The Hard but Good Work of Being Sanctified by Marriage

Prior to marriage, I thought a spouse would always build me up and just make me feel good about myself. At times this is true. However, there are also moments where God is using my husband to teach me things about my own heart that I need to work on.

As much as I don’t like to admit I can be a pretty sensitive person. I don’t like hearing or accepting criticism. I tend to already be harsh on myself so when others point to something negative about me it can sting.

I especially become defensive when my husband makes a comment to me about something he has observed to be true. Yet, from my perspective, I perceive he is wrong.

For example the other night he made a comment that “I’m only happy when we do extravagant things”. At first, I was dumbfounded because I enjoy staying home and cuddling on the couch with a movie and pizza. However, I do love dressing up and going out for a nice dinner (which rarely, like once a year happens).

I don’t think my desire to go out is unreasonable. I’m female, I like the anticipation of a special night. Plus it’s fun to take my time getting ready and to have my husband’s undivided attention. Plus as a new mom, I need to get out of the house.

However, perhaps in his eyes, I place too much value in going out and spending money. Whereas, in my mind, I’m happy saving money and staying home. Either way, it doesn’t matter who is right.

The point I’m making is instead of reacting defensively what if I took his critique of my behaviour and analyzed it from a place of humility. A goal I have this year is to become less defensive and more open to change.

Less pride and more humility

I hope I don’t come off as a spoiled brat to my husband, but what if sometimes I do? Are there areas in my heart I need to work on? Can I accept his insight from a place of humility instead of pride and insisting he’s misinformed? Yes.

I am not perfect, neither is he.  Yet there is a lesson I can glean from this interaction.

In reality, my response shows the state of my heart. A closed heart would insist I’m fine, I have no areas to improve. An open heart would be willing to listen to my husband and examine if there is truth to his statement and what changes could be made.

I love my husband but sometimes his words can pierce my heart in a sensitive spot. I have a choice to make. I can either let his words draw us apart or together. It’s my choice.

I want to have a healthy marriage. I want to continue to grow as a person and become more like Christ. When situations like this arise instead of letting them weaken me I choose to let them be a tool to strengthen me.

Sometimes though I have to overlook comments that I know are untrue and remember what I know my husband thinks of me. There are times where I need to give him grace as he also does to me. (I just had a baby so he’s been putting up with a lot of hormones lately).

To clarify I’m not advocating to be a doormat or to be passive. Scripture should be the starting point to determine whether a comment is valid. If something you husband says directly goes against scripture hold him accountable. At that point, it’s not your opinion he’s against it’s God’s.

Instead, I’m asking that we show more humility towards our spouses. To consider we don’t have it all figured out.  Perhaps God has put this person in our life to help mould us into the person He desires us to be.

One final point, pray. Pray for yourself but also pray for your hubby. Pray that you would allow God to strengthen your marriage and make you both more like Christ.

The next time your spouse makes a comment that at first feels unloving before lashing back with a prideful response take a moment and humbly consider their words. Are they in line with scripture? Is this an area you need to work on? Will you let this interaction draw you apart or closer to your spouse?
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4 Ways To Stay Connected with Your Husband After Having a Baby

Becoming a mother has been a transformative experience. I can live on a lot less sleep than I thought, I can be awoken from the deepest of sleep if I hear my baby stirring and I care much less about my needs or wants now that I have this little life depending on me. However, it can be easy for me to get so caught up in baby care, especially during the newborn weeks that my husband can take a backseat. Of course, this isn’t intentional but her needs often take priority during this season of life. Now that our baby is just over five months and we are more settled into our parenting roles this is the advice I would give to a new mom who desires to keep her marriage connected while navigating into parenthood.

1. Know Your Love Language and ASK FOR IT

A lot of the time we are told to know our partners love language so we can love them better. I agree it is important to study your spouse and learn how to fill their love tank. However, when you are postpartum and sleep deprived it’s so important to take care of yourself so that you, in turn, can care for others.

Personally, my love language is physical touch. For me, I need at least 20 seconds of a good, cuddly hug from my husband. After that, I feel so energized, cherished and taken care of. Instead of expecting my husband to read my mind when I’m feeling down I will ask or tell him I need a hug.

If you don’t know your love language take this quiz and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need to help you be the best version of yourself for your family.

2. Get Creative With Date Night

Pre-baby date nights were easy. We could stay out late and be spontaneous. Post-baby we’ve had to make a few adjustments. Such as bringing our baby to dinner with us, eating out on a less busy night like Sunday and bringing my nursing cover. As long as we don’t stay out too long, our baby has done great whenever we’ve gone out to eat.

Another option for date night is having your hubby run out to grab a pizza (feta, pineapple, peppers and buffalo chicken was a recent favourite) and then watching a movie after your baby is in bed.

Date night can be tricky with a new baby but it’s not impossible to set aside time for just you and your hubby. Even if the baby has to tag along with you it is important to have intentional couple time.

Have You Downloaded My FREE Guide of 10 Cheap + Fun Date Night Ideas?

3. Check in with Your Hubby

One thing that helps me feel connected to my husband is our chats before bed. This doesn’t happen every night because he works continental shifts. However, we often catch up when he gets home.

If we don’t see each other at night we will text throughout the day. I try to be intentional to encourage my husband. I thank him for working hard for our family or I’ll send him pictures of our baby.

4. Affirm Actions You Appreciate in Your Husband

Along with encouraging my husband, I try to notice the things he does well and point them out to him. When we magnify positive attributes in our husbands they are more likely to keep doing those things. If your hubby is really good at responding to your baby’s needs or comforting her be sure to point this out to him.

Positive affirmation is rewarding and people will keep doing things they are appreciated for. Refrain from criticizing and try to speak about the good your husband is doing instead.

A new baby brings a lot of changes to a couple’s dynamic. It can be easy for both mom and dad to shift attention off of each other and onto the new bundle of joy. However, it is important to remember that the best thing you can do for your baby is to have a healthy and thriving relationship with your spouse.

The point is to not put pressure on yourselves, these are just suggestions you may not have thought of or already do. Either way, it’s important that you make an effort to keep your marriage connected.

Remember keeping your marriage connected doesn’t have to include a formal or scheduled date night. It just takes remembering to communicate with your spouse, telling them what you need to feel loved, affirming what they are doing well and making time to do things you enjoy together with or around your baby’s schedule.

How to keep your marriage connected as new parents while navigating life with a newborn baby.

5 Ways to Stay Strong Mentally as a Mom

As a new mom or really anyone leading a busy life, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by one’s present circumstances. Maybe you feel stuck or like things will never change or improve.

However, a goal I have for this year is to overcome my mental outlook and instead of being lead by my feelings into despair and sadness I’m working on telling myself how to feel.

My daughter is a great source of joy and I find myself choosing to be happy for her instead of moping around feeling sad or discouraged. She deserves to be happy and I want her to feel secure and loved despite how I’m feeling on the inside.

Along with her motivating me to choose joy here are 5 more methods I implement on a daily basis to stay strong mentally.

1. Listen to uplifting podcasts

Do you listen to podcasts? If so leave me a comment with your favourites down below. If not, why?

Podcasts are super popular right now. There are podcasts for every topic, hobby or interest.

A few of my favourites that keep me motivated, informed and encouraged are The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey, Risen Motherhood, Journey Woman, Surviving Sarah, Lighten Up with Melanie Dale, The Simple Show, The Lazy Genius, Business Wars, Tides of History, and The Popcast.

If you like to listen to podcasts on the go and don’t have an aux cord or built-in Bluetooth this is the adapter I use in my car. The last one we had was super cheap and broke. This one has worked great and is very easy to use.

Bluetooth Adapter

2. Play music

The simple of act of playing upbeat, positive music can instantly uplift your mood. I vacillate between using Spotify and YouTube to stream music. I do enjoy Spotify because of the ease of selecting a playlist to match my mood. YouTube is also nice because there aren’t as many ads.

Here is a kid-friendly playlist on Spotify:

3. Go Outside

I am a total homebody, I love being in my habitat and being productive. However, going for a simple walk with Lyla and listening to a podcast really helps shift my perspective to a more positive one. Never underestimate what a change of scenery can do for your mental state.

I live in a colder climate so most of the year it is not easy to get outside for a walk. I try to go out only if the temperature is above O Celcius and around 2 pm when it’s warmest out. When it’s too cold to be outside I like to walk around a large store and browse or the local mall.

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4. Run an Errand

As much as I love being at home 90% of the time, sometimes I need to get out. Whether it’s running to the post office or Walmart I always feel so much better when I get home. Plus it helps break up the day and Lyla usually naps in the car. It’s a win-win. I get time alone and the baby gets in a good nap.

5. Plan to be Social with Real People

Finally, as much as my introvert self would rather be a recluse I need real people. Even though I live far from some family I try to see them once a month. I also try to video chat with my friends.

Volunteer with Your Baby

It is also important to build a community where you live. To meet new people in your area consider volunteering for a cause you care about. For me, that is food skills and food insecurity. In the past, I have volunteered with Growing Chefs! and VON where I cooked with kids and prepared a low-cost meal for seniors. In this season of life, I’m caring for my daughter and cannot volunteer as frequently as I would like. However, I volunteer in our church’s nursery one Sunday a month. This allows me to socialize with other moms and make new friends.

Join a Local Moms Group

When I moved to my new neighbourhood one of the first things I did was a Facebook search for our neighbourhood moms group. The group is open to any moms wanting to join and each week they have a meet-up to socialize and chat.

Mom life or whatever tasks your life includes on the daily can be draining. I hope these simple ideas will help improve your mood and help you be your best for those around you.Encouragement for new moms trying to stay mentally strong

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My Husband Bought Me Donuts and I Cried…

My husband bought me donuts and I cried.

Maybe it’s because I’m hormonal. Even though I’m six months postpartum.

I cried because of his kindness.
These six donuts were around $20.
These were not ordinary donuts. They were locally made foodie, novelty, bakery donuts.

That we drove 20 minutes to get at a chic downtown shop.

I didn’t find out the price until later that day when he casually mentioned that he wanted to tell me something about the donuts.

At the time I was setting up the tv to watch the hockey playoffs with him.

He explained how the bakery didn’t sell donuts by the dozen or half dozen. Instead, they are individually priced. Therefore for our six donuts, it had cost about $20. 
I stopped what I was doing and went over to him and hugged him. With my face in his chest, I started crying.

Previous to buying the donuts, on the car ride there he informed me I had gone over my data limit for the month on my phone. As a result, we would have to pay an extra fee. With one income it’s not very considerate of me to be so careless.

My husband graciously explained to me how I need to be more careful and consider the time he puts in at work to pay for our families needs. I totally understood and felt awful. I also felt like I had let him down and I was disappointed in myself.

To me, our donut trip was ruined.

Until later that day when I learned despite what I had done, he still bought us donuts and coffee because he knew how much I wanted to try this place.

My husband was a picture of the gospel to me.

He showed me love and favour when I didn’t deserve it.

I cried when I found that out.

If I’m being honest I feel like I disappoint my husband a lot of the time.

I’m often too critical towards him or I complain too much about our circumstances.

I fear that he doesn’t like me.

My thoughts are wrong. He loves me.

He loves me despite my shortcomings.

I want to remember the day he bought me donuts and coffee.

 

My husband bought me donuts. These were not ordinary donuts, but  specialty $20 for a half dozen donuts I didn't deserve. Through his actions he demonstrated the gospel to me.

Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot Book Review

What is one topic you wish the church talked more openly about?

Perhaps it’s sex?

I’m not talking about the standard chat of don’t do this until you’re married or don’t look at porn or don’t dress a certain way.

Why can’t we have an open, judgment-free conversation on sex?

Can we for once celebrate the act God created for our enjoyment?

Can we stop shaming people into ‘purity’?

Can we instead look at sex with a view of the gospel and tell people that no matter what your past, or what you’ve done or has been done to you that you have inherent worth.

That you were created by a King who loves you and wants to give you an abundant Life.

The answer is YES.

Why does it matter what we do with our bodies and who we connect our lives with, sexually? Because you and I were created by a King, a King with specific guidance and direction for us. A King who is incapable of creating worthless things. We were created in the image of God. In that perfect image, created with everything of God-everything wonderful and spiritual and eternal-stamped into our DNA. We are not just here, we aare HIs. And that changes everything.

As you may know from my Instagram I am on the launch team for the book Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot by Mo Isom.

You guys this book is so good and timely. I wasn’t sure before I started reading it I would get through it quickly because I have a baby and I’m busy. However, once I started reading I could not stop. I devoured it in three days. I kept stopping to share snippets with my husband.

Mo shares her sexual testimony from being exposed to her dad’s porn, to hooking up in college and having her own porn struggles to awkwardly trying to embrace sex as good once married.

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I couldn’t relate to every aspect of her story but I really identified with the chapter on her and her husband’s struggles while dating. Let me tell you that season of my life was hard and full of challenges. I wish I had a resource like this book during that time.

Also as a parent, I learned a lot that I want to one day teach my daughter.

Such as having a pure heart produces pure actions.

That although we struggle God wants to change us.

One point that really resonated with me, was this: we don’t sin because we want to be bad. We sin because we think our way is better than God’s way. We think obedience means forsaking something good or we’re going to miss out. Whereas obedience brings life and protection from consequences, pain and separation.

No matter if you’re married, single, dating, in school, young or old you’ve probably believed a lie about sex, your identity and what God has to say about your worth. Mo breaks all these topics down by sharing her honest and hard struggles and how God broke into her story to share there is a better way!

“I think we are often scared to hand over our struggles because we’re intimidated by the extent of the process we think will be necessary to work through things. But if I know the tiniest bit about how God tends to work, I know that HIs fierce compassion and our faith to believe He can break chains in our lives have the power, at times, to collide and bring instantaneous relief.”

If you’re looking for a refreshing view on sex in the context of hope, healing and soul refreshing truth be sure to check out Sex, Jesus and Conversations the Church Forgot.

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My Favourite Baby Products Newborn to 3 Months

Being a first-time mom I did a lot of research on what baby products to have ready for when Lyla arrived. However, you don’t really know what works until your baby is here. For our family, these products have worked well, were mostly inexpensive and made caring for a baby easier. A major goal I had when researching baby items was to find stuff we could get a lot of use out of and not have a ton of baby stuff to store later on.

Sleeping

Pack N’ Play


This was a non-negotiable item for us. I knew we’d get a lot of use out of it from the newborn stage right until she’s a toddler. Pack n’ play’s come from basic all the way to having nappers and change tables. I opted for a more basic pack n’ play with the bassinet as we have a change table with our crib and I wanted her to sleep in the bassinet portion beside our bed at night. I didn’t need the extra accessories taking up room in our small apartment.

Although the pack n play is a bit wide beside our bed I like that it’s a multi-use item and we won’t have to store a bassinet that she’ll outgrow in a few months.

Halo Swaddle Sleepsack


We received this from a friend and at first, I wasn’t sure how to use it. It’s basically a wearable blanket that zips over babies pyjama’s and then there is velcro to ensure a tight and easy swaddle. This was a great option to keep Lyla warm as she born during the late fall. It is also a safer option than a swaddle blanket because the armholes prevent the blanket from going over her head.

Swing


During my research, a lot of moms said a swing was a lifesaver during the first few months. I made sure to add this my registry. Thankfully my aunt gave us this Fisher Price one. It’s super soft, has a newborn insert, plays music and swings at 5 different speeds (although we’ve only used the first two speeds). She takes most of her naps during the day in the swing. Lyla loves how soft and cozy her swing feels.

4 in 1 Crib and Change Table

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When looking for a crib the first place I checked was Amazon as I didn’t want to spend a lot of money (my parents actually gifted us this crib). I showed my husband the various options and he immediately selected this 4 in 1 Portofino crib. It got great reviews and is comparable to more expensive cribs. I wasn’t sure at first that we even needed a change table (I’m kind of a minimalist). However, with both of us being on the tall side the height and convenience of this table is something I really appreciate. Plus it has big, easy to open drawers to store all her diapering supplies, sheets and other nursery items. It also converts to a toddler bed and eventually and double.

Clothing

Before having Lyla I didn’t really know what to dress a newborn in, so I Googled it. I discovered its best to avoid pants for the first bit because the waistband can irritate their umbilical cord. For the first few weeks we dressed her in a onesie (to keep warm) and newborn size pj’s from Carters.

Carter’s Pj’s

Baby Pajamas

We liked these Carter’s pj’s because they were super soft, cute, easy to buy and affordable. As I said these are all she wore until she fit into her 0-3 month clothes.

George white onesies

I love these basic Walmart onesies, they’re easy to get on and off. Although they do run a little on the larger size. She’s still wearing the newborn size at 2 and half months.

Bows