Think about yourself for once

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This post was written a few months ago and has been tweaked here and there. I thought I would include it as part of this “anniversary week.”

Confession time here (and it’s painful because of pride), God has been convicting me lately regarding how I think about my husband.

I tend to be one of those “exhorters,” you might call it; very willing to talk about faults; always wanting to spur people on to that next step of sanctification. But the truth of the matter is that lately, it’s just been mean-old criticism.

I think the thought process started when it dawned on me, “Would you want him to be like that about you?” (Immediate NO!!) Why are you thinking about his faults? You want him to dwell on your good points.

Oh yes! Yes, I do!

I want my husband to think about my strengths, to reflect on all the things he loves about me. To be willing to help me and speak the unpleasant truth if I need it, but if I’m honest… I want him to think of me as amazing! And for the most part completely ignore that I’m a complete mess, can’t keep clean laundry in the drawers to save my life, can’t figure out how to make a good meal when people come over, can’t keep my counter cleaned off, and the list goes on.

A gracious light is shining into this dark compartment of my heart.

I’ve actually been thinking about myself more; seeing my selfishness, my laziness, my lack of devotion to Christ. Replacing my criticism of others with the Holy Spirit’s promptings about my sin has opened up the door again for love.

I’ve begun to see Paul differently. Admiring his strengths, thankful for his leadership, loving his company… does this guy even have any faults?

All along, it wasn’t really him I was seeing and criticizing… it was myself. But it’s so much more enjoyable to blame other people for our inadequacies!

Have I praised my husband yet on this blog for being patient with me? Oh yeah… several times. I’m so thankful for him. If I was him, I would have kicked me and my attitude to the curb a long time ago.

So here’s my word of experiential wisdom for all the oppressed, neglected housewives of America… just think about yourself for once! = )

The awkward blue belt for the cute maternity dress story

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Do you like surprises? I LOVE surprises. Always have.

One of the coolest surprises I’ve experienced in my adult life are the things that make you feel loved. You know, like really loved. Like how you imagine that girl feels in the movies when the guy takes her hand, or meets her in the middle of a field and professes his undying love, or brings her flowers when she’s stuffy and sick.

When I imagined being married and experiencing things that really made me feel loved… I probably thought of candlelight dinners, snuggling, dancing to soft music in the living room, holding hands while we drove down some random road. But after being married for even only a year or so, I realized that it was totally different things that really made me feel loved.

We became pregnant very soon after we were married. There were a lot of reasons that this was exciting, but one of them for me was the chance to finally wear maternity clothes! I had been waiting my whole life! Seriously, I was the girl that would always look at the maternity section first in catalogs and daydream about browsing through maternity stores when I passed them in the mall. A little weird maybe, but that was me. Little by little, I began to pick up pieces; but one day, I found IT. The cutest blue maternity dress ever. At Target. Ridiculously priced. But that was okay because my sweet brother had given me a gift card. Happy sigh.

Okay, I can tell you’re needing some help picturing how cute this dress was. It was a solid blue; smoky, pearly, grayish, very wonderful medium blue. Knee-length with a pretty collar and buttons all the way down. Classy, but cute. (No elastic anywhere!) And… it had this awesome blue belt for right above the belly. I love belts! I love bows! I love knots! I couldn’t wait to get home and try it on for Paul.

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And that’s the end of happy Act 1. Let’s just say, the dress looked great; the belt looked horrid. But maybe I was just doing it wrong. It had to work, it was so cute! I tried everything I could think of and it all looked awful.

So I went to Paul with downcast heart and mopey face. I explained my frustration and how I just couldn’t get it right.

Then he started trying. Yes, him.

He tied it in the front. He tied in the back. He tied it on the side. And for good measure on the other side, too.

He tied it in a bow. He tied it in a knot.

He tied it above, below, and across my belly.

And somewhere in the middle of all that… I began to feel really loved.

At first, embarrassed. Then worried that I was taking too much of his time. But then I looked at his face, all concentrated. And I knew that he cared.

Something that was so small, so ridiculous, so impossibly removed from the important matters of the world, mattered to him in that moment. He gave me his time and creativity and didn’t make me feel even slightly silly.

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We never did figure it out.

I ended up wearing the dress without the belt and it was just as cute. Paul doesn’t remember this happening; even though I’ve told him about it three or four times since then. But I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

What a surprise, that you’re husband fooling with getting your belt to look right for fifteen minutes could make you feel so loved.

But it did. And I love him.

The toilet paper stage

According to my estimation, there are three stages of your life with regards to toilet paper.

1. When you have no clue what it is.

2. When you think it’s a toy or a snack.

3. When you have (hopefully) moved beyond stage 2 and use it for it’s intended purpose.

All four of my girls have now progressed through stage two, save one who shall remain nameless in this sentence. And every time they reach that point, I’m reminded again of how annoying it is.

Okay, at first it’s cute. They come waddling down the hallway with a long train of their new found treasure; and it is kind of cute. Or least the huge smile on their face is.

But then, after you pick up 479 pieces of ripped up toilet paper a day; it’s not cute anymore, and you finally say “Enough!”

Mckayla, I love you; and I promise to remember this stage with some measure of fondness… once it’s long gone!

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Sometimes my mommy calls me T-R-O-U-B-L-E.
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I just can’t figure out why.
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I mean, look at me…
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…perfect angel. 100% o’ the time.