Category Archives: marriage

The Jar and the Lid

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I had a heck of a time getting a lid on a jar the other day. It was the exact right lid to go on the exact right jar, but I couldn’t get the dang thing to thread correctly. It was very frustrating. I really began to question whether these two items were made for eachother. I mean if this protective lid was the right lid for this delicate jar – – wouldn’t it be a lot easier to unite the two?

It turned out that each individual item had to start at the same point of entry and once they were lined up properly – – this beautiful glass jar was safe and secure to tip over without a big mess when the strong protective lid was right where it needed to be. The jar can’t protect its contents by itself and still be able to release her richness and aroma. The lid’s primary purpose it to help and protect that jar – – but it really can’t fulfill its role if it doesn’t mechanically know directly where to start.

It’s weird to me that these two things really are a match made in heaven and yet they require a delicate approach to fulfill their intended purposes. I recently spent some time looking for one more container to collect some extra sugar scrub. The most perfect container in size and function was worthless to me without a lid. . . and I will eventually pitch lids that no longer have hope of being united with a container.

And yes – I am going somewhere with this analogy. I am not just a beautiful container. I am an extremely functional container. Inside this delicate little glass jar, is a masterful potion of power. I am filled with schedules and tasks lists, meeting agendas, meal plans, continuous operating manuals, never ending to-do lists, and back up plans. I am the continuous operating manager for my family, my ministries, and professional responsibilities. I have exactly one million systems that must be maintained for everyone to have clean underwear, get on buses on time. eat a decent meal in the evening, have the proper dietary intake, get a lesson when they show up to bible study, and the list goes on and on and on and on. . . And it can get a little crazy the weeks you add drs appointments, lab draws, family illness, school conferences, extra ministry assignments, etc. . .

So this past week, I was sick in addition to being an old pregnant lady who balances a great portion of the world on her shoulders. . . I was exhausted and overwhelmed and craving rest long before the operating system “must be done” list was completed. I began to be pretty irritated that my strong protective “lid” of a husband wasn’t rescuing me. Can’t He see that I am struggling to keep my head above water? Why can’t he pitch in and just take a couple of things off of this list I am slave to? Why am I the one that has to do EVERYTHING?

I don’t think I am the only woman who can struggle with feeling a little bitterness at the heaviness of her load. For years, I have just kept this bitterness to myself. That’s been very helpful. It has allowed to unload in an attack of hateful disrespect to a loving “lid” designed to protect me. Its weird how he doesn’t feel motivated to rescue and protect me when I am spewing venom at him. It has kept me feeling isolated, powerless, and hopeless. It has made me think less of my husband and feel less blessed by what should be the joyful challenges of having such an awesome role in my family.

But before you judge me, allow me to explain myself. I have some very good reasons for my behavior. First of all the world has told me that I am a strong, independent woman who should be able to be all things to all people with no assistance from anyone whatsoever. I have believed the world. In the absence of truth, I will attempt to struggle to make my life fit the “untruth” that I have decided to believe. When it doesn’t work, I will struggle harder. Trying to make an “untruth” true is an incredibly fruitless pursuit – – but that hasn’t stopped me. . .

Secondly, I believe my husband should just “know” via his exceptional female intuition and observational skills exactly what the workload is AND how he could be helpful in accomplishing it. I clearly should not have to tell him what is obvious to me. Oh wait – – He doesn’t have the gifts of domestic intuition and social observation skills. I am the only one in my family that God has gifted with that level of information and forsight.

What an interesting combination. God made me with a need to be protected and rescued from a strong man. And He made my husband with such a strong desire to protect me that if ever given the opportunity – my husband would die for me. Only I won’t tell him how he can help and protect me and He doesn’t know without my leading.

So here’ s the truth – but once again its just not as romantic and magical as I would like it to be. If my husband would DIE for me, then he’ll gladly load a backpack, lay out school clothes or advance a load of laundry for me. We both know he would willingly give up his life for me. I will never have to ask him to take the bullet if we are in a life-threatening scenario. He is deeply wired in his very creation to do so without thought or hesitation.

He is NOT wired to tie up the loose ends of an exhausted woman’s task list. He wants me to get rest and relief when I need it BUT he doesn’t know what it takes to fulfill that dream. I HAVE TO TELL HIM. It feels like I shouldn’t have to tell him. It feels like he should just know – -but the TRUTH is that he just doesn’t.

So will my husband rescue me when I feel like I’m drowning? Yes. Absolutely. Every Single Time Without Fail. But only when I tell him that I need rescuing and explain what it will take to save me. For a woman who talks all the time – I better not be silent when it’s time to dial 9-1-1. My lid fits perfectly but it has to know where and how to get started.

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Spilling My Secrets

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Last summer I had the pleasure of attending one of Chef Alli’s Pot Roast Presentations. So many truths penetrated my heart that evening. God opened up a well in my heart and intentional respect for my husband began to freely flow into my marriage. The landscape of our love changed when I learned to add elements of respect to the scenery.

Chef Alli wisely instructed us to release the hidden desires of our hearts to our husbands. This was a stronghold for me. You see, I would like for my husband to have the ability to read my mind. Satan has whispered into my romantic heart and I have knit his thoughts together with the deepest longings of my soul.

He says to me. . . you know if He really knew you and really loved you, he would know what you want for Valentines Day. . .

He gives me crafty ideas. . . Say “nothing” when he asks you what you want . . .because if he really loves you he will surely surprise you with something even if you said “oh nothing please”

Test him. . . trap him. . . measure his love for you by secret expectations he could never imagine. . . yes I would think. . . that makes sense. . . that will get me where I want to be. . . 

But somehow I was the one who was trapped and tricked. . . and I would drown in a sea of disappointment. . . I would look through a mirror smeared with the enemy’s vaseline. . . and be devastated that Gods clarity didn’t shine back at me.

So this year I could hear Alli’s voice ringing in my ear from six months ago:

” LADIES, JUST TELL YOUR HUSBAND WHAT YOU WANT. DON’T MAKE HIM GUESS. IT ISN’T ANY LESS ROMANTIC. IT DOESN’T MEAN HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU BECAUSE HE CAN’T READ YOUR MIND. HE REALLY DOESN’T KNOW AND HE NEEDS YOU TO TELL HIM” 

This Valentine’s Day my husband and I made plans to have a wonderful date night. We decided on a mutual gift we will both enjoy. To surprise him, I also crafted a gift of respect just for him. But five days before Valentine’s Day he asked if a mutual gift and date night was really enough . . . He loves me and he doesn’t want to disappoint me. He wants me to feel loved. But he doesn’t always have instincts to guide him in expressing the love I desperately need as a woman. Just like I sometimes struggle to find respectful ways to connect to his deepest needs as a man.

So I did something I have never really done in all our married life – – I told him the truth. I told him that I was thrilled for our date night and mutual gift. And then I took a deep breath and added this:

” I would also like a card or a love letter from you that’s just from your heart. That little gesture would really make me feel loved and special. . . and it would be a surprise to read your words. I would like a little something on Valentine’s day since we are doing our date the next day.”

Satan has told me this would ruin the gift. . . that having to tell my husband what I need would mean he doesn’t know me. . . doesn’t love me. . . and that any gift that came from that request would be empty and meaningless. . . 

So I must declare and expose those lies for the mess of garbage-filled deception that they are. I want to tell you the truth. The surprise I always thought I secretly wanted was never really a surprise if I was expecting it. . . demanding it. . . encouraging it to do battle with the man that means the most to me. . . 

I know what I am getting for Valentine’s Day. I know that my husband is going to get me a card or hand write a letter for me. He is doing that because he wants me to be happy and feel loved and he know its what I want. Oh what a tragedy.

The truth is that’s pretty romantic. The truth is that doesn’t set either one of us up for failure. Am I bummed or deflated because there’s no pressure on my hubby to read my hot mess of a mind? Not in the least. My heart is filled with anticipation. Since I started intentionally respecting this man of mine, the love that flows out of him overwhelms me. It touches me and surprises me . . . it’s real and authentic. . . and unique to who I am and who we are becoming together.

And I am not saying goodbye to surprise and romance. But I am going to let those sweet treats find me when I least expect them – – when they drift out of my farm boy’s heart and float over to mine. . . and melt it in a way that only he can. 
And that’s the truth. 

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The Legacy of Love and Respect

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This past weekend we were delighted to have my cousin “Rhett Butler” and his gorgeous little girls stay with us for the weekend. During the morning discussion, Rhett mentioned that his beloved wife has a tendency to become lost while navigating unfamiliar terrain. Mr. Rhett Butler is a wonderful protector and provider. He has made it his policy to only buy vehicles with navigation systems in hopes of preventing confusion and distress for his wife.

During the course of the discussion, one of his daughters asked a sassy, little question.
“Why can’t guys just stop and ask for directions? Why won’t they ever just stop and ask for directions? ” she wondered. Her dad replied,”we don’t stop and ask for directions because we get where we’re going eventually.”

I had to insert myself in this conversation. I told this sweet little woman-in-training that men do not ask for directions because God has designed them to be warriors on a battlefield. Those who are successful in a battle maintain their single focus on what lies ahead. If they were to stop and ask for directions, they would be vulnerable to injury or death. Instinctively, men know this and they strongly resist any temptation to stop moving. God has made them leaders who are able to find their own way. We women on the other hand would not survive the grueling challenges of the warrior’s journey. We would stop to admire the flowers or ask for directions. In our distraction, we would surely die. Taking pause to “ask for directions” would prevent us from making it to our destination.

My cousin Rhett replied, “Good answer, Carrie-Okie.” He and my husband walked a little taller after listening to that description of the most valiant parts of their souls as men. But I wasn’t quite so satisfied with myself. A twinge of guilt weighed heavily on my heart. You see – – a couple of months ago, I would have answered that question very differently. . .

It would have been so witty and entertaining. . . something about men being too stupid to ask for directions or maybe how they need women to do that for them. . . my “funny” and flip answer would have highlighted either the male gender’s helplessness or their stupidity. Boy am I glad she didn’t ask the question before God showed me the real answer.

I will leave a legacy for the younger women in my life to carry. Every time they ask me a question or watch me deal with the challenges of marriage – – they transform me into their Titus 2 tutor. I can choose to lead them into Gods light and truth. Or I can leave them in the darkness of the world and their own inexperience. God has blessed me with Titus 2 tutors that speak love and light and truth into my spirit.

A few months ago my Auntie D published a blog post that she called “Buyer’s Remorse.” In it she shared a recent purchase: a sassy kitchen decoration that seemed uniquely crafted for her adorable, perfectly appointed farm house kitchen. The rooster decoration touted the lines, “He Rules the Roost. . . . . But I Rule the Rooster.” She snatched it up immediately but confessed that she could never bring herself to display it in her kitchen.

When I read that blog post, I must admit that I thought “that’s not that bad – -it’s just a cute little saying.” But this Titus 2 tutor had just given me a class on home decor and marriage enrichment. A decoration that brings disrespect to your husband will never be a blessing to your home. It is not cute, attractive, or funny. No joke is meaningless. They all find their way into our hearts.

What if our jokes about the men in our lives and men in general are actually sowing seeds of disrespect that will grow in the hearts of the young and those not yet married? What if we cast men in in a negative light just because we haven’t taken the effort to understand them?

Carrie-Okie likes to get a laugh and give her quick wit a chance to shine. . . but she is praying for the wisdom to never accomplish this at the expense of ANYONE’S spiritual growth. . .

I want to live a legacy of the beauty of Gods truth . . . especially in relation to the young women He has placed in my life for His purpose. . . I honor my own Titus 2 tutors when I become one myself.

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When a Foreign Country Leads You Home

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I want to be loved. But I don’t just want to be loved. I want to be loved by the person that I love the most in this world. But I don’t just want to be loved by the person that I love most in this world. I want to be loved by the person that I love most in this world all the time. I want to be loved with a fierce, pursuing love that cannot be compared to any other brand of love in the entire world. I want to be loved whether I weigh 300 pounds or have miraculously captured my high school weight. I want to be loved when everything about me is unlovable. . . when I’m ugly, hateful, sick, smelly, dirty, annoying, abrasive, and in all ways detestable.

I want to be loved with a pretty woman kind of ” i don’t care if you are a prostitute, i am going to climb this fire escape and build a lifetime of happiness with you” kind of love. I want to be loved with the protective, territorial love of a rebel dance teacher who says ” nobody puts baby in the corner.” I want to be loved in a way that makes a man roam through his neighborhood singing my name like Tony’s cries for Maria in West Side Story. I want to be loved with a Ross stands outside in the rain and he would be willing to do so forever because he loves Rachel kind of unlock the multiple locks on the door so I can kiss you now and forever kind of love. I want to be loved with a Jacob works 14 years to capture the heart of Rachel but it seems like just a few because he loves her so much kind of love.

And I want that kind of love . . . from the person that I love most in this world. . . all the time. . .

I understand unconditional love. . . I crave it. . . I want it. . . I need it. . I’ve dreamed about it. . .
and it makes sense to me that my sweet farmboy would love me UNCONDITIONALLY. . .

but what does he need, love, crave, want? what makes him feel complete and comfortable in his place in this world? I love him no matter what forever. . . but that doesn’t mean that much to him. It’s not what he wants most in this world. . . nope.. . . that crazy guy wants RESPECT. . .

But he doesn’t just want respect. He wants respect from the person that means this most to him. And he doesn’t just want respect from the person that means the most to him. He wants respect from the person that means the most to him all the time. And he doesn’t just want respect from the person that means the most to him all the time. He wants respect from the person that means the most to him all the time – – even when he may not be all that respectful. He wants an admirable, faithful, dependable respect that he can’t get from any other source in this universe. He wants respect when he’s tired, grouchy, sick, angry, weary, downhearted, distracted, and when he’s told me he doesn’t have time to do what’s most important to ME on my to-do list.

He wants a William Wallace brave heart kind of respect that comes when you look at a man and know that he would gladly die for you. He wants a Russell Crowe in Gladiator kind of respect that flows from the heart of a woman who knows he will never give up. He wants the kind of respect that Liam Neison demands in Taken with his “very particular set of skills” used to rescue his family. He wants the kind of respect that flows out of our hearts as we watch “The Passion of the Christ.” He wants an unyielding, freely flowing source of continuous and unconditional respect. And he wants ME to provide it – – to be the source of an eternal flame of respect.

I come from the land of unconditional love. This new planet of unconditional respect is strange and foreign to me. I am stumbling here because I am not familiar with the terrain. I am a little uncomfortable here because I have not yet learned to trust it. But I love the way my husband looks at me here. . . . the way he opens up and talks. . . the subtle little balloons that float out of his heart and say. . .

I love you. But I don’t just love you. I love you all the time. But I don’t just love you all the time. I love you all the time – – -even when you are unlovable.

The ground is a little firmer here. The sun is a little brighter. The grass is so green, and yet it doesn’t rain very much here. Maybe the land of unconditional respect actually leads to the land of unconditional love. And the more time I spend here giving respect – – -the more I enjoy that unconditional love I long for. Wouldn’t that be something?

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Does Your Husband Think You’re a Land mine?

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My name is Carrie Okie and I am a recovering land mine. I sincerely hope my husband can recover from the land mine I used to be. It is inconceivable to me that my husband would not know what is wrong with me. After all, I asked him to do something two days ago and he still hasn’t done it.
As time goes on, steam is starting to rise in my spirit. Oh! And there he goes adding more fuel to my fire with a couple of other behaviors that drive me nuts. HE HAS TO KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? HOW COULD HE NOT KNOW? The steam continues to soar. . .

All I need is some ignition and we will have a full blown four alarm fire pouring out of my mouth and hateful facial expressions. And now here he comes with that fuel. He finds the courage to ask me, “Is something wrong?” WHAT’S WRONG? REALLY? YOU MEAN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME? How could you not know when I am remaining completely silent and shutting you out? You mean my sighing all the time and slamming cabinet doors and lugging laundry around with a spirit of wrath hasn’t made it all clear?

He asks because he loves me and he wants to know so he can fix it (He is awesome at fixing things but not so awesome at reading my mind and translating my subtle body language that I think is obvious). . .

So like an unpredictable land mine that could blow up at any moment, I say “NOTHING.”
After all, if he doesn’t know what’s wrong with me by now, he doesn’t deserve to know. If he really loved me, he would respond in the way I secretly want him to.

He is confused. He is scared. He has no idea what is coming at him or why. He cannot communicate his valiant heart from this place of fear and uncertainty that I have created.
To make matters worse, I have let him know with my words, my body language, and every disgusted sigh that I do not RESPECT him.

I have not “won” anything worth having. My husband is also a huge loser in this scenario. But Satan is oh so happy he could get me that crazy. Even if I only ride the crazy train a short time, the enemy can do a lot of damage.

So I am digging up the land mines and retiring my grenades. I want my husband and I to walk in a field of sweet Kansas wheat growing in “okie” red fertile soil. I want to plant wildflowers along our path and provide some cool, refreshing wells along the way. . .

I will have to be quieter. I will have to believe that my husband is always a great man with good intentions. I will have to release the selfish desires that stir my spirit the wrong way. . .
It will not be easy because I am a mouthy, fiery, little thang.

But when we lay our heads back in the beautiful field of our marriage and see flowers growing where there used to be land mines. . . well, that will be worth it.

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