much money. Does that make me feel ashamed? Not really. But I think it makes my husband ashamed. Or mad. But me… no. Look at all the things I am. Those are important things. And I do them. I have purpose.

It gets confusing, though, when my husband doesn’t see things the same way I do.

Prayers Please

I’m asking for prayers. I’m feeling a lot of pressure from my husband to get a job and put the kids in school. I do what I can with freelance writing at home, and I’m not a big spender, but these things aren’t really enough to fix our financial situation. My husband doesn’t seem to feel obligated to get a better job than his current milking position. He has alienated himself from our church and is not listening to those in church authority. I’m in a bad situation right now, and I need to make sure the kids are okay. It’s hard for me to know what to do.

Please pray for wisdom and insight for me. Pray for clear direction. Pray for the safety and well-being of our family. Thank you. I know the power of prayer, and I believe God will use them for good.