Approaching Grace in Red High Heels
I rewrote that title just five times or so. I still don’t like it.
Whether you are dating long distance or have a traveling spouse like I do, for some of us, traditional ‘dating’ is crammed into the two precious days of the weekend. The problem remains… those two days also contain all my deep-cleaning, homework catch-up, meal planning and even some errand-running.
So Mr. M and I find ourselves spending the weekend playing house: laundry, cooking, taking out the garbage, vacuuming, and ending it with a movie on Saturday night. While there is nothing wrong with this, we’d like to spend the few days we have together during travel season in a more productive, fulfilling way.
Here are a few ideas we’ve found helpful as we keep the house spic-n’-span while getting quality time together.
1. Use Friday night for chores, homework, and household clean up – then plan a surprise day out all day Saturday.
Is your impulse to use Friday night as ‘date night’? Ours too. But we’ve found a little switcheroo that helps make the most of our time: one accelerated evening of household maintenance! …
“Turn around and do it again!” My coach yelled from the fence.
“Tighten your legs!”
“Heels down! Look at the corner!”
“Turn around and do it again! Pick his hind feet up!”
Over and over I steered my horse along the fence rail and pushed him into a canter. Over and over I adjusted my seat, pressured him in the ribs and tried to force him to change his lead. His ears flicked between my murmur and my coach’s yell.
“That’s it, boy, come on, you can do it,” I said softly. I tapped his hindquarters, pushed him forward and twitched my ring finger. I felt the slight jolt of his shoulders and his stride changed. Immediately, I stopped him and patted his neck; his chest was heaving from thirty minutes of repetition.
The relationship between a horse and rider is more of a partnership than anything else: the rider asks something of the horse, and the horse responds in turn, with the reward of pats or pasture for his efforts. He may not always like the commands he receives; he may buck and pull and resist, but it is the rider’s job to train him into submission so the horse is fulfilling his full potential.
Husbands are not horses, but sometimes we treat them like they are.
My friend Leigh and I sustain a mutual coffee addiction of obnoxious proportions.
We celebrate cold brewing at home. We talk about french presses versus percolators. We send each other pictures of coffee.
Pictures. Of coffee.
We firmly believe that coffee counts as a vegetable, because it grows on a plant. (Okay, a tree, but it’s in the vegetative family.)
The day we found the article that said coffee was the best pre-workout beverage… we almost sang the Hallelujah Chorus together.
So really, we share two life priorities: Jesus, and coffee. As I was having my devotions with pour-over Chemex-brewed cinnamon-and-orange-peel decorated beverage in hand, it dawned on me: the Creator of coffee actually has a lot in common with this beautiful drink. And it makes perfect sense, considering how positively divine coffee is…
“The scale is cute, sweet, nice, then precious.”
My sister blinked on her mascara, leaning against the sink. I was leaning against the other, powdering on my blush.
“I think ‘cute’ is the death knell of fashion, ” I replied. “We could use that word in the movie Emma – ‘when I don’t know what to say, I just call her ‘elegant’.”
“Elegant is too good a compliment in this day and age to waste it as a word for mediocrity.” Autumn returned, capping her mascara and widening her hazel eyes.
I don’t know whether we read it in a Southern Lady’s Handbook or in Stacy and Clinton’s What Not to Wear, but during our bathroom pow-wows my sisters and I decided words like ‘cute’ and ‘sweet’ were secret, womanese insults. It became a running joke betwixt sisters – and if you came downstairs and your sister said you looked cute… might as well give up on life. Maybe not life, but at least that outfit.
Our childhoods form much of what we think about life as adults. I still have a hitch about ‘cute’ and ‘sweet’, even now as a working, married woman! So when I read a book that encouraged me to be ‘sweet’ to my husband, my first thought was me, in a pink jumper and a french braid, greeting him at the door like a giddy schoolgirl. And I bristled.
Type A Girl here.
In a world of ‘love’, some Christians fear the sacrifice of holiness in the name of peace. So, to avoid riding the pendulum into realms of compromise and Kumbaya, they ride it the opposite direction into stoic, emotionless piety.
It looks strong, but this kind of faith is a reaction to fear.
Love according to the world means accepting anyone regardless of what they believe, what they’re doing, or whatever their values are. It would mean blurring lines of morality and ignoring grievous sins, claiming exclusive faith is judgmental. Love, to the world, means no absolutes.
In my early days of apologetic training I was zealous to stand against this false kind of love. Though my intentions were good and I was readily able to defend and argue my positions with Scripture and logic (never caught with my pants down theologically), I misunderstood what biblical love was.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Cor. 13:4-8)
We meant to watch a movie, but we ended up sitting on the roll-out couch for an hour – while I splashed mascara tears onto a pillowcase.
It had started out reading from 100 Days of Blessing, one of my favorite devotionals by Nancy Campbell. I was reading a chapter aloud to Mr. M – a chapter called ‘Pleasing Your Husband’. There were ten items listed, and I wanted him to specify which ones stood out the most to him. Before I could recap the list so he could choose, he’d already chosen one.
“Number six…” I flipped to the page.
“The one about speaking sweetly, kindly, and lovingly to your husband.”
I felt tears stinging the back of my eyes, not because I felt guilty for verbal abuse of Mr. M (I’m not a raving tyrant) or because I was angry with his choice. I just felt utterly inadequate to fulfill it.
You see, I’m a ‘type A’ kind of gal. Things I value are…