marriage, modesty, Uncategorized

A man’s heart plans his way

“Teach me to do Your Will,  for You are my God.  Your Spirit is good.  Lead me in the land of uprightness.”

– Psalms 143:10 (NKJV)

“Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

– Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

 

So I know it has been a really long time since I have written.  In some ways a lot has changed and in others not so much.  In my last post I had written about starting my modesty journey and switching to wearing dresses all the time.  At first this went great and I had no problem making the switch.  I felt good about myself and honestly thought that I looked pretty good.  I felt like things were going well and I really feel like I have been getting closer to God.

In anything that we do in life its a journey right?  I mean that is why I have titled this blog “journey of hope.”  Well sometimes journeys take a little longer than expected.

You see I need to start off by saying that I am NOT a perfect Christian.  If that were the case then I would not need Christ to begin with.  However, I know that I am not on the same spiritual level as my husband.  I do not mean to judge him or whatever relationship he has with God Almighty.  To be perfectly honest, I do not know if my husband is saved.  Yet again, I do not mean to judge him but his actions and words are what leads me to believe this.  Now to clarify, Ethan has not changed since I met him.  The problem is… I have!

You see when he and I first got together I was definitely a “Sunday morning Christian.”  I was most definitely saved but I listened to what my “heart told me to do.” I did and said things that I am not proud of and would later ask for God’s forgiveness.  I know that we should always ask for forgiveness when we do something wrong but we should also make an effort to change those bad habits and actions.  Now please know that I was not a drug addict (I have never even touched illegal drugs) or alcoholic, but I did things that morally I knew I should not.  So when Ethan and I got together I really only focused on things like:

  • he will go to church with me
  • he was a virgin
  • he did not cheat
  • he did not do drugs

I figured as long as he would at least go to church with me then it would be okay.  I am ashamed to say that I did not put much effort or concern into his personal relationship with the Lord.  Now after several years of being married and getting comfortable with one another…

I am uncomfortable!

Since I have began to grow spiritually I cannot ignore the differences between mine and Ethan’s spiritual inconsistencies.  I do not regret marrying him because I love him with my whole heart.  I think that God meant him for me.  I hope that through what God is doing in my life, then it will help Ethan with his relationship with God and ultimately begin a relationship with Christ (if he does not have one.)

So why do I bring up all this when talking about how I dress?  Well, as much as I think that we should instantly obey God when He calls us, I also think that God wants me to cool it a little on the dress thing.  You see, at first I thought Ethan liked the idea of me wearing dresses/skirts all the time, but that sort of changed.  I think I scared him a little into thinking that when you are a Christian you have to give up everything!  I have come to realize that I need to take things slowly with him!  This time instead of just diving head first, I want to truly seek God’s Will and follow His plan – not just do something for the sake of doing it.

I still plan on dressing modestly, feminine, and wearing dresses/skirts mainly, but I also know that I should focus on loving Ethan more diligently.  I need to honor him, not be so judgemental, and not so pushy!  Sometimes I feel like I rush into things without truly considering how Ethan feels about it.  Now I know that God expects us to put Him before anyone else and that is what I am trying to do.  I will not violate standards that I have set for myself just to please my husband.  Instead I want to focus on leading him to the Lord.  I believe when that happens (and I truly think it will) then Ethan will not only approve but encourage my wearing of dresses and skirts.

I know above all else that I need to pray.  Pray for God’s Will to be done, pray for Him to let me see Ethan through his eyes, and pray for God to soften my heart towards my husband when honestly sometimes I just want to give up.

So this is where I am.  I am not perfect.  I change my mind sometimes.  I fail sometimes.

I am also a child of God and He can and Will see me through anything.

Love,

Jennifer

“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

– Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV)

 

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modesty, Uncategorized

A little compliment goes a long way

“Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord; she shall be praised.”

– Proverbs 31:30 KJV

I should start off by saying I am a working mom.  Its is not fun to be away from my child or my home but I do the best I can.  I have been, however, able to work my schedule so that I have 3 days off every week and still have 40 hours (those other 4 days can be very long.)  I am usually off every Monday and about three weeks ago I decided it would be nice to surprise Ethan (my hubby) with a mocha frappe from Mcdonalds (it is like his favorite thing in the whole world lol!) I decided that I would try to make myself look pretty also.  I decided to put on some makeup, fix my hair in a simple yet nice updo, and then it came time to pick the outfit out.

Now I know it may sound strange to go to such great lengths just to bring my husband a drink, but we have been together for 11 years (7 married) and it doesn’t hurt to spice things up a bit.

I began to grab for that favorite pair of jeans when something just told me to look up.  At the very top shelf of my closet sat a bag that has been there for over a year.  In this bag, rested a nice below-the-knee length skirt that I had bought shortly after having Finley.  I bought this skirt with the intention to wear after I had lost the baby weight.  Well it has taken a little longer than expected to accomplish that and so the bag with the skirt went to the top of the closet and was basically fogotten about.  Well I am about ten pounds over my pre-baby weight and so I thought I would just see if it fit anyway. It did.  I carefully examined the rest of my closet to see if I could find a shirt that would match.  Once I finally got dressed I headed off to my destination.

Once I arrived at Ethan’s job, he told me something that has changed everything for me…”you look really nice.” Those four words struck a cord with me.  Now I don’t want to give the impression that my husband never compliments me because that is not the case.  What struck me was the way he said it and the look on his face as he did.  This was not the first time I had ever dressed up or wore a dress/skirt in general; but it was the first time that I truly felt nice-looking.

After I went home I began to examine the feelings that I was having.  Was it the skirt? Was it the makeup? What was making me feel so good about myself?  It finally clicked for me that it was the fact that I had impressed my husband!  After 11 years together,  I still could make him notice me.  I was not dressed ultra fancy or provocative.  I didn’t need to be.

It was then that I truly began to wonder what really mattered when it came to beauty.  I realized I needed to make some changes.  In my last post I had mentioned that I have come to learn about modesty.  I wanted to know what the Bible had to say about it, what God expected of me, and how I could please my husband.  I knew what I had to do.

I had made the decision that I was going to set a new standard for myself when it came to how I dressed.  I was going to wear modest clothing that honored God and my spouse. Like I have said before, I never considered myself an immodest dresser but when I started to look at what the Bible said, it just did not mix with what was in my closet.  I decided that I was no longer going to wear anything that came above my knees and nothing that showed cleavage.  I, at first, did still plan on wearing pants but I feel like God has even convicted me of that.  I do not think that it is wrong for a woman to wear pants, but the way I felt that day I wore the skirt, I wanted to feel like that all the time.  I also could not shake the verse:

Deuteronomy 22:5 KJV

“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are an abomination unto the Lord thy God.”

 

Now I get that when this bible verse was written men and women really both wore “dresses.”  However, in this time we know that normally women wear dresses and men wear pants.  I felt as though God really wanted me to be modest and be feminine by wearing modest skirts/dresses all the time.  Now I will say that I still do wear pants to work because I work in horticulture.  I constantly have to bend over and I do not want anything showing that should not be.  Also the time has not come around to order new uniforms yet, but when they do I will be looking into what they have for skirts to see if it could be possible for me to wear them at work too.

Now before anyone may get to upset with this let me say this…I believe that the way a person dresses is matter between them and God.  Every woman in my family wears pants: Christian or not so I do not condemn those that do not choose to only wear dresses/skirts.  This was a personal choice for me.  Of course, Ethan liked me dressing more “girly” but he DID NOT encourage me to do this.  I knew this was a choice I had to make on my own.

Its has only been a few weeks…but I have never felt better about myself.

Uncategorized

The slap of honesty

Well it has been a couple of weeks since I have written.  Instead of talking directly about motherhood, this time I wanted to share another journey I have recently started.

For the past few weeks I have been on a search of what it means to be modest.  I have never considered myself a scandalous dresser, but I have recently come to the realization that I have not been what the Lord would consider to be modest.

I know that the world will tell you that what the Bible says about how a person should dress is old and outdated.  I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrase “back in those days things were different but times have changed.”  I have never liked that saying.  For me it seemed like a way to just keep on in your sin because people in biblical days did not live in the same world that we live in now.  Even though I disagreed with that statement I never thought about what it meant about how I was dressing.

Anyone that knows me well knows that I am a big fan of the Duggar family.  Now if you do not like this family or disagree with their beliefs then that is okay, but that is not the point of this post.  What stands out to me about this family is that, agree or not with them, you know what they believe in.  I have watched them for years and I found myself being envious of the kind of ways they displayed their faith.  The more and more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to make a change.

As I have shared before, I have been saved since I was 14 years old.  I was raised in a Christian home and so the Bible and living for Jesus was nothing new to me.  However, I have over the past couple of years have started to feel uncomfortable with my personal relationship with Jesus.  And by uncomfortable I mean that I was not happy that I felt more like a “Sunday morning Christian.”  I would try so hard to live for Christ on Sunday.  I would go to church, feel the Lord moving my heart, and then as soon as I walked out the door I was back to my old ways.

I was/am getting so tired of that kind of life.  The minute something started to go wrong I would usually wind up saying (I have a hard time with holding my tongue) or doing something I should not.  My husband, whom I feel like the Lord is still working on, even pointed it out one day.  I got angry with him about something and I cursed at him.  He then looked at me and said “oh look at you being so holy. You post bible verses on Facebook and now you are cursing me. ” Well if that wasn’t a smack in the face then I don’t know what is. Truthfully it was a well deserved and needed slap.  He was right!

After that I still knew I needed a change.  I had to learn to submit, which I will discuss on a later post, I had to learn to hold my tongue, and I had to start being accountable for the things I do and say.

That is really why I have started my modesty journey.  I go back to the Duggar family.  I have no doubt that they have their own faults and struggles, and having them played out on national television cannot be easy.  But I could not help but look at them and want what they had.  No, not the fame or money.  But the open submission to God’s Will.

I will post some more about this journey as it has just really started but I appreciate any prayers and encouragement that you might all can give.

love,

Jennifer

Uncategorized

Blessed Are They That Have Not Seen

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

John 20:29 KJV

 

When I finally decided to start living my life for what it was instead of what it could be, that is when it truly began. Ethan and I started to look for our first home to buy. This was a scary thought for both of us because we had no idea what we were doing. It was also a little of a painful process. Ethan wanted something with land, I wanted something cute and big enough to suit our needs. After a while we finally found the perfect home. Looking back on it, it is actually sort of funny on the house we settled on. We wound up right next door to the house that Ethan was living in when we were dating!

But I am getting ahead of myself…

A couple of weeks before we found the home we would eventually buy, I started noticing my body acting very strange. My breasts were sore, I was weepy, and I did not want my coffee (and for anyone that knows me personally will tell you that is shocking)! I did not want to get my hopes because I cannot begin to tell you how many negative pregnancy test I have taken. I thought to myself, “oh wait and see you will start your period in a few days.” And like clock work, that is exactly what happened (or so I thought). Two days later it completely just stopped.

I chalked it all up to my body is weird and PCOS is a bully. I let it go and the house searching continued.

Have you ever heard the saying “God will show you who’s God?” He definitely did that to me. Even though my cycle had stopped, I still did not feel right. Ethan and I went to look at the home we would eventually buy. The night we decided to put an offer in, I also decided to take a test. I remember thinking that this was dumb and a waste of time. I was going to look down and see the dreaded 1-line negative and not the much hoped for 2-line positive. Well lo and behold…

2 lines!!!

I could not believe it. I mean really I did not believe it! I went out the next morning and bought another test. Again another positive. I remember thinking and praying silently to God that if this is real, please somehow let me know. Then we got in the car and the song How great is our God! came on. I mean if that is not a direct answer then I do not know what is. I was pregnant. All this time of trying and trying – nothing! When I finally let go, God was able to take control. I believe that it was meant to be at this time. For the first time all of our family was in one place, we were buying a home, and Ethan and I were starting to become closer and closer.

Sometimes I think I wish that God would have just told me, “hey I am going to give you a baby, just hold your horses.” Even still I do not think that I would have believed it. It makes me feel like Thomas in the bible that would not believe that Jesus had been risen from the dead until he felt the scares in His hands.

Well to make a very long story short, I gave birth to a beautiful son. It was an easy pregnancy, scary delivery, and so far 16 months later – the greatest joy of my life. And so the real journey begins.

Uncategorized

Preparing The Field

“Good days give happiness…

Bad days give experience…

Worst days give lessons…

And best days give memories…

NEVER REGRET A DAY IN YOUR LIFE!”

– Author unknown

 

So after Ethan’s family moved, our family (for the first time in our whole marriage) was in one spot.  We were happy, but those days did have challenges as well. I had to learn that no matter how you felt that someone treated you, you have to show kindness. This was a challenge for me because I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and I am not slow to anger like I should be. However, Ethan’s mom started working at the same place I did and we were able to form a bond that didn’t involve Ethan. I think for the first time I saw her as a person, rather than just my mother-in-law. I would like to say that our relationship is 100% just rainbows and sunshine now but everyone knows that relationships of every kind take WORK, and that work is a life long process.

Another year went by. Ethan and I slowly had started to think about and except that it was going to be just the two of us. I never gave up the desire to have a child, but I no longer was going to let it hold me back from living. I did, however, want to get healthy. I would not consider myself a very large person but for my height I knew that I was obese. I also knew that with PCOS, being over weight was not helping me at all.

Have you ever watched a movie or heard a song and just one single scene or line struck a nerve with you? I had this happen to me when I was watching the movie Facing the Giants. There is a scene that shows a man telling another a story of “two farmers that desperately needed rain for their crops to grow. Although both farmers prayed for rain, only one of them went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one trusted God to send the rain?” The one who prepared!”

When I saw that, God convicted my heart. I did not know if God would send the rain but I was going to prepare my field for it anyways.

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Blessings and Struggles Go Hand in Hand

Jesus answered and said to him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.”

John 13:7 NKJV

 

So anyone can tell you that marriage is HARD! It’s true, marriage can be extremely difficult.

After Ethan and I moved back to my home town I thought that things would finally fall into place. However, being away from his family made life extremely difficult. When I lived away from my family, I will not lie, I struggled being so near to his family and not my own. I did not feel like they cared that I was so far away from the only home that I ever knew, and I did not see a lot of sympathy (at least it did not come across that way). I also felt that maybe he did not love me enough to move to be with me. I would be being dishonest if I did not say that I felt resentment towards him and his family for not being able to be with mine. To be truthful, I still struggle with that resentment to this day.

So when Ethan started to feel unhappy about being away from his family, I am sad to say, I did not have much sympathy for him. In my heart I thought “now you know how I felt.” Looking back, I hate that I felt and acted that way. I know I was not being a good wife.

Well, as anyone can guess, Ethan and I argued A LOT!!! In all this time we were still trying to have a baby. Bad timing I suppose, but I still wanted what I wanted. After about three years of being apart, Ethan’s family (to my huge surprise) decided to move back to where Ethan and I were currently living. This was a blessing, but it did not come without difficulty. I say that because I have had some ups and downs with his parents. I love them, but we are very different people from one another.

I wish I would have known that this was all just a part of His greater plan…

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Where You lead…

But Ruth said: “Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.

Ruth 1:16 NKJV

 

Just when you think that things could not get more complicated…

Family steps in.

I should start off by saying that when I got married, I moved away from the only place I had ever lived, and by moved I mean about 500 miles! As you can imagine, that was extremely hard on my family, especially my mother. However, I was in love and I would do anything to be with the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Ethan and I had been together for a while, and when he graduated high school his family decided to move to another state. We did long distance for a year and a half, then he popped the question, we got married, and I moved to be with him. So here I was living with my husband several miles away from my family, and his family lived right up the road.

I will not delve into how hard it was to be so near his family and not my own, but lets just say that it put more than just a strain on our relationship.

Well 2 years into marriage later and STILL NOT PREGNANT, Ethan’s family ups and decides they are moving even farther away. After seriously considering our options, we knew the only thing that made since was to move back to my home town. We were looking to start a family, and wanted to be in a stable environment.

Of course, this was not easy on Ethan to be away from his family, but we knew it was the right decision. Once we moved back to my hometown I was a lot happier, and I thought that maybe NOW I would finally get pregnant…

Three more years passed by and I can honestly say that it was some of the toughest years yet!