sometimes you just need a break

I know I haven't been on here much. I hate posting inconsistently on my own blog, but sometimes you just need a break. Ever since I started freelancing for other websites they have been my priority (because money, know what I'm saying?). And then I start feeling overwhelmed. I have to come up with so much content to keep up with all my writing commitments...and I love it, I really do. But then I sit down at my computer at the end of the day and stare at my blog page and I have nothing left. My brain is just done. 

But I would never give up this space of mine...because it's mine. It's the one place I can truly be myself. I can pour my heart out and write freely about my faith and not worry about traffic goals. 

I've been thinking a lot lately about women who "do it all." Maybe these women don't actually exist. Maybe these women are a figment of my imagination. But I start thinking about all the things I should be doing: eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, having a daily devotional time, playing intentionally with my kids, connecting meaningfully with my husband, keeping my house clean. I can't even! I don't know how people do it. If I had a full time job outside of the home I would surely lose my mind because there's a whole lot that wouldn't get done. Kudos to all you working mothers. You're all gems. 

Today, especially, I've been feeling overwhelmed with all the things. And I realized I need to just stop. It's okay that I have some clean laundry sitting on the ottoman in my room. It's okay that my floors need to be mopped. It's okay that I didn't finish all the items on my to-do list. There is grace upon grace for me. If I could do it all I wouldn't need Jesus. And let me tell you, I desperately need Jesus. I need to stop clinging to my ability to juggle everything and cling to Jesus. Soooomeday I'll learn this lesson. It's a constant battle for me. And that's okay. I'll never outgrow my need for the gospel. I'll always mess up, but I will always run to Jesus when I do. And hopefully as I grow older the mess ups will become fewer and my peace in Christ will increase exponentially. 

So yeah, I just need a break right now. What about you? What are you needing? What are you learning? Are you finding your rest in Christ?

honoring my husband in our egalitarian marriage

Last week I had the opportunity to help my husband film a video for work about how couples honor each other. It was fun to spend time together working on a creative project. We were able to interview several couples in different stages of life on how they honor each other. My favorite couple was this adorable husband and wife who have been married for 56 years. They had so much wisdom and real-life experience. They didn't have stock answers or cheesy sentiments. You could tell just by being in their presence that they have lived and grown and have truly become one flesh. It was great to see their perspective after so many years of marriage.

I'm not trying to hate on newlywed couples, but sometimes their perspective on marriage is just so limited...and naive. We've only been married (almost) seven years but we've lived through some things. Several moves across the country, two babies, schooling, being broke (like 25 cents in the bank broke), and so much more. We're no longer the same wide-eyed 22 year olds that thought marriage would be awesome and fun and super exciting! And it is those things, sometimes...but it's a lot of other things too: compromise, mundane chores, learning to work as a team, choosing battles. 

I started thinking about how I honor Alex. Sometimes I feel like the worst wife ever. I can be pretty impatient and selfish and controlling. And my expectations are sometimes too high. I've had to learn over the years that sometimes I need to just keep my mouth shut and hand over the reins to my husband. Being in the church world I've also struggled with this view that I should be sweet and quiet and that I shouldn't worry my pretty little head about decision-making. I should let my husband lead and I should just submit. 

Well, you know what? That just doesn't work for us. I think if Alex had to make all the decisions for our family he would have a nervous breakdown. And so would I. Alex has a lot of strengths and I've learned what they are over the years. I also have a lot of strengths and Alex also recognizes them. Our marriage is very egalitarian and we like it that way. I think for a while we both felt the pressure to conform to a complementarian marriage...because it was more "Christian," but we realized that with our God-given personality types it just wasn't going to work for us. 

I have to say that since we consciously started changing our views on what a "Christian" marriage looks like our relationship has really improved. I don't feel the pressure to do all the "womanly" things and he doesn't feel the pressure to "be the man." We can just be who we are regardless of our gender. We can share roles and responsibilities fluidly. 

So how do I honor my husband? This is something that's been on my mind lately. I try to honor him by showing him respect no matter what. When he does a great job and when he makes mistakes. He's my husband and he deserves my respect. I try to honor him by listening to his ideas without mocking him. I'm kind of a cynic and sarcastic remarks come easily to me. I'm trying to curb those comments as much as possible. I try to honor him by building up his self-esteem. Too often these days wives are ranting about their idiot husbands. It hurts my heart. I want my husband to know that I think he's smart and handsome and funny and that I love him. So I try to remember to tell him those things every single day. I try to honor my husband by speaking highly of him to our kids. I want our kids to love and respect their father, so I don't want to be that mom that says, "I can't believe your dad did this!" in front of them. If I'm irritated with him they don't need to hear me criticizing him harshly. I try to honor him by remembering his strengths and encouraging them. I also try to honor him by remembering his weaknesses and encouraging him to improve in those areas. I try to honor him by helping him reach his full potential. 

As I said before, it's not like we've been married very long, but we have learned a lot about marriage in the short time we have been together. We've also learned a lot about each other. By God's grace we have built up our marriage. We still have a ways to go. I mean, last night we had the dumbest argument over ice cubes. Yeah, I know. But the nice thing about where we are now is that we were able to wake up this morning and laugh about our dumb argument, rather than continue to hold a grudge. We're learning to honor and love each other.

Wives, how do you honor your husbands? Husbands, how do you honor your wives? 

when you're angry with God

I realized something today. God and I, we're kind of on the outs lately. I'm feeling frustrated and maybe even a little bit mad at Him. 

I know that can be a little taboo to admit, but it's the truth. There have been a few things that have happened lately that have left me questioning, "Why, God??" 

The popular response to this is probably, "God's ways are not our ways. He has a plan for the future, a plan to prosper you. It will happen in His timing. Keep the faith." 

And let me tell you, it's really hard not to roll my eyes right about now. 

I know these things are true. I know God has a plan that is far greater than my own. But right now I'm feeling a little bit like I'm not getting what I need. I'm on edge. 

I thought I was mad at certain people or situations. But the truth is, I'm mad at God. After all, He's in control, isn't He? If He wanted to sway minds or change circumstances He would, wouldn't He? But everything remains unchanged. For whatever reason I'm not getting what I think I should get. And I'm having a hard time reconciling that. And it's putting a strain on my relationship with Him. 

I've realized that I need to vocalize my frustration to Him. I need to let Him know that I'm upset. That's what I do whenever I'm upset with my husband or a friend. I let them know. We hash it out and before we know it, it's squashed. My relationship with God is the most important one I have, soo I need to let Him know how I'm feeling. We need to hash it out. And then it needs to be squashed. 

The Bible says that we can lay our burdens at the feet of Jesus. He will remove the heavy yolk we carry. I think God can handle it when we're mad at Him. He understands that we're human, that we don't see the big picture. He understands that we will sometimes waver in our faith and have doubts. He won't reject us or make us feel less than for having these thoughts and feelings. Instead He will meet us where we are. He will hold His arms open. He will comfort us.

It's time I sit with God and vocalize my frustrations, fears, doubts, and struggles. I need to allow Him to do His thing and quit running away from Him. 

What about you? Is there anything you need to discuss with Him? Are you feeling frustrated? Are you maybe a little angry with Him? Go to Him. He won't turn you away or belittle you. He is your Heavenly Father and He will hear you out. 

in case you missed it

I started contributing to this month and it's been really fun. I've mostly been sharing about my experience with surrogacy. 

I've been thinking about being a gestational carrier for a long time. It started with Phoebe from Friends and the desire grew from there. It's not something I entered into lightly. Alex and I have both given it a lot of thought and prayer. I figure not just anyone has this desire so it must be a God-thing. Alex and I just really seem like the perfect couple to do this journey. 

We're very early in the process. I've been working with an agency and we're looking for a match. It can get nerve-racking thinking about everything that needs to happen to result in a baby. Finding the right match is a very important and intricate process. It can't be just anyone. And once you find the right match there are meds and psych evals and embryo transfers and blood draws. It's a lot. 

We've never struggled with fertility. Getting pregnant has been easy for me. But getting pregnant this time is going to be a process. I feel nervous sometimes that the transfer won't "stick." But this is another opportunity to trust in God. If He wants this to happen, it will happen. I don't need to stress. 

As I said before, this is only the beginning of the process. We have a long journey ahead. I am so excited to see what God will teach us and how our hearts will grow. 

If you want to keep up with my surrogacy in journey be sure to bookmark my contributor page. So far I've written about why I want to be a surrogate, how I told my mom the news, and what my husband feels about it all. And by the way, I am so thankful for every single one of you who has shown their support in this decision. It means a lot to me to have a whole team of people standing with us and cheering us on along the way.