Browsing Category: Marriage

Life Happens – Where I’ve Been for the Past Year or So

I know I kind of fell off the face of the earth for the past, umm year, is it? It’s been a while since I posted anything of any substance, anywhere, longer since I posted anything about my family. I still have drafts I wrote last Summer that I have every intention of publishing…someday. In all honesty, life has been a bit of a struggle for me, the past few months, the past year.

I read something about stress-levels post multiples and how post-partum depression hits later than with singletons. I don’t know if 6 years later is feasible or not. Maybe it is. At just the time they say it hits (2-3 years of age), we had Peter, which didn’t give me the chance to breath…life marched on. There was no time to feel “depressed”.

There’s still no time, but it’s there. The tired, the not caring, the overwhelmed. 

And this is where I always freeze up when it comes to sharing, because no one knows how or wants to admit that they don’t really like themselves or their life sometimes. At least I don’t. And there’s another part that if you are liking who you are becoming or what you are doing, there’s a problem with that too.

I love my husband. I love my kids. I love our home. Sometimes it’s all too much though, too much noise, too much stuff, too many personalities, too many to-dos. And all the too much means there’s not enough of other things…quiet, clean, brain power, focus, clarity.

My mind gets swept along the raging river, bashing into rocks and being sucked under the waves. Sometimes, I’m able to keep my head up, manage to keep afloat amidst the debris, and other times I’m sucked into one of those underwater crevices of a rock and the panic sets in.

They tell me that this is normal, that it’s just “motherhood”. Then why do I feel so alone, despite opening up to others, that no one really is drowning in this as much as I am. I don’t honestly think I’m failing at this, I think I’m doing a pretty darn OK job at mothering these 5, but why does it feel like I’m the only mom that wants to walk away from it, from them?

Last summer my book club read “The Awakening”, and most of the responses of the other moms was how could she leave her children, that she was so selfish for all she was doing…and all I could think was how I “got” what she felt. She would do anything for her children, except kill her “self”.

I’m sure there are many Christian moms that would read this, clutching their pearls, at the very thought of not dying to self, of not living solely for their children. I’m sorry, I can’t, and I don’t honestly think that God wants me to become a shell of a woman for the sake of my children. I don’t for one minute believe that I am supposed to entirely relinquish my interests, identity, or any part of me for my role as a mother.

That said, it’s finding my self, finding the time to remember who I was before any of this, that feels impossible. The part that makes it so impossible is that I’ve always lived for someone else and what they expected of me, so it’s not just FINDING my self, but actually LEARNING who I am, and in that there is a struggle.

When you start figuring out who you are, what your interests are, who you want to be, you have a tendency to piss off people, to disappoint people. You become no longer willing to just make every one else happy, to be a doormat. Suddenly, there’s a whole other part of you. Your interests and opinions and feelings don’t line up with what people expect you to do and be. And that can be a very hard place to be.

It’s very often pointed out that the marriage/husband should be the focus of a family, because after the children are long gone, that will still exist…and it’s true. Your children are your’s for a season, your husband will be your’s until death do you part (baring anything else). But here’s the thing, YOU will be you until forever.

What happens when a spouse dies? You’ve lived your entire life for that person only to not know how to function when they’re gone. I don’t want to do that either. I don’t want to curl up in a ball and not be able to live if something were to happen to my husband, and I know he wouldn’t want that for me, just as I wouldn’t want that for him, no matter how old we were.

Now that I’ve taken this whole big thing to explain what my mental state has been for the past year. I have been in a constant struggle between taking care of my children and husband and taking care of myself. I don’t have an answer on how to manage it. I don’t have a solution.

Sometimes I feel like me. Sometimes I don’t want to get out of bed (I d0 anyways). I’m not sure that there is a way to find a balance between the two, because as soon as I feel like me, I’m hear that I’m failing my family. It’s lovely really *note sarcasm*.

I think the hardest part of my writing and being active on social media, is that I don’t want to be open with certain people in my life. I honestly don’t want to share my struggles with nosy relatives, the neighbors who are just going to gossip, but I don’t know how to cut those ties without insulting someone. So I shut myself up instead. At the time it seems easier.

That said, I am seriously considering going private again as a blogger, because I know I need this space. There are a lot of things that I want to mull over and share and process here, and hopefully in the near future I will be sharing more about things that are going on in my life.

The Year I Found Me

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

My birthday is this week, Friday to be precise. I turn 35. Goodness that sounds so old, 35. I remember when my mom was 35, I was 13…I think I planned a birthday party for her. I was always planning parties for people, still do. It’s taken me a few years to be OK with this new age…fortunately, it’s just in time. I feel like at 35 I’m finally willing to live my life on my terms, that I’ve finally found myself.

The Year I found Me: Daughter of the King

So much, too much, of my life has been lived in fear. I never really lived my teens or early 20s, I was too responsible. Too scared of pissing off my parents. And I did nothing. Now, I sit and think about all the things I didn’t do, all the things I wish I had done. The girl I wish I would’ve been, rather than the girl who was too scared to do anything.

Those few risks I took, the limbs I went out on, all turned out pretty good…and yes, Matthew was one of them.

A couple of years ago I realized something: That while I am a wife and mother, I am first myself.

I existed as Me, long before any of those other titles came to be. I was created as a Daughter of the King; Only to Him do I owe any explanation. That moment, that realization, has set me on the course of living my life with less fear. I had to STOP ignoring who I was or in 20 years I was going to wake up to an empty house and wonder what I was supposed to do with my life now.

The only title I have had for all eternity is Daughter of the King, and it is only to Him and for Him, that I am bound to live my life.

Can I tell you what a freeing concept that is?! That I don’t have to sacrifice who I am for what other people think I should be. God created me just as He wanted and needed me to be; the talents, the interests, all of it. All that is me was created solely for the purpose of bring Him glory.

What does that even mean?! It means I can stop stuffing down who I am and what I like and what my interests are. It means that I am free to be WHO I AM in my roles as a wife and mother. It means that I am not JUST A MOM, but an individual, created uniquely to live this life for him.

A friend was recently chided for writing a book, that somehow as a wife and mother it was not “good” for her to take time away from her husband and children to write a book, and I loved her response:

I smiled and told them that way back when, God reached in and tugged at my heart. I chose to live my life for Jesus and not for my children. Any legacy left here for them, is because He has my heart and gives me my focus. My children are just living in my surrender. Wholly and completely given to God.
When my children leave, God is still my first love.September McC.

Before I belonged to anyone, I belonged to Him. When everyone is gone, I will still belong to Him.

God is the only one who has the final word on who and what I am. No one else in this world has any right to tell me that they think my energies are better spent a certain way, that I’m not permitted to be who He created me to be. If I am right with God, that is all that matters. If I am following His lead, that is all that matters.

That weekend trip to Dublin…it was something I desperately wanted (and needed). It was crazy, I knew people would think I was crazy, irresponsible even, but I knew it was a GOOD THING. I knew it was something that God had put together just for me, to learn that I was His, and the He had freed me to live the life that He planned for me.

So, these next few years, I’m hoping you don’t think I’ve gone off the deep-end or that I must’ve lost my mind. I haven’t. I am just living the life God has for me, pursuing the interests and paths He has laid out, and BOY! do I have a lot of time to make up for.

London Town – A Weekend Adventure

Last week Matthew and I took a whirlwind weekend trip to London! We’re not as cosmopolitan as that sounds though. I had found dirt cheap airfare a few months ago, and since we were going in the “Off Season” lodging was rather cheap by any standards. We flew out on Thursday night and came home on Monday afternoon.

I’ve been through London before, but never too London. After my jaunt to Dublin last year in January, I realized that a weekend trip to a city across the pond was totally doable and didn’t leave one feeling jetlagged and out of sorts (I chalk it up to the fact that you’re not there long enough to reset your internal clock). For Matthew and I to go away for more than a few days is an impossibility, but we realize the importance of getting away together.

I had wanted to goto Paris for a weekend, but Matthew, being the more prudent of us, thought it was better to try this weekend to Europe thing in a place that at least spoke the same language as me. So much for Paris.

We had a great time in London. We saw quite a bit of the city, if not the insides at least from the outside. A hop on hop off bus tour took a lot of the guess work out regarding transportation, and kind of meandered around the more well-known parts of London. This was in no way a trip in which you could see the whole city. It’s impossible to see any city and all it’s offerings in a long weekend.

What we did see:

  • Tower of London
  • British Library
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Covent Garden
  • Globe  Theater
  • St.-Dunstan-in-the-East Ruins
  • London by Night
  • Notting Hill
  • Portobello Road
  • King’s Cross (Platform 9 3/4)
  • Leadenhall Market
  • Paddington Bear at Paddington Station
  • Kensington Palace
  • Bus tour to Warner Bros Studio’s Harry Potter Set
  • The rest of the city was seen from the open top tour bus

We had a couple of great meals:

The one thing I really wanted to share with you about this trip is don’t let time limit you.

Just because something sounds crazy, don’t let that make you afraid to do it. I really had to sell Matthew on the weekend trip to London idea, but when we were on our way home, he was so glad that we had done it.

Honestly, unless we just want to wait until all the kids are grown and out of the house and everything is perfect, it’s never going to happen. And, at that point, we might be too old and ornery and set in our ways to handle a trip like this. PEOPLE! We walked over 30 miles in 3 days! That’s not for the faint of heart!

While we’re not looking to leave the country anytime soon again, it is fantastic to know that if we spend our time researching and doing the things geared for tourists, it’s completely reasonable to see some of the fantastic cities of this world. We really looked at this as tasting a small smackerel of a country.

To try and see the whole of England, or any country, in a weekend, isn’t even possible, but it is possible to get your toes wet in another culture.

Also, this weekend jaunt (of which I hope there will be a few more) gives Matthew and I head start on what countries we want to see more of and travel with our children to. It’s our hope that in 10-12 years, we can take our family to Europe for a few months and really world-school them. Let them see the places and experience the people that we’ve only read about in books. That’s what traveling is really all about, isn’t it?

**If you follow me on Instagram (@JessicaM.White) I’m slowly sharing more of the pictures from our trip.

 

When Date Night Feels Like Mission Impossible

When Date Night Feels Like Mission Impossible JessicaMWhite.com

If you’re anything like us the idea of a “Date Night” makes you quiver with excitement and lament that it will never happen. And yet, date nights are one of the most heralded ways of improving your marriage. Some would even say that if you’re not having date nights, at least once a week, your marriage is doomed. Wow! Isn’t that inspiring?! Might as well hang up the wedding rings now!


When Date Night Feels Like Mission Impossible JessicaMWhite.com

Here’s the thing: I agree that Date Nights are extremely important in a marriage, but who has the time, the money, the babysitter, or the ENERGY to have a date night! I know we don’t. Any babysitter that we can find wants $15 an hour {and that’s before they know we have 5 kids}. What is a couple to do?

You have a couple of options here:

  • Forget date night and just plan on co-existing with your spouse for the foreseeable future, inviting discontent and divorce into your marriage
  • Rethink the whole concept of date night

I recommend rethinking what date night looks like.

We don’t get out much, about once every 6-8 weeks we do make a point of asking the grandparents to take kids, so that we can either go out for a quick salad {it’s a cheap date} or stay home and cook dinner {even cheaper}. Most of our date nights consist of putting the kids to bed, doing the dishes, then sitting down together with a pot of tea {and maybe a dessert or special chocolate}. At that point we do 1 of 4 things:

  1. Play a board game or some sort of activity that allows for good conversation
  2. Watch a movie that we both agree on and sit next to each other on the couch, NO PHONES or any thing else that might be a DISTRACTION
  3. We watch a video/discussion series through RightNow Media
  4. Read a book independently and spend time discussing what was read

The point of whatever you are doing is that you are doing it together, that it is creating intimacy with your spouse, whether physically or through communication. If it is not an activity that you both enjoy or it is not creating intimacy with each other DON’T DO IT! The whole point of an at home date night is that you and your spouse are focusing on each other and on your marriage.

One warning of an at-home date night: They’re not perfect! The kids may interrupt, there may be distractions {that pile of laundry glaring at you from the back of the couch}, it may not last more than 30 minutes. It’s annoying. It’s not conducive to lengthy, deep conversation, but that’s life. The same things can happen when you’re out, you just don’t notice them as much. You have to train yourself, and your kids, to deal quickly with whatever distractions there may be and move on. You can’t let it take away from the purpose of this time together.

Just as you schedule anything else in life, you have to make the time to have a date night. If you want your marriage to thrive you have to put the time into it…no excuses {whether it’s a date night or anything else}! Figure out how you can work with the time you have…be creative! If you’re at a loss for ideas then Google is always right there for suggestions. There is HOPE: a date night is do-able at least once a week, maybe even twice.

Resources

 

 

 

The Unveiled Wife {a Review}

While doing my research for my 31 Days of Pursuing Your Husband I came across a most excellent blog, UnveiledWife. There was so many wonderful words about marriage and our relationship with our husband and God; you can bet I was excited to see that Jennifer Smith had just released a book with these topics at its very heart! I was even more excited to see that she was asking for people to review it. *

About the book, from Amazon.com:
As a young bride, Jennifer Smith couldn’t wait to build her life with the man she adored. She dreamed of closeness, of being fully known and loved by her husband. But the first years of marriage were nothing like she’d imagined. Instead, they were marked by disappointment and pain. Trapped by fear and insecurity, and feeling totally alone, Jennifer cried out to God: What am I doing wrong? Why is this happening to us? It was as if a veil had descended between her and her husband, and between her and God―one that kept her from experiencing the fullness of love. How did Jennifer and her husband survive the painful times? What did they do when they were tempted to call it quits? How did God miraculously step in during the darkest hour to rescue and redeem them, tearing down the veil once and for all? The Unveiled Wife is a real-life love story; one couple’s refreshingly raw, transparent journey touching the deep places in a marriage that only God can reach. If you are feeling disappointment or even despair about your marriage, the heart-cry of this book is: You are not alone. Discover through Jennifer’s story how God can bring you through it all to a place of transformation.

Can you see why I was so excited about this?!Unveiled Wife

I read the book  pretty quickly, it was interesting reading about Jennifer and her husband’s marriage…it was kind of like a train-wreck, too awful to look away from…your heart breaking for them. The main issue, and cause of most other issues in their marriage, was a result of Jennifer’s body not being amenable to sex, for unknown reasons it was extremely painful.

Throughout the book the topic was discussed to the point that, honestly, I was tired of hearing about it, particularly given that no one was willing to pursue professional help. This issue was almost single-handedly destroying their marriage, because it was a source of stress and not something they were comfortable discussing, even with each other. {I do realize this is a very tough subject; for a multitude of reasons men and women are extremely uncomfortable seeking help for something they feel so alone in, particularly regarding sex and infertility}.

HOWEVER, this did not prevent me from gleaning numerous gems from The Unveiled Wife!

As women, we all have an innate ability to manipulate and hurt the people in our lives. It’s like we are somehow hard-wired to know exactly the things to say and do to hurt those we love most. We all have this perception {thank you Hollywood!} of what love and romance should look like and we feel robbed and cheated when we don’t get it. It is then that one of a few things will happen: We mentally check out of our reality and into fantasy {this is the reason for the popularity of 50 Shades of Gray}, we have an affair, or we habitually seek out a new relationship thinking it will be THE ONE!

Jennifer Smith addresses all of this! And more important than addressing it, she takes back the veil of deception we cover our selves with, she points unapologetically to the fact that this is SIN. It is our own selfishness, it is unkindness and it’s wrong. Our own expectations of what marriage should be {or life in general} can destroy us and our marriages when we allow them to consume us. Jennifer does a fantastic job of showing how this very thing was not only wreaking havoc on her marriage, but on her physically and mentally.

The Unveiled Wife is raw, it is written from the heart, expressing Jennifer’s pain and struggles with her relationship with her husband and with God. She faithfully points to God, how He protected her and loved her well, even when her husband couldn’t or it hurt. Even in that, she is honest about her relationship with God, her anger at him, her feelings that He did not love her, did not appreciate all she was doing in her life for Him. She very openly discusses how twisted her own relationship with God was and how He redeemed it.

Jennifer Smith does a wonderful job of explaining her story, her experience and the necessity of being unveiled before God and our husbands. As a wife these are the two MOST important relationships in our life and it is entirely essential for us to be unveiled and completely open in both, so that we may be truly intimate.

You can find more information about Jennifer Smith’s book  The Unveiled Wife here.

unveiledwife.com Wife After God

*I received a copy of The Unveiled Wife for review purpose free in exchange for my honest opinions. You can read my disclosure policy here.