Browsing Category: Marriage

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.

Keep Pursuing Your Husband

31 Days of Pursuing Your Husband @JessicaMWhite.com

Thank you so much for joining me this month. I hope that you’ve enjoyed yourself, learned some new things aboutPursuing your Husband 31 Days of Tips, Tricks, Prayers, How Tos, & Why Tos to Build a More Intentional Passion with Your Husband @JessicaMWhite.com your husband and some ways that you can pursue him with ease and on a daily basis. I pray that your husband has started to notice your little ways of pursuing him {if he hasn’t, ask him!}

The most important thing is to remember to keep at it! Little things every day and once in a while a bigger something to let them know you love them. I’m praying for all of you that have put this plan into action; that your husbands will not only notice, but reciprocate, that your marriages will strengthen!

Originally I said I was doing this series as much for my marriage as anyone else, and I did. My husband knew I was doing this, because we were both trying to make a point of intentionally pursuing each other. It was helpful because I was able to sit him down and ask him how he felt the whole thing went.

He enjoyed it. Not because I was catering to him or lavishing him with gifts, but because to him, being pursued, he knew that I do want him and love him, that my showing him love {in a variety of ways} helped him to remember that he is loved, and that I am on his side, willing to fight for him {and with him, if necessary}.

All in all both of us felt that it was very good for our marriage to me intentional in doing and loving each other. The thing that helped us both to feel more loved was praying for and over each other, as well as little notes left here and there, but prayer was the big one. Knowing that the other was interceding for us, that we were making ourselves vulnerable to the other by praying over them was incredible.

For us, pursuing each other HAS to be a way of life, there is no other option. Going forward we will continue to do what we can to prioritize and pursue each other and our marriage.

Going forward for you: What does that look like? What does that mean? I recommend keep trying new and different things, have the hard talks with your husband, keep praying, keep doing the little things. There is one website that has becoming an invaluable source of information and ideas for me: The Dating Divas! Seriously, check out their site: There are tons of ideas and printables and all sorts of things to help you pursue your husband. I could write a whole website on it, but they already have, so be sure to check it out.

Keep in touch! I’d love to hear how things are going for you and your husband! If you look down a bit further I put together a freebie for you to enjoy!

Don’t forget you can find the post with ALL of the 31 posts from this series HERE, so be sure to pin it to refer back to!

Download your MARRIAGE QUOTE FREEBIE HERE
as a Thank You from me to you!

Marriage Quote Freebie