Recently I stumbled across and interview Eva Mendes gave where she stated that the end of a marriage can be directly related to the wife wearing sweatpants.
If you want to read the original article that led to this posting click here.
Normally, I don’t pay a lot of attention to what celebrities talk about.
I especially don’t tend pay attention to celebrities who feel qualified to give marital advice when they’re not married.
However, reading many of the comments linked with these articles on social media made me reconsider.
In Society Today, Beauty is Only Skin Deep
There are a lot of women–too many women–who feel Eva Mendes is correct.
They believe in this day of Photoshop and plastic surgery what a wife wears is the true key to the longevity of their marriage.
I need to clear this up.
Or, at the very least, for the people who read my weekly ramblings.
What We Wear At Home Should Not Be a Deciding Factor in the Strength of Our Relationship With Our Spouse.
Marriages are a contract, yes, but they’re a contract that should be tied to a deep and abiding love and faithfulness– to not only our spouse, but to God.
When I got married, I distinctly remember the minister mispronouncing my short name, but getting my husband’s long, long, long name correct. the words, “for better or for worse” among the words my husband and I repeated.
I’m sure there are people who will smirk and say, “For better or for worse doesn’t have anything to do with bad style choices.” I disagree. Completely.
If my husband’s love for me were directly tied to the way I looked, our marriage would have ended years ago.
I may not wear sweatpants, but I also don’t wake up each morning before my husband so he doesn’t see me without my ‘face’ on.
For that matter, I rarely wear make-up, so there’s that.
He’s seen me with bedhead, fighting the stomach flu.
I’ve had chronic migraines, that have done nothing for the way I look; and long ago, he saw me when I drank too much.
None of these sights were pretty, and they’re all a heck of a lot worse than him seeing me in a pair of sweatpants.
Love Isn’t About the Way You Look, It’s About the Connection You Have With Someone’s Heart.
Love is the butterflies you get in your stomach when you know you’re going to see them; it’s the comfort their presence brings you, without them saying anything.
It’s knowing that you don’t have to doll yourself up all the time to impress them, because they’re impressed with the way God created you.
“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 3:3-4
They don’t love you because of the adornments you use to be fashionable or beautiful for a materialistic world.
I understand what she ‘might’ have been trying to say.
Women Should Take Pride in Themselves.
The biggest problem with associating this with a type of pants, is that people miss the bigger picture.
Pride in yourself is fine–as long as you remember everything you have is God’s.
Be careful about having too much pride in your good looks, your perfect body, or the clothes you wear.
All of those things are fleeting.
The beauty God created inside you–your heart and soul–those are where the true strength of your marriage will come from.
So, ladies if you feel like your husband (or boyfriend) will leave you if you don’t look your best, walk away.
He’s not the one for you.
Don’t sell yourself short for someone only interested in the outer trappings.
Find that person who will love you even when you’re looking your worst, because he’ll see the beauty God created.
Besides, no one wants to be worried about their hair or make-up at two in the morning–when they’re in labor.
My entire life has been connected in one way or another to the military.
I grew up the daughter of a Master Chief in the United States Navy. I joined (albeit shortly) the Army National Guard, and in 2005 I married a Marine.
All these years later, I realize just how much that military life strengthened my faith in Our Heavenly Father.
Each situation, transition, and experience added another brick to the foundation of my belief in God’s almighty power, His endless love, and boundless wisdom.
God is Always There
When my husband and I first married, we were immediately stationed on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.
This sounds like a dream destination, but for us it wasn’t.
We struggled, and there were times it didn’t seem possible for us to make it through together.
Looking back it’s easy to see, God had a plan for us; we just weren’t listening to Him or leaning on Him.
We experienced many different things during our eighteen months there.
Most of it separately.
My husband spent a good portion of the time we were stationed there deployed to Afghanistan–or preparing to deploy.
Because of this, we relied heavily on ourselves, and then expected each other to fill the empty spaces in our lives.
It was rough.
I’d never been away from my family or my friends, and living on an island–basically alone–showed me a weakness in myself I’d never known.
Even though I wasn’t intimate with God during this season of my life, He was there.
Taking the hard moments and using them to help build a strong foundation for my future faith.
The LORD Does it Again
When we left Hawaii we were stationed in Virginia.
We struggled to build our relationship, because neither of us understood the other. We didn’t communicate, and we hurt each other deeply time and time again.
Military Life Isn’t Easy.
Not even for people with strong marriages.
Being young made it harder.
The Marine Corps was a tough employer, and my husband worked long hours and was rarely home.
When he was home he would unwind by playing computer games.
A solitary activity that didn’t include me.
Between the stresses of his job, and our lack of connection I was emotionally exhausted.
After two years, I was ready to call it quits.
Then a Miracle Happened.
I’d been told after the loss of my son I’d likely never carry a child again.
God, however, works miracles all the time; in His time it happened.
With our marriage on rocky ground, we made it through the pregnancy and birth of our eldest.
It wasn’t easy, and we still didn’t turn to God or acknowledge Him in our lives.
We continued to go it on our own, and made each day harder than it needed to be.
Again, the LORD wasn’t deterred.
He used our experiences in this new place to add more bricks to the foundation of my faith.
Deployments, PTSD, and Selfishness
My Husband Deployed to Afghanistan Twice.
The second time he deployed, our eldest was a toddler, and that changed everything. His absence was no longer only affecting me, but was affecting a little girl who didn’t understand why her daddy wasn’t home to tuck her in.
This wasn’t the first time he’d been gone from our lives since her birth, but it was the first time the military had taken him to a war zone.
Those seven months were both a struggle and a blessing.
I just didn’t realize the ‘blessing’ part until years later.
While he was gone I experienced a number of things that would have been so much easier with God actively in my life.
Learning Experience: God is Faithful
My daughter ended up rushed to a children’s hospital when her temperature elevated and the local hospital didn’t feel capable of caring for her. We rode in the ambulance for over an hour, to a hospital in the middle of the desert.
I’d left my car at the local hospital with no idea of how she and I would get home.
Without knowing it at the time, God was there.
Her fever broke and we made it back home.
A problem that seemed insurmountable was solved.
Back to Back Deployments Are Traumatic
When a service member returns from a deployment it takes time for reintegration.
Not only for the member, but for the family he left as well.
We’d spent seven months apart, and during that time both our daughter and I had grown and changed.
He’d changed too.
You can’t deploy somewhere, see death, destruction, and misery, and not be irrevocably changed.
It was really hard to connect.
He and I had never really been great at communicating in the first place, add in the stresses of his returning to a safe place, and the communication was practically non-existent.
God used these struggles too.
I couldn’t see it at the time, and if you’d asked me during those days I would have scoffed at the idea of any god, let alone the God.
Then He Deployed to Okinawa
Within weeks of his return, my husband was back scheduled to deploy again.
Granted, this time it wasn’t to a war-torn country where anyone could be planning to kill you; it still meant he would leave his family for another seven months.
Prior to any deployment, service men train for what might happen while they’re on mission.
This training takes months, and at times feels like a deployment itself.
We never saw him, and when we did he was angry.
I was angry.
Something was going on with him, I knew it and so did our daughter. He didn’t agree.
The week before he deployed to Okinawa, the dam broke. I was tired of seeing my baby girl hurt by her father’s indifference.
It was the first (and only time) my husband has ever sworn at me.
He was in pain, I could see it, but I couldn’t fix it.
I couldn’t help him, and he wasn’t willing to help himself.
My Decision: To Love
The night before he left, I made a choice.
It was time to stop being selfish. To stop placing blame, and just do what I should have done all along.
The same thing Jesus would have done.
I wrapped my arms around him, and loved him.
Regardless of my anger, my confusion, and my own hurt, I felt peace wash over me.
This was the right thing to do.
He wouldn’t leave our home with an angry, bitter wife. He would leave with a wife full of love for her husband.
It’s obvious now what that peace was.
That change wasn’t because I’m a naturally forgiving person.
God had wrapped His arms around me, and said, “trust me”.
Seven months later when my husband returned, he was a different person, and so was I.
This time however, I saw something better in him.
There was a light in him again. The pain wasn’t gone, but it was receding.
God had worked on him too, it seemed.
In the solitude of long runs around Okinawa, God had started to heal my husband.
Military Life: Relocating Time and Again
From the East to the West and Back Again
Our active duty military career continued until 2017.
During those years we moved from Washington State to Hawaii.
From Hawaii to Virginia
Then onto California.
Back to Washington State, just to do it once more– across the Continental United States to Virginia.
We grew our family from that first miracle to four miracles.
How This Helped My Faith
Soon after we had our second child, our eldest son, we were given orders to return to Washington State (where our relationship originally began).
Just like that, a light came on.
Like a program working in the background of your mobile device, God had been working on me.
I’d discovered what had been missing from my life.
For so long I’d been trying to fill the empty space, and nothing had worked.
With the knowledge I was heading back to the home I’d run away from, I surrendered.
God broke through my stubborn pride, and with open arms accepted me: scars, bad choices, confusion, and all.
Through it All, He Remains
Since that summer day in 2013, many things have changed in my life.
I’d be lying if I said my marriage suddenly became perfect, and all our problems magically disappeared once I accepted God back into my life.
That we never struggled.
I’d be lying if I said our lives have been perfect and there hasn’t been a day of worry.
It doesn’t work that way.
There has been pain and loss (My father passed away in January 2015), and there were times of deep fear within this Momma( when the doctor discovered on Mother’s Day 2018 that my youngest daughter has multiple VSDs in her heart)
Being a Christian is hard. Really hard for so many reasons.
Jesus never said it would be easy.
But, I can tell you without a shred of doubt it’s worth it.
He’s worth it.
We’re worth it.
Through all the ups and downs, God continues to strengthen my faith. Not in myself, but in Him.
My family grows, matures, and loves each day, because of His love and righteousness.
And through everything–including the change from active duty military life to reserves–God continues to love me.
When the Marine Corps payment doesn’t come in when its supposed to, and the bank account is too low to cover everything, I trust God.
Anxiety can make you feel like you’re all alone in a room full of people, while simultaneously drowning you in wave after wave of everyone else’s needs and wants.
Even having the comfort of a compasionate and loving God, can often get lost in the mire of panic, exhaustion, and worry.
I’m not sure when I first experienced anxiety, but I’m pretty sure I was in elementary school. Possibly as early as first grade. It likely reared up the same time as the pecking order at recess.
I do know, it hasn’t gotten better with time or maturity.
Instead, it ebbs and flows, but never really goes away.
The older I get, the more I notice it in my everyday life.
It is no longer confined to the moments of show-and-tell, reading aloud, class projects, or being called on to answer a question.
Now it is present anytime I have to be around people other than my immediate family. It happens when I know I have to run errands, change my routine, or participate in a social engagement for my children.
Being Anxious Isn’t Confined To “Real Life”
It even happens in online discussion groups in college.
The day I found out my school was moving from chat boxes to video conferencing for our class meetings, I had an epic anxiety attack. I don’t do videos, or anything that requires me to record my voice. At least not voluntarily, or without a whole lot of stress and, you guessed it, anxiety.
Though I pray about it continually, the panic and anxiety rarely disappears completely.
Since the birth of my youngest, what once started out as a moderate inconvience has become something almost debilitating in its occurance.
Sundays have become a struggle, because I’m torn between the need to fellowship and worship the LORD, and the desire to hide away because of the panic squeezing my heart.
Add this anxiety to the SAD that plagues me, and there are many days when the only place I want to be is curled up in bed, under a warm blanket.
This might seem like a good way to spend a day, and it is when it is a choice.
When it isn’t a choice the joy that would normally come with it is missing.
I have faith the LORD will help me through this season of life. He will give me the strength when I am weakest. I just need to remember to give it to Him.
An ideal day in my world very rarely includes anyone other than my husband and children. I’ve never been comfortable being in front of a group of people, or really putting myself out there, because ‘out there’ is a very judgmental place. Why then, do I hear the faint pounding on the door of my comfort zone as the local sheriff places the notice to vacate?
I can’t help but wonder how long I have before the bars I so carefully installed are removed from my windows.
For months now I’ve struggled to hear God’s words. The knowledge he was speaking to me didn’t change the silence in my heart. Then, last month while I was working on my Sex Trafficking article for class, I heard a faint whisper. I felt a spark, a slow burn. The LORD is speaking to my heart. I can’t tell just yet what he is guiding me to do, but I have an idea where I’m supposed to begin.
I’m being educated in journalism, a calling I’ve felt for the majority of my adult life, but I’ve struggled to know what I am meant to do with it. I’ve become disillusioned by the SECULAR media, both print and cable, and know I don’t want to work in a field with a moral compass that often doesn’t point to true North.
What does that leave me with? It leaves me with God. It leaves me with the words He gives to me, and the opportunities He provides for me. I want my words to guide people to Him, to His light, and His glory.
Even if that means I am evicted from my Comfort Zone.
I ask you all, dear readers, to add a quick prayer for this journey–that I may have the opportunity to share His love with others through the written word–or whatever other medium He chooses for me.
Three days ago we scattered my father’s ashes in the Puget Sound. A place he’d always loved. The week leading up to the memorial was rough and emotions ran high with everyone. I wanted nothing more than to forget about the whole thing and keep my father’s ashes on my shelf, because as soon as they were removed from their place of honor, lonliness enveloped me. He’d been there since February, a constant companion in my home. It was time to let him go, but I wasn’t sure I was ready.
At the approximate time the sun would have been setting, had the rain not decided to join our tears, we said a final goodbye to the man who had taught us so many things. There was laughter amidst the inappropriate humor my father was so used to from my sister Rae, and me. As she shared her memories, it occured to me that my father was a wonderfully flawed person. He swore, he drank, he was selfish, and was always impatient. I realized much of my personality came from him. Many of my strengths and many of my weaknesses were nurtured and ingrained at his knee. My father made many mistakes in his life, but one thing he did that wasn’t a mistake, was loving his children inspite of our differences, and sometimes because of them.
With that knowledge, it was important to remind myself that we all grieve differently, and that emotions are strong factors in the way we react to situations. That night wasn’t about who we were, it was about who he was. There was no right or wrong way to memorialize him. Whether it was drinking a bottle of wine in his memory as the rain poured down, or closing off from others and holding inside whatever emotion was burning the heart. We needed to set aside our various differences, ignore the typical family dynamic and just be there for one last moment with the man who had raised us in the only way he knew how.
After the others left, I sat on the bench beside the water with my dear friend. We watched otters play in the current, and I cried. Big, ugly, body wracking tears. For months there had been a pain inside my heart that couldn’t seem to heal. It was like a splinter left just beneath the surface, and it was festering as the days went on. I didn’t realize it, even as I sat there, that the healing had finally began. For the months since my father passed, I was in a holding pattern, not really grieving, but not really healing either.
Three days before Father’s Day, the proverbial splinter was finally removed, the wound cleaned, and my body and soul could really begin to heal.
When Sunday arrived I was leary of attending church. It was my first Father’s Day without my Dad. I didn’t know what to expect, and I was concerned I’d break down and not be able to stop. In fact, I almost decided not to go, to stay home and be safe from the emotions, smiles, and warm wishes of others.
Instead, I prayed.
Then I put on my big girl pants and joined my family in church.
It was a wonderful day. The words were exactly what I needed to hear, and my heart didn’t ache. For the first time in months I didn’t feel like I would get blown away in a stiff breeze, or shatter like glass. I felt free. With the scattering of my Father’s ashes, a weight was lifted from my shoulders. My Father is truly at peace now, and even though I might not be completely there yet, I am on my way. My heart is light and I am filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit.
Life moves on and changes, much like the tides of the sea.
Happy Father’s Day, Daddy and may you forever be at rest in the place you loved best.
Each new day that dawns brings changes, whether we notice these changes or not doesn’t make them less important. Not every change is HUGE. Not every change makes you stand up and take notice.
Every once in a while, though, a change (or even several) will occur that makes a HUGE and noticeable difference in your life. This year has already been a year of changes, and not all of them have been positive in their nature, even if they have led to positive things.
While each of these major life changes are important to who I am as a person, some of them deserve their own blog post, so I won’t include them here. Today, though, I want to focus on two things that have added a positive spin to my chaotic life.
Not long ago my husband and I contemplated purchasing a home, but as we began the process we quickly realized my student loans were going to be a huge (like $72,000 huge) hurdle. This led to our first aha moment. Even though this wasn’t really a positive thing for us, and it was a huge disappointment, it came to be a huge blessing.
I started praying for something to come up that would help me use my soon to be finished degree and help me to pay down the student loans before they’re due.
This led to wonderful change number one.
A wonderful opportunity to help service members, veterans, and their spouses was introduced to me, and I have been able to join the team as a freelance writer; creating professional resumes and bios for these members as they transition to life in the civilian world. It has already proved to be exciting, educational, and although not exactly what I had expected, is pretty perfect for me.
The second amazing change to occur happened by chance. I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when I saw an announcement about Usborne Books and More. I’d heard of them in passing before, but had never really taken the time to look into them. This time, it felt like there was a tap on my shoulder nudging me to check it out.
It didn’t take me long to realize this was something I could truly get behind. As a book worm with a family of avid readers, I’ve always been a huge proponent of engaging children and adults with good books instead of video games. Joining the Usborne Books and More team definitely fits well with my family. I’m excited that these opportunities came just when I needed them to, and I’m so thankful to have the ability to remain home with my children while I work toward paying off those student loans.
The past few weeks have been hard. Events I’d like to have control over, but don’t, brought my father’s death back to the forefront of my mind, and my emotions are raw. These emotions seem to be reflected back at me through my daughter as well. She is such an amazingly strong and loving little lady, but I see the sadness lurking behind her eyes. While she is happier now than she was a few months ago, I still see the shadows that dim her happiness.
It concerns me that I see in her a child trying to take control of her surroundings. So much like me, only far too young to have those responsibilities. I do everything I can to remind her to be a kid, to keep her focused on things more positive than the random emotions tearing at my own heart.
We’re working through it.
God’s working through us.
I know there is a reason to all this, and I have faith that in the end it will all be for the better. Until that time I do what I can to keep the balance. I workout to strengthen my body for God’s work, and I spend time with Him daily. I turn to Him in thanksgiving as well as for strength.
Some days are easier than others. There are great days, and then there are days when I’d rather never get out of bed again. On those days even sunshine doesn’t seem as bright, and I am reminded just how imperfect I really am.
I’m thankful that God loves me anyway.
So, together, God, my daughter, and I will work through it.
Since the day I got down on my knees and asked Jesus to guide me through this life, to save me from the person I’d become, and to fill me with his Holy and loving Spirit, I’ve seen my life change before my eyes. Some days are easier than others, but each day brings me closer to His presence.
It doesn’t end there, though. I’ve seen His work in others in my family as well. I’ve seen it in the way my daughter is growing; always thinking of others who might not have the things she does. She always searches for ways to be of help, either to me, her brother, or a little kid at the park who seems lonely.
God isn’t just working in her life. He’s working in the heart of my husband as well. In the beginning he went to church, because it was what I wanted to do, and he wanted to be there for me. He didn’t care which church we went to, and would have preferred if I’d chosen a Catholic church. I didn’t, and I don’t ever regret that decision.
He has become a different person. He no longer attends church just because I want to. In fact on those days when I’ve become too overwhelmed by people and desperately want to stay home and spend solitary time with the LORD, he’ll motivate me to get dressed and go (sometimes even he can’t get me to go for fellowship, because sometimes I just need the silence and the personal time with my Bible and the LORD).
Recently, I feel God placed in his heart something I never could have on my own. My husband felt called to volunteer, and he looked into opportunities and found the one that he felt in his heart the LORD was leading him to. On Monday night he spent time at a men’s home helping with dinner, and spending time getting to know the men living there. He came home tired but filled with a new light. I look forward to the changes the LORD brings to my family and myself.
Today would have been my father’s birthday. I’ve been aware of the date my whole life, and for the past few weeks I’ve seen the date staring at me from the calendar. Up until this morning I hadn’t realized it would be so hard to breathe when the day actually arrived.
It became very obvious this morning when I woke and realized I wouldn’t be contacting him for our yearly conversation on aging and the unimportance of celebrating birthdays after the age of 21. I wouldn’t hear him chuckle over the phone when I asked what he wanted for his birthday, and there wouldn’t be a gruff reply of “new eyes” or “working ears”.
Grief is amazing when it hits. The feelings can blindside you, and leave you groping for a foothold. For me, I often don’t realize it’s hit until I can no longer see for the tears. I’ll be a curled up mess on the floor, the bed–or when I’m really lucky (and by lucky, I mean not at all)–in the car driving through the rain in crazy “Oh my goodness, it’s raining!” Pacific Northwest Traffic.
My grief today has been like a world-class roller coaster. The loops alone would leave even the biggest thrill seeker checking their throat for their stomach.
I know healing takes time, and on most days, I’m good with that. Today however, I’d love if grief would show itself to the door so my lungs could resume functioning properly again.
There’s always tomorrow, right?
Until then, Happy Birthday, Daddy.
I ask you to guide me through this day LORD. Help me to see the light through the darkness, and to embrace joy rather than crushing despair. Amen.
Recently I’ve been thinking about what I’m meant to do with my life. I’m almost finished with my journalism degree (finally!), but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go from here. I’ve got massive student loan debt hanging over my head (and honestly, my husband’s head since I stay home and teach our children and he goes to work every day, bending to the ever changing will of his employer–the USMC).
I love writing, obviously, or else I wouldn’t currently owe the national debt of a small country. However, I’ve done the whole writing novels thing, and while I enjoyed it, I feel that was a different season. I’d love to blog and actually make money doing that, but that means someone other than my nearest and dearest would actually need to read and follow my blog(s) so they would be worth monetizing.
In the not too distant future my husband and I would like to move into a home of our own. One that we own (or at the very least the bank allows us to SAY we own), where our children can create memories, put down roots, and grow into wonderful adults. A place where those same children will run around in the sunshine while they are supposed to be helping me pull the weeds in the garden.
Today I sat down with God and made a plan. There was prayer involved (and more will be needed), and long talks with God as I figured out what needed to be done to achieve this dream without the burden being fully on my husband. As I’ve told him in the past, he’s not alone in this world. We’re partners and we’re in it together. The future doesn’t rest on his shoulders alone, he has me and a loving Heavenly Father who will guide us through.
I know it is time to stop wondering what my calling is, and worrying about if I’ll ever find it. I’ve placed it firmly in the LORD’s capable hands. I’m a writer, and I need to remember that. I need to write, and I need to help provide for my family–okay, I’ll be providing for the families of the student loan lenders, but it amounts to the same thing. So, what exactly do I need from the wonderful prayer warriors who may stumble upon my humble ramblings?
I need your help with prayers.
I’m not sure where I’m going from here. I don’t know just how writing is going to start paying my student loans, but I know in my heart that God will guide me. That He has a plan already, and I wouldn’t have taken the steps I’ve taken if they weren’t going to lead somewhere amazing.
Please, Please, Please, Pray for this mother who wants nothing more than to raise her children. To teach them, watch them grow, and show them how to be a successful, God-Loving adults. Pray that I listen to what the LORD places on my heart, and that He guides me toward my calling. Pray that I continue to fully serve Him, and never forsake Him as I strive for my goal. Pray that my goals are in line with His plans for me, and that I never lose sight of what is truly important.
With your prayers and encouragement, I know I’ll follow the LORD faithfully.