From a wife and sister in the Lord, Veronica Alejar, from the Philippines – with her permission:
I used to think that I “had it all”. I was a TV news anchor/mother of 3/wife/businesswoman-baker, etc. etc. People always stopped to ask how I could multi-task and well, have it all!
I thought that I was glorifying God by being so busy.
After all, it was Him who gave me all these talents, right? I can sing, dance, act, do newscasts, bake/decorate, etc… and I felt that everybody wanted a piece of me. And I gave it my all to all, which made for a “spread-too-thin” woman. Thing is, I think I was able to fulfill all roles to the max, as in 110 percent. But I knew for sure, something or somebody was suffering amidst all that busy-ness.
But, weirdly enough, it is now that I have given up my career in broadcasting and am focusing on our 4 kids including an infant, and submitting to my husband, that I feel most at peace and dare I say it, happy and fulfilled.
I am not closing doors to going back to a career in broadcasting. But I have lost my desire to be a “superstar.” Praise God! I have realized my deepest fear before was to be deemed “a nobody“. Being that busy in my career made me feel like “somebody.” But that was a fluke. That’s a deception by the devil. That was my idol — pride in self disguised as low self esteeem — adding onto the self to make me feel that I mattered.
I know now that I don’t need to add onto myself any accolade or achievement. I mattered simply for the mere fact that I am a Child of God. 🙂
My journey is just beginning and already I am reaping the benefits of following God’s lovely Design for Marriage! I feel so loved by my husband. I feel so protected under his leadership. I feel so peaceful. 🙂
Guess what? I have barely been practicing submission for two months, but just yesterday, while hubby and I were shopping for furniture for our new home, he said out of the blue,
I want you to blog about your journey. Write your own version of the Peacefulwife’s blog for the Philippines. Our country is in dire need of role models to follow. I am sick and tired too of hearing about husbands and fathers saying that the worst thing that can happen to a man is to get married and have kids. Why do most men feel that way? Shouldn’t we feel happy that we got married and have children?
He also said something that made my heart leap. 😀
“I am enjoying this, whatever it is you are doing. I am reaping all its benefits. I wish for more married couples to experience this.”
I am still discerning this, April, but I will follow my husband when I am ready to start writing. All this is sooooooo new and alien to me, I am daunted to be honest, to write anything about it, but if the Lord so wills (after much prayer), I will have to do it. Please pray for me too, okay, sis? 🙂
Your posts are truly a rich find and not just written for the sake of writing. They are well thought of, discerned, and full of love.
God bless you dear sister in Christ. You are a joy to us wives. 🙂 God surely is pleased with your ministry.
FROM PEACEFULWIFE – A FEW THOUGHTS:
It’s important for us to look at the messages we have been consuming all our lives and question them in light of God’s Word before we just swallow what we hear and build our lives on ungodly premises – which is what I did for a long time, sadly.
The truth is – it can be almost IMPOSSIBLE to do all of these things well all at the same time – being a wife, a mom, work a full time job, take care of a home and have any kind of quality of life and enjoyment. That can be an extremely difficult balance to try to achieve.
Younger ladies, before you go down this path – talk to some women in their 40s or 50s who tried to have it all and see where they ended up. There is only so much time in the week and in each day. If you are working 8-9 hours/day, then you actually only have supper and bedtime with your children (if you work from 9am-5pm on week days). You will be rushing ALL the time.
- You rush in the morning to get yourself ready for work, your children ready for school.
- You rush home and try to handle supper as quickly as possible. When you have young children, many of them go to bed by 7pm. So you have to get them fed, bathed and put down for bed right away.
- Time becomes the priority in preparing meals, not nutrition, enjoying each other’s company or keeping costs down.
- You rush through supper (if you even sit down as a family together at all- many families eat fast food in the car on the way to the next sporting activity or musical lesson).
- Then you try to get the children to rush through their homework.
- You rush the children through getting ready for bed and then rush them to sleep.
- You rush through trying to catch up with all the dishes, laundry, vacuuming, sweeping, dusting, bill-paying and chores once the children are in bed because there is no other time to handle all of this
Relationships and intimacy require TIME.
THE FIRST THINGS TO GO
A woman who works full time or even part time, who is a believer in Christ, who is married, who has children and a home to take care of has to let things go somewhere. She cannot do everything.
Usually here is what goes:
- patience – when we are rushing – we are NOT our best selves for anyone.
- time with God – We say God is our priority. But relationship with Him takes TIME. Serious time. We can’t spiritually starve ourselves, never talk to Him and never be still and calm and quiet and listen to Him and have a strong, intimate, dynamic, powerful, Spirit-filled relationship with Jesus. But “the tyranny of the urgent” takes over and all the urgent things that need to be done so quickly consume our time at the expense of our greatest priority in life.
- time with our husbands – we are so exhausted and stressed that we are up late helping kids with homework, finishing chores, walking the dog, cleaning up from supper, ironing the clothes for tomorrow – that we collapse exhausted into bed at 10:00 or 11:00 or 12:00 at night and have ZERO energy left to give our husbands. We don’t have time to hear about his day. We don’t have time to hear about what he wants in his life or about his dreams. We don’t have time to connect emotionally – and then because we are so exhausted and don’t have time to connect emotionally – we would rather sleep than connect sexually. And we miss out on building those times of spiritual, emotional and sexual intimacy that keep our marriage going strong.
- time with our children – (Working moms – if you are not able to change your situation right now – please do not read this next part – I am targeting women who have not had children yet so that hopefully they can think about these things before having children – I don’t want to add an ounce of guilt to women who are working and already struggling with balance and don’t feel there is a choice for them right now.) When we are working full time or even part time – there are so many little precious moments that we miss out on because we aren’t there. That first smile, the baby’s first steps, her first word, his first tooth, her first wave. But we miss out on more than just the milestones. We miss out on that daily interaction, reading together more, going on walks, going to the zoo, cuddling, talking about God, teaching our children to love God’s Word, singing together, making forts together, building train tracks together, discovering the Robin’s nest on the front porch together, talking about what the bully said at school, visiting her at lunch each week, the ride home from school when he is most likely to share all the details about his day. We also miss out on monitoring friendships and priorities and hurt feelings and misunderstandings in our children’s hearts. We aren’t there and it is much harder to control the worldly influences they are exposed to after school before we get home. It’s super easy for working moms to feel overwhelming guilt. Our children grow up so quickly. We don’t get another chance at this life. This is our one shot.
- time for friends – When we are so crazy busy – we lose touch with godly girlfriends and even our own mothers and sisters and extended family.
- time for self – Another thing that is very difficult to fit in when we are working a lot is time to exercise. Time to just relax. TIME TO SLEEP! Time to eat healthy meals. Time to savor nature. Time to enjoy a book. Time to do a hobby. We miss out on these self-nurturing, important things that replenish and rejuvenate our hearts, minds, souls and bodies.
When our time is limited because we are working so much – we cannot give everything we want to give to our jobs, our children, our husbands, God or ourselves. We end up spreading ourselves VERY, VERY thin.
Sometimes we don’t have a choice. We just have to do the best with what we have. God is able to use that – even if it is a painful time – for our ultimate good. He is sovereign – even over situations we don’t want to happen that we can’t change.
But sometimes – maybe we have more choices than we think we do.
Or – maybe God might be able to open doors or change circumstances in ways we never imagined if we begin to pray for His will in all of these important areas and seek His power to move our lives according to His desires, His priorities and His greatest glory.
My husband didn’t want me to stop working 24 hours/week part time as a pharmacist in 2009. I wanted to be home more with our children. Three days before Christmas that year (and 1 week before our daughter’s birthday and 2 weeks before our son’s birthday) – Walgreens cut my hours from 24/week to 8/week without warning. Then last April, my 12 hour/week job at an independent pharmacy suddenly got cut to 3 hours/week. Soon my job will be back to 12 hours per week and my husband is very thankful.
God is sovereign.
I can trust Him. I want to seek His will – even when things look impossible or I can’t see what the answer might be. He will move mountains when we put all our faith in Him and seek to obey and honor Him and submit to Him in everything. And even if our circumstances don’t change, He will change US. Sometimes that is the most important thing.
My part as a disciple of Christ is – am I willing to lay it all down and be content in Him no matter what happens in my circumstances?
If you are interested, I will add a little bit in the comment section about how God tested my greatest fear when I began to submit to Greg’s leadership. My greatest fear was that Greg would want me to work more. I believed God wanted me to be home – ALL the time. I didn’t think Greg would listen to God back then. Every month for the first 6 months or so that I was committed to honoring Greg’s leadership, I got a new job offer for more hours out of the blue – that I didn’t want or ask for! If you’d like to hear what happened- let me know and I’ll give you the details. It was pretty interesting! And terrifying for me at first. But God tested me to see if I would trust Him to lead me through Greg or not. And He tested me again… and again… and again… Eventually, I learned to live in His peace even in uncertainty. I am sure I will have many opportunities to do more of that in the future!
WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
The truth is – wives and moms NEED time to spend with God, time with their husbands to relax, time with girlfriends, time to exercise, time to sleep, time to take good care of their own spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health! That’s just how we are made. We are NOT above the limitations of our bodies. If we ignore our needs and don’t take good care of ourselves, we’ll run ourselves into the ground and be pretty useless to everyone!
*** Younger ladies, please keep in mind that your body is designed to be most fertile to have babies in your 20s and early 30s. If you decide to have your career first and think you’ll have time for babies after you are 35, you may be set up for huge heartbreak! I pray that believing women might work with their biology when making plans!
WHAT WILL YOUR DECISIONS LOOK LIKE?
I am definitely not in any position to tell you what God wants you to do with your life.
My desire is for each woman to seek God and be in the center of His will for her life. As believers in Christ, it is our job to lay every part of our lives and ourselves before Him in total submission and surrender – allowing Him to lead us however He thinks is best. He is our LORD. He is in charge now, not us. It is about what He wants now, not what we want. We die to self and seek His priorities and His honor and pleasure now. That means, we seek what God wants even if it is unpopular or weird or anti-cultural or not politically correct. If He is Lord – only His opinion matters to me.
- If God wants you to work full-time – awesome! Be in the center of His will for you and bring glory to Him there and in your marriage and family!
- If He wants you part-time – wonderful! Be in the center of His will for you and bring glory to Him there, in your marriage and family!
- If He wants you home all the time – terrific! Be in the center of His will for you and bring glory to Him there!
No matter where He calls us to be – the key is what HE wants – not what we want.
These are things that each woman and each married couple must hash out with God and between themselves.
When I was making career choices and decisions about what I would want in the future as a young woman, I didn’t see much information out there about how to prioritize and strive for balance and keep the important things central. I see God use me in the pharmacy to minister and bless people. My husband wants me to work 1-2 days per week – so I do. I’m thankful for my job and I am thankful for the chance to be home so much with my children.
I pray that you will be able to find just the right balance and fulfillment in your life that will most honor Christ and most bless your husband, children, marriage, and those in your sphere of influence.
Much love to each of you, my precious sisters in Christ!
The Life Ready Woman by Shaunti Feldhahn is a GREAT book about seeing God’s will for His people, for women in particular and then for us as individuals and about how to keep our priorities truly our priorities in practice in our lifestyle. I HIGHLY recommend this book to ALL women – single and married.