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An Honorable Wife, Who Can Find Her?

Today has been one for the books. I did not have to go into the office but between rolling out of bed exhausted because of a co-sleeping toddler and running errands from sun up to sun down, I am just about out of gas on my “day off.” This post has been on my mind for a while but I did not yet have the words. I am prayerful that the words are now adequate to communicate what I have been feeling. Ever since I became a mother, my primary focus has been on building my household – continuing in my journey to be the best wife possible to my husband and also grow into the mother God has called me to be for my children. As a self-employed attorney, I have had the freedom to make my own hours for the most part. When work slows down at the office or clients are few and far between, I take the opportunity to spend quality time with my son and my husband and oversee the running of our home in way that I may not be able to do when work is busier. My heart was content. When my bank account starts reflecting the large amount of time I am spending away from work, I do my best to take my concerns to my Heavenly Father. His provision has always been sufficient for us in times past and I trust His faithfulness. My husband has been an amazing provider and continues in his role. I rest a little easier at night knowing that God has entrusted me to such a capable provider. Every day, week, month and year of our marriage, I learn to trust God in my husband a little more than the season before. There was a time when I would cry in private that our finances were not what I would like – even if basic needs were met, there was no cushion and no extras to enjoy. I was burdened because it seemed that all other couples had more than enough and we had to be satisfied with the bare necessities. God reprimanded me for that mindset because one, it was ungrateful and totally dismissive of all the ways the Lord had lavishly blessed our family. Two, it was born out of a envious and sinful outlook. I was comparing my portion with others and wishing for what they had without taking into account how they may have achieved their results or if their portion in life was even a part of God’s will for my life, home and marriage. Once the Lord chin-checked me on these points, I became more diligent about casting down those kinds of thoughts – those thoughts ultimately were exalting themselves against my knowledge of Christ as a Savior who has given me all that pertains to life and godliness. So, by God’s grace I was at a place of contentment. Our needs were met, my family was safe and healthy and cared for and I had no valid reason to complain.

While I was relishing my time of being content in whatever position God would have us, I was missing a very critical point. I was not checking in with my husband. My hubby is naturally not as vocal as I am about his concerns. Through marriage, I have learned to take my concerns to God before voicing them out loud. Doing this ensures that when I do speak to my husband, my words are seasoned with grace. Although I was being careful in what I say and how I say it to my husband, I was also completely neglecting my husband’s need to be heard. Usually when he is unusually withdrawn, I take notice and coax him into sharing his heart with me. I can’t even remember the last time I did that. My focus had been so centered on our home and our son, I was forgetting my number one human priority. It was not intentional, but the damage was the same.

When my husband was finally able to share his heart with me, I realized that I had allowed resentment to creep into his heart by not being cognizant of his needs. In my own mind, I was focused on building our home and letting work be a secondary priority to the care and upbringing of our children. My husband, however, did not see it this way. From his perspective, I was leaving all the heavy lifting of our financial well being in his hands even though circumstances should have told me that he needed my help and support. He was working full-time, going to school and still struggling to ensure that all our needs were met. His only option to stay afloat as sole provider would be to drop his classes and work full time and part time simultaneously. He was resentful of the lack of help he perceived from my end and I was completely oblivious until he made it known.

The conversation with my husband was a shocking wake-up call to the real state of affairs as it related to my husband’s emotions. I had no clue. I felt like such a failure for not realizing that of course my husband needed my support in a tangible way. I felt like a fraud who had foolishly believed that our home was happy and free of any present conflict. A part of me also felt useless. Maybe my contributions to my family mattered very little when they did not translate to dollar amounts. The enemy took me back to summer of 2012. I had just experienced a 30% pay cut thanks to the state’s diminishing budget and we were planning a wedding. My (then) fiancé was making a bulk of the money that we would be spending for our wedding and our life together. While struggling financially, I was devastated to have some of the leaders at my church advise me not to be a “liability” to my husband. They meant that I should enter my marriage financially secured and able to do for myself. That has always been my plan and my dream but my present circumstances were not lining up with that notion. It felt like my dreams were on hold until I got a better paying job. It seemed to me that I would have to postpone beginning my life with the man I loved because, financially, I wasn’t yet worthy of marriage. The thought itself broke my heart and the word “liability” stuck to me like a bad stench. I could no longer picture my future with joy in my heart. All I could see was my husband not valuing me because I didn’t bring enough to the table, money wise. I fell into a deep depression that did not give way until I was able to receive some words of counsel, advise and prayer from my mentor, one of my aunties in Christ, a working mother of quadruplets who took me under her wings after I came to Christ.

The conversation with my husband felt immediately like a big “I told you so” from the enemy and everyone who had advised me to not be a “liability” to the man I loved. Maybe they had been right along. It was a battle between my emotions and the truth of God for the next two days. I would not let the enemy win but my emotions were so raw and fragile it felt like I was only moments away from giving into despair with each hour. Along with these feelings came the fear of rejection that always loomed in the background whenever I have to put myself out there. The six months of abject poverty and utter hopelessness while job searching upon graduation came to mind immediately. I did not know if I could weather another letter of rejection. Add to it, the demands of wife life and motherhood and I was thoroughly overwhelmed by my thoughts alone. I had not even done anything yet and it already seemed impossible.

One of the thoughts that came to me during these tumultuous two days was “you cannot have it all.” As a wife and new mother, it seemed I would have to sacrifice either my home life or my upward mobility in my career. There seemed to be no way to thrive at both. I was not one of those women who flew effortlessly through making a beautiful home, raising godly and well-adjusted children, maintaining a thriving marriage while climbing the ranks among her colleagues. Everything I have been able to do at home or at work has been by God’s grace alone and through tremendous effort. I was doing good to get the dishes washed each day and possibly get a shower before the afternoon on my days home alone with our son. I had to cut myself a tremendous amount of slack otherwise I would have been convinced that I was failure as a home-maker and first time mom.

How was I going to maintain the quality of life of our household (spiritual well-being and upbringing of the children) while working 40 to 60 hours a week to contribute to our financial upkeep? The Lord Himself knew I was already struggling with the little bit that was on my plate and here I am about to add more.

I was overwhelmed and panicked with the thought of what entering the workforce under someone else’s terms would entail. Thanks be to God for His unwavering faithfulness. The Lord broke through all my panic and emotions and reminded me that His grace has been sufficient for me thus far and He would continue to be my help for the journey ahead.

This post was to share my heart with fellow wives and moms, wives to be and women desiring marriage. Marriage isn’t always what Instagram will have you believe. It is not always pretty or fun. Your husband will not always be your knight in shining armor and you yourself will not always be the honorable wife that scripture describes. But there is grace available for marriage done God’s way. When you have made this covenant before God and according to His leading, He is vested in your success because His glory is at stake. He will sustain you and you can have joy in marriage even when everything isn’t perfect. Please keep me in your prayer as I enter this new season in my life as a working wife and mother. Pray for the grace to do all things in excellence. Thank you so much. God bless you

Yours in Christ,
Omowunmi

life, marriage

Are You Ready?

As I count down the last 4 months and 1 week of my season of singleness, I can’t help but reflect on where God has brought me from. If you browse any of my blog entries prior to September 2009, you can see the growth for yourself. I use to think I was ready for marriage as soon as I was an “adult” (over the age of 21 in my book). Because I was always starving for love and affection from a “special someone” I wrongfully believed that those urges meant that I was ready to settle down. So around the age of 22, I started diving heart first into one committed relationship after another looking for the perfect guy. It never worked out. My inordinate affection for a human being’s love guaranteed that I would idolize those relationships if any of them had blossomed into marriage. God loves me too much to see that happen so He always intervened before things got to that stage. Along with God’s divine intervention, my own selfish, manipulative, Proverbs 5 ways ensured that I never got what I wanted more than anything, a stable relationship that was marriage focused. In case you were wondering, here’s what Proverbs 5 (v. 3-6) says:

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey,And her mouth is smoother than oil;But in the end she is bitter as wormwood,Sharp as a two-edged sword.Her feet go down to death, Her steps lay hold of hell.[a]Lest you ponder her path of life—Her ways are unstable;You do not know them.

You might think it mighty odd that I would describe myself in those terms but let me explain. As THAT woman who was compromising and saying ANY and EVERYTHING to get a ring, I was definitely a smooth talker. I would flatter, flirt, cajole or nag my way to get a guy to see me as “wifey material” (I hate that term now, by the way, lol). I wasn’t thinking about the guy. I wasn’t considering whether I was suitable for him and the future plans he had. I wasn’t praying for God’s will in his life. I wasn’t concerned with how I could help him grow in Christ or achieve his destiny, I JUST WANTED A RING!!! A woman with those kind of selfish motives is the EPITOME of a Proverbs 5 adulteress. This is not to down myself but to give us all a reality check. You’re not ready for marriage just because you’re lonely. The best piece of advice I ever got when it  comes to singleness, godly relationships or marriage is this – don’t be obsessed with FINDING the right person, be committed to BEING the right person (paraphrased from Chip Ingram’s Series Love, Sex and Lasting Relationships).

Are you in a fruit bearing relationship with Christ by yourself? Do you daily exhibit the character traits of the Holy Spirit by being loving, joyful, peaceable, long suffering, kind, good and faithful? If you are currently NOT bearing this fruit with family and friends, how the heck do you think you’ll be able to do so while you’re yoked with another imperfect human being in the covenant of marriage?

These are important questions to ask oneself because marriage is not about a WEDDING. It is about spending a lifetime with someone who will cause you to look more and more like Christ with each passing day. A marriage built on anything other than Christ is built on a shaky ground and before God fully prepared me, I was headed for disaster.

Look out for another post on singleness. I pray this one has given you reason to pause, examine yourself and pray. God bless.Image

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If Anyone Be In Christ, He Is A New Creature

2 Corinthians 5:17 says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” This verse is an encouragement to anyone who walked into God’s love after years of running from it (by running to sin, flesh, worldly passions and the devil). This verse is an encouragement to me because I remember vividly the depths of my depravity. The depth of my hypocrisy still buggles my mind think back on it. Seriously?! They had me leading youth ministry, ministering with the choir and doing so much “church” but I was consumed with a lifestyle of drunkenness and lust in my personal life. Do we even need to mention the anger? The way I could hold on to a grudge for years and think nothing of it? The rebellion and disobedience? The ease with which I spat my parents wants and wishes back in their faces while I pursued a good time? The lies? What a professional I became at covering my tracks to keep my sinful life a secret? I was the worst of the worst. The worst part is that I really felt like I had a relationship with God. I was convinced that it was impossible to live a holy life so therefore, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. This duplicity in life made me do things that I had previously looked down on. It was like, someone was showing me how desperately I needed redemption. I always speak about my past in general terms, never offering specific instances of conduct because a part of me isn’t sure if these stories are for everyone or if God intended me to share them with specific people during specific times. There’s a human part of me that’s genuinely concerned about being judged if people know the in’s and out’s of my once sinful life. I remind myself that I’m not who I was. But I already know, there are people who will NOT see it that way. Since they never got to judge me while I was in my sinful lifestyle, I’m sure they would relish the opportunity to rake me over the coals now that I’m actually trying to operate in God’s purpose for my life. I need to talk to God some more about this. Are there parts of my testimony that He needs me to share but I’m keeping back because of fear? To any of my brothers and sisters in Christ that are reading, keep me in prayer. That God will give me wisdom concerning what to do with my story and if it is His will for me to share it with the viewing world, that He’ll give me the boldness to be obedient. That’s all for now…

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Called Out….It’s Lonely At the Center

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. The verse fits so perfectly with my state of mind right now. Over the past few weeks and maybe even months, the distance has grown between me and pretty much everyone I once held dear to my heart. The last few weeks, I’ve found myself trying to get the closeness back. Trying to touch bases with everyone and maintain those relationships. But the intimacy was gone. I was a little disappointed and I didn’t quite understand why I was feeling so alone. Over the last 9 months, it seems like the closer I draw to God, the further away I draw from everyone else. Especially when the person seems to be traveling in a different direction than the one God is calling me to. I didn’t understand the loneliness but this verse is ministering to me. For years, I’ve been a part of the crowd, but the crowd was not building my faith in God, the crowd was not edifying to my spirit and the crowd did not challenge me to reach a new level in my walk with Christ. So, when I felt that call last year, I developed tunnel vision. I became engulfed and engrossed in the Cross and what Christ did on it. I was so focused on pouring out my life as an offering that I didn’t notice anyone or anything else. As I continued in my walk of faith, the fire went from an all-consuming fire to glowing ambers and I was once again able to pay attention to the things and the people around me. What I found was disappointing. In the time that I’ve been basking in the glow of God’s glory and presence, all the people I love have been chillin. They were still exactly where they were a year ago, some even further back. I had grown and they had stayed the same. The distance between us felt like lightyears. Trying to get that closeness back requires me to compromise to their level since they were not willing to come to mine. Trying to challenge them to answer the call to holiness bred resentment. It seemed the easiest way to go from being cherished to being completely despised is to tell the ones I love that God has a purpose for them that is MUCH bigger than the life they were currently living. Trust me, I tried a few times. Each time was worse than the last. At this point, I’m keeping my distance and praying for everyone. I can’t let anyone else’s unwillingness to change steal the joy and peace that God has so richly blessed me with. I wish I could do more. I wish there was a way to SHOW them exactly how much God loves them and how His heart breaks when they chose to satisfy the flesh instead of living according to His word. It’s been so hard for me too over the past month. I’ve been ebbing and flowing – going back and forth – in my relationship with God. I’ve been neglecting my quiet time and bible study at home when these were the very things God has used and is using to speak to me and minister me. But, every day I make the decision to live solely for Christ and to do whatever is possible to bring Him glory. And it seems that with each day that I make that decision, I get further and further away from the people I love. God called me out from among them, and now they absolutely do NOT get me.

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Doing Too Much…For Christ?!

Ever since I began this renewed walk with Christ, I’ve come across the phrase “doing too much” a couple of times. It was spoken by people who felt that some Christians who were passionate about Christ and the Cross and repentance and living righteously were “doing too much” or over-doing their Christianity. The phrase bothers me not only because I feel like it pertains to me but because it is hypocritical. When I was all up in the world, and partying it up with my girls every weekend and all that goes with it, THAT wasn’t doing too much, right? It’s okay to make every effort possible to fulfill the lusts of the flesh but as soon as I turn that same passion towards the Living God and start to walk in the purpose for which He created me, NOW I’m doing too much. Christ was on the cross for hours, being tortured like no human being will ever be tortured again. Not only did He feel physical pain but He was also in spiritual anguish because for the first time in His life, God the Father was not with Him. Christ endured the gruesome pain, the anguish, the agony, the shame, the torment of the Cross simply because He loves me that much. If I was the only person saved by His sacrifice on the Cross, He would have still went and died. This wonderful Savior who did all of that for me is now asking that I LIVE my life in a way that reflects Him and Him alone. But I’m doing too much? It wasn’t too much for Christ to die for me so tell me how it can be too much for me to live for Him?

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Another Day In the Journey

Today, I am so burdened in my spirit. I came across a note titled “95 Theses Against Worldliness” and it seriously pierced me like nothing has pierced me in the past 7 months of my renewed and authentic walk with Christ. One of the statements that got me was this one. “we confess our love for God more in public than in private, just like the Pharisees.” OH MY LORD! When I read that statement, my heart just dropped into my shoes and I had to ask myself, “is that what I’ve become?”. I’ve been so engrossed in making sure that my life points others towards Christ and I haven’t been as engrossed in making sure that my life was ACTUALLY growing in Christ. For example, everything on my Facebook page has to be God-glorifying. It keeps me in the spirit rather than the flesh and my hope is that it points others towards Christ. BUT, ask me how much time I spent in prayer, just me and God today and I would have to say all of 5 minutes. OH MY LORD! Have I become more concerned with making sure everyone knows that I’m walking in Christ than actually walking in Christ????? God, please have mercy! I kept thinking that because my reason for letting everyone know about Christ is so that they would seek HIM, and not because I want them to pat me on the back. All I want is for my life to reflect Christ in such a way that others chase after Him. But, in doing this, I’ve began to spend more time with Christ in public than I do in private…and all I can do now is crawl back to my Heavenly Father and cry for forgiveness.

I thank God for conviction. I thank God for His living Word that still speaks. I have to get off this thing and go SEEK CHRIST like I’ve been proclaiming.

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Journey Towards Becoming a True Worshiper

Lately, my heart has been pulled towards what it means to worship God in spirit and in truth. I find myself spending time listening to and singing worship songs, analyzing them in my spirit about what they reveal or say about the nature of God. It blows my mind that such a Holy and Righteous God would want anything to do with me. The fact that He knew and knows how deep into sin I would be and He still chose to send Christ to die for my sake blows my mind. I am beyond unworthy. Yesterday, I was home alone and just worshiping in the quiet of my room. And I was listening to this song that says “wrap me in Your arms”. It is pretty much a heart’s cry to be closer to God. And as I was worshiping, I had a mental picture of God wrapping me in His arms and it made me think of what He saw in me that would ever make me worthy of such closeness with Him. And I realize that there is NOTHING in me that is worthy of such closeness with God; and I got a clear mental picture of what I look like in the middle of my favorite sins. I watched myself fulfilling the lusts that God has commanded me to flee from and I realized how clearly God saw me during those times. I realized how unworthy I am to be near to such a Holy God when all I have ever done in times past is revel in the very sins that disgust Him, sins that invoke His wrath and break His heart when He witnessed me from Heaven; sins that were my own way of nailing Christ back on the cross, telling Him that His sacrifice meant nothing to me. It broke me. All I could do was ask for forgiveness and for His mercy. All I could do was worship this Wonderful and Mighty God who would take me back into His arms after all of the terrible things I’ve done.

I am on a journey of closeness with God and I want all of me to reflect His glory. I never want to get complacent in my view of God. I desire to stand daily in absolute AWE of this Awesome and Terrible God.