Don’t Be That Wife: Part Dos

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One of my last posts was Don’t Be That Wife. This is the second installment. Sometimes we need to be reminded of some basics. First, the Bible doesn’t want us to be hateful, angry individuals. Anger is equated to foolishness (Proverbs 14:17, 29; Ecclesiastes 7:9). Our first priority is to be a godly woman. Married or single. Children or no children. God’s Word clearly outlines how we are to conduct ourselves. Secondly, if you are married, you are to be a godly wife. You are to mirror Christ through your marriage. Lastly, you are to be a godly mom. Our attitudes will greatly influence our families, both our spouses and our children.

In Titus 2, we read that the aged women are to teach the younger women. I have all girls. They have some wonderful examples to look to at our church. Godly women. Faithful women. Discerning women. But this verse also applies to me as a mother. I can pretend to be all that and a bag of chips at church and I can post all the right things on Facebook but do you know who really sees whether I am sober, discreet, chaste, and a keeper at home? My children. It is my responsibility to teach my daughters these principles. I can give lip service all I want, but my actions and my attitude will speak volumes. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “More is caught than is taught.”

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This man is amazing!

If I am constantly hateful to my husband, it shows my girls that I don’t truly love him (Titus 2:4), it shows them my disobedience (Titus 2:5), and it blasphemes the Word of God (Titus 2:5). My attitude toward my husband will greatly influence my children. My girls will more than likely pick up my habits and be hateful to their spouse, if they get married. They can overcome it and break the cycle, but it is a difficult journey. It can affect sons as well. They may be more likely to marry someone who will verbally abuse them, thinking that is normal.  Not only that, but my children will quite possibly treat their friends with the same disdain they observe day in and day out. Eventually, they will complain they don’t have many friends. Is it any wonder with attitudes such as theirs? I don’t think we realize how much our stinky attitudes are soaked up by our children. Even if you are pleasant as punch to your children, having an antagonistic relationship with their dad makes them more likely to resent you as they grow older, if they don’t grow up just like you. Even if they don’t grow up to resent you, biblically, your attitude is wrong. Just remember: What you do, your children will do in excess.

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Denver/Seattle Game

If my husband and I do have intense fellowship, which is not very often, apologies are not only made to each other, but to our children as well. My children need to see forgiveness, not harboring a grudge. My husband and I were raised 2 different ways. My parents fought to the death so to speak, and I don’t remember apologies ever being made. It eventually blew over. Guess what I brought into our marriage? An antagonistic spirit when things didn’t go my way. And I expected my husband to argue with me. My husband’s parents never argued in front of the children. The problem with that is my husband never saw conflict and resolution. So guess what he brought into our marriage? If you love one another, you NEVER argue. That’s not healthy either. We’ve had to work extremely hard to find the right balance. (We have, by the way.) I never want my children to live in fear of “Is today the day one of my parents leave?” and I never want to hear my child plead with me: “Please don’t fight with daddy anymore.” Your relationship with your husband will affect your children. (Anyone remember Jon and Kate Gosselin?  Were you really surprised when they split up? Did you ever watch some of the earlier episodes?)

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Bedlam, Baby!!

I’m going to be transparent here. You also need a healthy intimate relationship with your husband. Of the couples I know that have a nonexistent intimate relationship, there are issues. Do you know how it feels to go through weight ups and downs, fertility issues, weight ups and downs, miscarriage, traumatic birth, cancer, more weight ups and downs, and your husband still find you attractive?! Oh. My. Word. It’s amazing. You have to question his sanity sometimes, but man, is that true love or what? Hold hands, hug, let your husband kiss you. Kiss your husband. There is security in that for your children. (And it’s so much fun to gross our kids out when we kiss.) Our children will be bombarded with the world’s view of intimacy and marriage. Teach them what is right and godly by modeling it for them.

Ladies, your relationship with your husband is vital to the development of your children. (I’m not talking about an abusive situation here. That’s a different story.) Please, please, please understand what an effect you have. If you are a ministry family, your home life, church life, and social media life must be consistent, or your children will see the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. If you are a Christian family, your home life, church life, and social media life must be consistent, or your children will see the hypocrisy and want nothing to do with it. Do your best to model a godly marriage.

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Isn’t he handsome?!?!

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Today we celebrate 16 years of wedded bliss (and 18 years of marriage)

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There are two times in my life I would never want to repeat. The first is junior high. Ugh. There is no reality show prize money large enough to tempt me to go back. The second is the first two years of marriage. Oy ve. An anniversary is a big deal, but especially when you thought you weren’t going to make it past the first two. I’m sure it was ALL his fault. I’m so easy to live with.

On our wedding day staring lovingly into his eyes. As they say, “Love is blind. Marriage is the eye opener.”

I did not marry my best friend. My best friends stood beside me that day. I might have spoken the typical, (insert engaged sweet sappy voice here:) “He’s my best friend…” But truly, he did not know me like my attendants did. He had never seen me without make-up, he had never seen me without my hair being perfect, and he had never known me to look frumpy in worn-out sweats and ratty t-shirts as I cleaned. He did not necessarily know my ugly side, the first thing in the morning face, my aversion to putting the toilet paper on the roll, the hives I develop from  putting my shoes in the closet (so I don’t), or my morning breath side. But he was going to learn. And love me anyway.

To say the first two years were rough would be a HUGE understatement. I was raised you argue until someone gives in (usually him.) He was raised that a married couple never argues. We had a lot to learn, because both sides are wrong. I was the baby and he was the oldest of three boys. Before we got married his idea of conflict resolution was beating up your brother and going on your way. He did at least know that wouldn’t work with his wife. Thankfully, we learned to get along. We learned to work together, control our tempers (most of the time), and pray for each other. Only God can truly change a person.

Each year gets better and better. I remember the night before we brought Lydia home, I told him, “I really like you.” He informed me I was supposed to. I reminded him the Bible says I have to love him, it never says I have to like him. And I really like my husband. We have endured a lot over the years: those rough first years, tough jobs, crazy family members, infertility, loss of family, health issues, and the list goes on. But God has been faithful in every situation and He has drawn us closer to Him which in turn draws us closer to each other.

I can now positively state he is my best friend and he loves me despite my short comings. We have a good time together. We laugh all of the time, we finish each others sentences, we think the same thoughts, and we’re working on him reading my mind. We love to spend time together. It’s much harder now with our three beautiful daughters, but I appreciate those times we do go out all the more. There is not anything he does not know about me. He has seen me at my best and he has tolerated me at my worst.

So to my fabulous husband: Happy Anniversary! I love you more than I could ever express. Thank you for being you and loving me through the crazy times as well as the good. You are the cream in my coffee, the root beer to my float, the cheese to my burger, the peanut butter to my chocolate, and I could never imagine life without you. May the next 18 years be even better than the first.

Our journey on the road of infertility

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I’d like to post Lydia’s adoption story this week, so I thought I’d start with the journey my husband and I have been on for almost 18 years. Wow! Our wedding anniversary is next week. Hard to believe it’s been 16 years of wedded bliss and 18 years of marriage. (If you only knew how hard those first two years were! My husband would testify.)

I’ve never been a real small girl. I was always “healthy.”  Actually most of my jeans in elementary school were labeled as husky. Anyone else remember those wonderful labels? Once, a boy I was dating said, “You’re bigger than most of the girls I date.” Thanks? I should have said, “Yeah? Well you’re no Judd Nelson.” (Since Matthew McConaughey and Doug Savant weren’t on the scene yet) I stayed the same size from high school until college. But after the hubs and I got married, I put on over 30 pounds in just under 3 months. I went from a size 12 to a size 18/20. It was distressing, but I chalked it up to being such a great cook. (Haha! Don’t ask my husband about his very first breakfast.)

I don’t really want to go into a lot of detail (I’m a prude that way.) But after being married for a couple of years we decided to start a family. We had just moved to Florida and I was looking for a Dr. I had been having some minor health issues and we figured we’d get it all checked out. After looking at my chart and asking me a couple of questions my new doctor diagnosed me with PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). Back then it was relatively unheard of and it was hard to find information. Believe me, I tried. He said PCOS might be genetic, but that the birth control I had been on was, as he put it, “nasty stuff.” He believes that triggered, so to speak, my PCOS. He asked if we were wanting children and I answered in the affirmative. He told me I would have a very hard time getting pregnant and if I did, it would be even harder to carry a baby full-term.

For those that don’t know, there is no cure for PCOS. It can be controlled and it can be lived with, but doesn’t make you feel bad. In other words, you’re not nauseous, dizzy, muscle pain, etc. Fatigue is a big factor, though I think that has a lot to do with weight. It affects women differently, but the major manifestations of it are hirsutism (abnormal hair growth), weight gain, and infertility. Some women are lucky enough to have all 3. (hint, hint, that’s me) PCOS patients are at a greater risk of diabetes (due to the insulin issues and weight issues), heart disease (especially if you’re heavy), and uterine cancer (for those women whose bodies don’t function properly each month.) It’s not fun. But, if you can lose weight the chances of complications are less.

So we started the “we want a baby” journey. I spent numerous months on Clomid and Glucophage (Metformin). I have been through numerous tests including blood and dye tests. I have been to many doctors. (Dr. Madani, who was unsuccessful,  referred me to a doctor who was unsuccessful who referred me to an endocrinologist who was the best in the southeast.) We spent a lot of time and money on appointments and medications (oh yeah, and pregnancy tests). This was all in under two years.

I’d like to go on record by saying I did not always handle this well. I didn’t like baby showers and I tried to get out of going as much as I could. I have probably heard every question imaginable: “Aren’t you ever going to have kids?” “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you want children?” “You’ve been married long enough. Why don’t you have any kids?” “You’re the career kind, huh?” I also loved the “We’ve been trying for two months so I know how you feel.” Even my father-in-law made the mistake one day of saying, “I don’t see you giving me any grandkids.” to which I responded, “Take it up with God. Your son and I are doing our part.” The conversation quickly ended. 🙂 I didn’t like Mother’s Day. I didn’t begrudge anyone else, but I didn’t like the reminder that I was “less than a woman.” I usually volunteered for nursery that morning. I wanted the mothers to be able to sit in on the service. I was sacrificial that way. (yeah, right.)

I may have put on a good front in public, but my husband knows better.  I was trying to fill a void only God could fill. Once I finally got over that and completely turned it over to God, I had such peace. God was in control. If He wanted me to have children, He’d make it happen. If not, that’s okay. I will say that the years my husband and I had together without kids were amazing. We could go away for a weekend at a moment’s notice. We could change our plans last minute. We only had each other and there are major benefits to not having kids right away. Looking back, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything.

We moved back to Oklahoma and my husband and I decided to take a break from all the hullabaloo. I waited a few years and then started the search for a PCOS doctor. I started with the OU Med Center. When I called and explained my situation, the lady immediately connected me with the “Best Dr. for PCOS patients.” Come to find out, he had trained my endocrinologist in Florida, so he knew her work quite well. He told me if I wasn’t pregnant by the time I was 35, he would no longer treat me. He did not believe it would be safe for me to have a child that late in life. (I was, ummmm, pretty close to that by this point, so time was ticking.)

Three months before I was 35, I called it quits. I had had enough. We had finally decided to go the adoption route. One of the best decisions we ever made. There is more to our story. It gets better and better. But you’ll have to read Lydia’s story and the ones to follow.

I believe God has a reason for everything. Due to my PCOS/infertility journey, I have some of the best friends in the whole world. My friend Pam was the first person I knew that had PCOS. She became my confidante and sounding board soon after my diagnosis. She had already been down that road for a while and offered great insight (and a broad shoulder.) My friend Rachel doesn’t have PCOS, but had trouble having children for a a few years. We had many conversations and cry sessions over the years. My friend Amy started our first conversation, and subsequent friendship, with  “Hi, I’m Amy. Can I ask you a personal question?” She had been told I had PCOS and she had just been diagnosed with it as well, so we shared stories. Unfortunately, I don’t live near these fabulous women. But, though for some we are states apart, I know I can call them any time. My friends are amazing.

My journey has not been easy. But I wouldn’t change it for anything. God has taught me many things through our trials:      1. Only He can fill the void in our lives. We have to find our sufficiency in Him. 2. Our trials are to draw us closer to the Lord. There is no one who can soothe the troubled soul like Him.        3. Our trials can and should be used to be a blessing to others. But we can only be a blessing if we have the right attitude during our trials. No drama, no self-pity, no self-glory, simply giving all the glory to God and God alone.