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Love Maps:)

Parenting. Eeek. We hear that word…and the next thing I think about is the phrase: good parenting. Then I think of: effective parenting. What is one of the first things that comes to mind when you think about being a good, effective parent? We all have our mommy blogs we go to for inspiration on parenting. We get the magazines in the mail to give us good ideas. And we’ll research hours upon hours what is best concerning our children, their developement and whatever we can possibly think of concerning their best interests. But I believe the most important thing you can do in parenting is to love your spouse and trust God with the rest. Why is it that we focus so much of our efforts and thoughts on being an effective parent rather than an effective, good wife?

Whatever I say yes too–in turn, I am also saying no to something else. When I got too busy with my photography business, in truth–I was saying no to my family and yes to clients. And when I realized that–I realized it was time to be 100% wife and mommy because honestly for me and with 3 kids (going on 4) once I serve my hubby and 4 kids 5 and under…there isn’t much time for other things…like a photography business any more. There may be a time for that down the road for me of course for that…but just not right now. I also continue to realize that I don’t have enough energy to be a Martha Stewart mommy…even without a business…I, personally, don’t feel like I could ever measure up to those blog mommies making home-made cookies and building forts with toothpicks (and praise God that I don’t have to measure up to that and instead I have freedom in Christ to be the mom He called me to be…I am only accountable to Him! Glory be to God for that;). When I put my focus where it should be too, those perfect picture blogs of moms doing this and that no longer stress me out and instead entertain me and do give me an idea that maybe I’ll one day do with my kids (yeah right!). The truth is…I’m often treading water—and when I realize I’m treading…it’s time to come back to the basics and priortize where things should be in my life.
God first.
Husband, Kids, Others second (in that order).
I’m third.
Hmmmm…is that really where things are right now? EEEK. That is the order they Biblically should be in…but unfortunatly and honestly not always how they come in my life. My order usually comes like this: God, Kids, Husband, others, me…or some days: Me, God, Kids, Husband, others…but I will say honestly that the past few months things have taken order with God, husband, kids, others, me…although others some times make it before my kids (…and that is the business stopping right there too). It’s funny, when we decided to adopt I feel like God really helped me put things where they should be once again—in the right order…making us REALLY trust Him in new ways and bringing Richard and I closer together than ever. (Love you honey.)
I think some of us when we remember we need to put our hubbys first—we almost don’t know how to re-prioritze because truthfully it’s been TOO long since we had things in the right order. We get the thought that that’s a great idea–but life gets busy with kids and things quickly get jumbled from their right order. (Is jumbled even a word?!) One helpful place to start is simply to begin thinking of your husband and what matters to him and even just WHO he is and WHAT he likes. When you begin to think of these two things…it’s a little contagious and then you start thinking about serving him and surprising him with things that are imporant to him.
The next place, would be to read a book that helps you focus on your marriage. And I’ve got a great recommendation. We have been studying “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” in our Sunday school. No, it’s not a Christian book–but the principles line up with what are, and our pastor recommends this book for marriage over any other. You can buy it here:
One of the activities in this book is creating a Love Map with your spouse. Basically, this is asking your spouse questions and him asking you questions–and re-getting to know one another all over again…or really getting to know one another deeper. There’s a really fun quiz you can take on love mapping—and for the ones you don’t get right…you can spend the next few weeks getting to know the answers and really getting to know one another all over again. Spread out talking about the ones you don’t know so you can REALLY think about your answers and really share and also really get to know your spouse’s answers…and probe deeper into those questions as we all know some men share very little details…your hubby might need your help in probing to know more.
So, tonight after the kids are in bed—brew a cup of tea or decaf…or your hubby’s favorite drink, kick back on the couch and ask him to sit down with his honey. Print off this little quiz…two of them—one for each of you. This is taken from the book “Seven Principles of Making a Marriage Work”…you can download and open it here
So while everything at my house is never and will NEVER be perfect—Richard and I are committed to not giving up working on our marriage, building up our family TOGETHER and investing in one another always. And I’m convinced this is better than any gift we can ever give our children. Isn’t my hubby a cutie?! This black and white image does nothing for his pretty blue eyes:). And that kid on our lap…yes, he’s cute too;)
Wormsloe 084 copy

Melissa DeBardeleben - November 8, 2009 - 2:25 pm

Wow! Great post! I needed to hear this. I feel like Dee and I are really starting to work things out too!

Heather Wamble - November 8, 2009 - 3:33 pm

You are such an encouragement to me, and I'm so thankful for you!
I feel like we're both in the same boat! I've struggled so much with balancing my photography business & being the wife/mommy I'm called to be for the past three years since we stepped out in faith to this new path. And of course, I try to get my act together, and it doesn't work! It's because only HE can do it! 😉

Yesterday I was at our church Ladies' Retreat, and the sweet girl who spoke to us challenged us to let God lead, and see where he takes us. I have so much trouble staying out of God's way.

So, today, I'm refreshed, excited, encouraged by you, and can't wait to see where he leads us!!!

Are These Kids All Yours? - November 8, 2009 - 3:51 pm

AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!! We all have areas we need to work on to get our order right! Thank you for your post 🙂