Tag Archives: investing

The End of the Honeymoon?

I have a complaint about this concept of the “end of the honeymoon.” I hear from all parts that inevitable disappointment awaits every bride after she has been married awhile. That all women feel it after the newness has worn off. When we are advised to adjust our unrealistic expectations. When we are advised to resign ourselves to his shortcomings.

Oh, I didn’t realize he was a human being. Why didn’t anyone tell me? It’s never supposed to occur to me that he might be noticing my shortcomings now too.

Christian sources tell us to make the best of our now permanently lowered expectations. Elisabeth Elliot, I suspect charitably attempting to meet women where they are, offered this advice:

A wife at that stage of marriage realizes this is not exactly the man she envisioned before the wedding ceremony. This person whom she thought was a prize package has turned out to be a surprise package. But the more you can offset the differences in your personalities and the way you respond to each other, the more you can learn to enjoy this man.

My husband once made the statement: “If a woman conceded the fact that her husband was perhaps up to 80 percent of her expectations, she ought to consider herself very lucky.” Still, what’s she going to do with the other 20 percent?

You can pick away at that 20 percent for the rest of your life, but you’re not going to reduce it by very much. One of the secrets of a good marriage is learning to accept with gladness the 80 percent you’ve got.

I have been married to my husband for 31 years and I seem to have missed the Disappointment Memo.

I am no idiot, I’m no marriage genius, and I’m just as human as anybody else. There are no rose-colored glasses. He is not perfect. He’s human.

We have been through the same sorts of challenges which are common to most marriages, as well as our own particular troubles. Undiagnosed chronic illness which included nine months in bed and all the attendant emotions and turmoil. We’ve raised six extraordinary and sometimes emotionally difficult people. (Sorry kids.) We’ve experienced extended unemployment, financial stress, depressions, sorrows, disappointments, and cosmic bewilderment.

We’ve seen each other at our worst. In marriage, this is absolutely inevitable. When you get married, you make a choice to face a future containing the most stressful, emotionally difficult times you will ever experience. You will work side-by-side at a life full of responsibilities that will be as much as you can bear. More than you bear; you will be overwhelmed. You will see the worst of each other.

How did we do this without becoming disappointed? You’ll have to ask him for his answer; I guarantee it will reflect well on him. How have I avoided disappointment?

It’s very simple. I never wanted to go there.  I did not WANT to be disappointed. I did not want to believe negatives about him.  I didn’t give myself the opportunity.  It was intuitive and automatic.  I didn’t think about it—I just did not do it.

WHY would I want to think that my companion for life was a disappointment? It sounds self-defeating to me.

I did not want to believe that I was better than him.

For a short-term feeling of superiority, we will plant seeds of discontent in our own gardens. God gives us the person he created to be our spouse from the foundation of the world, moves heaven and earth to help us find each other, and we choose to be disappointed.

Ah, but that little thing we can feel superior about…we can replay it over and over in our minds. We can relish that feeling of outrage and self-righteousness again and again.  It’s really worth it, right?

Meanwhile, we can ever-so-slightly pull away from him, allowing that self-interested item to build a little wall between us. We can feel OK about not respecting him, on this issue at least.  We’re justified. We’re being realistic. Because it would be foolish not to see it, right?

Foolish it is. Don’t I acknowledge that I have become ONE with my husband? I chose him. We two have become one, at once both a hardly-comprehensible mystical union formed by the hand of God, and a practical, functional team toiling about the real business of daily life on Earth.

How do I believe that, live it, and yet step aside and pull for myself, against him? It’s one way or the other.



Burying Your Gifts at Home

Are you a SAHM?  Are you wasting your abilities?

I recently heard a speaker on a very popular Christian radio program talking about her career/ministry hybrid.  She stated in passing that she would be burying her gifts if she stayed home.

Are your gifts being buried at home? Can I ask the question only slightly differently?

 Are your God-given gifts being wasted if you don’t have a career or a ministry outside your home?

What are you saying when you say that you have talents and gifts which would be wasted at home? Aren’t you saying:

    To be a wife and mother requires only a basic skill set which nearly every woman has. It’s the default.

     But you have some extra skills or talents which equip you to do something more than being a homemaker, wife and mother.

     That you have special talents that the world needs, and that those talents are not needed at home.

     Or that the world’s need of those talents supersede your family’s need for those talents.

     Or that you choose to cultivate your gifts in the working or ministry world rather than in your ministry at home.

Is what I just wrote unfair?

If you are a stay-at-home-mom, are you burying the abilities God gave you–hiding them–rendering them useless and unproductive? Do you think you are burying your gifts in the same way that the faithless servant buried his talent in the ground?  Let’s look at Matthew 25: 14-30.

Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them.  To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability.  Then he went on his journey.  The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.  But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

After a long time, the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five.  “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with five talents.  See, I have gained five more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

The man with the two talents also came.  “Master,” he said, “you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.”

His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!”

Then the man who had received the one talent came.  “Master,” he said, “I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground.  See, here is what belongs to you.”

His master replied, “You wicked, lazy servant!  So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

“Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The lord came back to his estate and severely punished that servant (referred to as wicked) because he had wasted the talent given him.  He was expected to invest the talent and to receive a multiplied return for his master. Instead he had lazily and fearfully hidden the gift and simply gave it back when the master returned. He had not produced any fruit.

No, you are not the wicked servant.

The talent “buried” in your home and in your family’s lives is not the one the wicked servant  buried. It is the talent faithfully invested which produced tenfold. 

The good servant was commended for faithfully and obediently stewarding that talent so that the return could be given back to the Master.

For it always belonged to the Master.  The talent was never the servants’ to hoard, or to hide, or to keep, or to waste. It came from the Master and to the Master it would return.

     Do you really not see that using your gifts at home, in faithfully loving your husband, in raising your children, in discipling the children, in tending your own estate…is investing, and not burying?

You have been given special and unique talents which were designed to apply uniquely to your home and your family.

You will have the privilege of returning the produce of the gifts the Master has given you, invested and persevered in, many-fold. And perhaps your faithfulness will be commended too. “For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.  Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.”

The rewards for investing where the Master has directed are rich indeed.  What you invest there will reproduce geometrically far into the future, generation after generation.

Do we have options?  Are we perfectly free to choose whether we will invest in our motherhood/family/marriage…or our profession?

And is there some sort of “balance” we can achieve where we are making the best of both options?

Is being a parent only one of our options?

Here’s what I think.

When you welcome a child into your family, you have a built-in career, profession and calling. This career is instant and permanent.  It’s Job #1.  Any other claim upon your time, energy, and engagement is a distant second.

You are the resource, the material God used to make the one and only mother for your children.  No one else is able to do that job.

And you will answer to The Master for how you invested the talents He gave you; you will be accountable for the return you produced for Him.

If you are a mom who is contemplating going to work, here are some questions.

Do you think that those unique human beings you are stewarding can be maintained and cared for by someone else with no special qualifications…that their basic needs being met is adequate?

Or do you believe that they do need special engagement with a special someone?

And are you content to let someone else pour herself into their lives; to be the one, spending approximately 40 to 50 hours a week substituting for you?

Are you OK with sharing the memories, the character-building, the values-teaching? That someone else will, part time, model for your children the primary relationship which will be the model for all other relationships.

No one is doing that with my children but me. In fact, no one else can do that job for me.

Are you brave enough to be “just” a stay-at-home-mom?  Are you able to be comfortable with being identified as a mom, and not as a (insert career choice here) who is staying home with your kids…for now?

While all those around you are teachers and moms, and RN’s and moms, and sales reps and moms, and PhD’s and moms, are you brave enough, confident enough, to be “just” a mom?

And if you are very young, are you brave enough to become a mom with no career behind you- with no other identity but wife and mother?

It will require bravery and conviction.  Because the world all around you will be communicating that what you are doing is not really enough, but that your choice is alright for you because that’s all you can do.

What you are being asked to do is to give up being validated by the world, and even by those in your own community who you respect.

But we need to be people who are content to joyfully give the Master what is His, after we have spent ourselves in cultivating and multiplying what He gave us.

I want my gifts buried in my family.

My Home is for Sharing


Hospitality begins at home.

Before hospitality becomes outward-focused, in showering our kindness on those from outside our home, hospitality must be intentionally inward-focused, showering our family members with love and acceptance.

Hospitality toward others must be built on a foundation of something good you have established in your home.  Guests will sense what we are. If we are stressed and fearful about making the physical environment just right, but our family relationships are disregarded and unloving, guests will see that.  If my energy is spent on engaging with my family and my goal is loving them, guests will see that.  It will make my home a place that they want to be in. People who visit our home should want to be included in what’s already going on

Hospitality is sharing your HOME, not your house.  It is sharing your home, that is, sharing the family you have established and lavished your love on along with the place you do that in. Your goal should be to make your home a haven, a place where people are loved, accepted, valued and supported.  That is, first to your family members, and very definitely secondly, to those who come into your home.

Your first primary and most important objects of hospitality are those people in your own family. You know, the ones God gave you. The people He planned from the beginning of Creation to be in your family, living their lives next to you day after day. He had reasons for putting these people in your life, and His reasons are always perfect and right.

And since God is the essence of love, and since we are to be like Him…it follows that we ought especially to deliberately love those people.

Sharing Our Home

I believe that God gave me and my husband a home to share.  It’s a talent given to us, not to be buried in the ground, but to be invested. We invest our home and family comfort in the people with whom we are seeking to build relationships. Our home and family are gifts not to be hoarded but shared.