Worthy of Rubies

“Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies.”

Proverbs 31:10

Over the years I have received lots of (unsolicited) advice on how to be a good wife…even long before I ever was one!

One of the first instances came when I was only a teenager. I can clearly remember the woman that had stood before me; sporting perfectly pressed clothes, flawlessly curled hair, and much too strong of perfume. Even more clear was how much I hated her. Especially when she began to speak on the importance of looking good for your future husband. I can remember her words exactly as she drove home the point by saying, “get out of your sweat pants, brush your hair, and put on some lipstick before your husband gets home!” And it’s quite likely that I rolled my eyes…

Or maybe, like me, you have heard a good christian wife described as being both passive and agreeable… and YOU rolled your eyes!

Even my favorite cookbook offers advice by promising that landing a man (and keeping him forever happy in your arms!) is as simple as making the recipe on the bottom of page 24 for lemon and rosemary infused “Engagement Chicken”.

And while I do find that we underestimate the super-human power of a good roast chicken and a little lipstick, my heart goes out to women! We are being tossed in all these different directions; a myriad of messages bombarding us with what kind of wife we should be!

Are we to be passive or strong? All dolled up or au-naturel? Should we strive to be a domestic goddess or a successful businesswoman?

However, in this verse it explains that the most valuable things a woman can be are virtuous and capable! This woman, who is said to be worth far more than rubies, is moral, upstanding and will do whatever is right no matter the cost! She is the picture of strength, is gifted, and well respected by others!

So how is it that we can become more virtuous? How is it that a woman can be more of a treasure in the eyes of her spouse?

In verse 30 it goes on to say… “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.”

This rare woman puts God first above all else! When society puts priority on rock hard abs, hefty pay checks, and impeccably coordinated ensembles, she is wise enough to realize that such things will fade away in time! Instead, she chooses to find her significance in Christ and looks to become who He has designed her to be!

So it could be said that the better advice – according to the Bible this time – would be to BE the kind of woman (or man) who deeply loves their spouse, but loves the Lord even more!

…Because God forbid our promising chicken burns, and we forgo our ‘agreeable nature’ to give someone a piece of our mind! When our lipstick is used for much more important things like writing on the wall (thanks to a toddler that has us thisclose to losing our minds) and when our sweats, for the life of us, wont stop calling our name! Even amidst our deepest feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness, we can rest in the fact that It is our character and virtue that is the rare quality that sets us apart from the majority!

And like an irreplaceable treasure to her spouse,

A bounty worth far more than rubies,

So is the woman who above all else, loves the Lord and desires to be more like Him!

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Give Me Faith (To Trust What You Say)

THIS. Is better than anything I could write.

I don’t care how you listen to it, JUST DO IT! I promise, you wont regret it.

Listen to it while you brush your teeth, or as you comb your hair. Put your phone in a bowl – yes, you heard right! – to amplify the uh-maziness and transform your bathroom into that of a worship concert complete with mood altering lights, and worship pastor’s wearing hipster beanies and skinny jeans!

(And by the way, if you haven’t tried the phone-in-a- bowl- trick then you have NO idea what you are missing! Hint: The bigger the bowl, the bigger the dance party!  #YouCanThankMeLater)

You can listen to it as you eat your wheaties, listen to it during a tantrum (hopefully your child’s, and not yours!) listen to it as you make dinner, as you sort laundry, or between watching reruns of the Real Housewives of New Jersey! You know you do it!

Listen to it in a bowl,

in a dish,

with a fish.

In a bar,

with a car.

Listen to it ANYWHERE,

wherever you are!

Seriously, I need to lay off the Dr. Seuss. And for the record, don’t try listening to it in a dish… that wont work. Nor would listening to it in a bar I would presume, but I wont judge!

Just listen to the dang song, and LIKE IT!

Or I wont like you!

I’m kidding… 

sort of.

I may be weak,

But your spirit’s strong in me.

My flesh may fail,

 My God, you never will!

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When What You Have, Is Not Enough

Leaves

I could see the man struggling up ahead; battling the autumn wind as it blew the garbage can he was pulling, over in a fury. Tossing all of its contents out on the street, I watched from afar as the man ran around in a frenzy as the wind whisked everything in opposite directions, each piece seemingly on a mission of it’s own!  And just as he had steadied the garbage can long enough to fill it with each of the runaway scraps, almost instantaneously, another frigid gust of wind blew again, causing a wave of trash to spill onto the street once again!

Bad day…” is all he said as he walked by.

I smiled, because that’s all he had to say.

We’ve all been there. Working feverishly, when a gust of wind so massive and strong, leaves our efforts spilled out on the pavement. As the wind continues to blow, we grasp aimlessly at all that is whirling around us! And just when we have steadied ourselves, and nearly dusted off all the dirt from our clothes… Poof! Another gust blows it all right back in our face again!

Damn wind.

I dont know about you, but for me it’s been a ‘crayon on the walls – milk on the couch – hot pink stickers on the floors – earrings in the garbage – “look mommy, I colored my white sneakers with your red lipstick!”  kind of week! A week in which you find – you aren’t nearly as surprised as you should be – that you found a piece of uncooked pasta in your bed, and that you struggle to determine when it was that you last took a shower!

You know you’ve endured a week like this, when you are envious of even your own instagram pictures- portraits portraying the perfect little ‘tantrum-less’ family, bright blue skies, picturesque cityscapes, and more ‘glow’ and less ketchup on the faces of your children thanks to the lo-fi filter!

And although occurrences like these don’t make it a bad week, I think we could all agree it can definitely make it a windy one at best!

And just as I was settling into bed one night, weary, and bracing for another day of mayhem, this thought came to my mind…

Give thanks for what is NOT enough.

I thought back to a message I had heard years ago by Bishop T.D. Jakes on the feeding of the 5,000. A story that no doubt, the majority of us learned back in grade school thanks to a soft spoken sunday school teacher, wearing a gold cross around her neck, and manning the flannel graph board! (The lesson falling somewhere between putting your quarters in the plastic church steeple for offering, and getting star stickers for reciting your memory verse!)

In Matthew 14, Jesus spends the day with a large crowd of people. As it gets later, the people become hungry, and instead of turning them away and sending them home,  Jesus instructs the disciples to feed them.

Looking at what they had, the disciples questioned their ability to do this for obvious reasons…

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said… taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.

Taking the little they had to offer, Jesus gave thanks to God!

He gave thanks for what was not enough!

Surely there was no possible way that 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish would feed 20 people, let alone 5,000! But Jesus was thankful for it regardless.

Only after he gave thanks, did that which was NOT enough, become MORE than enough! And not only were they able to feed every one of the 5,000, but in the end, they even had some left over!

The truth is – if we were really honest – we would admit that we too desire for God to bless us with more than enough! And yet, so often we refuse to acknowledge what we already have!

We want a bigger house, a better paying job, a more exciting opportunity (and god only knows in my case, a better behaved toddler, Michelle Obama’s arms, and a bigger kitchen… ) but the fact of the matter is, we need to stop complaining about what we don’t have, and thank God for what we already do have! Even, when it is NOT enough!

treesThis last week I felt even more, God pressing me to admit when I am not enough – not enough as a mom, not enough as a wife, and not enough as a woman! The times when the winds are raging and I want to throw up my hands and give up. The days I don’t have enough patience… enough energy… enough time…. and not nearly enough paper towels! The days I want to light pinterest on fire and watch it burn, or curse out the friend on Facebook who insists on giving daily play backs on how ‘uhhhhmazing’ their workout was!

I could feel the Lord asking me to come to Him – the same way the disciples had – and bring to Him my feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness.

I love how Jesus responds in verse 18, when the disciples come to Him and admit that what they possess couldn’t possibly be enough. His response is simple, ‘Bring it to me’.

Jesus didn’t turn them away for their lack of faith, or talk them into believing that what they had would suffice,

He only asked that they put the little they DID have, in His hands.

And so I told the Lord, that I wasn’t enough… I admitted that at times, I am painfully insecure, and described to Him my ongoing struggle to find my identity in this world. I told him, that too often my temper flails, and negativity gets the best of me. That I panic in a cluttered room, hate the playground, and can’t for the life of me master the sock bun!

I owned all of my shortcomings, and l chose in that moment to place them all in His hands.

But I didn’t stop there…

Although I don’t have it all, I thanked him for what I DO have! I have rockstar hair, and beautiful nail beds (yes, there is such a thing believe it or not! 🙂 ) I am thoughtful, and I am bold. I don’t sweat the small stuff, and I possess a faith in the Lord that is unshakeable. I have a gift with words, and am always, ALWAYS down to go t-peeing at any given moment! Not to mention, I can make a MEAN roast chicken!

After giving myself some much-deserved credit, I realized that the potential greatness in me – that the potential greatness in ALL of us – is  no different than the seemingly measly bread and fish that the disciples gave to Jesus!

But our God doesn’t see the mere amount we have to offer, He sees the potential for it to be used in a way that is far greater than we could have ever dreamed possible!

The truth is, If we desire to someday move from NOT having enough, to having MORE than enough, than we must first bring it all to Him – the fears that are looming, the money that is lacking, the joy that is missing, and the sanity that is dwindling – lay it at His feet, and thank Him…

Thank Him for what is not enough.

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L is for LONELY

When I get lonely these days, I think: So BE lonely, Learn your way around loneliness. Make a map of it. Sit with it, for once in your life. Welcome to the human experience.

― Elizabeth GilbertEat, Pray, Love

image

Hi, my name is Krista

I have roughly 700 Facebook friends, and I currently reside in arguably the coolest city in the country- quite possibly even the world!  I see celebrities like the average human being sees minivans (or so it would seem), and have a husband who spoils me beyond what I could possibly deserve. I have a blog, and nearly every shade of the falls trendiest nail polishes….

And yet, the last couple weeks I have been terribly LONELY.

If you have ever used the L-word to describe yourself, then you know that it feels almost shameful. And to admit it on a public platform such as this, is somewhere between the level of humiliation in admitting you’ve killed a mouse with a meat cleaver, and admitting you puked in a mixing bowl! Good times…

Admitting you are lonely is the emotional equivalent of holding an L up to your forehead for the world to see!

It brings back memories of the kid shuffling awkwardly down the bustling halls of high school, the one you try with all your might not to make eye contact with as he spills his books across the floor! This comes to mind because so often we associate being lonely, with the other L-words…

Like being a LONER…

And even more, BEING A LOSER!

I have wrestled with this all week.

And I kid you not, that while talking with my husband one night, and feeling overwhelmingly lonely, this. exact. sentence in all of its ridiculousness – came sputtering out of my mouth…

“I feel like a princess locked up in a tower, desperately awaiting my prince to come release me!!! But he’s too busy jet setting around Manhattan; living his dream, attending important meetings, going to trendy restaurants ….and wearing red pants!”

I said this eyeing him, and the trace of barbecue sauce that my daughter so graciously smeared on my shirt, knowing full well the only things I did worthy of noting this last week, was conduct a manhunt for our daughter’s missing toothbrush, less than successfully put on fake tanning lotion, and search every store in an attempt to find mayonnaise for less than $7.00!

My husband’s response was sweet, in spite of my mellow dramatic princess analogy – and deep-rooted jealousy in his ability to wear red pants – and offered to take me out for some fro-yo.

But the next day the unsettling feeling of loneliness began stirring again. Why? I couldn’t put my finger on it. I wouldn’t say I was homesick… I love my new life! And it’s not that I don’t have friends… strangely enough I turned down multiple invitations from my friends to get together! Even more strange though, because I stood them up so I could stay home to sulk, and be lonely! Yeah, don’t be like me…

It’s interesting though, because according to a study done by the University of Chicago, I am not the only one with this dysfunctional mindset! In the study it was found that when we are most lonely, we engage in what scientists call ‘social evasion’ which is acting upon the belief that isolating ourselves from others is key to our survival- when really it could be said that the exact opposite is true!

When we are lonely, we become less concerned with interactions and more concerned with self preservation. And yet we don’t realize that while trying to protect ourselves from harm, we are actually causing more harm by refusing to connect with others!

So there I was, ‘locked away in a tower’ – or so I pathetically put it – not even realizing that I was the one who held the key! (and unfortunately for me, not even my uber-cool, red pants wearing, Manhattanite of a husband had a spare!) I was the only person capable of getting me out of this funk. with exception of course, to Justin Timberlake… or so I’d like to think! 

In the book ‘Feelings; Converting Negatives To Positives’, Dr. Gloria Willcox describes how to change the most negative feelings into positive ones.

In the case with loneliness, she outlines how in order to move from feeling lonely we have to become more sensuous.

imageShe goes on to say that “Our emotions are directly tied to that which pleases our senses, and so it is with loneliness. A lack of pleasing stimulation of the senses – sight (the beauty of a smile), hearing (the sound of a greeting), smell (a gift of flowers), taste (a shared meal), and touch (a warm hug) – can leave us feeling empty and emotionally distressed.”

Now if you are anything like me, and have trouble describing the way in which your senses were pleased as being little more than hearing Matt Lauer’s voice on the TODAY show, the taste of Kraft macaroni and cheese, and the smell of a dirty diaper – than not only could I put money down on the fact that you are a stay at home mom – but its also very likely that you are secretly yearning for more! Quite possibly even, locked away in loneliness.

The truth is, no matter how successful a person is, or how ideal their life may look on Facebook, not one of us is exempt from feeling lonely! And that loneliness is a desperate cry from senses that are longing to be ignited!

No matter what has led you to the place of loneliness that you may currently find yourself in – a heartbreak or tragedy, a big move or a new job – I would encourage you this week to step back and seek God. Inquire whether withdrawing from those around you is indeed helping you, or hindering you.

Just like me, you may find that your choice in treatment, might also be the same poison making you more sick.

imageAnd so this last weekend, I searched for avenues in which I could better activate my senses, and lull my loneliness.

I chose phone calls over texting, and took my head phones out on the bus to make small talk with a 75 year old woman that was (no joke) dressed waaaay better than me! We rolled around in the leaves and got splinters in Central Park, and instead of braving the masses of tourists and hipsters at the restaurant down the street, we opted for a much quieter Friday night, eating gyros on a park bench taking in the warmth of the air and the reflection of the sun setting over the water.

And although, I have in no way completely slain the raging beast of loneliness in my life, I did find that each time I courageously stepped out, that I did feel more fulfilled. And with each new ounce of fulfillment, there was that much less room for loneliness to reside.

… And above all else, I realized that L isn’t for Loser, its for Lonely!

Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Psalm 34:8

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