Thursday, March 14, 2013

Just a little clarification…(Follow-up to “The Kind of Mother”)

Wowza!!! My last post on entering motherhood got some serious reactions, and although I knew some people would disagree, I do I feel like I need to clarify a few things so I don’t mislead people.  Some of the comments were a little humorous (Really….do people think I am going to totally neglect my children? Yep, welcome to the world Jase….good luck, buddy! I mean, give me a break).  But many of them made me sad. They were just further validation & confirmation of why over half of all marriages end in divorce. And why Christians are called to be a light now more than ever in a dark world where people are so blinded to the truth.

I want to start by staying this. I started this blog as a journal because I LOVE to write, & it’s awesome to have a place to express your thoughts.  It’s your own little space, and you can even add pictures and make it pretty! And then it became more about documenting our lives so our kids can have lots of these memories written down for them (and I still get everything put into blog books for them to hopefully appreciate some day).  Honestly though, I feel like over the past couple years, my blog has become more of a form of ministry for me. I share a LOT about the things I’m passionate about…my faith, being a good wife, investing in my health, etc. I know not everyone who reads agrees with my views, but if I can just touch one person, I am fulfilling my personal purpose through blogging.  I had one friend mention a while back that she didn’t feel like they were getting to read about ME anymore….but I am just doing what I feel is right.  My blog has progressed and changed (which is okay with me- no one is forced to read) so I can do what I feel like I’m called to do….TEACH.  So that is my goal with it now. Of course I want to continue to share about my life, document things, vent, etc., and I do. You better believe there will be LOTS of sweet pictures of my little man here in a few months!!! But more than anything, I like being able to share things the Lord lays on my heart, and thankfully the Lord has sent me confirmations (through many of your awesome e-mails and testimonies! THANK you for sharing them with me!) that this is the right path.

So with that, here are my thoughts on that last post. It was not a post about my “goals” for motherhood. Not ideals, not hopes, not plans, none of that. I think one of the benefits of me being a little older when starting my family (and I say ‘older’ lightly…I am only 27!!) is that I have a really solid head on my shoulders & am grounded in my faith.  I have put a LOT of prayer into entering motherhood and it is not a role I take lightly. I do not have any unrealistic expectations for myself because I am fully aware that I have NO IDEA what to expect.  I am entering a whole new realm here, so I will handle this in the same way as I have every other phase….Trusting GOD, & NOT leaning on my own understanding. (That may sound “super spiritual” to some, but it’s just the truth.) I have read lots of books, talked to lots of friends, taken the classes, prayed a LOT, & am as “prepared” as I can be for the unknown.  But I’m also realistic and know that as helpful as all of those things have been, I cannot know what to fully expect.  You certainly can’t go off what other people experience either because everyone’s experience is totally different!!  (That is something I have learned from listening to everyone’s stories about childbirth & labor….whew!) Of course I appreciate advice, and I do take it to heart (especially when it comes from Godly mothers whom I respect), but ultimately only the Lord knows what is in store for our little family. And I am THANKFUL for that!!!

I can honestly say I don’t have many expectations for myself as a mother (no matter what people may think of that statement) because I simply plan to let the Lord lead me & seek Him.  That is the BEST I can do, and that is how I can ensure I’m giving my children the best. When I get to Heaven, I will give account for how I raised my children. And I can guarantee you God isn’t going to pull up any kind of “goal list” I had for myself. I know that may sound silly to some, but I’ve found that the more I try to control things, the worse I screw them up. I am so thankful for that lesson the Lord has taught me! (And that I finally stopped being so dang stubborn & actually GET it!) And guess what that means? I am NOT in control. I don’t have to feel any kind of guilt; or like a failure; or like I’m not meeting anyone’s (including my own) expectations. I am not comparing myself to anyone. I am simply STRIVING to be the Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 woman described in the Word…and the good news is, that is totally NON-PRESSURE!!!! Whew, what a relief!!! Wanna know why?? Because my sole responsibility is to respond to the Lord and always be seeking Him, in everything. To STOP trying so hard and just let Him work through me.  If I can give up my control and give it to Him, things will go the way they are supposed to (and it majorly takes the stress and pressure off me!). Can I just tell you what a freeing feeling that is?? So many women put themselves in bondage (even though they have good intentions) but trying to control things they are not equipped to control.

Now, that is not an easy task because my flesh wants me to try to take over, but I am limiting God when I do that. I want to do my best to stay out of His way, let Him work in an through me so I can just be an instrument for him in the lives of others- primarily my husband and children.

Now I hope no one confuses that to think I am saying motherhood will not be hard work & I’m just going to sit around letting God do his thing. That’s not what I mean AT ALL.  Get real- I KNOW better. I know parenting is HANDS DOWN one of the most difficult, exhausting, challenging “jobs” I will ever have!!! (Yet also one of the most rewarding & so worth it!) I am beyond excited for this journey, and Jonathan feels the same way about being a dad.  We have waited a long time for this little blessing!!!

So here’s the deal. When I talk about putting Jonathan first, I am saying that because I understand what a challenge that is going to be. Not only is it natural instinct to put your children first, but you HAVE to put their needs first when they are a baby & young child. (DUH! I said that in my last post too? I guess some people missed that.) Putting my husband first does NOT mean I am going to neglect my child in any way!!! In fact, did y’all read that I am LEAVING my JOB so that I CAN be there with my child all the time?? And I plan to breastfeed for at least the whole first year…so I will pretty much be a milk machine & with my child a LOT. And when I am with them, they will get my attention, my love, etc. I already talk to Jase ALL THE TIME and he’s not even born yet!! So for those that think that’s what I meant, there is my clarification. It’s not like our little Jase is going to be fending for himself while I massage Jonathan’s feet or something. I am just saying that I still will focus on HIM and our MARRIAGE. Yes, I know that will take work, but I will do it.  I can say that with such confidence because I’m asking the Lord to help me do that, as I know it honors Him. I will do simply what HE calls me to, and putting my husband and children first is one of those things.

In fact, I think I will be able to do that even more after I have kids than I even do now!! Since I will be home, I can do the things I want to do for him- pack his lunch, make a healthy dinner, write him sweet notes to let him know how much I appreciate him, do things to help him, listen to him, etc. I do those things in the summer when I’m not working (and love every second of it!), so I have no doubt I will continue them after the baby.  One thing I have learned in my “busy life” is how to balance many responsibilities (that God calls me to) and do them well by allowing HIM to order my steps.  Another thing that will make that easier is that I truly ENJOY doing those things for him!!  Not only because he is my husband and I am absolutely crazy about him, but also since he treats me like such a queen, it makes my desire to serve him even stronger.

I also believe the Lord desires for us to have a Godly marriage where we seek Him and keep Him first. If you ask Him to bless & protect your marriage, He will. The Bible says in Matthew 7:7 "Ask and you shall receive,” and Matthew 21:22 says “And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” God will honor our desire to keep Him first & have a Christ-centered marriage….I have ZERO doubts about that because He promises it to us in the Word. I have counseled women before who were struggling in their marriages, and the way Satan got his foot in the door in the first place is when those women were struggling in their own walks.  When they let their “armor” down, Satan creeped in….and they started believing the enemy’s Lies About Marriage. If I focus on honoring God in my own walk and Jon does the same, then together we can honor God in our marriage.

I also wholeheartedly believe we are ‘one’ because that is what the Scripture says. It’s not just a “quote” people say….it’s straight up from the Bible. Genesis 2:24 says “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” That means we are in a union that is NOT meant to be split up.  It does not say anywhere that our offspring are one with us (although there are Scriptures giving parents instructions on raising their children).

Jonathan and I simply do not believe in divorce because of what the Bible says about it, and we have both committed to making this work even in the tough times. And I know there will be some. (The Bible says not IF, but WHEN trials come.) Of course Satan wants to attack marriages…so that’s why we must work even harder to protect them!

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I feel as if I can truly say with confidence that we have and will continue to have a strong marriage because we work hard to meet each others’ needs & to both focus on our own relationships with the Lord FIRST, yet still strive to keep Christ the center of our marriage. We don’t have time to think about other people or focus on each other’s weaknesses because we are really busy focusing on each other’s strengths. And no, not all the time. We don’t have a perfect marriage. I am not the perfect wife and he is not the perfect husband. And I am not stupid- I know that neither of us are immune to the things of this world. But that is EXACTLY why we both understand and value the importance of PRAYER….for each other, our marriage, & our family. (Like I said, I’m not being naïve….I’m just saying that I trust when you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, God will bless that obedience.)

Now, on another note. I know I am responsible for raising that child up, and obviously I have taken my role as a mother very seriously, even while he’s in the womb. I do my VERY BEST to already let that baby hear me speak kindly to others; to pray out loud; to give him the BEST nutrients I can; to make sure I’m not putting anything harmful into my body; and to pray for him DAILY.  I also know he will be my child for the rest of my life. BUT, when he is grown, he will move away. Eventually, when all of those babies are gone, it will be just me and Jonathan. We both believe in investing in our marriage so that we will still have a strong relationship at that point. Once again, the Scripture says that you “leave and cleave,” so if it’s God’s will for Jase to have a wife and family, life will no longer be about him (although still my baby- of course- always!). I know cultivating a strong marriage goes way beyond just planning date nights and making time for each other, although that is important too. There is just way more to it than that. And in the process of focusing on our marriage, we will be providing the BEST possible environment for Jase. I want him to see that his Daddy & I are crazy about each other….to see our affection…and desire to spend time together. I can truly say Jonathan is my BEST FRIEND, according to my definition of what a best friend is. I SO enjoy spending time with him- even just talking, walking, laughing, playing- and I know he would say the same about me (and mean it). We’d rather be with each other than anyone else on the planet! That’s how marriage SHOULD be! (Of course not always….there will be times when you need your “you” time….so please don’t misinterpret that.

As far as not giving my child attention….Yes, I know that a problem in today’s society is that many people do not give their children enough attention. I am a teacher….if ANYONE knows that, it’s me. But at the same time, many parents also make their children believe the world revolves around them, and that can be equally as damaging. My point is that I want Jase to see me serving others still & fulfilling my calling as a believer. My ultimate calling is to the Lord. I am a believer, a wife, and a mother…and in that order. So I will continue serving, sharing, & teaching. Pretty simple. (Not sure how you could misinterpret that to think I meant I wasn’t going to pay my child any attention? That’s just ridiculous!)

I have seen through my own parents’ example what a blessing that is to see your parents giving selflessly. My mom and dad are THE most generous and giving people I know. Mean that. My whole life, I have watched them give to and serve others. Yes, of course their own family (duh! that’s kind of a given), but their biggest impression on ME was when they would give to others- others who could do nothing for them in return, but they simply did it because they were in need. And that’s what I’m talking about here. I want to model THAT kind of selfless love for my children. Those are some of the things that stick out most to be about my parents now as a grown adult….even though they were always there for us, very loving, supportive, and encouraging. My mom stayed home with me and spent a lot of time with me too, but seeing them be so giving has shaped me immensely and had a truly great impact on my life. No, I may not be able to attend all four services on Sundays anymore, but we WILL be in the house of the Lord. And Jon & I WILL continue to be active in ministry. If we don’t model that for our children, who do we expect to do it?

As far as the “being unclean 7 days” thing….just gonna be real. Jon & I have zero plans of ‘getting busy’ right after Baby Jase is born. But that’s not even what’s important to that statement. What’s important is that we are New Testament believers- and praise the Lord for that! That doesn’t mean we don’t believe the Old Testament. We believe EVERY word, in fact…And that those aren’t just "Bible stories”- they are Biblical TRUTHS!!!  But when Jesus came back and died on the cross for us, allowing the Holy Spirit to take residence in believer’s hearts, it broke us free from the chains of being subject to the Law. (The Law of the OT.) Even more so than that though, I want to clarify that we do not claim to live perfect lives. We honestly try our VERY best to follow the Bible. Do we fall short? Absolutely. Daily. That’s why we are to constantly renew our hearts and minds! Our goal is NOT to be perfect, it’s to strive to be as Christlike as possible. It’s a process called sanctification.  And we are thankful that He is just and forgives us in our shortcomings. So just because we know we fall short, that doesn’t mean “we may as well not bother.” We certainly don’t pick and choose the things we want to follow. It’s just that sometimes we fall short…it’s part of the fallen nature of man.

SOOOO…..

Longest blog post ever! And unfortunately the ones who I wish were reading it are the ones who “vowed to never read again.” Ha! Still, I feel better being able to clear up the misconceptions I apparently created from that first post.

Our little family will not be perfect. My marriage will not be perfect. And I will fall short as a wife and mother. But our family WILL be in order, the way God designed our family to be. For those who think it’s not going to happen, please be sure to check back throughout the coming years so you can see that we truly can do ALL things through Christ.

25 comments:

Miranda said...

Honey you cannot pay attention to what others say behind the comfort of their computer screens! I learned this a long time ago. I am a daily sinner and praise God because he loves me regardless. It's no one's business what you and your hubby do after your child is born. Being a parennt is a daily struggle, one we have for the rest of our lives, but more importantly, it's also a daily blessing and I refuse to let someone change my opinion on that! If they are no longer readers of Butler, Party of 2...their loss! Not yours!

lifeinthelowcountrysc.blogspot.com

Angela said...

I agree Danielle! With Christ ALL things are possible!

Angela said...

I agree Danielle! The Lord must always come first. We as humans can't love (our husbands, children and families) like we should without Him. I believe by reading your previos post that you are truly seeking God's design and thank you for standing up for the Lord!

Lori Alexander said...

All those nasty comments you are getting are coming from trolls that love to mock the ways of the Lord. I have had them for a long time and simply ignore them. I am sure the majority of your readers loved what you wrote...those who love hearing God's truth and His ways. We were created to be our husband's help meet and as we put him first, after the Lord of course, everything will fall into place. You are on a narrow path few want to walk on but it is filled with abundant blessings! May God continue to bless your lives abundantly as you seek to follow and honor Him.

Comforting Grace said...

You do not have to explain yourself at all. You explained everything very well the first time. The "Anonymous" comments seemed awfully similar and I would take a wild guess that it was the same hateful person posting more than once. Those you are not believers are not going to understand your views, no matter how hard you try to explain them. Many many blessings to you and your husband and your little boy...praise God that you have a heart for Christ and you have plans to live your life according to His Word. :) Kelly

Brittany | Life of a Bama Girl said...

It is sad you had to explain yourself but I enjoyed reading this post as well as the previous one and agree with you. Just thought I'd let you know! Have a great weekend!

Diana Amy said...

You are such a compassionate, articulate, godly woman. You are going to be a WONDERFUL mother & anyone who reads your blog regularly, doubts that, & posted a cutting comment should be honestly embarrassed!

P!nky said...

Props to you girl. You have every right to state your opinion on your blog.

Your faith is inspiration and I admire how much you cling to the word and God's promise.

I think it's so wrong those other women tried to tear you down. They are entitled to their own opinion, but harsh words and rudeness wasn't needed.

Best wishes to you!

xoxo

Yvette said...

Danielle,

I admire your courage to share your beliefs. Everyone has an opinion on Motherhood and Marriage but not all of the apply. Anyone who doesn't have the backbone, to at the very least sign there name to a comment, is not worthy of your attention. I think we as women need to be supportive and inspire each other, not tear each other down. I enjoy reading your posts and I look forward to hearing about your journey.

Anonymous said...

NB: I'm not one of the "anonymous" crew from the last post, but my browser won't let me post any other way...anywhooo

I enjoyed reading both of your posts because they're very "you". I've been reading long enough to have been around for the entire pregnancy, and I'm so happy for your growing family. And although I don't agree with all of your plans, I understand where you're coming from because we come from a similar believer, Christ-following background. But since your blog has grown and you've made it more about nutrition, etc, I think that you need to realize that some people come to it with a very different background than yours, and may non-maliciously misinterpret some of the things that you say. And I feel like sometimes you interpret those non-malicious comments as more spiteful than they're meant, and choose your tone in turn.

I LOLed (in the most literal way) when you called yourself an "older" mom at 27. I'm your age and very few of my friends are even married. You're a Southern woman through and through, and that shows through in everything. (This is going more toward my point about people coming to your blog with different backgrounds; I'm not poking at you for the actual comment.)

But that's just my $0.02, and I'll keep on reading and waiting excitedly (in the non-creepiest way possible) for Jase to be here with you.

Jessica said...

I read your original post and knew exactly where you were coming from and couldn't agree more. I'm sorry you got so much grief for it but I can't help but wonder if those commenters may not understand what it means to put God first and how that usually puts all other relationships into alignment. God knows what he's doing when we put all faith in Him!

While we will always be our child's parent, ultimately our children will grow and be independent adults far longer than they will be children in our care. Our goal should be to teach and model for them while we can and while they are in our care.

That said, we all have different parenting ideals and beliefs and you'll always be hearing other people's opinion no matter WHAT, I'm sure you've figured that out already!

Keep it up! Love the blog!

Denise said...

Amen Sistah!
Proverbs 20:7 The righteous man walks in his integrity;
His children are blessed after him.

Chantel said...

Hello from California.I am a fairly new reader.I have thought about commenting a few times on your posts but for whatever reason just didn't.However,this post spoke to me.Even though you and I may have some different beliefs we have a few things we both feel strongly about.I have a husband that I adore and I know he feels the same. We also have a 4yr old boy. I can't even put into words what I feel for that little boy! My husband and I have always put our marriage "first".The first year with a baby was rough but we made it through because we had such a good strong relationship. It doesn't matter what other people see as perfect....as long as it's YOUR perfect that's all that matters!!! I love your blog because it really gets me thinking about life in general. Thank you for that!

Lindsay said...

I never comment on blog posts, but I did have to say that, while I do not believe in Jesus or follow the bible (but still live a great and fulfilling live serving those around me!), I agree with all that you said. You're not putting yourself and your husband first in that you are neglecting your child, but to serve as a really healthy and solid examples of maintaining self worth and positive relationships-- examples that are sorely lacking in so many children's lives. Gooooo you.

DaniellaJoyy said...

When I was reading your first post I was nodding along in agreement! My hubby and I are expecting our first in July, a boy :) You are speaking TRUTH and it's hard for some people to hear ideas that go against what our society is considering the "norm." So many of my husband's co-workers are shocked when he shares that there is an order to our home, and we plan to maintain that order even after baby arrives. So many families we know are divided with their marriages weakened because the household roles aren't aligned with what God desires for us. I think people automatically assume that by submitting and putting God and your spouse ahead of your children you are doing it wrong. It breaks my heart to read negative talk in comments, it's amazing to me how nasty the internet can become. I purposely don't read comments because I don't enjoy the negativity :( Just know that there are so many women out in blog world that are encouraged and strengthened by your writings!

Jennifer McArthur said...

I am a new reader to your blog and have enjoyed reading the posts. However, I felt the need to comment on your post. You are an amazing Christian woman who is an example to others. You have inspired me to be a healthier eater and to incorporate more exercise into my life. I went back to read your previous post about your goals as a mother to gain insight into what others had commented on. I just wanted to tell you that you had every right to voice your opinion on how to raise "your" child. I also found it interesting that the person commenting negatively towards your values and ideas didn't have the decency to even include their name. So, with that said, continue posting your powerful insights, goals, and thoughts. They are truly an inspiration to others, including myself.

Chels said...

Love you sweet friend!!!!

Elizabeth W said...

I have SO much respect for you. Not only do you have your own beliefs, but you put them up in front of the (online) world and stood behind them. Initially I was taken back by the original post, but not to the point of bashing you! (Oiy, people these days!) But thinking more about it, what you said feels so right with God and how he wants our relationships and how the Bible has taught us. You will be an amazing mom and role model, no doubts about that!

Anonymous said...

I am a reader all the way from Montana. Your blog encourages me so much! I live in a city where 9 out of ten people are not Christian and many are openly hostile to Christianity. I strive to be a Proverbs 31 wife and people look at me like I am a space alien:) Thank you for your ministry. I am praying for a baby and I love reading all about your preparations for your new little one. Lord Jesus bless you!

Guest House Normandy said...

Yes, indeed this is one of the best place that you can express your self and and share our knowledge. Mostly I would say most of the divorces comes up due to not having proper understanding among each other.

Anonymous said...

Another great post. I loved that you pointed out that Jesus fulfilled the old law for us all, and even though we will never measure up, that does not mean we just stop and don't do anything. This may be someone's first time hearing some of these words, right here on your blog. So keep doing what your doing girl!

Tanner's Mom said...

I have been reading for a while and never commented. I think your very inspiring and I LOVE that you hold nothing back when it comes to talking/sharing/loving the Lord.

Always remember, people throw rocks at things that shine and you are shining for Christ!

Meg said...

I loved both of your posts Danielle! I think the principles you talk about in your marriage and prioritizing have really fallen by the wayside in our society now a days and that is why we have so much divorce and discord! I know what it was like to grow up in a family where my parents always put their relationship with the Lord and one another before my brother and I am I must say, I never felt neglected or unloved! If anything, it taught me so much about how to be strong, Godly woman and made me so much more adequate for marriage I think!

I love your blog and I find it to be such a refreshing change of pace and such an encouragement! Keep on speaking your truth girl!

katie b said...

i don't know you, but i truly love your heart and what you provide here in this setting. i appreciate your teachings and i look forward to your posts, whether they be about you or God. i thank you for writing what is on your heart and striving to be the woman of Proverbs and Titus, we could use a heack of lot more women like you around. from the bottom of my heart, thank you and keep it up. Satan has no power over those who follow the Lord and lovingly do His will.

Anonymous said...

Way to go! Great follow-up post & great original post.