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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

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Have you ever?

Have you ever tried to see yourself through someone else’s eyes? I attempt it on a continual basis, not always with much success. Most of the time, I try to “read” people’s mind about me based on their actions. If someone is particularly friendly and compassionate, I assume they think well of me. If someone is standoffish or even a bit cruel, I assume they don’t think highly of me. With these assumptions in place, I start working backwards in my mind, trying to narrow down the actual occasion that caused this person to have a particular outlook on me. In short, I drive myself crazy. God forbid I find a memory of a time when I may have caused offense to another. I labor on it, trying to dissect it from every angle, usually wondering why I had behaved so wrongly, why this person didn’t bring it to my immediate attention, why they wouldn’t forgive me and if there was a hope for reconciliation. I drive myself even crazier.

Now imagine standing before the person whose opinion means the world to you and having to recount with your own lips all of the ways in which you have deliberately offended them – occasions of wrongdoings of which they had no previous knowledge. Were it not for your candor, this person you love the most in the world may or may not actually know these unflattering details about you. Imagine standing there in anguish about the details you have to share and the hurt you have to inflict, tearfully and truthfully exposing the darkest parts of your character. Imagine watching your beloved reactions as you hit them with truth after truth, possibly altering forever the image and beliefs they had regarding you.

Imagine standing silent, eyes low and head bent in shame after pouring out your ugliest truths – awaiting judgment, sentence, a reaction, anything! Imagine this person whom you have offended more than 70 X 7 times taking your hand and smiling into your eyes, whispering “I love you and nothing you can do or say will ever change that.”

There are only two people who have ever done this in my life.

The first One declared His love for me thousands of years before I was even born; it prompted me to give my life to Him, wholeheartedly and without question.

The second one stands protectively by my side, taking my hand, guarding my heart against any onslaught of pain, working as an instrument of the One who first forgave me. This lack of judgment, this unwavering love and acceptance caused me to respond as well – by wearing his ring on my left hand and waiting joyously to stand before God and man and pledge to love and honor him for the rest of our lives.

Thank You Jesus, the Lover of my soul and Savior who gave all for me even when I was living against Your will.

And thank you Opeyemi mi for embracing me wholeheartedly, loving me past my faults and being an instrument in God’s hands to mold me into the woman Christ intended for me to be all along.