showing honor toward the un-honorable

I was talking with a friend the other day who was sharing with me some very painful parts of her early childhood. An only child to an abusive father, a mentally-ill, perfection-driven mother…the loneliness, the shame, the pressure…the results and consequences of living through those circumstances…some of which still linger to this day…

She was expressing the desire to somehow start processing it….maybe she could write a book…or start talking to others….not only for her own healing process, but in order to encourage others. But after she finished sharing this with me, she stopped…pausing and staring blankly down at her feet…and then said, “but I guess it’ll have to wait until both my parents die first.”

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I recently spoke with another friend who was sharing her affection for an up and coming Christian author/speaker. She shared some high points about the things that she had been learning and some areas of growth she had been challenged in by that author. But at the end she mentioned that in some ways her respect for this individual has waned as she has continued to watch this speaker/author be so outspoken about the faults in others.  From the stage she emphatically and jokingly makes cutting remarks about those who have hurt her and holds back none of the details in openly mocking people who have done her wrong.

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I spoke with a man who has recently gone through a painful divorce. His ex-wife has taken the liberty to speak incredible poorly of him to his family, children and friends, yet he refuses to do the same. He feels trapped, not wishing to gossip or slander in return, but comes alive at the thought of allowing his pain to help others in their own divorces. But he is afraid of saying too much. He stays quiet. He refrains from helping others because he fears his words will be perceived as gossip.

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I wrote my article about hardness of heart and what’s happened in my family and have struggled immensely with similar thoughts. How do I speak of these circumstances, and yet not be disrespectful toward those involved? How do I practically show honor and share of my own journey through these hardships without drawing unnecessary attention to my father or my mother?

These types of questions are proving to be a challenge to work through…but I’m convinced there must be an option other than to stuff it away and remain in isolation, or just resort to blasting all details from the rooftops…

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For me personally, more than ever I am ready to move in, through, and on from this struggle.

Although I cannot speak for anyone in my family, I feel as though healing for me from my broken family relationships has and continues to happen more and more each day.

After 2 decades of struggle, the broken shackles of my wrecked family life are finally OFF. It’s weird in some ways, but it almost feels tangible, as if my body, soul and mind now knows to live free. I know now without a doubt that I am to be who God has made me to be no matter the choices of those in my family.

I am free to speak of Jesus and my life, without the fear of others perception of me. I’m ready to speak of the brokenness, most importantly my own, in order that Christ might be made known in the midst of this sorrow. Like the apostle Paul, if I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness (2 Corinthians 11:30) not the weakness of others.

In the midst of this, although I now know that I am free, I have to admit that I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to speak poorly of others. The word is clear that we are to show honor…and just as I wrote in my marriage article, showing honor sometimes means toward people that have not been honorable.

How can we share painful parts of our lives and still honor people who have hurt us?

How can we show respect toward people who are not living respectfully?

Is there a way to talk through the trials of life that involve other people but do so in a dignified way?

Or should we all just wait to process, wait to heal, wait to help others until that person dies?

If that person is no longer living does it now make it appropriate to share openly about what he/she has done wrong?

Does that change the “rules”? Or should we all stay quiet and silent until our own graves?

This is just as much “real time” for me as it is for anyone else…but I’ll share what I’ve got so far on these issues….

  1. speak from your perspective: There is freedom to make mention of what has occurred, but make every effort to quickly move past others’ specific actions to focus more on how you are processing things instead. Avoid bad mouthing as it will only cause more damage. Focus instead on you, what you’re learning and how the Lord is leading you.
  2. keep it generic:  For example, sharing generically about the things you have learned  in the midst of your struggle, encouraging others against common struggles and how you are growing in the midst of those struggles
  3. see your heavenly father as the only perfect one: In order to heal and move forward it is crucial to know God is the only one who will never fail. This gives us the freedom to forgive and the release to not hold anyone to a standard they cannot ever meet. When those we love fail, let it be a reminder to look upward.
  4. find ways to be thankful: There is likely something, even if it’s small, to be thankful for in the person who has hurt you or caused you harm. Find those few things and if you must speak of that person take the opportunity to voice those things instead of choosing to slander. “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
  5. give grace: It’s always easier to give grace when we are aware of how much we also need it. When we forget how much we have sinned it is easier to feel that we can hold someone else in contempt. But we have been forgiven MUCH, which means we can offer grace even when, especially when, it is not deserved.
  6. create something new: Maybe you had a broken home or major “daddy issues”, maybe you struggle to find anything good at all about your childhood or about your circumstances growing up, but instead of growing bitter, use those thoughts to focus your efforts on creating something new. Make your home into the grace filled, God honoring home you’ve always desired. As you continue to let go of the “old”, allow yourself to be creative to pour into the new. “Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Isaiah 42:9
  7. serve others: Be intentional to use your words to edify and to encourage others. If you speak of painful circumstances or heartbreaking stories, find ways to encourage those listening and to build up and strengthen those who hear you. I cannot think of anything that is truly gained when we spend our time using words to tear down. Focus on building up and strengthening others instead.
  8. forgive: Forgive those who have hurt you, and after you’ve forgiven, forgive again and again and again. But be sure to define what forgiveness is: Forgiveness does not condone, excuse or permit. Forgiveness does not equal reconciliation and it does not mean you continue in a relationship…but it does give your heart freedom and allows the Lord to heal you. Forgiveness allows you to see what good the Lord can do in the midst of sorrow and takes the focus off the pain. Forgiveness comes at a high cost, but gives us hearts that are glad and hearts that are thankful. Revenge is not for us, that is not our burden to carry. “O LORD of hosts, who tests the righteous, who sees the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon them, for to you have I committed my cause.” Jeremiah 20:12

respecting those who are not respectable| meg marie wallace

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what "marriage is work" really means

what "marriage is work" really means | meg marie Wallace
When Matt and I were engaged I absolutely hated the idea that marriage would be “work”. Work had such a negative connotation with it and it totally made me itchy (that’s just my word for uncomfortable) to think about one another in that way. We were SO in love, right?

Then this thing called life happened.

Struggles, hardships, and trials came. Job changes, infertility, sickness, pregnancies, travel, difficulties with extended family, moving, home improvement projects, work, busyness, school, infants, toddlers, more moving, more babies, church drama, finances, losing friends, this thing called ministry, challenging relationships, more babies, health…

Just like any couple we’ve certainly had our ups and downs. But I can say that I feel we are stronger now than we’ve ever been. We just celebrated our 14 year anniversary this past April and I wanted to share a few thoughts on marriage so far:

  1. Marriage IS work: Matt was totally right. My pipe dream of “happily ever after” was not reality. And no, work is not always fun. Work is sometimes grueling. Work is sometimes the very last thing either one of us feel like doing. There have been plenty of times we have both wanted to walk out. But the intentional, meaningful work put into growing, cultivating, learning, and staying together has never come back void.
  2. Primary Satisfaction In Jesus: If we look to one another to fill our deepest desires for oneness, for approval, for encouragement, for joy, for peace (and the list could go on forever…) then we will always end up despairing. Unlike what the movies will tell us marriage was never intended to make us “complete.” Finding our identity in the finished work of Jesus is our ultimate freedom. We then can love recklessly without demanding and give generously without expectations.
  3. Marriage Changes: What “worked” for our marriage in year one is completely different than what works for us in year 14. The needs change, life changes, our preferences change, we change. If we stay stuck in what worked in the beginning we miss out on what is true for today. We can’t ever stop learning about one another.
  4. Never Hide: We have both been tempted in many, many ways to keep little things, and sometimes big things, from one another. We fear opening up about what is scary, wrong or vulnerable will bring distance and disunity. Living in darkness will never bring oneness. Conversations might be brutally difficult but there is always a deeper unity that follows walking openly and truthfully with one another.
  5. Get Good At Arguing: We are two people with different preferences, different opinions, different viewpoints, different pasts that have come together for life. The reality is disagreements happen. Fights happen. But fighting CAN be healthy and edifying rather than something that separates or brings destruction. Getting through those kinds of conversations are what sharpen us.
  6. Be Respectful: We must remain respectful and honoring toward one another…as in ALWAYS. We are continually learning to speak up for ourselves, but to still give deference. Sharing opinions must be combined with listening to one another well.
  7. Fight FOR One Another, Not Just WITH One Another: When we look at marriage as ‘me against him’ or ‘him against me’ there isn’t oneness. When we look at our issues and our struggles as things we are fighting for together it massively changes the perspective, the process and the outcome.
  8. Feelings Matter: Just because one of us doesn’t INTEND to hurt the other, doesn’t mean that hurt doesn’t happen. Learn to accept that and then move toward forgiveness and restoration.
  9. Listen Deeper: Listen not just to the words the other is saying, but to the pain, need, offense, fear or hurt behind it. Learning to look for what is under the surface is like a magic key in marriage. Also, things like stress, sickness, lack of sleep, hunger, loneliness, sadness, confusion etc… can play a huge role in how we relate and communicate to one another. Finding those root issues bring a deep connection.
  10. Have Thick Skin: Not taking things too personal is huge. Learning to roll with it and laugh things off goes a long way in a healthy marriage. Having a sense of humor, being able to make fun of ourselves and not getting offended by the little stuff is a skill to always be growing in.
  11. Apologize Well: A good apology is very specific and very sincere. Making eye contact, naming the offense, and truly engaging is crucial. We can’t be haphazard or flippant. Broad generalizations like “I’m sorry for anything I’ve ever done” is NOT a genuine apology. Using the word ‘but’ as an add-on never ever helps.  Blame shifting or taking the focus away from ourselves isn’t right. Facing what we’ve done, calling it what it was, and owning it fully is what brings restoration.
  12. We Are NOT Telepathic: We have been married for so long that we can often finish each others sentences, but we cannot let ourselves be fooled into thinking we know exactly what is going on in the other person’s mind. We must always keep asking questions. Always keep learning. Always keep talking. Always keep sharing.
  13. Soften: A kind answer turns away wrath. It only takes one to crack the ice. Learning to humble ourselves, to reach out, and to pursue one another even in the worst of times has had significant impacts on our marriage. Marriages don’t end because of big issues like adultery or addiction or arguments. Marriages end because of a hardness of heart. When one or both stay hardened distance and contempt will always bring ruin.
  14. Give More Than Take: If we approach marriage with the 50/50 mentality we will always, always, always be frustrated.  Marriage is 100/100. I give it my all even when I feel like he’s is giving 0%…and he does the same…because learning to love well is far more important than learning to demand more.
  15. Marriage Doesn’t Serve Me: Marriage was never intended to simply make us happy, rather it is first given to make us holy. The truth is I don’t deserve anything. And neither does my husband. We are two broken, imperfect, sinful people who have been given a gift in one another. There is no room for entitlement.
  16. Right Doesn’t Always Mean Righteous:  Many marriages have completely disintegrated because one or both people believe they are “right”. To be righteous means having a willingness to lay down the claim to be right in order to draw near to one another.
  17. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive: And just when we think we’re done forgiving, forgive again.
  18. Combining Weakness And Strength: Rather than letting our differences cause division we are learning to lean on one another, help one another, sharpen one another, and grow from one another. Maybe the two of us combined equals one kinda cool person! 🙂
  19. Give Grace: God’s loving kindness manifested in Jesus on the Cross canceled our eternal debt and granted us redemption and life everlasting.  Because we have been given so much we are now free to give grace to one another. Grace is unmerited, unearned, undeserved favor. Give it. Give a LOT of it. Throw grace around like confetti!what "marriage is work" really means | meg marie Wallace

 

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what "marriage is work" really means | meg marie Wallace

the one thing guaranteed to end all marriages

This morning I woke up to a text I’ve known for months was coming…

It read, “the divorce is done.”

Despite the foreknowledge, the finality of those four simple words put an immediate lump in my throat and an ache in my stomach.

Today my parents marriage of 44 years is officially over. The rings have been removed, the papers have been signed, the assets have been divided…

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I’m sure you saw it too, a few weeks ago our Facebook feeds were filled with posts and comments about Lysa Terkeurst, from Proverbs 31 ministries, failing marriage. My heart broke to learn that her husband, Art, much like my own father toward my mother, was “repeatedly unfaithful” to Lysa.

These stories are not uncommon. Adultery is now so “normal” that it seems rare to find a couple that hasn’t experienced it. Last February Matt and I weren’t able to get a date on Valentines Day and opted instead to go out the following night. We were shocked by the crowds only to learn from our waiter that the day before and the day after Valentine’s actually bring in far more money than the holiday itself due to the overspending of men on their mistresses to make up for the fact their wives got the ‘real day’.

Marriages every day are ending and it is absolutely devastating.

But I am more convinced than ever that adultery, lies, deceit, substance abuse, hiding, blame shifting, anger, fighting…although each devastating in their own way, are merely symptoms that point to the root problem underneath it all.

Soon after I learned of my own father’s infidelity I also was told by one of my best friends that she, too, had been cheating on her husband. Both describe similar circumstances leading up to the affairs, both had felt-needs that seemingly weren’t being met and both justified their actions based on their spouses shortcomings. Throughout the past year and a half the two stories have played out side by side as both couples have had to choose how to respond to one another.

One couple’s marriage is ending today. The other couple’s marriage is thriving today.

How can that be? What makes the difference? Both dealt with the same circumstances, the same “problem”…yet why the polar opposite outcomes? It is not adultery that tears apart marriages…it’s hardness of heart.

Hardness of heart is the root of all failed marriages.

Hardness of heart is…

-lacking genuine sorrow over sin.

-continuing to go back again and again into temptation, lies and deceit.

-choosing to think of yourself as most important.

-choosing what’s best for you and not the other.

-the small lies and huge lies that you convince yourself are not a big deal.

-being unteachable.

-tearing down with words.

-comparing and contrasting your wrongs against the other and making the judgement that “theirs is worse.”

-responding with defensiveness.

-the need to always be in control.

-waiting for the other to say sorry first.

-demanding the other change first.

-thinking more of what you deserve instead of what you can give.

-focusing more on being right than on becoming righteous.

-what you can get out of someone instead of how you can invest in them.

-the refusal to forgive.

-the refusal to humble yourself to ask for forgiveness.

-saying you forgive, but never letting go.

-asking for forgiveness and then going back to do the same thing again.

-magnifying the weaknesses and minimizing the strengths of the other, while magnifying the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses of yourself.

-justifying wrongful actions because they “started it first.”

-spending more time trying to find an official clinical diagnosis to explain away their issues than looking in the mirror to address your own.

-preserving your own well-being at the expense of the other.

-reading this list and thinking someone else should be reading this…

In order for marriages to thrive BOTH people need to guard with all diligence against hardness of heart. It has no place in marriage, yet in big ways and in small ways we let it creep in. This hardness often begins so subtly, with the smallest acts of selfishness…but left unchecked can grow to become a raging fire of wrath, anger, hatred and bitterness.

We’ve all heard that marriage is work. And now that Matt and I have been married for over 15 years I can say I absolutely agree. But that work is far different than I ever imagined and far more challenging than I thought it was during our first few newlywed, starry-eyed years.

When I write that marriage takes work I’m not talking about the occasional act of service of helping clean the house, going to get the car washed, figuring out who takes the trash out or who cleans the toilets. I’m not talking about the effort or time it takes to figure out how to get consistent date nights, the challenges of figuring out how to raise kids together, working together to decide on what kind of house to buy, figuring out work schedules, when/where to vacation or even how often to visit the in-laws…

I’m talking about grueling, gut wrenching, goes-against-everything-you-feel work.

I’m talking about choosing to daily lay down your life for another, looking for ways to love, to pursue, and being relentless to leave no room for distance. This kind of work is staying in conversations that are extremely difficult, learning to have the self-control to know when to pause those conversations, and then exercising the diligence to pick it back up again. I’m talking about constantly thinking past what their mouth is saying to seek out what it is their heart is saying. I’m talking about loving when the other is unlovable, and respecting when the other is not respectable. This kind of work is being exhausted from the days events yet still making time to be present, to connect, to see, to listen, and to be a friend. It’s work to truly forgive and it’s beyond challenging to continue to walk in that forgiveness again and again refusing to hold onto past wrongs or hang them over their head.

It’s work to see your spouse as a gift and to be diligent to treat them like one…even when, or should I say, especially when, they don’t deserve it.

It’s work to defer your own preferences, your own agenda and your own feelings in order to pursue unity.

God wants us to cultivate what we have been given. But in marriage the reality of what we have been given is often far more challenging to cultivate than we ever would have anticipated.

There is pain between expectation and reality.

This kind of work in marriage IS painful…yet it produces a bond that compares with no other. It brings about character, joy, honor, patience, perseverance, and maturity. Pressing on through the hardship of marriage not only binds two people together in an indescribably beautiful scar-filled unity, but ultimately sanctifies us and causes our lives to look more and more like Jesus.

Jesus, while we were yet his enemies, laid down his life for our sake. We were ransomed from our futility by his own blood and have been born again into a new hope, a living hope, to be built up as living stones in honor of the one true God. We are a people chosen for God’s possession, for obedience, and for His glory.

Through marriage we learn to love like Jesus does.

I urge you, dear friend, if you find yourself reading this and you are not at peace with your spouse…drop whatever you are doing and begin with prayer. What is it you need to hear? Where is it you need to grow? What is it you need to change? Ask the Lord to change your heart first.

Don’t waste any time and don’t give any room for distance. If there is something you need to confess, do it. If there is something you need to forgive, do it. Carve out the time to pursue the hard conversations and ask God to give you ears to hear past their spoken words.

Look carefully for what might be deeper. Is there loneliness? fear? shame? rejection? Ask God to give you a heart that seeks to truly listen, love, repent, forgive, pursue, and serve first. Ask Him to fill you with all joy and peace and to give you resolve to love like Jesus does.

Marriage is for our good and for His glory. Let today be the day you soften your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 – Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 3:5 – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.

Philippians 4:7 – And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heartsand your minds in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 4:18 – They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

1 John 3:16 – By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

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dear john

Dear John,

As we unloaded the car and packed our arms full with pool toys, towels, bags, sunscreen, and snacks and walked up toward the gate we noticed you. You were sitting alone in the hot tub with no one else on the property. Our kids ran past you and my husband offered our normal apology for our rowdy bunch and I overheard him as he told you he was sorry for interrupting your peace and quiet. I walked over to set down our things, but out of the corner of my eye I watched closely for your response to see if I could tell if you thought we were going to be a bother…which would help me gauge just how close of a watch I need to keep on my kids as they played and help me estimate just how many more apologies I should offer when (not if!) they get a little nutty.

I paused as I was opening up the sunscreen when I saw you smile and even heard you say that kids like that could never be an interruption to you…which was my first indicator that you were someone special. You see, most people your age don’t think that kids are a blessing anymore…and most older men I know don’t smile much anymore either. But I still wasn’t convinced you meant it, so I came over to say hello and see if I could crack some honesty out of you…

Instead of giving me the normal canned polite greeting, you asked about my little family and you asked in such a way that made me feel you truly cared. So I opened up a bit more than I normally do with people I’ve just met and told you that yes, my little “handful” is crazy at times but I love them dearly. I also shared that I’ve started homeschooling them this past year…which has proven to be far more challenging than I’d anticipated. You told me your wife used to be a reading specialist for young elementary kids and that she was brilliant with helping children learn to read. I mentioned that your wife is someone I’d love to speak with sometime and that I could really use the help from someone like her…

And then you told me what happened…you told me that you’d just had your year anniversary of her death and that you think of her and miss her every single day. I saw the tears start to flow and I took note of the fact that you weren’t at all embarrassed by them. You wiped them away and kept going…without reservation and without an ounce of pride in thinking you had to hold it together.

You didn’t know me at all but you boldly and emphatically shared with me your love for her, her love for  you, and both of your love for Jesus. You told me of her passion to honor Him with every day of her life. You told me how you met, and how God told you she was the one for you and how He told her that you were the one for her. You shared how you were married within 4 months time (which is insane by the way!) and how she made everyone in her life feel like she was her best friend.  I loved when you share how each morning she would wake up and ask the Lord to change her to be more and more like Jesus and how she’d constantly tell you that He never ever wanted us to remain static.

You told me of her steadfast faith through the years, her heart to disciple young women around her, her love for life in general and her encouragement to you in every aspect of your marriage. You told me that she was a gift to you for 42 years and that you couldn’t believe you had the honor of being hers for that long.

You then shared how you held her hand as you sat in that hospital office as she received her death sentence. You shared about her face and the joy-filled expression on it even after being told there were no options for her. You took her home knowing that the only plan was to try and celebrate what was left of her last 2-3 weeks. You told me how beautiful she was with masses of tumors that filled her belly that made her look 6 months pregnant and how she never once complained of the pain. You told me how her joy won over the hospice care workers that came to your home and how she has literally prayed for every single person she’s ever met all the way up until the very last day of her life.

You told me of your vision from the Lord a week or so before she died and how He told you in advance that you would be holding your sweet wife when she passed. You knew it was coming and you saw it happen just as He told you it would, your head in her lap as she took her final breath. I saw the innocent tears continue streaming down your face as you spoke so lovingly of her…yet I waited and watched to see if it came and it never did….the bitterness that is. I never saw one ounce of it.  Never once did I hear you waver in your faith and never once did I hear you speak poorly of her.

I’m sure she wasn’t a perfect woman and I’m wholeheartedly convinced that she was a sinner just like the rest of us…but you honored her with your every breath as I sat for hours to hear your story. I would have sat for 10 more just to hear more about her and your life. I loved hearing of the ministry opportunities the Lord has given you and how you truly believe you are nothing apart from Him. I loved hearing how your dad prayed for you before you were born and that it took 37 years before your dad’s prayer for you to truly chase after and love Jesus fully came to fruition. I’m so sorry that he died when you were only 11 as I cannot imagine what that must have been like for you. Yet, again, all I heard was thankfulness.

I loved hearing about your firefighting adventures and your trips all over the world building wells for people without water and starting churches in cities I’ve never heard of…but I especially loved when you said that firefighting is not your identity and that God simply used that as a miraculous way to bring people to Himself. I about lost it when you spoke of how your hope is to do all you can to “go out strong.” You don’t want to hold anything back, knowing your days are numbered, and when that day comes and you see Jesus’ face you want to know you have given it your all.

John, men like you are rare. And women like your wife are too. She truly sounds like a modern day Proverbs 31 woman and it would have been an honor to have met her. And you, you are the closest thing to meeting an angel I have ever experienced. You see, I don’t believe that things happen by chance. I believe I was meant to meet you today. I was meant to hear your story. I was meant to hear about your wife. She is an encouragement to me and one day I’m going to tell her how thankful I am for her living such a faithful, faith-filled life. And the encouragement you offered to me, to begin to pray every day how I might bring glory to Jesus is exactly what I needed to be reminded of. In this stage of life, with kids puking through the night, and confusion about where we ought to live, and the frustrations of planting a church…with mouths to feed, and grocery shopping to do and lesson plans to write out…sometimes it’s easy to forget the main things.

When it’s all said and done and I breathe my last I want more than anything for it to be said of me that “she loved the Lord with all her heart.” These things that can so easily entangle will all pass away…but thank you for the reminder today to keep first things first. I struggled to let you go home…wanting to continue to be encouraged by you and to hear of your love for Jesus and your love for others as long as I possibly could. Thank you for being a tangible picture of how Jesus cares for people. I see Him in you…you’re prayers are being answered…you’re becoming just like Him every day, John. You’re going out strong.

I want you to know that as I lay my head down tonight I’ll be thanking Jesus for you and for your wife. I’ll be praying for your upcoming trips, for your legs to not give out on you and that you’ll continue to see Him do far more than you could ever ask or imagine. Thank you for your time and most of all for opening up. Thank you for your joy and for your steadfast resolve to keep pursuing Jesus with all your might. I pray one day we will meet again. But until then, I’ll pray your wife’s favorite verse…because it just so happens to be mine as well… “may the God of all hope fill you with ALL joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

With all love,

Meg

dear john | meg marie wallace | a open letter to the man i met today

 

24 things you didn't know about us

This is the week I would normally be posting some cute gift idea for you moms to make for your kids to spoil them rotten for V-day, but seeing as I haven’t even thought about getting around to that yet (and so the list begins for my mom fails of 2017)…I decided to share with you some fun facts about us. 🙂

First let me just say that Kate’s dress was a dream come true for her. She had been begging me to let her dress up fancy again for some photos and this one was picked out by her for our Christmas photos…but it didn’t come in time. She was so bummed….but I had promised I’d make it up to her! So she’ll be using it for a super fancy surprise daddy/date night soon! meg marie wallace; fun facts

1. Matt and I both have nicknames for one another that we’ve used from when we were dating…he calls me “lady” and I call him “Mr.”

2. We love comedy…like a lot…it’s one of our favorite thing to watch together. Sometimes I laugh so hard the tears running down my face make it so I can’t see anymore…and he’ll have to push pause until I can get it together. And then that only makes me laugh harder.

3. We always, always greet one another and say goodbye to one another. Even if we’re mad we still will always say hello and goodbye.

4. We both have a MASSIVE sweet tooth…and we are very picky about our desserts. We both love chocolate way more than fruity…and Matt is absolutely convinced that fruit should never be warm.

5. Matt loves to surprise me with things, which I also love a TON…but he gets so strange about stuff that I can totally tell when he’s lying…but I play along anyway…(and he just saw I wrote that and swears I can’t tell….hahahaha….oh honey, yep, yep you’re right…I have NO idea what you’re up to…)

6. I rarely ever order food at restaurants. He always picks better things off the menu and I used to just steal all of his meal…so most of the time now I don’t even look at it…I know he’ll do a better job getting me what I want than I will.

7. Neither one of us can sleep when the other is out of town. We come up with a thousand other things to do so we don’t have to go to bed without the other.

8. When we were first married Matt taught me how to cook. He’s the best at looking around for random ingredients and coming up with some gourmet meal…except for that one time he accidentally added cumin instead of cinnamon in his homemade cinnamon rolls…and then stared at me like a total weirdo while I took my first bite to see if I’d notice…and then when I told him I thought something was “off” he tried to convince me it was all just in my head…

9. Matt lets me pick out his clothes. It took me two full years into our marriage to gently convince him that he was horrible at dressing himself and now he’s actually much better at it…but he should never ever ever ever ever pick out mine. No really…never.

10. I have not put gas in my car for about a decade…or maybe longer. There was one time recently when I had to and I about had a panic attack trying to remember how to open my gas can. He says that he likes taking such good care of me that I wouldn’t know how to do it.

11. Matt swears he can’t iron…as in, he tells me that he doesn’t know how…and then when I offer to “teach” him he winks and says, “well, I’m sure you’d do a much better job of it than me…” I know without a shadow of a doubt that he’s lying right out of that cute, sparkly blue eyed face, but I just smile and say, “ohhhhh ya I’m suuuure I’d do a better job…why don’t I take care of that for you”…while rolling my eyes…

12. If we ever get coffee or a mocha…or hot chocolate…Matt will (seemingly without even thinking about it anymore) take it from my hand and take the first sip. He will then give me a number…which means that’s how many minutes I should wait until it will be at my ideal temperature.

13. Matt loves lemon in his water but hates straws. I love straws and hate lemon. Whenever we are in a restaurant together you will always find his glass with 2 lemons and mine with 2 straws.

14. Matt only wanted 2 kids…………….hahahahahahahahahhahhahahaha

15. I will wait, for hours or even days if he’s out of town, for him to unclog a stuck toilet…I won’t do it…ever ever ever again…one time I tried…and it didn’t work…and that quickly became one of the worst day of my life.

16. We both love to cuddle. A lot.

17. And we flirt non-stop…as in all day long…unless we are in a fight and then there’s absolutely no flirting aloud…but sometimes he’ll try to throw some little comment right there in the middle of a fight, sort of like a grenade, to test me to see just how mad I am. Sometimes that bomb blows up in his face and other times it completley derails the fight and we both start laughing…but that’s a risky one, huh babe?!

18. We work out at the gym together almost every day. Fellow gym members will ask what’s wrong if the other isn’t there.

19. We can have entire conversations using only movie quotes.

20. Matt often rubs my feet before bed…with essential oils even! And he makes sure I close my eyes before he turns out the light because he knows how much I love his face being the last thing I see before I go to sleep.

21. We fall asleep every night holding hands.

22. It is sometimes really hard to get dates nowadays…because we birthed a small army of little people and it can be a challenge to find sitters…but we do a pretty good job of having “stay dates”. We love coming up with fun ways to spend an evening together.

23. Matt is my personal airbrush spray tan man.  Nope, not kidding one bit. Ahhhh!!!! How can you not love this guy with what he’s willing to do for me??? I plan to blog ALL about this soon because I get asked all the time about how I stay tan year round…but I owe my amazing California-glow to my sweet hubby. (I’ll also share about the many hilarious disasters before he became so skilled at it!)

24. He still, without fail, opens every door for me, holds his hand out whenever I get out of the car and intentionally walks with his body closest to the street to make sure I’m not the nearest to the cars. My perfect gentleman.

That’s it for now! I would LOVE to hear what makes up you and your husband’s unique story!!! Comment below and share something sweet or something funny! love Meg Marie signature

This dress is so pretty and I plan to wear it for a wedding we are going to in March, but I thought it’d be fun to find another excuse to put it on! The off the shoulder look is perfect for hair up or down so I chose to do a messy bun to show off that pretty lace detail. I kind of wish I’d worn some bright red lipstick or something to make it more Valentine-y but I’m honestly still on the hunt for the perfect red…so let me know if you have any suggestions!

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Happy (early) Valentine’s Day everyone!!!!

xo MM Meg Marie initials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Oh and here’s some more dress options similiar to this style that I loved as well…

boasting in weakness…

It very well could be that one of the best reasons to start a blog is the constant reminder and accountability that I’ve made it known to the world I am determined to speak about my own imperfection to be a living testament of God’s grace.

My goal is to consistently speak of my own imperfection hidden in Jesus’ perfection with the hope to exude His love and mercy in every aspect of my private and personal life…making much of His name, not mine.

There’s only one problem:

ME.

I don’t always get it right. And that’s just the point isn’t it?!

That’s the point of this whole thing. This whole blogging thing…..AND this whole “life” thing.

Why does it feel so uncomfortable and scary to be vulnerable? Why does it seem easier to stay in hiding behind a beautifully lit smokescreen? Why do I prefer the rose tinted glasses, the coverup of carefully edited pictures and the miraculous cure of dry shampoo for my day #4 unwashed hair?

I’m often scared that if I truly open up it will hinder relationships, push away friendships, welcome criticism and invite condemnation. Sometimes the hidden is more beautiful, right? Ignorance is bliss.

No one wants to air dirty laundry.

 

But why not? What’s wrong with that? We all have laundry….and if we are moms most of it is on our living room floors or on top of our kitchen tables right now. Why not just admit we all have clothes that aren’t clean? Why not share what we are weak in? Why not be open about how we fail?

Staying hidden doesn’t help anyone.
No one truly benefits from a private, curated, unknown life.

By no means is this a complete list, but I don’t want to just talk about being open and never actually BE OPEN…so let’s just get this started… (deep inhale….)

  • I have gotten into heated, uncontrolled, harsh arguments with Matt and have been indignant, indifferent and hateful with my responses, thoughts and words toward him.
  • I have yelled at my kids and snapped at them for simply saying my name too many times during dinner.

 

  • Just last week, during our “fun” family day at the fair, I spent most of the entire day absolutely crabby and griping at all kinds of various things, most of which was completely minuscule and unfounded.
  • My default mode is to think that every single thing that is bad that happens in the life of our family is somehow my fault. It can be totally unrelated but I will take it and somehow find a way to believe that I caused that thing to happen…as if I’m that important. I then look for affirmation and encouragement that I’ve done my part and that the real problem is “out there” rather than in me.
  • I greatly struggle with mom guilt…to the point that I am sometimes frozen in a decision because of a fear that no matter what choice I make I will ruin my kids. This leads to endless sleepless nights and a restless heart, which makes for an overly tired mom that lacks presence and joy the next day.
  • I can be surrounded by a sea of people that truly know and love me and still feel like I’m alone. And what I’m saying is that my focus is far too often on me. I am self-centered as I put my feelings before loving others.

 

  • Sometimes, okay fine…often lately, I struggle with the “grass is greener” mentality and wonder if somehow I missed another life I am supposed to be living. I waste time envisioning what that “other” life could be and allow seeds of ungratefulness for one I’ve been given to take root.
  • When I am tired, or hungry, or un-showered, or God forbid, a combination of them all I am seriously not fun to be around. I get nit picky and short tempered and begin to treat my family as though they are in my way.
  • I struggle with envy and jealousy over other bloggers who have had great success and I wrongly envision that their journey to get “there” was much simpler than mine. I view success by numbers and page views and often have thoughts about giving up…which shows me how greatly I value man’s opinion more that God’s.

 

  • I struggle with thoughts that it’s never enough and that I’m always behind and wonder when I’ll ever get it together…whatever “it” is.
  • I often look at the lives of women I admire on social media and choose to wrongly believe they sure do have it all together….and then I compare what is imperfect about me to what I feel is perfect about them and I become discouraged.

Should I keep going?!?! Because I totally could….I could do this all day….

 

But, the bottom line is this:

Honesty and airing dirty laundry isn’t the problem. My own heart is the problem. Sharing it simply gives glory to the correct Person, which isn’t ME.

These are the times I’m so thankful for the words of the apostle Paul: “For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.” (Romans 7:15)

I am unbelievably thankful that Paul’s struggle with his flesh has been included in the Bible for me to relate to.

 

Yet, the story of his struggle doesn’t end there. Only ten verses later Paul offers this encouragement: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” “For you were called to freedom…

(insert Braveheart movie clip here)

brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another…But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:13, 16, 22-23, 25

 

It would be certifiably insane to think that our marriage is the only one that has hit rough patches. I’d be crazy if I chose to believe I was the only one who struggles with fears that are sometimes paralyzing, with having spoken hurtful words that crush those I love most, with temptations that have the potential to bring utter ruin or with thoughts that bring destruction. There’s not a chance on God’s green earth that I’m the only one who feels alone, struggles with comparison and envy or carries the weight of some massive regrets.

So why air the dirty laundry?

Because it is a far weightier thing for my identity to be rooted solely in the finished work of Jesus Christ, dying on the cross, in my place for my sin, than it is for me to uphold a false, curated, neatly folded, manicured image that smells fresh but is dying on the inside.

Choosing daily to lose my life and walk by the Spirit leads to spiritual fruit, which then leads to a life that is God-honoring.  It all starts with an honest confession that there is nothing good in me apart from Christ. He alone can make me the wife, mother, friend, woman I desire to be: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things have passed away; behold new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

 

My hope is for this to give you comfort too. Do you struggle with the thought that you know you don’t have it all together, but are terrified of people finding that out? Do you wish you could open up your real self to those around you and have a desire to be truly known by those you love most?

If you find yourself frozen in discouragement, afraid of being “found out” I want to encourage you that there doesn’t need to be any fear in boasting in our weaknesses. In fact our measly attempts at pretending we are perfect actually cheapens the Gospel. Jesus came to save sinners, not perfect people…and my hope is to encourage you to boast in His grace not your (or my) accomplishments in order that He get the full credit.  This truth gives us encouragement because we are reminded once more that life isn’t at all about us. This gives us hope that being known is far better than hiding alone. This gives us joy to wake up each morning knowing that HIS mercies are new every day, and this gives us peace that His grace is more than sufficient for today.

To HIM be the glory!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

 

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15 confessions from a pastor's wife

I’m only one wife to one pastor. And since it’s safe to assume that every single pastor’s wife is different from the next, it is clear I cannot in any way write this for the whole lot of us out there.

I honestly believe there could be way more we pastor wives have in common than some might guess, but the goal in this post is for me to be as open and honest as I can be about myself, not any other woman.

So, here are my 15 “confessions” pertaining to my role as “pastor’s wife”…and feel free to comment below if you have some of your own confessions or feedback to share as well.15 confessions from a pastor's wife

1. my husband and i are not gifted in the same way. 

We are so different from one another. He’s the one on stage, not me…and that is on purpose. Yes, we are married. And, yes, two have become one. But we are in no way whatsoever the exact same person. The things he is good at are not things I am good at. And vice versa. I have different talents, different giftings, different preferences, different skills, different strengths, and different weaknesses.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

2. i’m human. 

I have fears, weaknesses, shortcomings, insecurities and struggles just like everyone else. At times I get sick, I get hungry, I get scared, I get tired, I get stressed out and I get overwhelmed. I don’t have it all together and I battle many of the same issues every other woman battles: marriage issues, extended family difficulties, finances, motherhood issues

3. i’m not unapproachable

I can’t speak for every pastor’s wife because we are certainly not cut from the same mold…but I am an introvert.

There I said it. Deep exhale.

I enjoy being in the background. I get a little nervous to talk to strangers and I have a very difficult time remembering names…which I feel just horrible about. I dislike small chit chat and would rather sit down to really get to know you instead of bouncing around from one person to the next.

But I’m not mean. I promise.

Don’t ever be afraid to come talk to me. And please let me ask for your name again without getting mad at me.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

4. i guard family time like hidden treasure

Many pastor families speak often of having to cut vacations short or rearrange family evenings, or give up their days off for the various crises of church members, middle of the night emergencies and regular interruptions. My husband is essentially on call 24/7. So if there comes an evening or a day when he is unable to be reached, it is most likely because I have purposely left his phone in the car…or I have “accidentally” thrown it into the ocean. I’ll let him come back, I promise, but for his sake and mine sometimes I need to just shut it all off.

5. some seasons are harder than others. 

You know that saying: when it rains, it pours? Yeah, well ministry is seemingly always like that. There are times when I have a lot to offer others. I am able to reach out and I have the capacity to pursue, to counsel, to be present and to make time.

But there are other times when I just don’t. Whether it be the needs of my own home, struggles I am going through, or the demands on my schedule there are most certainly seasons when I am spread far too thin. A longstanding prayer I have is that I could do a better job in the midst of those seasons to communicate that with others. I desire to do all I can to help the people I love so dearly not be confused, offended or hurt by these seasons.

 

6. i often struggle with trying to be all things to all people

I truly enjoy making people happy, but sometimes I take that too far and say “yes” way too often. I worry at times about offending others. But, at the end of the day, I cannot sacrifice my main priorities to always include the preferences of everyone else and am deeply convicted for the times I have done so.

I am learning more and more to say “no.” I must be content with those times, and even the consequences, when I have to kindly decline. Please know it’s not easy and it’s certainly not a personal offense toward any specific person.

My husband, my children and my sanity must come first.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

7. my life isn’t perfect. 

I’m not perfect, my husband isn’t perfect, and my kids aren’t perfect. I know this, but I really, really need others to know this. If there is a misconception that I have it all together, then others will likely either silently judge, quietly gossip or remain far off.

I’m so normal. Like really normal.

And my kids are too. They fight, disobey, and get messy just like normal kids do…because…drumroll please…they’re normal kids. We have to learn to walk by faith just like everyone else and we won’t turn away any encouragement, compassion and love to do so.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife8. ministry is different than friendship

Ministry is a lot of listening and a lot of question asking. It’s a lot of pouring out, pouring into and praying for. Ministry is service and care, concern and empathy.

Ministry can also feel very lonely at times.

I absolutely love getting to know you, but I deeply long to be known too. I desire friendship just like the next gal. I promise I won’t be offended if you ask me things, in fact, I’ll love it. I give you permission to jump right in anytime.

9. no church is perfect

I believe this goes without saying but, just in case, I’ll say it again: NO church is perfect.

Sometimes I think through what a public apology on behalf of ALL churches could look like. (Maybe some day I’ll actually create one and post it on this blog.)

We have messed up people leading messed up people…and it’s bound to be messed up in some places. Yet if it’s a good church, then your pastor, your pastor’s wife and the people beside you will constantly be pointing you to the only One that isn’t messed up…and that is Jesus.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

10. we do not share the same pair of ears

His ears aren’t mine. What I mean by this is there are many, many people who have shared a story, experience, or hardship with my husband and then are later surprised when I am not familiar with the same story. Again, I cannot speak for every pastor’s wife, but my husband does not come home and tell me every single thing about every single one of you. He guards your stories and protects your information…even from me. If you’re going through something you’d like for me to know about then please ask him to share with me or come talk to me as well.

My ears aren’t his. What you say to me doesn’t always make it to his ears either. If there are things that you dislike, preferences you have, or issues you feel need to be addressed, going through me is not the answer. I have seen this many, many times when an individual will speak to the pastor wife in hopes of being heard, and then the wife becomes a megaphone to get her husband to do something about it…and it’s almost always a huge, huge, huge mess.

My job is to keep my husband sane, alive, fed, ministered to and cared for…it is not to get in the middle of all the inner workings of the church.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

11. not everything has to be about church

Gasp! Wait, what?!

Nothing beats a heartfelt, meaningful conversation about good doctrine, sound theology or the work Jesus is doing in someone’s life, but I also love to let my hair down sometimes and relate with people about not-so-spiritual things too.

Yes, I enjoy normal things, not just churchy things, and would love to talk about culture, fashion, art, music, fitness, politics (okay not really so much that one) or food every once in awhile.

I like to have fun and I really, really like to laugh.15 confessions from a pastor's wife

12. i’m not your mom — this one’s for you D.O.!! 🙂 

Look, I get it. I’m the pastor’s wife…but I’m not your mother. There’s a big difference here. Yes, I care deeply about what is going on in your life and whether or not you’re walking by faith, but you’re not going to get “in trouble” if I find out that you didn’t buckle your seatbelt, said a bad word when you stubbed your toe or discover you’ve not cleaned your room. I’m not the principal just waiting to find a reason to send you to after school detention. So please, oh please, don’t respond to me that way.

Be real with me. Be yourself.

I’d love to truly get to know you and I’d love for you to feel free enough to tell me how you’re really doing, and feel free to throw in a joke, a story, and please care enough to let me know if I have something stuck in my teeth for cryin’ out loud! 😉

13. sunday’s are so hard. 

Like really hard. Although I may have showered and my kids clothes match, I have to be honest that some of my all time worst mom moments have been on Sunday mornings. Trying to get five little people with very different wills out the door on time is like trying to find the end of a rainbow blindfolded.

Sometimes I wish we could just skip Sundays (double gasp).

It’s hard work to juggle the needs of my husband, the cares of my children and balance that with being fully present and available to everyone that walks through the door. I often feel like my head is spinning to keep it all in check and it’s not uncommon for me to leave our gatherings entirely exhausted…and that’s only just the beginning of the week.

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

14. the “mama bear” in me is fierce 

When it comes to my family there is nothing…let me repeat…NOTHING that can make me more fiery than when I hear of someone using my husband’s name in a negative way or speaking ill of him behind his back. If I hear of unnecessary gossip, slander, or someone raising undue suspicion about him, it’s all I can do to keep myself in check.

I literally cannot handle it. It makes me incredibly sad, and nauseous and oh so very angry.

I’ll refrain from writing what I really want to here because I think it would scare you. So please if you have an issue with my husband, go directly to him to speak of your concern or by all means close your ever loving mouth.

(insert LOUD roar here)

And don’t get me started about my kids. I love girly and I’m all about classy. But if you have something negative to say about them or to them behind my back, what you will see from me might be less than refined. My husband just laughed at me for writing that, but seriously, please just come talk TO me instead of about me (or my kids).

15 confessions from a pastor's wife

15. i love you dearly

Being a pastor’s wife is hard. Ministry is hard. Church planting is hard. Church is hard. But the reason I do what I do is because I LOVE Jesus and LOVE His people. My husbands’ calling has become my calling. I’ve taken it on as my own.

And you are worth every.tiny.last.bit.of.it. No seriously. I love each one of you.

On the days I feel like giving up, throwing in the towel, signing off and moving far out to the country where no humans exist, it is all of your faces and your stories that get me up off the floor and back in the ring. There is no other aim than the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus and the edification of the church community that I want to pour myself out for.

Thank you, from every ounce of my being, for sharing your lives with me and letting me have the undeserved honor of loving and serving you. I am forever thankful and oh so very humbled.

 

oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! psalm 34:3

15 confessions from a pastor's wife