Hearts Unfold

DARE TO LIVE OPEN AND REVEALED FOR GOD


Today’s revised post is one I wrote a few years ago. It’s some humorous memories about my feeble attempts to be a perfect newlywed wife. And I’m not sure even Pinterest and HGTV could have helped me! Hope you enjoy!

weddingbands

Today Jim and I are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary (insert happy dance and “whoo hoooo” here!). Life has just been crazy this last year, so no big trip or extravagant gifts planned. Just keeping things simple and enjoying just being together sounds like the perfect evening.

Low key and easy. Definitely not what newlywed Beth ever pictured as ideal. Wow, did I have some unreal expectations!

I had in mind what the “perfect” wife should be.  Fabulous cook. Spotless house. A master at multi-tasking.

Reality check, please

The one time I fixed meatloaf was the last time I fixed meatloaf.  I vaguely remember numerous trips to the bathroom.  One of us may or may not have thrown up. Good times.

And then there was the curtain disaster. I proudly hung a new set, complete with the poofy 90s style valance in the middle, just in time for our first dinner party.  Then a guest whispered, “I think you have those up backwards.”  Awesome.

There was my attempt at making a wreath. I was scarred for life from glue gun burns.  I mean, who needs feeling in your left pinky-tip anyway, right?

And let’s just say never have vegetable oil and Murphy’s Oil together on the kitchen counter.  Because the brownies you make for your couples Bible study could taste funky.  If they don’t combust in the oven first. Or kill you by poisonous fumes.

But I pushed through, determined to be the wife I thought God and Jim wanted me to be. Until the Saturday I ironed a dozen dress shirts. Let me tell you – those babies hung in the closet like starched domestic masterpieces.

I thought so, anyway.  Then Jim mentioned I had done all the collars wrong.

 (To any guys reading this: Do not try this at home. Trust me.)

He had to be kidding!  I had spent my one day off on these shirts, only to hear I had not done them correctly.

I cried. He sighed. Then came the words all wives must be hardwired to say.

“WHY DID YOU EVER MARRY ME? I CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!”

What Jim said next was probably out of sheer desperation to end my meltdown, but I know the Holy Spirit gave him the words I needed to hear.

“Honey, I didn’t marry you just to do things for me.  I married you because I want you to do things with me.”

Definitely a lightbulb moment.

“For” had become a legalistic to-do list of unreal expectations.  “With” could become a to-do life of real experiences.

I needed to choose which I wanted for our marriage.

Fast forward to 2015. If you come for coffee, five loads of unfolded laundry might be on the couch. The bathroom will likely need deep cleaned (and peek behind the shower curtain at your own risk). Feel free to write you name in the dust. It’s an acceptable form of a guest book.

Those things always get done.  But given the choice, I’ll pick being with my husband over an immaculate house.

Because perfect homes and perfect marriages don’t exist.

Memories.  Good times and tough times. Happy days and sad days. Together.

That’s what is real.  And breathes life into marriage.

Newlyweds (and those still learning) ~ go live life as one. Pray faithfully. Serve the Lord fully. Forgive quickly.

Be passionate. Embrace each day. Laugh a lot. Don’t be afraid to hurt. Take chances.

Together, with God’s help, you can do this marriage thing.

Just be careful with the brownies, okay?

25thanniversarypic

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My Year As Job’s Wife

My Year As Job’s Wife


Posted By on Jun 25, 2015

With our 25th wedding anniversary just days away, I wanted to repost this word from 2013. Not because it’s sweet, but because these are the times that make a marriage strong. God was teaching me much about being real before him, the beauty of the ugly prayer, and what our wedding vows really meant. I trust this still encourages wives today.

“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” ~ Job 2:10b

couple-holding-hands[1] She really is an easy target to criticize. Married to a prosperous, righteous

man, she had a life of ease.  No doubt she was the envy of other women. Then things got really…really bad.

Her ten children were killed at one time. A trusted team of servants were killed and valuable herds destroyed, resulting in financial ruin. And her once strong, influential husband was afflicted with a horrific puss-oozing skin disease.

I mean, can you imagine watching your man trying to ease his pain by scraping shards of pottery across his skin? While he sat in ashes.  On top of a pile of trash.

So many words come to mind. She had to be exhausted. Fearful. Confused. In an emotional tailspin. And consumed by grief upon grief.

She is Job’s wife. And her life was in shambles. Scripture quotes her only once, but her words and tone are memorable.

“Still holding on to your precious integrity, are you?” she lashes out at Job. “Curse God and be done with it!” (Which translates “so God will kill you and make your misery go away”.)

At one time I would have self-righteously wondered why she wasn’t struck by lightning. Or thought she must not have loved God enough. Or prayed enough. Or read the Word enough. Or served enough. Or whatever enough.

But not now.

Several years ago Jim and I came under Satan’s attack. We did not lose children, but loved ones died. We did not watch large wealth disappear, but Jim’s livelihood did when he lost his job. There were no disfiguring diseases, but several family and friends would soon be diagnosed with physical and mental illnesses.

I went into supportive spouse mode. Denying my own sense of loss to be my husband’s cheerleader, I smiled and pushed through tough days. ‘Cause that’s what a good wife does, right?

Then, tired and emotionally drained, I had my “quote of Biblical proportions” moment. I was angry.  Angry about the pain. Angry our lives had changed. Angry nothing would ever be the same. What was said will stay between Jim and me. But in that moment I knew…

I had become Job’s wife.

Grieving loss took me places I never dreamed possible. It played games with my mind and distorted my judgment.  As time went on I wondered if these trials would ever end. Surprisingly, it was this much maligned woman who gave me hope.

We aren’t given details, but a close look at the rest of the story reveals she was more than one bad quote in one desperate moment.

No matter how bad it got, she stuck it out.

Stayed with him through his lowest days of rejection, loneliness, and frustration (Job 19).

She was faithfully by his side when others abandoned him. And God restored their lives, blessing them beyond what they could imagine (Job 42).

Distance gives perspective. I can sympathize with Job’s wife. She spoke those earlier words, it seems, not because she was wicked. Or rebellious. Or cruel. Because she was real, honest in a raw moment of her life. Someone who didn’t pretend everything would be okay. But was loyal and steadfast and didn’t quit.

My life is not marked with the suffering Job’s wife endured. But because of where God continues to walk with me, I get her. Perhaps you do, too.

Has your life been rocked and you aren’t sure how to respond? Trust God, Who will tenderly care for you through the process. And don’t worry ~ if you cry out in angry pain, He can handle it.  Trust me.

He will be faithful to remind you an action of ugliness does not make you a bad wife.

395963_484454854900227_239637265_n[1]

It’s going the distance that counts.

If you have read past posts via social media, would you consider subscribing to Hearts Unfold email (see box on upper right side of this page)? While I do limited sharing on Facebook and Twitter, it’s easy to miss connections. I promise to be considerate and not flood your inbox!

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