Living in a Martha Season

Today I have a very special guest on my blog! My dear friend Rebekah from Surviving Toddlerhood has come over to share some thoughts with us! I first met Rebekah in a childbirth class in Fremont, MI when I was pregnant with Isaiah and she was pregnant with her son, Seth. Our boys were both born 3 weeks early, in the same hospital, just days apart! We have been friends ever since. =) 

Rebekah has two boys and is currently pregnant with her third baby. Although she still lives in Michigan and I’ve moved here, there, and everywhere, we have remained friends over the years. I know you’ll enjoy what she has to share today!
A few days ago I noticed a status that came through my Facebook feed.  A fellow momma of littles was sharing how she wanted to be spending her time like Mary, but life was getting in the way and she was having a hard time dealing with that.
It made me rather sad.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being able to spend hours of your time with Jesus, listening to him, calling on him, reading the Word and journaling, but sometimes as mommas of littles it is hard to do that. And guilt sets in. Guilt over what we aren’t doing.

The pressure to be Mary is everywhere. Look in any Christian bookstore and you will find shelves full of books on how to be a better wife and mother. One common theme that runs through them is an early morning quiet time before anyone else rises and how to be a Mary who spends her time worshipping at her Lord’s feet.
This is what my devotional schedule used to look like……
I had a whole list of things I wanted to do every time I sat down. The only problem, I have two littles who like attention and every time they interrupted me I started yelling at them for interrupting my “devotions”. Not really very Christ like behavior, but I had goals and the goals needed to get done. If I didn’t get all the things read that I was supposed to then I wouldn’t accomplish one of my goals for the year of reading through the Bible, but how much was I teaching my boys if I was raising my voice every time they needed something and I was reading/journaling/studying?
Of course the answer must be to get up earlier right? Jesus rose early and went to spend time with his Father… But that doesn’t work for me for a couple of reasons {if it works for you that is great!} 1. if I have a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet, 2.if I have to get up a bazillion times to use the bathroom during pregnancy, 3. or if my thyroid is being crazy. I have tried it but it was always driven by guilt. Guilt that I wasn’t being a “good” Christian. Guilt that if I wasn’t getting up early to spend time with the Lord than I couldn’t be a good wife and mother.

Being Martha doesn’t mean that there is not time for fellowship with God, but that we spend time with him while serving.

There is a time to be Mary and there is also a time to be Martha. My time to be Martha is now. I am serving God by serving others. By training my sons, loving and honoring my husband, keeping my house mostly acceptable. Later when my children are grown and can take more responsibility themselves then it could be my time to be Mary. 
Martha got a rebuke from Jesus not because of what she was doing but because of her attitude while she was serving.  She was distracted, anxious and troubled that her sister was not helping to serve her Lord. Her sister was sitting there doing nothing to get a meal ready for this man who was the Son of God.  Her heart wasn’t in the right place. Her actions weren’t wrong. Her attitude was.
Here are some practical ways to spend time with the Father while also serving our families:
1. Find a good children’s Bible and read it with your littles.
We have The Jesus Storybook Bible and we LOVE it! I love how it shows the thread of Christ through the whole Bible.  I learn lessons from this children’s Bible probably more than my boys do.
2. Write out verses on blank note cards and hang them where you can read them often.
On the bathroom mirror, on the window above the sink, anywhere you will see them and be reminded of the truths of God’s word is the place to hang these verse cards.
3. Play Christian music in the house.
We have just started pulling out our cd’s again and listening to music while we clean or play. It helps me to stay focused during the day and there really are less fights and less yelling that goes on while the music is playing. It helps everyone. I do have a couple of children’s praise cd’s but mostly we just listen to mine. Aaron Shust, Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, Micheal W. Smith…. {I haven’t bought a cd in a really long time okay? :-)}
4. Try to pray more than just at mealtimes.
If there are bad attitudes happening, heart correction is easier if we rely on God’s strength not our own. This is me more than my boys honestly. We have prayed about favorite lost toys, over many owies and we have thanked God for lightbulbs and trains. Teaching your child that everything matters to God is something that will never be forgotten.  We are also told to pray without ceasing, so whenever you get a moment throw some thoughts heavenward .
5. Train your toddlers and preschoolers to leave you alone for ten to fifteen minutes.
This gives you a chance to sit down and read a few verses, meditate on them or pray over your day. I like to throw in a movie and make a cup of coffee to sip on for a few minutes. Now I know I just said that I’m in a Martha season, so this may seem to contradict everything I have said so far, but to survive toddlerhood at my house, I do need those few quiet moments. Because I really can’t do it on my own. I need to lean on Jesus.
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Guest Post Over at Surviving Toddlerhood!

Last week I had the honor of posting a few guest posts over on my friend Rebekah’s blog Surviving Toddlerhood.

I wrote about my experience breastfeeding Isaiah and then later inducing lactation to breastfeed Eloise.

Take a minute to check out my posts and then read on to see more of Rebekah’s blog!


A Surprise Birthday Post by Am’s Hunk of a Husband, Guaranteed to Cause You to Smile

This post allows me to do for Am what she otherwise would never do for herself – brag on her. Now before you stop reading due to thinking this post is going to be lovey-dovey and all mushy mush, rest assured there will be things discussed which I believe you, your fiancé, or spouse can relate to. This post will have some satire in it, so do take some things with several grains of salt. The first half of the post I share three things about Am which make her my awesome spouse and best friend. The latter half are three dynamics of our marriage involving Am which always bring a smile to my face and I believe will do the same for you.

When I first saw Amber walking through the courtyard of Moody Bible Institute, I thought to myself “Wow, now that’s one hot tamale!” To say the least, I thought she was way out of my league, so I didn’t really pursue her at the time. Come some time later, I came to know more of her through some friends who knew her, saying they thought we would make a solid pair. Then it donned on me, who’s to say that it’s not her that’s out of my league, but it’s me, this strapping young gent, who is out of her league? Why in fact, I quickly thought ever confidently that I would be doing her a disservice in not giving her a chance to date me. And thus, having compassion upon her, I asked her out. Despite her saying yes, I soon realized my latter analysis was far from the truth, and the former is the more correct story – I was and still remain way out of her league (the smartest thing a husband can do is to marry up!).

After we dated for a while, I realized I would never find a gal quite like her and it was time to propose. In order to ensure success, I decided to fly her to Africa to ask her to marry me. This way, if she said no, her round trip ticket could easily become a one way ticket :). Thankfully, she said yes. To this day, I have fallen deeper in love with this beautiful blonde headed, raised in Africa woman who has the heart of a Mother Teresa, yet the adventurous spirit of an Indiana Jones.
From the onset of our marriage there were many things which captured my heart about Am which still have me smitten for her today. Here are three things I want to elaborate upon:
  1. Am, the wonder woman homemaker
  2. My wife makes me feel good
  3. This babe has made my dreams, her dreams

Am, the Wonder Woman Homemaker

Amber knows how to run a household and she does an incredible job of it. She keeps the house so clean, you’d think we were selling it and had a realtor showing it that night. And I don’t know how she does it all. Our kids, ages 3 and 1 ½ have the gift of creating mess after mess wherever we have lived. Sometimes I’ll arrive home early before Am has been able to clean up and this allows me to help her. I’m just flabbergasted when I walk in and see blankies and pillows everywhere, footballs and basketballs everywhere, shoes everywhere, cups with juice residue everywhere, diapers everywhere, and so forth. Yet on most days when I arrive home at a normal time, all of this has been cleaned up.

Isn’t this a nice house? Well, it’s not ours, but it looked so clean it reminded me of how clean Am keeps our place 🙂

Am is also a supreme cook. I can honestly say that I’ve never had a bad, home-cooked meal since I’ve been married. To be frank, Am puts Paula Dean, Betty Crocker, and Rachel Ray to shame when it comes to cooking and baking. This makes me both a happy husband, but also a proud man to say my wife can throw-down in the kitchen! It also makes me a husband who has stopped growing vertically, but continues to have annual growth spurts horizontally.

Then there’s all of the little stuff I would have never thought about doing such as organizing the pantries, doing the laundry, and other household duties – she does it all. I can specifically remember early on in our marriage when we had to take a trip somewhere for our mission work we were doing and I arrived home and our bags were completely packed. This was amazing. Well, my wife is amazing.

 

My Wife Makes Me Feel Good
Current Ford CEO, Alan Mulally, once said “While it’s nice to feel important, it’s more important to be nice.” Amber does an incredible job of making me feel important, while modeling before me the importance of always being nice. Time and again she reminds me how proud she is of who I am, what I’m trying to do in life, often pointing out my strengths and how hard she thinks I’m working to take care of the family. I rarely see what she does, but I can tell you this, it makes me feel like a billion bucks and keeps me wanting to work hard to care for my family. At the same time, she always encourages me to have the right response with people and to ensure I have a Christ-like attitude towards situations in life. Much of life is about how we react to things, whether good or not so good. Amber has always been there in good or bad times to remind me to have the right attitude, to remain kind to others, and take faithfulness one day at a time. She has modeled before me how to have a sensitive spirit during times of adversity with others and how to react to them as well as one can, trying to be nice in the process.

 

She makes my dreams, her dreams

Before we were married, a piece of advice we were given was to help one another pursue each other’s dreams and passions. She has done this time and again for me. Throughout our marriage I have changed professional and educational interests twice and this has led me to a career change. While it is quite difficult to do this and it takes quite a bit of extra work, Amber has made this all possible for me by being incredibly supportive, taking an interest in my interests, wanting to help my dreams come to fruition. Admittedly so, sometimes I come home with a wild idea or two, such as wanting to run for president (any supporters out there?!), and to these wild ideas she kindly reminds me “Hunny, let’s just take one thing at a time!” Regardless of the goal, Am has been there for me and has supported me through it all.

I would now like to share some dynamics of our marriage which are things that Am does which always make me smile and love her even more. These are things which I believe most spouses can relate to. Not a week goes by that I don’t find myself thinking of one of these things or something else in our marriage which makes me smile or laugh and realize why I love this woman so much.
Here are three interesting and comical things which make my Am one of a kind. Hopefully you can relate to these:

  1. Am, my nose and ear hair plucker
  2. My beautiful toothpaste utilizer
  3. My sweet, kind wife, the warrior competitor
Am, Nose & Ear Hair Plucker
During any given month, there comes a day when either a nose hair or ear hair of mine has reached the length deemed an embarrassment to be seen in public with. My sweets will often say “How many years has that one been growing in there!?” Now to remove the hair there are several different ways one could do this and instruments they could use such as these:
For some ungodly reason, my wife prefers to use tweezers and pluck these hairs out. Apparently this has something to do with getting the entire root of the hair out so it won’t grow back. The first time she did this I thought to myself “How does she know these hairs are to me what whiskers are to a dog? How does she know she’s not about to disrupt my equilibrium and cause me to walk diagonally the rest of our marriage?!” Somehow she knew this wouldn’t happen and proceeded to pluck away. I think the government should ban such forms of torture as to date I have had somewhere between 200,000-250,000 hairs plucked. I think I have even heard a deep “WuHAHA” laugh coming from her as she plucks away. All jokes aside, despite the millisecond of pain I endure, I’m thankful my wife cares about my growing nostril and ear hairs enough to pluck them out. I think it’s cute and I appreciate it.
My Beautiful Toothpaste Utilizer

Before you get married everyone talks about silly things you’ll fight over like rolling up the toothpaste tube. We don’t argue over this, but I’m always amazed at how she finds a way to utilize what seems to be not even the slightest amount of toothpaste in the tube. Sometimes I feel like we’re playing a game to see who can go the longest before telling the other we’re out of toothpaste! This is actually a good problem to have as my wife likes to use as much of something as possible to get the full value out of it. What’s difficult is when I wake up much earlier than her, get completely ready to run out the door to work, only to spend an un-planned 10 or 15 minutes trying to squeeze out any amount of toothpaste left in the tube. Well, I’m just glad she can get it out faster than I and use it all up because I’m not even sure where another toothpaste tube is in our house. I just show up in the bathroom the next day and a new one is there, thanks to my wife.

My Sweet, Kind Wife, the Warrior Competitor

We love playing games. Board games and especially card games. Often times in a marriage where each spouse enjoys playing games, there’s usually one spouse who is extremely competitive while the other spouse could care less if they win or lose. Ironically, it’s the latter who wins all the time as if they weren’t even trying to. This, I’m sure has made for many a heated conversation for couples following game time. What’s more interesting is when both spouses are as equally competitive and will move mountains to obtain victory whether they’re playing Go Fish or Euchre. This is Am and I. And we have learned to utilize this to our advantage by making sure we’re always on the same team. This has benefited us well, especially in Euchre (for any southern readers, Euchre is a card game comparable to Spades). To date Am and I have won 6,243 games of Euchre while losing 2. One of those two losses game from letting a newly-learned Euchre player beat us to help them gain some confidence, and the other from Am’s parents beating us; you always want to stay on the in-laws’ good side. 🙂

I love Amber’s competitive nature; it’s sexy to me. There are sometimes, however, when it gets the best of us. A couple Saturdays ago would make for a good example. We had over a lovely couple – Am’s sister and her husband (Kate and Derek). They brought over a couple of games which we played. One of which was Phase 10. This wasn’t a team game and therefore, Amber and I were against one another. As the game commenced, Am and I kindly left our guests in the dust, advancing phase after phase. Then came phase 8. I was dealt several “skip cards,” which, as the names implies, it allows you to skip the following player forgoing their chance to play that hand. When I played the first card, Am didn’t mind as that’s part of the game. When I played the second one, something happened which strikes fear in the heart of every husband – I was given the look. I knew right then she did not appreciate me skipping her. As the intensity grew, Am and I advanced to the next round. Then, the funniest thing happened. Derek leaned over to Katelyn and whispered intentionally loud enough so we could hear “Hunny, I don’t know if I want to be here for the last round!” HA! I was thankful he did this as it caused all to laugh and eased the competitive atmosphere. Well, I won’t say who won. All I’ll say is that because we’re married, when one of us wins, the other wins, and because one of us did win Phase 10, we both won. 🙂

The bottom-line to all of these stories is that I have a great wife and I love everything about her. She makes me laugh, smile, and a proud husband and father.

As I began this post writing to you the reader, I’ll end it by writing directly to the birthday girl:

 

Sweets, you’re an amazing, godly woman and the most beautiful part of our family. You become even more beautiful to me year after year. Thanks for being an incredible helpmate and partner to persevere through life with. You’re my wonder woman and I hope you have a wonderful birthday!