We’re Not Created Equal

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I’d always vowed I’d never marry someone who thought I should be subservient. I wanted to be equal with my spouse. I didn’t want to do all the duties traditionally seen as “women’s work” alone. Today, I’m so thankful I have a husband who helps me, encourages me, and supports me.

After being married for 10 years, I’ve realized that it’s okay to have “woman” and “men” duties, as long as you’re always offering to help each other out. God tells us to be Christ-like, and I believe it is often hardest to be so with our husbands because we are so comfortable around them.

Sometimes, we can get caught in our selfishness and forget the hard work, time, and effort our spouse is putting into something. We focus on how late they came home, always being on the phone, and not being as present as we would like them to be; but to be Christ-like is to “encourage one another and build each other up…” I Thessalonians 5:11 (New Internationaal Version.) We should be one another’s biggest supporters and work together as a team to achieve each other’s goals in anything we do.

Four years ago, my husband’s job relocated us to move up north. Away from friends and family, 8 months pregnant, and raising an 18-month old. One would think this Boston girl would be excited to be back up north, but instead, I was devastated. I had no family or friends close by. My family was still a six-hour drive away. I had no choice, but to stand behind my husband and choose to believe he was making the right choice for our family. We lived in Philly for 14 months. During those months I would have said those were the worst months of my life. Now, when I look back, they were not the best, but they definitely helped our family grow spiritually.  It was a time in my life, I had no choice but to let go and let God. I spoke to Him daily because I had no one else. God listened, and I started understanding Him more. Our faith grew more than ever, and my husband and I knew as a family we would get through this with God’s grace. We prayed for a change, for doors to open, and for us to be okay with whatever He hands us. Low and behold, He did just what we had prayed for which allowed us to move back to Florida. I can look back on this chapter in our lives and say that this time was the biggest turning point for my husband and I. We were forced to rely on each other and God.

We are not created equal in our talents and skills, but that means we must learn how to become one flesh ever day. I imagine that even couples having been together 50 plus years are still learning new ways to do so. I know we will encounter roadblocks along the way, and we will fight hard to work through them. Marriage is difficult—an uphill battle in so many ways, but when you find that steady running pace that works for both of you, amazing things can happen.

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I have been a stay at home mom for almost seven years now, and my husband will still help out when he gets home from work. Working for himself, he has a more flexible schedule, but I’ve had to accept his work is done in unconventional places like restaurants. I’ve started a fitness coaching business which means I’m on social media and my phone more than I would like. With all of our life stages we continue to find our balance between work, family, alone, and social time. As long as we’re working together towards bettering ourselves and our relationship I think we’re headed in the right direction.

How has God impacted your relationship with your spouse to help you find a better balance?

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Prem Adams

After six years of committing her energy, heart, and time into her family, Prem ventured into the world of fitness. Always having the desire to help people reach their goals, she believes she’s found her calling. While still being wife and mother, she coaches individuals through private bootcamps on how to incorporate fitness and nutrition into their busy lifestyles. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing on nutrition, fitness, and Christian parenting.

If you’re interested in finding out more about her bootcamps you can email her at mycolorjoy@gmail.com or follow her Instagram page@mycolorofjoy.

Finding Splendor in Time

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I dug up the rocks and plopped them in a bucket, leaving digits in our front yard. Churned up over and over by the farmers in the hopes our soil would eventually swallow them, but the stubborn rocks still prevented the football games I’d imagined here. I stretched the kink out of my back, as my husband, the builder, wants to take my picture. I pose with my shovel.

“My country girl.” He laughed and shook his head, not understanding why I like to play in the dirt. I’m a do-it-yourself kind of gal, while he’s a “we’ll just hire someone to do it” kind of guy, but somehow in our zooming twenty years of marriage, we fit like the soil hardened around those large rocks jutting my yard.

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Bella joined me. I told her to search for dinosaur bones, and she’s delighted.

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The next day, Colin and I drove the ATV to the river to look for fossils. I’d read shark teeth were found there. We dug in spots at the edge of the dark water only finding the treasure of each other again.

“Momma, we need to get a metal detector. Imagine the pirate treasure that could’ve washed up here from the ocean,” he said. Several times metal detector comes up as Colin often does when his pubescent mind wants something.

“Colin, you need to learn to live in the moment God puts in front of you, instead of yearning for something better.” I found a piece of driftwood. “Here, look for driftwood if you’re tired of digging in the sand.”

“But it’s just wood,” Colin said.

“It’s a piece of art, wood that is shaped and preserved by the salty waters.”

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We hiked along the beach and woods searching for nature’s art, spotting large cat tracks, coyote, raccoon, deer, wild hog along the way. A wildland recorded as scary to the white settlers. A place the Native American’s hid. A land we love. He made me laugh. A twig snaps. We spun around. My middle son Christian snuck up on us in full camouflage.

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“You guys need to clear out by 6:30pm,” he said walking toward us. “I’m hunting wild hog tonight.”

I stepped back knowing he’ll scold me for wearing perfume and leaving a trail along the beach. He walked on without noticing.

“How much time do we have?” I said.

Colin glanced at his phone. “Twenty minutes.”

I sighed.

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Our twentieth wedding anniversary snuck up on me this week. Earlier, Jay suggested dinner out. It seemed casual. We glanced at our sick Bella on the sofa snuggled with Nick, my eldest son. The builder wanted time… my time. I agreed to go.

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He pulled into the Ritz at Amelia Island. “Can’t we go to some small seafood place on the beach?  Someplace dark and intimate.”

“Nope, it’s a special night tonight,” he said.

We sat in the lounge. My black pants were a little short as my ankles peeked out. It was too cold for the dress I bought. I tugged my pants down to touch my ankle boots. He handed me a glass and we toasted our twenty years. The guitar player played our song, Someone to Watch Over Me. Gershwin’s words bring my late twenties with them. I didn’t think I needed him then. I just wanted him.

Today, I know I need him to watch over. He shoves the gun and radio in my hand before I head to the woods, while I roll my eyes. He yells at me as I dive off the ATV when it starts to tip over. While I never worry about dangers, he keeps a lookout. While I like to do the work, he tries to make life easier by hiring the help.

At the Ritz, he kneeled on one knee. His lip quivered. He opened a box. I stared at the contents afraid to touch the too much. “Will you have me another twenty years?” he said. Tears filled his eyes. He was more nervous than he was asking me the first time. He’s tried to build a perfect moment.

I lifted my weathered hand… artist and mother…hands that are washed too much. He slipped the ring on my finger, and I saw the remnants of our dig still under my nails after all the brushing. I’m embarrassed.

“That’s your original diamond, just a new setting. I built it myself.” He’s proud. I told him I’m relieved he didn’t trade up my diamond. “I wanted to build on our foundation,” he said.

I glanced at the ring and see my ankles sticking out again. I remembered the scolding I gave Colin to enjoy the moment in front of him. I forget my fingernails. Stopped tugging at my pants. Gratefulness pinks my cheeks. I lowered my hand and looked at my treasure. A treasure I found drifting by when I was picking in the dirt of my career. In him, I’ve found splendor in the grasses of time, in the plucking out the rocks so the roots of love grow deep, and in the simple moments that drift by.  

He lowered his glass. “I reserved a room on the ocean, but since Bella’s sick I didn’t think you’d want to stay the night, but we can get room service. Spend some time alone before going back.”

I smiled. “That sounds perfect.”

 

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Far Reaching Branches

There is a citrus tree in my garden, although one would never know, for it has yet to produce a single piece of fruit. One day feeling green, I stuck the roots in a hole and filled in the dirt around the base. Standing back, I wiped the soil on my jeans, and admired my twig, before walking away. That is the extent of the care I’ve given my fruit tree.
“Baby, you do realize you’ve placed a citrus tree in a small corner of the garden. It needs light and space to grow.” My husband said, six months later.
I called the neighbors attempting to find new parents for my tree.
“It’s a good little tree. Won’t be a nuisance whatsoever. All it needs is a yard with plenty of sunshine. It will give you plenty of citrus fruit.” I said.
“What kind of citrus?” A neighbor asked.
“Um…I don’t know. The citrusy kind I guess.”
There were no takers.
Two years later, it grows wildly it’s many limbs spiral over the pavers and back again. I imagine it’s stretching it’s arms out, in attempt to wiggle out of it’s small space, but it’s produced no fruit, for all of it’s energy has gone into the limbs…into the reaching.
Jesus used an illustration of the grape vine when teaching the disciples. In John 15 he said, “I am the true grapevine and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more.” (NLT verse 1-3)
“Yes, I am the vine you are the branches. Those who remain (abide) in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain (abide) in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” (NLT vs 5-6)
There is no real spiritual fruit in your life apart from Jesus.
The vine feeds the branches, and God the gardener takes care to cut off branches that are not producing.
Looking back, there have been times in my life where my branches sprawled all over, I’ve had my attention reaching out to perform good deeds, buying the latest, and performing for the approval of man. I’ve scattered my attention so broadly, I’ve neglected my personal walk with Jesus. Today, I wonder if any of those deeds produced fruit at all.
Multiple times, God has walked the garden of my marriage and chopped away things that produce void. He has taken away relationships that drove us towards materialism. He removed things that have kept us from depending on Him as a couple. With those vast branches detached our limbs point upward, and our hearts yearn for a smaller life…a simpler life. Little by little…chunk by chunk…He cut away the weight that tore our attention away from our vine Jesus.
Our branches unburdened by the useless weight of this world feel true freedom to grow fruit.

True freedom is found only in the will of our Lord.
I walked through the garden this morning, and found my landscapers felt pity on me and cut back my fruit tree. A beam of sunshine shot through the shadows and flittered over it’s crown. We will see if fruit can grow in small spaces.
I think it can.

Personal Application: Are you finding your limbs spreading out over the earth reaching for empty activities, materials, or destructive relationships? A fulfilled, meaningful life is a life attached to the true vine Jesus Christ. If you haven’t accepted Christ, you haven’t experienced true freedom. Today ask Christ to take your life and fill it with Him. Know that Jesus died for you… YOU…no matter what you’ve done…no matter who you are… He loves you, He knows you, and He wants you. He wants to attach you to Him and give you a fuller life, a life filled with promise, hope, and a purpose.