Untitled Prayer

Emerald air ripe before the rain,

The lightning waiting in the frightened trees.

What if the smoke came before the fire?

What falls cool and nourishing but rain and salvation?

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How Does God Feel

” When I met my husband, I liked him. As I spent time with him, I got to know him more and more. We talked and laughed and even cried together and I realized my like had turned into love, and I couldn’t get enough of him. When God surveys our love for Him I wonder what He sees. Does He find us being in “like” with Him only? Is He sorrowful for what He knows our relationship could be but isn’t because of the absence of time together? Is He sad when we talk and laugh and cry only with others? Does he weep when we let the fire of our love grow cold?” -Lynda Hunter Bjorklund

Reading this made a light bulb go off in my head. Isn’t it amazing that we have a God who cares? This is a reciprocal relationship. It isn’t just that we as human beings are concerned with drawing close to God and being loved by God, but God wants to draw close to us and He wants us to love Him. He loves us. The almighty creator of the universe cares about us and how we feel about Him. He wants to be in communion with us.

Do I give God enough love and attention? Do I laugh and cry with God? I do not. I pray to thank Him for my many blessings. I pray to Him to help people in need. But when is the last time I poured my heart out to God? Am I close to God?

If I want to be closer to him I need to talk to Him more, and listen to Him more.

By my Maker

Uncompromising clocks are miserly with me.
Mondays are not miserable at all.
Monday is a week in infancy,
Filled with promise.
By Saturday there is so much regret.
I am chest deep in the wet of Wednesday,
My breath black smog.
The afternoon is another language.
I do not speak.
I was sewn for Sundays.

Serving My Husband

Women are supposed to love and serve their husbands. Husbands are supposed  to serve their wives as well, but that is not the topic of this post.

How do you serve your husband? Do you get up to get him a drink? Do you serve him food? Many women seem to be uncomfortable with this idea but I would argue that doing these things is a good. It is probably something I need to do more often in my own marriage. That’s not to say that your husband can’t ever get up and get you a drink, but ladies, when did we become so turned off by the idea of serving our men?

Yesterday I gave up. Craig had had a bag that he brought home from the ship that had been sitting in the laundry room in front of the dryer for weeks.   I had been waiting for him to take the time to organize his stuff and put away the bag. But I just gave up and took the bag out of the laundry room and put away as much of his stuff as I knew how to put away and put the bag in an inconspicuous place out of the way. And it actually felt good. My husband is a very busy man and he does a lot. This was one less thing for him to have to do. Now I’m not great at organizing so the stuff that I didn’t know what to do with and left in the bag he’ll have to address eventually, but I put away everything in the bag and sorted out the trash to the best of my ability and now I don’t have to bother him about the laundry room. And our laundry room looks nicer.

When Craig cuts the grass, one of the ways in which he serves me and our family, I always go out and bring him a glass of ice water. I think this is important. Yes he could walk back into the house and get himself a glass of water but as his wife I want to get one for him.

I wash my husband’s laundry, but do I put it away for him? Most of the time the answer is no. And while I don’t think that I should have to put it away for him since I am already washing it for him, wouldn’t it be nice if I put it away out of love sometimes?

What am I overlooking? How can I serve my husband better? Is there anything he doesn’t like doing that I can take over instead? Can I do housework in such a way as to serve and honor my husband? What do you do to serve your husband?

Laziness and Sloth

Sometimes I open a random page in my devotionals instead of reading it in order, to see what message might be speaking to me.  It’s the same way I tend to read the Scriptures. Today I just happened to open to an entry about laziness and sloth.

“The path of lazy people is overgrown with briers, the diligent walk down a smooth road.” Proverbs 15:19.

“No matter how much you want, laziness won’t help you a bit. But hard work  will reward you with more than enough.” Proverbs 13:4

I could have opened to any page in the devotional. I had no idea what page was what and could have chosen anything. But my fingers and my eyes alighted on this. And I think there’s a reason.

I have been lazy. I’ve been lazy with the housework and lazy with the yard (I’m afraid of bugs), and lazy with my body. I’ve even been lazy with parenting. Angelica should be in sign language lessons and dance and piano. I take her to speech therapy, but that is it. Dance might have to wait until we move to Colorado and she can start a full year from beginning to end the following fall. Piano and sign language though I need to get started on. I’ve been lazy with my body by being sedentary. I don’t move much. This is not a commentary on my weight, as there are plenty of people as lazy as me who are smaller than me and plenty of people who move more than me who are bigger. But it is a simple truth that I don’t exercise. I should get an exercise bike.

I’ve been lazy with housework. Sometimes I don’t keep up with it because of my mood, sometimes because I’m just not very good at it, but sometimes it is because I am being lazy. I am very fortunate in that God has blessed me with a beautiful house and lots of things in that house. I need to take better care of them.

My devotional says that whatever it is I am doing, menial or great, I should do my  best. I am a homemaker and mother and writer. But am I being the best homemaker I can be? The best mother? The best writer? I’ve been slothful about submitting my work to magazines over the past year. Am I engaged enough with Angelica? How can I give her a leg up on education and self development? Am I being the best wife I can be? What can I do to make my husband’s life easier and more comfortable?

These verses and this passage in my devotional have convicted me today. I think I’m going to go fold laundry and organize the bathroom. Now. Right now.

Prayer Room/Altar/ Sacred Space

I saw something online where a bunch of women who are pagan have altars to their various goddesses in their homes. I wondered if there was a Christian equivalent so I asked around and did some reading. There is, especially among Catholics. Many people are making special places in their houses for they have Christian artwork and Crosses and rosaries. They create these beautiful spaces as a sort of act of worship. Many use these areas to pray in, study the Bible, or worship together as a family.

I would like to have something like that in my house. I would like to have candles and beautiful candle holders and to collect some more rosaries. Rosaries are really beautiful works of art and although I do not pray the rosary I sometimes hold the rosary when I pray. I would like to learn more about the Rosary and other prayer beads. Prayer is very powerful and tradition is very beautiful.

How and where can I design such a space? A corner of the library? My craft room?  I know it may seem like a silly thing to do when I am not Catholic, but there are many things about Catholicism that I admire. Plus I don’t see why you should have to be Catholic to make a beautiful sacred space in your home, and I want to incorporate symbols of what is important to me in my house.

I am thinking I could convert part of the craft room into a sort of prayer space. Then again I really like doing my devotionals and bible study in the library where it is nice and sunny, so it would make sense to have it in the library. Better yet maybe I can use the FROG . Right now that room is unused and maybe I could put it to good purpose. I know that next year in military housing we will have to go down to having three bedrooms and I will have to find a prayer space, a craft area, and a library in the mix of that. But for now I have 4 bedrooms and an office and I may as well use them.

I am really giving this some serious thought and I’m going to start shopping around to see what I could put in the room. I won’t put in any iconography because my husband is against it. But surely there’s a wealth of beautiful religious art that isn’t iconography that I could use to make a dedicated religious space in my house. Of course the Holy Spirit will move through the whole house, but I think having a designated place would be a lovely idea.

Purity

When I was young I was not as pure as I should have been. I kept my virginity until I was 21 as opposed to waiting until I was married. I only had sex with one man other than my husband and I was manic when I did it, but that is one man too many. With other boyfriends I may not have had sex, but I was too physical with some of them too.

I want better for my daughter. I want her to be a virgin when she gets married, and I don’t want her giving away pieces of herself to men that are not Mr. Right. Mr. Right Now should not get something as precious as my daughter’s purity. I want her to value premarital chastity as something important to God, and as a gift she can give her husband.

I want her to value herself and not give herself away cheaply. Consequence free sex does not exist. Our heavenly Father knows what we do when the lights go out. It grieves Him to see unmarried people having sex. Not to mention, there are emotional and physical costs to sex. With the risk of pregnancy and the risk of STDs, and with the emotional baggage that premature sex can bring I definitely think it is necessary to teach my daughter that sex belongs within marriage and only within marriage.

If we want a culture where women are respected women first need to respect themselves. That means chastity and modesty. Don’t cast your pearls before swine.  Respect your body and keep it private for your spouse. So many girls these days walk around dressed like strippers and passing out their sexual favors like the free lollipops you get at the bank, and then wonder why they are not getting respect from men. If you want other people to respect you you have to respect yourself first. I look back on my youth and I definitely did not have enough self-respect. I also did not have enough accountability and self-control. I needed more of both. I see these girls with their butt cheeks hanging out of their shorts and I honestly feel sorry for them because I have been there. I know what it’s like to feel that desperation for male attention and male approval. I think it is so hard for any woman in our culture to feel like she is enough without showing everything, and it puts a lot of pressure on young women to dress and behave in ways that are inappropriate.

In retrospect, I wish I had not gone beyond kissing any of the men I was with before my husband. That is what I want for my daughter. I don’t want her to make the same mistakes I did, and sex outside marriage is always a mistake. For this reason I am considering getting Angelica a purity ring when she gets older, something beautiful to remind her of her commitment to God and herself. And I will definitely encourage more of a courtship style dating rather than traditional dating with no accountability for sexual behavior.

Purity rings and courtship certainly put me in the minority for our culture, but as a Christian I am called to be in this world and not of it. I cannot stress to my daughter enough that although magazines and television and even the local schools will tell her that anything goes, she needs to love God and herself enough to wait. Note that when I say courtship, I am not suggesting that I should pick who she marries. In some families that practice courtship the parents become too involved. She should still choose who she has relationships with, but they should only be people that are eligible marriage material, at an age where she’s ready to get married, and I want her to feel free to come to me for accountability with her purity during the dating or courtship process.

Of course, once she is grown and out of the house I do not have any say-so over what she does. But I hope by the time she reaches that point she will be married and/or mature enough to realize the wisdom in what her parents have taught her and follow our teachings. Sexual purity is such a gift, and the virtues that come with it (faith, self control, chastity) are more valuable than gold. Isn’t that I don’t want my daughter to have a sex life but that I want her to have the best sex life possible, and God designed sex for marriage. She will be happiest if she follows God’s design for sex and for her life in general.

When Christians Are Afraid of Color

Awhile back, I approached a Catholic veil maker and asked her to make me different colored veils for headcovering. She initially said she could custom make some veils for me, but then she turned me down because of the vivid colors I wanted. She said they were immodest and she could not make such immodest headcoverings.

Now I don’t wear headcoverings out of modesty.  I wear a headcovering in submission to God and my husband and “because of the angels.” I believe modesty is important, and it is certainly Biblical, but headcovering has nothing to do with modesty. It is about submission and reverence.

But what do some Christians have against bright color? There are no “immodest” or immoral colors. God made all the colors of the rainbow and he made them beautiful.   God created color, and I think it is no sin to use it. Look how bright wildflowers and rainbows and jewels and so many natural things are. And are we not more precious and beautiful to God than these inanimate things? If God made orange and green and hot pink, why would he not want us to use them? Is it so wrong that I want a deeply important symbol of my relationship with my Maker to look bright and beautiful?  And what is wrong with me wanting to look bright and beautiful? Why do I need to use somber, soft colors and hide myself? Why not show my joy and ecstasy through the canvas of clothing? Clothing should express something about your personality, and I love bright color. It is not immodest. It is just pure, brilliant color. I am not revealing my body or showing off. Perhaps she thought it was immodest because bright colors might be showing off, but that is definitely not a fair assumption. In our culture, wearing a headcovering makes you stand out no matter what color. I just like everything, from my walls to my clothes, to be bright. Furthermore, maybe if women wore beautiful headcoverings more often, it might encourage other women to try the true joy that is headcovering. Christian doesn’t have to mean somber, dowdy, or subdued. In fact, if you are happy to be covered, you should let it show. Picking a pretty color or a pretty lace is a good place to start. Women have a natural drive to make themselves and the things around them beautiful. God made most of us that way.

At the time the woman said no to me, it hurt me. I was so happy that I’d been convicted to headcover and I was beginning to reap so many spiritual benefits. I was so excited to have gorgeous veils in an array of colors, and she made me feel like a bad Christian for wanting that, as though my veils were mere fashion statements, and “immodest” ones at that. To take something that was quickly becoming important to me, something that I wanted to be beautiful, and to tell me what I wanted was immodest stung. But some of us are not pastel women. We are neon women, and there’s nothing wrong with that. God made me the way I am and I don’t think it is a sin to express myself through brightly colored clothes or veils. Whatever you do  you should do it to the glory of God, and whether you are adorning yourself or your church or your home, you should make it as beautiful as you can. I think bright colors are beautiful.

I have since found another veil maker, and she makes me gorgeous veils in colors across the rainbow spectrum. Her passion for making these spiritual items shows because of the love and beauty she pours into them. Wearing a veil is an act of worship, and I believe making them can be too if you put passion and creativity into it.

The Excitement of Christianity

Being a Christian is exciting. I got brand new devotionals on Saturday, the first devotionals I have ever had. We went to Books a Million and I found so many I loved that I just couldn’t stop. One of them even talks about headcovering. That spoke to me immediately. But all sorts of topics are covered, and they are designed for women. One focuses on women of the Bible and verses addressed to women. Another has morning and evening reflections for each day based on scripture. Another is a Biblical meditation on finding beauty.

If you like self improvement, living creatively, creativity and art, studying, reading, and anything timeless then Christianity is a thrill. Personally, I love always having something I’m working on, and my faith always gives me new goals to accomplish. Whether it’s delving deeper into the Bible, working on my personal relationships, or practicing submission, the quest to follow my Savior always means I’m a work in progress. I like that feeling.

Worship creates so many opportunities for creative people because there are so many ways to worship God. Singing, writing, painting, crafting, graphic design, photography,carpentry, and so many other things can be used to worship God.

If you like reading, the Bible is an amazing book because no matter how many times you read it you will stumble across verses that feel brand new because you are seeing them in a new light. I recently read one page of the Bible ten times in a row and it was so thought provoking that I’m going back to that page. As I get older and have new life experiences, verses speak to me in ways they didn’t used to. One verse can apply to numerous subjects and situations. I love education and discovery, and I feel like I get an education every time I open the Bible.

Maybe one of the most exciting things about Christianity for me is that it isn’t fashionable. It’s not cool. It’s timeless and unchanging. It’s more vintage than vintage. And yet, like a dancer, my faith is flexible, pirouetting gracefully from era to era, just as full of energy and vitality today as it was at its birth.

Christ is electric ecstasy.

Submission

The decision to have another child has weighed heavily on my mind since Angelica was born, but now I have my answer. I have taken the decision to my husband, the head of our family, and he has decided that we are not having anymore children and are making our birth control permanent.

I’ve been praying for guidance and reading Scripture, but I forgot somewhere along the way that this major life decision doesn’t fall on me alone. My husband leads and covers me, and he has the final say so. He would never force me to do something I didn’t want to do, but part of submission is wanting to follow your husband’s leadership. My husband has decided the best decision for our family is to ensure that we have no more children.

A chapter in my life has closed. I will never again bring a baby home from the hospital, or see my baby’s first steps or hear first words. I am sad that this part of my life is closed and gone forever, but I trust God. If Craig feels this is the best decision for our family, maybe the Holy Spirit has put that on his heart. At any rate, God gave me my husband to provide for me, protect me, and lead me and I trust his decision. He’s a godly man and he’s thinking of the family’s best interest and mine. He puts us first, and putting us first he concluded the best thing for the baby and for me was for me to not have more children. And if it is my husband’s choice that I not have more children, and the Scripture is pretty clear that I am to submit to my husband, then not having more children must be the right choice.

Still, it may take some time to process this. It is a major decision. But I love my husband and know he will always do what is best for the family. He takes care of us. And if he feels it is in our  best interest for me to stop having children, he must be right. And I would certainly not disrespect him or undermine his authority by insisting on having more children.

This is where the beauty of submission lies. I was so stressed out, feeling like I was facing an impossible decision alone. But I forgot not everything is my decision. Sometimes wives forget that. Our husbands are the heads of our households and if you are grappling with a major decision, well, maybe you shouldn’t be. Let your husband lead. I always try to make submission and Biblical femininity a priority, but I forgot too! This decision, which has been so hard for me, was made easy when I took the issue to my husband and listened to what he had to say. He was clear about what was best for our family and what he wanted. If I had let my husband take the lead from the beginning I never would have gone through this turmoil.