Monday, March 09, 2009

A Plate of Cookies - At The Well

Gathering At the Well

When I was growing up, my mom could always calm me down with a plate of chocolate chip cookies. If I was having a bad day, if my life was a mess, if my latest boyfriend decided I was boring, chocolate chip cookies could always calm my stormy life. As I have grown, I have discovered it takes a little more than a plate of chocolate chip cookies to calm chaos...or does it?

It seems like my first 9 months or marriage have been nothing less than chaotic. Everything from a ER visit until 2 AM the night before our honeymoon, to a less than stellar student teaching experience, to in-law problems, to a struggle with forgiveness and grace, our marriage has been a bit chaotic. Add all of that to the "normal" first year experiences of adjusting to being husband and wife has left us both a bit frazzled. But, the chaos seems to get worse when we are both crazy busy -- running here and there with teaching and ministry.

One great lesson we learned early on in our marriage to calm the chaos is to slow down. For us, that meant a few things. First, we limited the nights we were out and set boundaries. The life of a youth ministers wife can be stressful. Bible study here, lock-in there, kids texting at 11 PM with their own struggles and the never ending drama of high school life. I felt we were never at home. We weren't able to share our days happenings around the dinner table. Instead we were constantly checking our schedules to see what day it was and where we were supposed to be. Now, we are only gone 3 nights a week and are able to share with each other around the dinner table the rest of the nights. On top of that, we have boundaries. Unless there is an emergency, Jeremy is great about talking to kids the next day, rather than at 11 PM.

Second, we made it a point to have a weekly marriage "meeting" where we discussed our schedules and issues. Although this didn't quite work out as we had hoped, it made us realize the importance of talking on a continuing basis about our marriage, our needs and our dreams. It was through this we started to feel less chaotic, especially with regards to talking and planning out our weekly schedules together. We now knew just what each other was doing, and there weren't as many surprises.

Lastly, and what I think has really calmed the chaos in our home and marriage, is praying together. It's amazing to me how many Christian couples don't do this. For the first few months of our marriage we didn't. We had our own prayer life and we thought that was good enough for us. Once we started to pray together, a new found security and respect was revealed. Not to mention, a less chaotic life. 

In order to ease the sense of chaos in our home, I don't constantly bake cookies and have them sitting out for us. Instead, our plate of cookies is different than that of my childhood. My plate is now full of communication, boundaries and prayer. I find we still struggle with many unexpected bouts of chaos, but we have a better since of control over it, we have our "plate of cookies" to get us through chaotic times.  What does your plate of cookies consist of??

Join the ladies over At The Well as they talk of storms in life and how to overcome the chaos these storms bring.


Laurie Ann said...

You have some great ideas for calming the chaos! Praying together is an especially good one. So glad you joined in At the Well today!

Ashley Wells said...

You gave such a great example of how busy life can get. We need to take the time to slow down. Great post!

Also, praying together is so important! It is a good thing to catch on to that early, great job!


GodsOwn/Bernice said...

Great post!I love the visual about what i have on my plate to tackle chaos..I will remember yours-" My plate is now full of communication, boundaries and prayer."-
Especially i need to work on communication.


Angela said...

Praise be to God for all these wonderful 'plate of cookies' girl that you and hubby are filling up in your marriage. Keep on keeping on truly are being very wise in building your home unto the Lord..beautiful Proverbs 31 Woman you are girl!!