Monday, October 29, 2012

Work Schedule

It was 4 p.m.  I was looking forward to having my husband come home for dinner and helping me put the kids to bed.  It had been a difficult day with the kids and I just wanted some adult conversation and time to relax.  Then the text came.  "I have a meeting at 5:30 and will be home after 7:30.  Working 10 - 10 on Thurs., swing shift on Friday, and likely will need to work on Saturday."

What would your reaction be?

Honestly, my first reaction was not very gracious.  I was upset because I hadn't had an adult conversation in almost two weeks.  I was upset because he would be on a business trip the next week and I would be even more alone.  I knew I needed to change the way I was feeling, but how?

My friend recently told me that she admires me for being so flexible about my husband's work schedule.  I laughed and asked her what else would I do?  Whine and complain about something I couldn't control?  She replied that a lot of women would do just that.

That was a light bulb me.  I try really hard not to complain about my husband's schedule...out loud.  But I know that in my heart, I do just that.

The fact that he works allows me to say home and raise our kids.  His work requires him to be on call 24/7, and he often gets calls or texts in the middle of the night.  His job often has him working long days, and odd hours; we never know from one day to the next what his schedule might be.

MY job is to be supportive of him and to be the keeper of our home.  Complaining because he isn't able to come home from HIS job and relieve me from MY job is wrong.  I am not saying that it is wrong for my husband to help out around the house and with the kids, I'm saying that my attitude is wrong.

God has given my husband a great means of earning money.  God has given us three wonderful kids and a house to live in.  God has given me the responsibility of raising those kids to have cheerful attitudes and to be thankful.  How can I teach them to be thankful and cheerful when I am whining and complaining about the job that God has given to my husband?

Psalm 92:1  It is a good thing to give thanks unto the LORD.
Philippians 2:14  Do all things without complaining and disputing.
Philippians 4:5  Let your gracious attitude be known to all people.
1 Thessalonians 5:18  In everything be thankful, for this is God's will for you.
Ephesians 4:23, 29, 31, 32  Be renewed in your mental attitude... Let no filthy talk be heard from your mouths, but only what is good for building up people and meeting the need of the moment. This way you will administer grace to those who hear you...  Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, quarreling, and slander be put away from you with all hatred.  And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you in the Messiah.

Well, that is convicting.

Be renewed in my mental attitude.  How?  By thinking on everything that is true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, commendable, praiseworthy, and excellent.  By practicing what I have know to be right; by making my words gracious so that my heart will follow.

Of course, I also shouldn't be acting the martyr and not saying anything about my needs.  But I should make sure that my heart is in the right place before I do, and then speak graciously.

I challenge you (and myself) that the next time you feel tempted to complain about your husband's job, instead to thank him for working so hard to provide for your family.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Husband Rant

How do you talk about your husband?  Do you vent about him to your friends?  Or do you make your friends jealous by bragging about what a wonderful husband you have?  Does your husband have complete confidence in you?  When you and your husband have an argument in the morning, does he think that your best friend knows of it by noon?

 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 (NASB)
Every time I talk with a specific friend, she complains about her husband in some way.  This makes me very uncomfortable and I try to change the subject as soon as I possibly can.  By her telling me her husband's flaws, my estimation of him gets knocked down a peg each time, whether I want it to or not (by the way, my estimation of her also gets knocked down a peg).  "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers." (KJV)  The word for corrupt in Greek means rotten, or worthless.  It is rotten and worthless to say negative things about your husband. There is no point, other than making you feel better because you can vent.  Unless you are venting to God or to your husband, you are venting to the wrong person.
When you speak ill of your husband, it is as if you are airing your dirty laundry for all the world to see.  You are uncovering your husband, exposing his flaws, when you should be preserving his dignity.  "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (NIV)  Telling of your husband's flaws does not build him up; it tears him down.
I want my friends to think I have a wonderful husband (which I do, by the way).  Whenever I talk about him, I want my words to be encouraging, to be a blessing, to be gracious.  "Don't use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them." (NLT)
All marriages have rough patches.  Every wife gets irritated with her husband.  However, this does not give you leave to be disrespectful of him.  If you have a problem with your husband, go to him!  Pray that God will 1) help you see if you are in the wrong and 2) give you respectful words to figure out how to solve the problem.  If you need advice on how to handle a situation, go talk to a mentor woman who has your complete confidence; but I warn you, make sure your heart is in the right spot, because if it isn't, you may not like what she has to say about your attitude and heart condition.
"Let no filthy talk be heard from your mouths, but only what is good for building up people and meeting the need of the moment. This way you will administer grace to those who hear you." (ISV)
I challenge you (and myself): the next time you want to vent to your friend about your husband, instead, say something that builds him up and makes him look good in her eyes.  He may never know that you said he is a wonderful husband, but she will.  And so will you.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

If Mama Ain't Happy. . .

My kids woke up before 6:00 a.m. this morning.
I rushed into their room.  "It is not time to wake up yet.  It is pitch dark outside.  Lay down and be quiet!"  My whispered instructions were not at all loving or full of grace.
I went back into my room and contemplated laying down when I heard the giggles coming from the kids' room.  I stormed back in and started to mutter threats at the kids, but when I realized the alarm would be going off in a minute, I stood with my hands on my hips, looking toward heaven and sighed.  "You might as well get up."
I flipped on the light, not caring that it made them both duck their heads from the brightness.  I marched into the kitchen and started slamming doors as I got their morning milk ready.  I had been awake since 4:00 a.m. because of the baby, and I was not in a good mood, to say the least.
Then that still, small voice spoke to me.  Do you really want to start your day off in a bad mood and take your bad attitude out on your kids?  Do you want your husband to suffer because you are cranky?  I sighed again.  No, Lord, I don't want to have a day like that.  Please forgive my bad attitude and help me to be gracious to my family.
I brought the milk out to the kids with a smile and asked them if they were ready to have a fun day.  And the rest of the day turned out pretty good.  However, it could have been a horrible day.  I could have chosen to make my family as miserable as I was.  After all, it was their fault I was in a bad mood to begin with, right?
Life will always make us miserable.  If we decide to let the bad things that happen to us dictate the way we act, we will be miserable indeed.  However, we can choose how we react, and choose to be joyful, even when we don't feel joyful.  The first step to being joyful and gracious is to act joyful and gracious.
I'll bet when you read the title, you finished it in your mind: If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  Sadly, it is a true saying.  As wives and mothers, we set the tone for our homes.  If we choose to be in a bad mood, it rubs off on our kids and husbands.  Then we have a household full of resentment and discord.  However, if we choose to set aside our own selfish attitudes of crankiness and dissatisfaction, and instead, choose to be joyful, our homes will be full of happy husbands and content children.
I challenge you, the next time you are having a bad day, pause for a minute and ask the Lord to help you set aside your bad attitude, and give you grace to love on your family in a joyful manner.  Trust me, if you sincerely want to change your demeanor, God will help you. 
Because the opposite of that saying is also true:  If Mama is happy, then everybody is happy.

Monday, October 8, 2012

In Mourning

It's been a while since I've blogged because, well, I've been having a very hard time emotionally.  I have never really mourned for a person; I've missed people who have died, but while I would miss them, I knew they were in heaven because they have all been Christians.  Well, now I feel as if I am in mourning, not for a person, but for a place.  I have said good-bye to Oregon, and it is very likely that I will never live there again.  I probably won't even visit Oregon again (or at least that is how I feel). 
I am not yearning to go back to Oregon.  But I do miss it.  I miss the place, as well as the people.  Oregon really felt like home to me, like no place ever has before.  I felt as if I belonged there.  I could easily see living the rest of my life there.  So, I feel as if I am mourning the death of a dear friend, because I really miss everything about living in Oregon.
You are probably thinking, waa waa waa, get over it already.  You may be right.  But here's the thing: I am not yearning to go back.  I'm not pining for the place or the people.  I miss them.  To me, it is as if my life in Oregon has died, and I will never get it back.  I am not longing for my life in Oregon back, because that will never happen (even if, by some miracle, we move back, things will have changed).  I just miss it.  Plain and simple.  And it has been very hard on me.
I am having a hard time trying to make our new area feel like home.  The church we have decided on does not yet feel like a home church to me.  Always before, when I was looking for a new church, I found one that felt like "home."  This time I haven't had that "home" feeling.  I am determined to invest myself in the church, though, and give it a real chance.
I have had a hard time making connections with other women because 1) we moved unexpectedly after I had already started putting roots down and making connections and 2) the second move was at the beginning of summer when there were no activities going on and it was too hot to go outside to meet our neighbors or other moms at the playground.
All of this, on top of the stresses and sleep deprivation of having a new baby along with a 3- and a 5-year-old have made me an emotional wreck.  I am not proud of that, and it is embarrassing to admit.  But that is why I haven't blogged in a while.
So, now I'm back.  See you in a few days with my next post.