A Letter

I’v been reading this book today, Don’t Settle for Safe by Sarah Jakes Roberts. Very rarely have I read a book that impacted my life in such a short amount of time. I will go into more details another time, but I wanted to quote one of the last pages.

Side note, I’ve cried multiple times during the course of reading it. God used it and will continue to use it to propel me to what’s next. At first, I was resistant. Growing hurts. Pruning is painful. You have to look at yourself, for who you really are, and face the things you’ve been ignoring and forgive yourself. Ok. Enough with that. This is taken from page 153-154 of her book titled Don’t Settle for Safe….

             You can no longer afford to trust the treasure that is your heart to anyone who says you’re beautiful. Anyone can admire a diamond, but few recognize the quality and care required to keep it beautiful. For too long your insecurities made you so desperate for attention that you handed over your golden heart to people who’ve only handled glitter. This is not their fault; it’s yours. You ignored the signs, hoping they would wake up one day and see your worth. The truth is it’s time for you to wake up. You can no longer go through life unconsciously hurting yourself and asking someone else to heal you. The power for you to overcome is already inside of you. The longer you stay, the more you deny the strength you have to move on. You’re better than the you’ve subscribed to. There is still beauty inside of you. There’s nothing you’ve lost in this process that can’t be restored, but you must determine how you will spend your grace. Don’t give your patience away to people that will abuse it. Don’t give your courage away to people who don’t understand it. Surround yourself with people who can reciprocate what you pour. Let their validation be an overflow that allows you to touch the lives of other broken people. This is bigger than you. This is about redefining love and esteem in a culture determined to make us feel less than. You are the hero you’ve been looking for. So put on your cape, get off your knees, and stop begging for someone to love you. Love yourself. Seek God and all other things will be added to you. 

I really can’t think of an appropriate response to that. It feels like I should mic-drop and walk away. But I can’t. I know you are hurting. I know you feel lost. I know you listened to the bad things people have said about you and allowed it to take root in your heart. Maybe you’re starting to believe those things. But i’m here to tell you. You are not your past. You are not defined by the things you have done. You have the power to change your trajectory. I know because, while failing over and over again, I’m still here. God still reminds me daily of the things I’m called to do. Don’t let your past weigh you down. Also, don’t repeat the negative things you are or have been ashamed of. I’m talking to myself as much as I’m talking to you. I’ll be the first to tell you my flaws. But I have some locked away in my heart that I’ve recently started dealing with, so healing can take place, and I can be a vessel of love.

Buy this book. It will change your life. But don’t ready it until you’re ready to face some things that will be painful. It’s time to be real with ourselves.

XOXO

Jess

The Weekends are Always the Hardest

I have so much I want to say today I’m going to try and share this with you in the best way I know how, which is real, raw and painful.

The holidays are my thing. I love having a house full of people. I’m constantly baking, Christmas music is always playing. It’s a magical time. It’s a reminder of why we’re all here. Jesus. But lately, I’ve been dreading it. All of it. I don’t want to celebrate Thanksgiving. I don’t want to put my Christmas tree up. I hear Christmas music and I cringe. I’ve dealt with these type of feelings when I was a teenager/young adult because I always felt alone. My birthday is on Christmas, and (most) everyone forgets. Wah, wah, right? I know. There are bigger problems in the world. This year is different though. My husband won’t be here for Thanksgiving. He won’t be here for Christmas. He won’t here for Bella’s birthday, my birthday, Elisha’s first Christmas or Paisley’s birthday. Like I’ve said before, I know military mom’s do this all the time. And again, I applaud you for your strength. I look to you for inspiration.

I mentioned in one of my last bog posts the story of Mary Magdalene and how important this story is to me. I’ve always felt a connection to her. Her love was lavish, uncontrollable and it made people uncomfortable. She was an outcast, or as I like to call her, a wierdo. Just like me. She acted ridiculous in front of Jesus and His disciples. She didn’t care at all. Because this is the same Mary that was caught in the act of sex, with someone that wasn’t her husband. The Pharisees dragged her out into the street. I’m certain she felt shame. She was naked and vulnerable and humiliated. I imagine she felt like the lowest person on earth; like she was of no value.

I want to backtrack a little bit on myself. I grew up from the age of 15 without a dad. I didn’t know what it was like to feel the love of a father. So much like Mary, there were times (and still are) that I feel shame. Guilt. Humiliation. Vulnerable. My heart was hardened.

But just like Mary, my first encounter with Jesus, my REAL encounter with Jesus, set me free. He came down to my level. He lifted my chin and looked me in my eyes and told me I was valuable to Him. Ever since then, it’s been a battle in my mind to remind myself that He sees me as cherished and valued.

Mary had a special relationship with Jesus. Her act of love was instigated by her, not the opposite. She had fallen at His feet when He drew the line in the sand. She had fallen at His feet during her display of extravagant worship. She experienced His love, protection and deliverance. He cast  7 demons out of her!

Lazarus was sick. So sick that he died. Jesus took 4 days to get to Lazarus. Martha ran to meet Him, but Mary stayed behind. Remember, Mary loved Jesus on a level that some of us may not ever understand (although I hope to). I believe she was feeling rejected and forgotten. If Jesus had been there, Lazarus wouldn’t have died. When Jesus finally arrived, He comforted Martha but He knew the love that Mary had for Him. He called Mary by name. She didn’t run to the grave to mourn. She ran to the place of her Savior’s feet that had been a source of comfort for her. The same place where she met Him the first time during her moment of humiliation and shame, the same place where she poured out her love on Him.  He stands her up to look into her eyes. She says to Him “Where have you been? You’re late.” I see this as a moment where she was mad at Him for not being there. She couldn’t hide her feelings towards Him. But being the Jesus that we serve, He looks at her with tears in His eyes (Jesus wept) and said “I’m not late. Take me to see my friend Lazarus.” In other words, TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN. He tells them to roll the stone away and He commands the grave wrappings to loosen and free him. This is significant because Jesus wants to come to Him raw. NO matter how angry we are with Him. He’s saying TAKE ME TO THE SOURCE OF YOUR PAIN and let Me fix it. When we are real with Him, even though He already knows, the bondage that has us bound can fall off at His command and set us free. What the devil meant for harm, Jesus turned it around and made it into something good.

So next time you’re (me) weeping uncontrollably on the bathroom floor, so badly that you’re blinded, cry out to Jesus. Take Him to the source of your pain.

I don’t have all the answers. All these words sound great. But it doesn’t bring my husband home. It doesn’t bring my family back together. But it reminds me that Jesus is FOR ME. HE IS FOR YOU. Not against me. Not against you. He has plans to give us a hope and a future. John 13:7 says “You do not realize what I am doing, but later you understand.” If you’re impatient like me, which I’m sure you’re not, this is so hard for me to grasp. It doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me hurt worse. I know it’s supposed to do the opposite. I’m just being honest with you because I know there is someone out there that is battling something and you feel like God has abandoned you. He hasn’t. Even though it feels like it, He hasn’t. Keep your hope and keep your faith Even if all you can muster up is the faith the size of a mustard seed. He said that’s all we need. My precious Bella told me the difference in hope and faith is that hope is something you think or want to happen but faith is something you know will happen. Out of the mouth of babes!

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Luke 7:47-“Therefore I tell you, her sins have been forgiven-as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little”

Be Blessed,

Jess the Haute Mess

Celebrity Crush?!

What I’m about to say isn’t going to go over well with some of you. But that’s ok. Before we get started, let me be transparent with you (my favorite thing to do…not!!). I am just as guilty of these things as the next person. We all are. At least I think. Something that really bothers me is when I hear a married woman talk about her “celebrity crush”. Remember, I’ve been guilty of this before. But God rang my bell today and you get to benefit from it! Or be mad at me. It’s your choice. Just remember, God corrects those He loves so you should be flattered that He loves you so much!!

I was curious at the actual definition of “attractive” so of course I googled it.

at·trac·tive
əˈtraktiv/Submit
adjective
(of a thing) pleasing or appealing to the senses.
“an attractive home”
(of a person) appealing to look at; sexually alluring.
“an attractive, charismatic man”
synonyms: good-looking, beautiful, pretty, handsome, lovely, stunning, striking, arresting, gorgeous, prepossessing, fetching, captivating, bewitching, beguiling, engaging, charming, enchanting, enticing, appealing, delightful, winning, photogenic, telegenic; More
(of a thing) having beneficial qualities or features that induce someone to accept what is being offered.
“the site is close to the high-rent district, which should make it attractive to developers”
synonyms: appealing, inviting, tempting, irresistible

This bothered me even more!! It made me think, what is the motivation behind our celebrity crushes? As married women, we shouldn’t be looking at anyone BUT our husbands to make us feel these things. We should be looking at them as sexually alluring, handsome and my favorite: arresting. Whoa. Think about someone being arrested. Stopped in your tracks. Holy smokes hot. If we aren’t looking at our husbands that way, we have a heart condition of lust. Yes I said it. Lust. The bible is pretty clear on issues of lust, too. In Matthew 5:27-29 it says

“You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY’; 28but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29″If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.…”

That’s pretty intense. Yes, it says everyone who looks at a woman, but this applies to women looking at men too. Dare I bring up 50 Shades of Grey? I’ve never read the book. I never will. But I have a general idea of what the book was about. I also know that hundreds of thousands of CHRISTIAN women went to see this movie. Remember Magic Mike? Same thing! This movie was about male strippers. We should be so wrapped up in the love of Christ, that seeing a man nude or semi-nude, makes our hearts break. God gave us marriage as a gift. Something beautiful and sacred. How are we hurting our marriage by watching these movies, reading these books or looking at other men with lust?

I know some of you right now are trying rationalize your feelings. Saying ugly things about me. That’s ok. I know that God has better for us, as women. I’m not condemning you. I’m saying, how much better could our lives be if we turned our hearts away from these things and turned them towards the things of God? Galatians 5:9 says

“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”

That means that all it takes is one little teeny-tiny, seemingly innocent thought and then it gets bigger and bigger and bigger and before you know it, you have a really big problem. Think about when you make homemade bread. Wait, does anyone do that anymore?? It starts off small, but after a few hours of the yeast doing it’s thing, you have a ball of dough so big that you have to punch it to make it manageable again.

So how do we stop the lust in our hearts? Use the Word! The bible says in Philippians 4:8

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Simple! Control your thoughts. No, that’s not really so simple, is it? Ok so how about taking our thoughts captive and instead of feeding those thoughts, we start thinking about things that are pure, lovely, admirable and worthy of praise? If we can make that our habit, we can defeat it. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at your former celebrity crush and thinking, “ew. what did I ever see in him?”

Men, this is for you too. I’m not just calling out the ladies here.

I wrote this in love and I hope you receive it in love. We are more than conquerors!

Is there (sex)Life after kids?

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Let’s just cut to the chase on this on y’all. 

As a mother of 2 toddlers and a 9 year old, I’m tired. Everyday. Life, fall-down-don’t-talk-to-me-dog-tired. And that’s after I’ve had my morning coffee! Which brings me to my next topic. Is there (sex)Life after kids? 

Of course there is. But husbands, listen up. I’m going to drop some knowledge on you that will help you in your romantic efforts to woo your wife. 

I asked several women a series of questions related to romance, sex, motherhood, etc. These were seasoned moms, new moms, moms with 1 child, moms with 100 children…ok not 100. But any amount of children over 3 seems like 100 to me!

When you become a mom, no one tells you that you also become a maid, a chef, a nurse, an engineer, a seamstress, an artist and a hero. But you always feel like a failure. That’s a lot of hats to wear Especially when you factor in being a wife, a sexpot, a Proverbs 31 women. I mean, our rolls as a mama and a wife are challenging. I won’t even go into if you’re a working mom. Bless your hearts! Working moms, I respect and applaud you. 

After reading through the questionnaire, I struggled. There were some things I just couldn’t talk about from my perspective out of respect for my husband. I also realized that I’m not alone and neither are you!! The best thing though? I’m not crazy. I was really worried about that. 🙂

Like the moms I interviewed, I took my pre-baby body for granted. All my life, I was more on the thin side. Except for a few years in my twenties where all I did was eat to soothe my wounded soul. Seriously. (On a side note, be kind to one another. You never know what kind of pain you could be causing your “friends”. But that’s another blog topic.) So I never really had hips at all. Now I have them and am pleased as punch! Some changes were great after baby. Others….Not so much. I’m talking shrinking breasts, stretch marks, extra weight, loose, skin…want me to keep going? Yeah me either. Our bodies are truly sabotaged after babies. Unless you’re a genetic mutant like Gisele or Heidi Klum. Thanks Victoria’s Secret for constantly reminding us of what we will never live up to!

*Don’t be mislead, I wouldn’t change anything. I love my children. They’re innocence, laughter, stubbornness and general awesomeness bless me EVERYDAY. But we mama’s still want time alone.

Another thing about being a mom that no one tells you, is boobs. I don’t care what books, magazines, doctors and websites tell you, THEY CHANGE AFTER PREGNANCY! They go from giant, glorious milk-filled mounds of softness to deflated balloons that were spectacular balloon-animals in their previous life. How is this fair?!

With Valentine’s day approaching, I feel the need to address romance. I’m fairly certain (actually 100% certain) that men and woman have totally different views on romance. Duh. Chocolate? Flowers? Psh. Please. What woman want is to go to the bathroom alone. We want you to draw us a hot bubble bath and, at whatever the cost, keep the kids from pounding on the bathroom door! That’s romantic!! Buy us books!! Chicks love books. Guys, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. The more time you make for your wife to get  break/downtime/be alone, the more she will make an effort to BE ALONE WITH YOU. There. You’re welcome!

No amount of affirmation you give us will ever make us more confident. We’ll never believe you when you tell us we’re the hottest/sexiest/whateverest woman you’ve ever seen. Want to make us feel that way? Turn your heads when we’re walking by Victoria’s secret in the mall. Don’t watch the VS fashion show on tv. Turn the channel when hot girls are in the commercials or the cheerleaders from your favorite team are on the screen. When we try to turn the lights off before “bed”, ask to keep them on a little longer. Tell us how beautiful we are, stretch marks and all. And ladies, don’t tell him to shut up, say “yeah right” or anything else we say when our men try to compliment us. JUST SAY THANK YOU. It’s these words and actions that will reinstate our confidence as a wife, mother and woman. And for you feminists out there, I know our confidence shouldn’t come from our man. But he does have a powerful influence on the way we carry ourselves. 

I hope this helps. I know it has helped me. Guys, be patient with us. We’ll come around. I promise!

The following post is for adults only! If you are easily offended, this is not for you.

First off, let me just say that the following post is my opinion. Not the final say, not a doctor’s advice. Nothing. Just me. If you are easily offended, you should stop reading now. Also, let me just go ahead and say that my husband doesn’t have a porn-addiction problem. I know how rumors can get started.

Why is talking about sex so taboo in the church? God created it for our pleasure and enjoyment within our marriage. But no one ever really talks about it in a positive light. All we hear is “Don’t do it until you’re married.” Hmmm.

Pornography is a problem. Right?? 59% of MARRIED CHRISTIAN men look at porn!!! I don’t know about you, but that’s shocking to me. That means that there’s a chance that your husband (yes, yours!) is looking at pornographic magazines, watching pornographic movies or fantasizing about someone other than you. Is your man to blame? Yes, of course he is. In Ephesians 5:25, MSG, it says “Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church-a love marked by giving, not getting.” I interpret that in many different ways. Jesus would never cheat on us. When you’re looking at porn, you are cheating on your spouse!!!!

Now here’s the part where you might not like what I have to say….Are we, as wives, to blame for our husband’s porn addiction?

That’s a hard question to take in. But chew on it for a moment.

Colossians 3:18, MSG, says “Wives, understand and support your husbands by submitting to them in ways that honor the Master.” Did you hear that? Support. Understand. Nowhere does it say nag, complain about what you don’t have, degrade or boss him around! We are to honor our husbands. Build them up. Encourage them. Love them.

So now let’s talk about how we can do this. Real talk. No filter. Ok?

Guys are simple. They can be like cavemen at times. You know that you get tired of putting the toilet seat down/washing their underwear or whatever other menial task we loving wives do to take care of our man. So I’m sure the last thing on your mind, most days, is sex.

Now, I’m not a guy. But if I had to guess one of the reasons guys look at porn, it would have to boredom/unsatisfying sex life. Yes, bored and unsatisfied with us. Bored with our ponytails, the 10+ extra pounds we’ve gained over the years, our ugly bathrobes and hello kitty house slippers, and our not-at-all-sexy flannel pajamas. It’s like he’s living with his little sister!! I dare you to throw those pajamas away. In fact, burn them. Go to Victoria’s Secret and buy something lacey, racy and sexy! Go to the gym. Lost that weight. No, for real this time. Exercise is also very good for your sex drive so not only will you gain confidence as you lose weight but it also increases your testosterone (you won’t grow a beard) which, as we know, makes our husband’s sex drive quite larger than ours. Fix your hair. Wear your eyeliner the ways he likes it. Yes, my husband notices those things. Dig down deep and find your inner pin-up girl!

Now for the graphic part. Again, if you’re easily offended, now would be the time to stop reading.

The Bible is clear on one thing. Sex between a husband and wife is hot. Read Song of Solomon. Ask your husband to read it to you and watch what happens. It’s dope y’all.

Hebrews 13:4, MSG, says “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex.” In other words, try any position your husband requests. Stop worrying about your butt/thighs/belly/whatever. Seriously! Try role-playing. Don’t wait on him to show an interest in sex. Jump him as soon as he gets home from work. Surprise him in the shower. Get in with him!!! Try not saying no for a whole month and watch your man glow.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5, MSG, says “The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality-the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve each other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissable for a period of time if you both agree to do it, and if it’s for the purposes of prayer and fasting-but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenius way of tempting us when we least expect it.”

So in other words, if you’re so busy saying yes all the time, will he have much free time to look at porn? Probably not!!

Another thing. Oral sex. Just do it. If you don’t enjoy it, see above scripture. If you don’t know how, ask him. I promise he’ll be more than happy to give you direction.

Am I saying to be a doormat/sex slave to your husband? To do things your totally against? No. Colossians 3:19, MSG, says “Husbands, go all out in love for your wives. Don’t take advantage of them.” That’s pretty clear.

So step out of your comfort/lazy zone. Yes, we all get lazy. You will get amazing results. Now go! Go get your husband!!