Approaching Grace in Red High Heels
If you were to scroll through my Instagram feed, you would see pictures of babies.
Lots of babies.
In addition to cuddling my 7-month-old nephew whenever I’m in his vicinity, I work a part time job twice a week babysitting six children after my 8-5. There are lots of bath times, snacks, and tea parties in my after-hours.
I started working at the age of 12 as a mother’s helper, and through most of my teens and early twenties was supplementing my regular work schedule with babysitting or nanny work. My sisters did the same thing (they are currently in Los Angeles ‘nannying’ for two weeks – rough life). But if you were to ask me over coffee if I liked kids, the honest answer I would give you is – no.
I’m a Type A woman. I like to get stuff done. I’ve also spent the last 6 years in a workforce dominated by cubicles, Excel sheets, and blazers, the last three years of which were spent on a college campus. No babies to be found there!
I have enough experience with children to know they don’t just sit where you tell them to sit. They think farts are funny (and I don’t), they splash their dirty bathwater in your face, they holler and hit and howl and harangue. They delay obedience and feed you chewed-on Goldfish crackers.
“Here are the budget proposals.”
That sounds like something you’d hear in a budget amendment meeting, but it was in fact the voice of my husband (fiance at the time) as we sat in my parents’ living room.
He handed them three Excel sheets. “The first is a proposed budget for our first year of marriage, living on both our salaries. The second is living on one salary, and the third is living on one salary with a baby.”
Yeah, that’s my man. He priced out the average cost of living in relation to his salary: apartment, food, gas, recreation, and even the average cost of a baby’s birth and care.
My husband has a degree in Computer Engineering, and I’m really proud of that. But that degree came with student debt – as is the case for many young people today. When we met, I had already paid off the student debt I incurred during my time on campus. Now we had to focus on his.
We believe that debt is our enemy. Proverbs 22:7 says: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” While we don’t believe debt is a sin (there are medical reasons families must incur debt as well as other unforeseen circumstances) we DO believe it is not God’s will to stay in debt, passively accepting it as a fact of life.
Right now, we are 90% toward our pay-off goal. The five principles outlined below will show you how we accomplished this!
1. We live on one salary and use every penny of mine to pay down the loans.
Between our two incomes, we make a very comfortable living. Many young couples make the mistake of using all the money they have available to them rather than taking a long-term view. Because we took Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace class while we were dating, we had a plan in place for marriage and avoided this mistake.
If Mr. M’s salary cannot afford a certain expense, we do not incur that expense. We try to set aside a few hundred a month into savings in case of an emergency (and created our respective $1,000 emergency funds long before we were engaged). Our savings have paid for car repairs, textbooks, and unforeseen expenses.
“Time won’t fly, it’s like I’m paralyzed by it.” – Taylor Swift
Time. We personify time more than any other inanimate existence in the world. It’s always on our minds. It keeps us from getting things done. It gives. It takes. It moves quickly and slowly at the same time.
Time is such a huge part of our lives. We are always wishing for more of it. We want it to slow down on the weekend and speed up Monday through Friday. We can’t comprehend it and never will. It passes slowly and quickly at the same time.
We go through days that feel like they drag on, but we look back and realize that five years have passed. We can’t grasp it, we can’t hold on to it, and sometimes, we don’t even pay attention to it.
We give time so much power. We put so much faith in it. “Time will heal anything.” “Time flies when you’re having fun.” “Time is love.”
But, time – it doesn’t heal anything. It can’t. It has no power. We just give it power.
“I recently read this article, 10 Women Christian Men Should Not Marry, and it made me question a lot of things he said. I don’t know if it’s just my aversion to what God expects in a relationship or is it just not what God really had in mind.”
I opened her email and poured french-pressed coffee into my yawning cup. 5:30 AM may be too early for this sort of thing, but I was curious. As I scrolled through the list, I thought to myself: After reading this, a Christian man wouldn’t know WHAT to look for in a woman.
I’m taking a break from the Confessions of a Newlywed series to address this article. Many women are outraged by that pastor’s assertions, and due to his delivery of the information, I can see why. But the greatest flaw with his article is not so much the content but the consequence: it leaves the reader wondering where to turn. What SHOULD a Christian man be looking for, since all these options have been removed?
Before I launch into my counter-article, I encourage my readers to note: the man who wrote the other piece is still a brother in Christ. No matter how flawed we believe his points, no matter how much we disagree with his ideology – we still owe him the kindness of one Christian to another. Rather then being ‘against’ what one man says about women, consider: are we for what God says about women?
With this in mind, below is a list not of the women Christian men shouldn’t marry, but the ones they should.
Welcome to the ‘Confessions of a Newlywed’ blog series! If you are new to the blog, welcome! This series queues off The Other Virgin Diaries series, inspired by the post I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity. In these posts I will be sharing how I prepared for marriage, how I was NOT prepared for marriage, and what I’ve learned along the way as full-time career woman and wife of one year.
I Can’t Concentrate in Flats. – Victoria Beckham
“Oh, that’s me!” I whispered under my breath and hastily clicked ‘Pin’ to the My Style board.
It’s true. My office colleagues laugh that they can hear me coming by the clack, clack of my heels on the marble floor. I take ‘business casual’ as more business than casual, because this is my job, and I represent my career here. And yes, I’ve been described as ‘curls and heels’ to many a retail clerk when my husband loses me in a shopping mall.
Am I vain? Am I unrealistic? Am I overdressed? I don’t believe so.
There was a time in my teens where my appearance was an idol in my life. My mother – the one credited with teaching me and my sisters the mores of class and poise – was careful to stop my pendulum-swing into self-obsession. Now as a married woman, I take a healthy pride in my appearance – something I believe I’ve reached after years of seeking balance on this issue. Below are five reasons I prioritize my appearance, both as a newlywed and as a woman.
“Joy expands with every ‘I forgive,’ ‘I’m sorry’, and ‘thank you.’”
“We’d like you to write an article… you can choose to write about ‘loving difficult people’ or how to overcome complaining.”
I blinked at the email. Thrilled to be asked back by the magazine, I still hovered over the keyboard in hesitancy. Loving difficult people or complaining… Great. My two strong suits.
I’m an extrovert who hates crowds. Some people see a friend in every new face; I struggle with initial meetings. My insecurities rage to the surface and I launch into full ‘overcompensation’ mode, usually coming off far more intimidating than I meant to and defeating any high hopes I had for a friendly first impression.
It steals my joy, this insecurity.
And then there are those people – the fixtures in life that never quite go away, but take different forms and different bodies with the same annoying attitudes. They are hard to love.
Gosh, they’re hard to like.
They steal my joy, if I let them.