Confessions of a {Working Wife}

I put the "working wife" part in brackets because that's what describes me. You can insert your own title there. Working mom. Single college student. Working single mom. Stay at home mom. Single professional. Married person. Parent. The title isn't what matters.

I'm happily married. I've been married for 478 days. That's almost 16 months. It's 1 year, 3 months, and 22 days to be exact. I've wanted to be married since I knew what marriage was. I had a chronic dating problem in high school and a chronic crush-on-every-new-guy-I-meet-in-college-because-he-might-be-THE-ONE problem in college. Eventually, after 3 years of middle school crushes, 4 years of high school dating, and almost a full 3 years of college crushes/dating, I finally had a crush on the right guy. I'm not proud of how desperate I wanted to find MR. RIGHT, but even in my weakness, the Lord was faithful and He led me to Jason, in His way and in His time. 

Even after we began dating, said "I love you" for the first time, and knew that we wanted to get married, I was still was desperate to be Jason's wife. I didn't understand why we had to wait to be engaged, why we couldn't just go ahead and get married. Thankfully, I had a level-headed boyfriend (and now husband) who knew that God's timing is key. 

Where am I going with all of these details (that quite frankly, make me cringe)?

Well, there's a lot of talk on the social media pages about getting married young, and it seems like everybody and their sister getting engaged. Not to mention, soon, there will be lots of chatter about getting a "ring by spring". Yep, that's right, the infamous "ring by spring". I went to a small, baptist, liberal arts college - "Ring by Spring" was all anyone could talk about when we came back from winter break, AND I was in a sorority, so, you know, the pressure was on for me my senior year when Jason and I had been dating all of 6 months.

Thankfully, like I said, Jason is way more level-headed than I am, and he proposed the following February after I'd been out of school for about 8 months. 

Getting engaged in college IS NOT a bad thing. Getting married immediately after graduating college IS NOT a bad thing. That's not my point AT ALL! I have many friends who have gotten engaged in college and married the summer after who have lovely marriages that I respect immensely. My parents did that. I wanted to do that. So I am not against it at all, whatsoever. 

So, my point is this: God's timing is worth waiting for...in all things.

God's timing is best. God's timing is perfect. God's timing is totally and completely better than ours could ever be.

God ever so gently reminded me about His perfect timing over the weekend. Of all things, I was cleaning our toilets. Obviously, that's when I am closest to God. Just kidding. But really, I don't like cleaning toilets that much. Who does? I actually don't like cleaning anything much at all, but you better bet I enjoy a clean house. So I clean. 

My husband is SUCH a hard worker. He works more hours than I can even count on all of my hands and toes, his hands and toes, and our next door neighbor's hands and toes. He works multiple jobs, so many weekends he's not lounging with me at home, he's working. This past weekend, we had one day off together - Saturday. Since I work a full-time job too, I really needed some help cleaning our house. So Saturday morning, we slept in a little bit, and then put on our cleaning clothes and got to work. 

Jason's job is always the floors. I deep cleaned the kitchen (I don't want to even think about the mess we've been cooking our food in) and the bathrooms. Like I said, I love a clean house, but I'm not much a fan of the actual cleaning process. Thankfully, I have a husband who doesn't mind helping me clean when we have a day off together. But most of the time, I clean the house alone when he is working a full weekend. 

After we finished cleaning, we went to go pick up some lunch. As we were driving in the car, I started thinking about how much nasty stuff I touched while cleaning the bathrooms. I thought I might gag a little, but then I didn't. That's when it hit me - I find JOY in doing things like this, like cleaning our home on our only day off together.

I realized in that moment that there's no where else I'd rather be on a Saturday morning than down on my hands and knees cleaning a toilet, with music blaring through our new-to-us home, and with my husband in the living room sweeping the floors. 

You know why? Because as gross as it may be (I'm really making us sound like slobs, and I promise we're not), I know that I'm right where the Lord wants me. I know that it was absolutely His plan for us to get engaged on February 4, 2012, married on September 22nd of that year, buy a home the following September, and grow together in Him through our covenant of marriage until we take our last breaths on this earth. 

Getting married young isn't a bad thing, at least in my opinion. I got engaged when I was 22, and married when I was 23. We bought our house when I was 24, and I'm pretty sure I'll be a mom by the time I'm 27 or 28. That was God's plan for me.

However Jason was 24 when we started dating. He was 25 when he proposed, and 26 when we got married. He was 27 when we bought our house, and he probably will be in his 30s when he becomes a dad. Although he's still young (but I like to give him a hard time about being "older"), he had a few years of singleness before getting into a serious dating relationship that led to marriage. He had time to grow in the Lord as a young professional. He has time to build a savings account that has served us well. He had time to travel the country multiple times and pursue dreams that he may not have been able to pursue if we were engaged or married then. That was God's plan for him.

Wherever you are, however old you are, whoever you're dating or not dating, whoever you're engaged to or married to, wherever you're working, whatever you're doing, embrace God's timing for you life. His will may be for you to work there or marry him, but His will and His timing are not mutually exclusive.

When we obey God's timing and follow after His plan for our lives, we can find joy in all things, even cleaning toilets on a beautiful Saturday morning. Or waking up from a dead sleep because your wife is screaming and you have to kill a spider in the bathroom at the crack of dawn on a Monday morning, which is exactly what happened to Jason today.

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May we be believers who seek to find the Lord's timing in our lives in all things. May we find joy in those things. And may we praise Him each day for being the Great Author of our life story.

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Posted on January 13, 2014 .

The Three-Things Wife

 

Lysa TerKeurst is seriously one of my favorite people ever. I only know her through her books, but I think that we'd be friends if we met. I've quoted her multiple times from her book Made to Crave, but today, I'm going to pull an excerpt from on of her latest books, Unglued.

I seriously think every woman, man, boy, and girl should read Unglued. For women, it's so helpful in identifying how you handle frustration, anger, conflict, etc., and for men, it helps you understand all that we're going through in that great big brain of ours!

In honor of being a wife for almost a full 365 days, I wanted to post this story Lysa writes about in Unglued. I can totally relate to wanting to be an overachieving wife who can do EVERYTHING for her husband, while also being a well-rounded, put-together, Christian woman in every other aspect of life. For me, it just doesn't happen. What Lysa says here comforts me in knowing that I'm not the only woman who don't got it all together all the time most of the time, but it also gives such a practical way to deal with this.

The Three-Things Wife

an excerpt from Unglued, by Lysa TerKeurst

When I first got married, I was desperate to be a “good wife” and determined to figure out how to do it well. So, I took note in my head of what a “good wife” does:

  • She cooks meatloaf.

  • She vacuums every day so there are lines in the carpet indicating its cleanliness.

  • She sticks love notes in his briefcase.

  • She buys and wears lingerie.

  • She likes wearing lingerie and wears it a couple of times a week.

  •  She gives him his space when he gets home.

  • She hangs up the phone when he walks in the door.

  • She learns facts about football and watches games with him.

  •  She prays for him every day.

And the list grew and grew. 

Eventually the list in my head of what a good wife does so completely overwhelmed me that I cried. I felt inadequate. I started to shut down. I constantly felt unglued. 

I assumed the list in my head was in my husband’s head too. 

I grew bitter. And in a moment of complete exhaustion, I yelled, “Your expectations are ridiculous!” 

To which he replied, “What expectations?”

“The list … the list of hundreds of things I need to do to be a good wife,” I sobbed through the snot and the tears. 

His blank stare dumbfounded me. He had no such list. 

It was a perception. These were idle thoughts allowed to run rampant in my mind for so long I confused them with truth. The truth in 1 Corinthians 13 reminds me love is patient, kind, not proud, and keeps no record of wrongs. I had so broadened my scope of things to do that I had diminished my vision of simply loving my husband. 

Do less. Be more. Clear out the clutter of idle words. Find that white space. Honor God. 

If I would have been practicing regular Sabbaths, at which times I sought God on this issue, I suspect I could have saved myself years of coming unglued in my marriage. Years. Finally, I went to my husband. “Honey,” I said, feeling the entanglements of expectations loosening their grip on me, “I can’t do everything good wives seem to do. But I can do three things. So, tell me your top three things, and I will do those well.”

After all, I could spend a whole marriage doing a hundred things halfway with a bitter attitude and an overwhelmed spirit. Or, I could do three things wholeheartedly with a smile on my face and love in my heart.

His three things were simple: Be an emotionally and spiritually invested mom with our kids, take good care of your body and soul, and keep the house tidy. (Notice he said “tidy”— not perfectly clean.) That’s it.

He could care less about home-cooked meals. He is fine with me hiring someone else to vacuum the carpet. And he’s totally okay if I watch 48 Hours while he watches man-cub events on a different TV.

Now, he didn’t say anything about lingerie. But, he could argue that it is a subplot of my taking good care of my body. The problem is, I’m much more of a sweatpants kind of girl. Yes, Victoria has a little secret, and I haven’t a clue what it is.

But that’s a topic for another day entirely.

For today, I’ve narrowed my scope to three things, and this narrowing has broadened my vision for a great marriage.

I am a three-things wife. It’s simple. But simple is good. And, more importantly, I stopped sabotaging my marriage by stopping the idle thoughts.

How might this help you? How might this improve some of your relationships?

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To check out Lysa's blog, click here.
To check out the books she has written, click here.

Posted on September 20, 2013 .

I said "YES" - One Year Later

Jason proposed to me one year ago today. I'd like to say that time flies, and it some ways it does, but I also feel like we've just always been married...I suppose that's probably a good thing :)

Anyway, I wanted to post our proposal story, because it's awesome of course. I was going to just repost the blog that I wrote about it, but then I realized that I never posted a blog about it. I did however, post the story on our wedding website. Since September 23rd marked the day that I never did anything wedding related again, our wedding website is still up. So, here's our proposal story (complete with awesome photos), one year later.

Enjoy!

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Jason proposed on February 4, 2012. I have known Jason was very romantic all along, but I this night he was on a whole new playing field.

So...here it goes:

Jason told me that he wanted to take me on a date Saturday night. He said that earlier in the week, but he never really said anything else about it. So Friday night I asked him if he still wanted to go out Saturday night, and he said, "Yes, be ready at 5:30."

Well, I was ready, but the bottom dropped out of the sky at about 5:20 that night. So we made a run to the car with my somewhat functional (but usually broken), leopard-print umbrella. We barely got out of my apartment complex and he pulled out a blindfold and told me that there were 5 parts to our date, and I had to be blindfolded in between every part. Honestly, I wasn't as shocked as I probably should have been when he handed me the blindfold. He did the same thing when he asked me to be his girlfriend on September 22, 2010....it's kind of his trademark :)

Me with my awesome blindfold.

Me with my awesome blindfold.

 

After dinner, he took me to Morris Ave. downtown. On our first date, Jason took me to a place there to hear one of our friends from church play. On our first date, we walked around the unique area of Morris Ave. before the show. February 4th, he walked his blindfolded girlfriend through the same street. He guided me all the way down the cobblestone road to this random chair sitting in the middle of the sidewalk. Then he told me to sit down, and he got out his backpack  (I asked if we were going to school).

Our "song" is called Goodnight Moon, and a while back I bought him the children's book with the same name because he'd never read it before. So while I was sitting in the random chair in the middle of Morris Ave., he told me that he had a story to read to me and he read me Goodnight Moon (the book). Then he told me that he had something for me to read, and he got out this beautiful custom made hardback book that had all of these pictures of us in it. He'd written the book to be like Goodnight Moon, except everything was "Hello [fill in the blank]". I started crying about three pages in. Then on the last page it said, "Do you want a new last name? Will you marry me?" And when I finished reading he was on one knee with the ring out.

It looks like a scene from a movie. Good job Kyle (aka our spy photographer)

It looks like a scene from a movie. Good job Kyle (aka our spy photographer)

On one knee. Love this.

On one knee. Love this.

It looks like a scene from a movie.

 After that, we went to Homewood Park. The first time we went there was some sort of pilates class going on or something so Jason and I made fun of them  by dancing on the tables trying to immitate them. So Saturday when we went to the park he got out his iPod and we danced on the table...sounds silly, but it was really sweet and cute...and let's face it, Jason and I are a pretty silly couple.

Fourth stop was O'Henry's coffee shop in Downtown Homewood. Jason took me in (still blindfolded) and set up his computer and he had my family on the other end of it so we could video chat. That was probably one of the best parts of the night because all of them were just sitting there waiting and SO excited for us! We talked for almost an hour, which I later found out was good because Jason wasn't sure how he was going to delay us for the fifth and final part of the night (he totally underestimated how much four girls can talk).

Video chatting with my family

Video chatting with my family

Our engagement party

Our engagement party

Dun-dun-dun-duuhhhhhh...THE RING...or should I say, THE BLING!  

Dun-dun-dun-duuhhhhhh...THE RING...or should I say, THE BLING!

 

Posted on February 4, 2013 .

Jason + Jessica - Our Story

jason + jessica

jason + jessica

Once upon a time, a girl told a friend that she'd go see his documentary screening at Samford -

- actually, let's back up a couple of years...

Once upon a time a girl went to freshman orientation at Samford University in the summer of 2007. All of the new kids got to stay overnight in the dorms and the orientation leaders put together a fun night for everyone. Part of this fun night was a DJ and karaoke. There happen to be a guy who was going into his senior year at Samford and he was in charge of the sound and music. The girl saw him at the beginning of the night, but as the night went on, she felt like she was seeing him more and more...and he got more and more silly. At one point he came right up to her and starting dancing like a crazy person. She thought to herself, "What a weird dude...fun...but strange." The next day she told her parents that the DJ guy was really odd, and that he danced by her for part of the evening (She didn't realize he was a student, so that made it seem kind of odd. But let's be honest - she told her parents because she was kind of flattered). Five and a half years later, the sound guy and the flattered girl are getting married!

...now we're getting ahead of ourselves, let's go back to the documentary screening -

So this girl, we'll call her Jessica, went to see a documentary screening for her friend. She was running late (kind of on purpose because she wasn't sure if she'd know anyone else there), and as she was walking across the quad, she saw a guy that she knew was mutual friend go into the screening room, we'll call him Jason. Jessica decided that she'd just slip in the back. When she entered the room, she saw that Jason had done the same thing. Boldly, she asked if she could sit with him. He said, "Sure, but can you sit over here {he motioned to the other side of him}? I have a friend meeting me." Jessica was sure it was a girl, maybe even a girlfriend, and this was about to get super awkward. Sure enough, it wasn't a girl...it was Jason's friend, we'll call him Kyle.

This was the documentary that started it all! {SIDENOTE: This whole time, Jessica thought Jason was a senior - but really he just worked at Samford doing freelance jobs and that's why she saw him there sometimes. She almost asked him if he was excited about graduation, but thankfully she didn't - that would have been embarrassing.}(she was an RA)

They saw each other at the study break, but just waved from a distance. Jessica's 21st birthday was later that week and her friend who had the screening, we'll call him Taylor, said that he was coming to her birthday dinner and was going to bring Jason. When she found this out, Jessica's stomach did a little somersault, but she didn't know why. As it turns out, Jason didn't make it to the birthday dinner - he decided to play basketball with some friends instead (it's okay he redeems himself later on in the story).

happy 21st birthday to me! 

happy 21st birthday to me! 

After the screening, Jason and Jessica talked for a little while. It was the first week of May 2010, and finals were fast approaching for those who were still in college  That night, a local church was hosting its annual Pancake Study Break, and Jason asked Jessica if she was going. She said, "Yes, it's actually my hall activity for this month,"  and Jason said he'd see her there.After Jessica's birthday, she "friend requested" Jason on Facebook. They did a little Facebook "chatting", and some flirting on each others "walls". One night, while they were "chatting", there was a bit of a lull in the conversation and Jessica wasn't ready to stop talking. So, she told Jason her computer battery was acting strange . He told her to download some diagnostic thing, but he said that he'd make her a Genius Bar appointment the next day when he got to work - "If you give me your phone number, I can just text you the times that are available when I get there," he said. So, Jessica gave Jason her phone number (he worked at the Apple store).

After that, the two began texting a lot. Jessica was studying for finals, and she quickly realized that Jason had been out of school for a couple of years (she realized it without embarrassing herself, thankfully). She liked to study at Barnes and Noble at the Summit, and Jason came to meet her there after work a time or two. Over the next week or so, they became really good friends.

The week of finals, Jessica began to realize that she kind of liked Jason - probably as more than a friend - and he maybe liked her too. But, she was about to go back to Destin for the summer, and liking someone who lived in Birmingham would make things complicated; so they just continued to be friends.

Jessica realized right off the bat that Jason was an incredible guy. He did things like help her move out of her dorm room (even though she hadn't asked him to), and other little things that people don't usually volunteer to do (he always offered to drive, just little things like that).

Soon, the day came when it was time for Jessica to go home for the summer. Jason was sure that their friendship would end, or at least lessen, but it didn't! They continued to text throughout the day, even though they were five hours away and both working. The friendship seemed pretty resilient.

Jessica had a wedding to attend in Birmingham over Memorial Day weekend. She decided to come up a few days before the wedding to visit her friends that were staying in Birmingham over the summer. Naturally, this included Jason, and he caught on to that pretty fast. A few days before she arrived in Birmingham, he told her that his friend Kyle was playing in a show downtown and he'd love for Jessica to go with him.

Jessica arrived in Birmingham and spent the first evening with her friend, we'll call her MK. MK was going out of town the next day though, so Jessica was able to make plans with Jason. So, they spent the day together just going around and running errands. Remember Jessica's computer battery that she said was messed up to keep the conversation going? Well, she'd kept canceling the Genius Bar appointments that Jason had made her because she knew nothing was wrong with it. When she came up for the wedding, Jason decided that they could go together to get her battery looked at. Not so surprisingly, the Genius Bar dude told her nothing was wrong with it - go figure...

That night was the show that Kyle was playing in. Jessica went back to MK's house to change and say goodbye to MK. Then, without knowing it, Jason and Jessica began their first date, which included dinner at Rojo, walking around Morris Ave. in the rain, going to see Kyle play at Matthews Bar & Grill, and hanging out with friends at IHOP after the show.

Jessica and Jason were able to one more date (they had established it as a date by this point) in before she had to go home for the rest of the summer. It was the most perfect date Jessica had ever been on - and Jason was pretty happy with it too. The next morning, Jessica headed back to Destin. Unfortunately, their fear came true later on that week, and their friendship started to fizzle out a little bit because of the distance. They both agreed that they really enjoyed each other, but it wasn't  wise timing to start a relationship long distance.

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In August, Jessica returned to Birmingham for her senior year. Jessica was hopeful that she and Jason would be able to rekindle their friendship, even if they never went on another date. Thankfully, they ended up being around each other quite a bit because Jason was doing a lot of work at Samford and Jessica was on campus three weeks before classes started for RA training. They also had a lot of the same friends, and they went to the same church.

One night after school began, Jason called Jessica and asked her if she wanted to go with him to shoot a video for a friend who was about to release a new album and Jason was making a video for him to promote it. We'll call this friend Bobby. So of course, Jessica wanted to go. They had a great time just laughing and joking around together, and it seemed like their friendship was going to be able to pick up right where it had left off. They hung out with together with their group of friends a couple of nights in a row after that.

Then, Labor Day weekend came and Jessica was taking some of her girl friends home with her for a beach trip. Jason texted her the whole time that she was in Destin, and secretly, she liked that a lot. She thought that maybe her "more than friends" feelings were coming back, but she wasn't sure yet. When she got back from Destin on Labor Day, she was planning on having dinner with Taylor because she'd covered for him at work (they were both RAs) and he owed her dinner. As she was waiting for Taylor to come out to her car, she saw Jason drive by, park, and start walking toward them. He went to dinner with them as well! After dinner (at IHOP), Taylor had other plans, so Jason and Jessica decided to continue hanging out.

Then the hung out the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and they've basically been hanging out ever since.

Jason took Jessica on a couple of dates that were very "them". One was a cupcake date in the afternoon to Urban Standard - cupcakes and coffee are two of Jessica's favorite things. They also went to dinner a couple of times - and a movie or two. On September 22, 2010 Jason took Jessica on a special date. He blindfolded her and took her to Davenport's pizza because it's square (she'd told him that she liked square pizza - like the kind from elementary school). Then he blindfolded her again, and he took her to a movie.

After the movie, she was blindfolded again and he took her to Sonic (according to Jason, a boy and a girl have to be a couple before they can go there at night together - that's the classic Samford after-date place to go). Before Jessica could take off the blindfold, Jason took her phone, and created a new event in her iCal that said, "Jason asked me to be his girlfriend."

Then he said, "Okay, you can look now," and she did, and she said, "Yes! I'll be your girlfriend!" Then he handed her pink roses and they became "Facebook Official".

Exactly two years later, on September 22, 2012(one month from today), Jessica will meet Jason at the alter, and they will vow to love each other forever, as husband and wife.

This may be the end of this story for now, but it's just the beginning for the {almost} Morales'!

Posted on August 22, 2012 .