Undeserved Blessings

God is good, and I am grateful.

Thinking about my life, I realize how fortunate I am. I have done nothing to merit my great marriage, sweet daughter, lovely home, or artistic life. God has blessed me beyond measure.

This is what God does. He gifts us beautiful things. He holds our hands when things get difficult, and he showers us with blessings. We wade through the rain, but one way or another we are given a rainbow.

As a sinner, I deserve condemnation. Yet God has extended His hand to me. Through His Son, He has given me the gift of eternal life.

Sometimes I need to be still and count the precious blessings I have received from the Lord.

“Be still and know that I am God.”

Headcovering as an Offering to God

Headcovering can be controversial. In my family I have come across the stigma against submission, and the contemporary horror of headcovering. A woman covering anything is becoming more and more controversial in an age where women are supposed to be liberated by the ability to bare their flesh without shame. Maybe the baring of flesh makes some women feel liberated, but I feel liberated when I can cover. My husband, although he shows me every day that he thinks I’m beautiful, values me for so much more than my breasts or my legs. I have no desire to draw attention from other men.

Lately I have begun to wear simple, long, flowing maxi dresses. Craig loves maxi dresses, and I like to wear things he likes. I also like how comfortable the dresses are, and that they are modest. I am not against dressing a little sexier maybe for a special event, but for daily life I actually like being covered.

Gentleness of God

God is gentle with me. This devotional has a quote which says, “The closer we draw to God, the more we will treat others as He’s treated us.”

I think this is true. I am a sweeter person with God. But how much better could I be if I drew closer to Him? God wants us to love Him and try to be like Him. The more I feel the soft lavender of God on my face, the gentler I am.

My Husband Has Asked Me for More Modesty

My husband loves to see me wearing maxi dresses. He just likes long, flowing dresses. He’s always happy when I buy one. Maxi dresses are just his style. I haven’t bought one in a while though. Maxi dresses are hard to find sometimes.

Part of it though is modesty. When I pointed out to my husband that when I wear short addresses he can see my legs, he relied, “So can everyone else.” My husband would like me to be more modest, and as his wife I will obey. God has called me to obey my husband.

My body belongs to my husband. When we got married two became one. His body is for me, and my body is for him. If he doesn’t wish me to show off my body to other people I think that’s understandable.

To that end, I have ordered some conservative maxi dresses. I hope they fit me. It is so hard to be able to tell what size you are online. They are a long, flowy dresses in a few different colors. They have a high, modest necklines. It makes me happy to dress in something that my husband likes to see me in. And modesty can be good for the soul. In a society where so much of our worth is based on how much skin we show and how good that skin looks, keeping skin covered can actually be freeing. If someone wants to look and see if I’m beautiful, they will see my face rather than my breasts. If they want to talk to me, they will have to focus on my ideas and what I have to say. I want to be noticed for my personality.

I do not intend to dress frumpy. I will still wear jewelry and makeup – and of course I always try to make sure my headcovers are lovely. But out of respect for my husband I will try to avoid anything to form-fitting or too short. I wish to respect my husband. What matters most to me in terms of beauty is being beautiful to my husband. He loves long dresses and so it will be a pleasure for me to wear them as much as possible. He also values modesty, and I think it is good that he is helping me with my spiritual maturity by asking me to be covered and modest.

Developing a Gentle and Quiet Spirit

My spirit is much gentler and much quieter than it used to be. A gentle and quiet spirit in a woman is precious to God. But although I try to be gentle, sometimes I lose my temper. I don’t even try to be quiet at home. I am not even sure I am capable of being quiet!

What does it mean to have a gentle and quiet spirit? How does this pair with being a strong person, with having a strong personality, with being opinionated? Can they go together? It is such a hard issue to understand. What is wrong with a spirit that wants to do more and be more? There is a fine line between gratitude and complacency.

So far, although I am reading about it and searching scripture, the conclusions I have come to are this: do not be contentious, control your temper, and use soft words for the people around you. Perhaps being gentle and quiet has nothing to do with whether you are weak or strong, opinionated or not, or the color of your personality.

I have made so much progress on having a gentle and quiet spirit, but I have a long way to go to be pleasing to God. I focus too much on my own needs and not enough on my husband’s. I am short tempered and rash. I am too easily stressed out, instead of taking serenity from the knowledge that God is in control. My tongue is too sharp at times.

Biblical Gender Roles

As a firm believer in gender roles, the God-designed differences between men and women, and submission, I found this book to be one that really hit home. It spelled out cogent arguments for what I already believed, and it brought to my attention fresh ideas about the roles of the sexes in light of scripture. I have found that living out God’s designed role for me makes my life and my marriage better for me. I highly recommend this book, especially for Christian feminists.  It presents clear rebuttals to that ideology.

Self Esteem from God

We live in a culture of comparison. Sometimes that can be a bad thing. Women get on Instagram and see how immaculate another woman’s house is and feel bad. But not all of us are equally gifted in all areas, and what matters is that your home is clean and homey – not stock photo material. And besides, you don’t know how many piles of junk have been pushed just out of the frame.

We compare weight, wealth, and style. It starts young. Yesterday our family was in the car and our daughter said that someday she wanted an expensive house so people would know her house is expensive. Where does a 5 year old get that idea? At a young age we feel compelled to outdo one another, and not in kindness. I asked her why she would care if other people think her house is expensive. She said she wants to be pretty.

Of course my husband and I had a corrective talk with her. If she does end up with wealth, and we hope she marries well, she should not flaunt it. Furthermore, having an expensive house won’t make her prettier than anyone else.

From very early on in life we figure out what the world values and we try to be and acquire those things. I honestly think that although much of it stems from pride and competitiveness, which I am guilty of, some of it grows from fear. We believe people will be nicer to us if we have an impressive house, designer clothing, trim waists, and big vacations. Honestly, we are right. The world at large is kinder and kinder, even idolizing, those who are most extreme in these trappings of societal gold. There will always be a certain percentage of people, especially women I think, that will treat you differently if you are slim and rich. Some hope the cache of these things will rub off on them by association. Still others may be riven with jealousy, but interested to watch a life they perceive as better than theirs. We revere what we value.

Some of it is plain insecurity. We want people to at bare minimum not be mean to us. I think my daughter perceives, young as she is, that people will have a better initial impression of her if she has a big house – and that therefore people will be kinder.

I have found this to be true in my own life. In middle school, living in apartments and with few outfits and no handbags, I was an outsider to the girls around me. I was treated differently. Yet I don’t want my daughter to grow up fearing that. I want her to draw her self esteem from God, and rest secure in His love. She has nothing to prove to other people, no one to impress. She needs to please her savior. Friends can help get us through this life, but the right ones will genuinely like you. Your house will not need a marble foyer for them to want to come over.

I hope my daughter has a gorgeous home. I want her to be well traveled. But I do not want these things to be what she derives her self worth from. These things are also not a guarantee in life, and I want her to have a firmer foundation on which to rest her identity.

Our worth is derived from God. Enjoy your blessings, but never be prideful. Even if they are hard earned, they are undeserved gifts. I want my daughter to remember that

Marriage Journal

This is a lovely red journal I bought that I use to remind me to be a good wife. On each page is a verse about marriage or submission. In it I try to record daily goals for serving, respecting, loving, and honoring Craig. It really makes me think. You can’t take your husband for granted, and each day I should focus on serving my husband. He is such a blessing in my life, and he deserves the best of me. I get tired and busy and moody, and sometimes it is good to have something to remind me to prioritize my marriage.