I grew up without my mother. She passed away when I was four years old. I remember women saying (in person or in movies) that they’ve dreamt of marriage all their lives and have planned for their wedding since they were five years old. I’d scrunch my nose and think “Why on earth would you do that?!” and laugh it away.
I didn’t plan for my wedding until I was engaged.
My husband grew up without his father. Not due to death, but to divorce. We met at a Bible study at seventeen. He was my friend first: someone who inspired me to grow closer to Jesus and deeper in The Word of God. We had all the butterflies and felt like we were living in a romantic movie during our courtship. We married at 21 and loved each other sincerely.
Then later, all the baggage and lack of discipleship started kicking in.
We’d fight, I’d feel despair, confusion, and regret. We didn’t know our roles. Barely. Especially me.
How could a man know what manhood looked like if he grew up without his father? How could a woman know what womanhood looked like if she grew up without her mother? Throw in worldly feminist thinking and you’ve got a pot that’s boiling, ready to explode.
I threatened to leave, over and over again. Why? I didn’t know. Aside from some misplaced priorities on his part (we were young) and major storms that life threw at us, this guy was amazing. SO mature for his age. So selfless, brave, strong and enduring. Constantly fighting for me, our marriage and our children.
In my head, it meant making BIG changes in this world. But the only changes I was making now were replacing dirty diapers with clean ones. “I missed out on my purpose…” I’d think to myself. “I’m not reaching the world or making an impact…If only I didn’t marry, if only I didn’t have kids”… then the resentment, despair and threats of leaving would ensue. “This was a mistake!” I’d tell him.
Sound extreme? It wasn’t always this way but it was many times.
“I have to leave or else my life will be a waste…”
In Winter of 2017, it hit the most critical point. The chaotic day included me packing my suitcase, getting an Uber and buying a plane ticket to California. Our marriage was over. My children’s lives were devastated. I was to go on alone.
The cycles of broken families would repeat itself.
Realizing that others in the family now knew (because I blew up in front of my in-laws) I had hit the lowest point. The plane thing didn’t work. I was back home. But now there was accountability whether I liked it or not… “What do I do?” I asked God and myself.
“I really don’t know how to do marriage.”
The first step was admitting that I had a problem. That I didn’t know how to do this. I’ve done marriage MY WAY for years but it didn’t make sense. It didn’t work. There was a lack of peace and order. I was not happy.
Then God started showing me, through His Word, that my purpose was to be a disciple of Christ, a helpmate to my husband, a mother to my children and a disciple-maker for other women.
Its not that I’m not “allowed” to do “other things”. The Proverbs 31 woman did “other things”. But she had her priorities straight.
She was a generous, wise and loving woman who’s priorities centered around God and her family. She wasn’t trying to make a name for herself or build an entity disconnected from her family or the IMPORTANCE of it. She took her roles as helpmate, mother and homemaker seriously.
I didn’t truly understand the value of being a wife and mother. To me, they were still not as important as a career (according to the world) or missions (according to the church). Somewhere along the way, no one ever really taught or showed me that FAMILY was truly God’s priority.
Imagine if every parent made their family the priority, this whole world would be REACHED. This is my first and most important ministry. Everything is rooted in and flows from family.
I wish I had my mother growing up. I wish I had a point of reference for what it means to be a woman, a wife, a mother. I wish I grew up dreaming about my wedding day.
There’s nothing wrong with femininity and God’s design for us. In fact, it may be what this crazy, confused world needs the most. Receiving God’s truths for womanhood has set me free.
I’m not outside of God’s will for my life. It has been right in front of me all along.