caroline holzberger

Keepin' it real about motherhood, Jesus, life, and everything in between.

Archive for the category “Not June Cleaver”

Sovereign Pause

Ok, so I don’t know about you, but I’m certain kids these days are spoiled.

Like, spoiled, y’all.

When I was a kid, we had one TV and whatever show was on, you can bet it was pre-approved by the adults in the home. As in, if they wanted to watch it, we watched it. If not, we didn’t. End of story. Even later in life, when we finally got two TV’s in our home, I still had to ask permission. Then, I had to scour the TV Guide to desperately seek a show I liked that happen to be on at that exact moment. I tried to ensure I didn’t miss one solid episode of Full House, or Beverly Hills 90210, but I often missed them both. Because, on the occasion I had a shin-dig to go to, and my show was on – then, get this – I missed it. Eleven year olds around the world are gasping in sheer disbelief.

It’s sort of logical, really. I’m not there when the show is on, I miss the show. It ain’t rocket science, people. Isn’t that sort of what we call a natural conqequence. Well, it used to be.

Now, my kids can request a show, even a certain episode of a show and I just flip through our DVR recordings and find it for them immediately. Don’t get me started about On Demand and the beloved Play All feature. That’s straight from Jesus, y’all.

But, am I the only one is amazed by this whole DVR thing. Like blown away kind of amazed? I remember when I first grasped it. So, like, I can pause live TV. What!? How is that even possible? You’re saying I don’t have to hold in pee ’til I burst? I don’t have to ignore the phone call in order to catch the last five minutes of the Friends series finale? I don’t have to wait, godforbid, to see if they happen to play the re-run of a show in order to see who dunnit?

No. way.

Aside from Jesus and perhaps my iphone, DVR has flat changed my life, people.

I mean, really. I can pause live TV. So. Stay with me here – not only do my kids get to pick their show (when the TV is available, that is. Yes, we only own one – on purpose) But, they get to record that show and retreieve it whenever they stinkin’ want. Not only that, but if we have to eat dinner, or run an errand, they can just press pause and come back to it whenever their sweet little spoiled hearts desire.

Spoiled brats. Lucky dogs.

Granted, I, too, get to do all of this spoiled brat stuff as well – hence the divine-ness of the entire DVR concept. If it only worked on kid’s shows, I’d be calling Party Foul! But, me too!?! Ok – totally fair. You mean I get to have my own instant replay when Texas Tech plays UT and I need to be able to recount every detail to my unfortunate Longhorn big brother. Score! I get go back and re-play the funny catch phrase I missed when I had to pee for the thirtieth time that day. Oh the joys of post-Mama bodies. I get to watch the same episode over and over if I so please? Well, then I say “Welcome, DVR. Glad you came. Change your name to Holzberger. You are our people now.”

Oh, that we welcomed this idea of Pause in our lives, as it is on TV.

Have you ever felt a Soverign pause on your life?

The Holy Spirit saying that awful little word we don’t want to hear – Wait.

Noooooo. Anything but wait, Lord. 

But, alas, our Sovereign and all-knowing God has shown you a glimpse of something. You’ve seen the first twenty minutes of gripping action – you’ve heard the plot, gotten caught up in the characters – and then just as you think it’s time to see how this all ends – God hits the Pause button.

Stink.

I guess the first question to ask ourselves in this case is this – have I ever felt this? If your answer is yes, then praise Him for His faithfulness to speak to you and lead you. If your answer is no, (as mine has surely ben at times) then you may wanna humbly ask yourself who holds the remote in your life.

I know in our house – ain’t no kid gonna come up and push pause when Mama is watching her show. If they do, they better have two reasons – blood or fire.

I have had many times like a freakish amount, y’all where I’ve not only held the remote in my life, but I’ve also hidden it under the couch cushions so as to ensure God didn’t try to sneak His way back into control of my show. Funny how we think we even know how to work that dang remote, huh? Ha. We’re in control. Good one.

Lately, I have been at a crossroads. Ryan and I have officially transitioned away from the ‘having babies’ stage. Oh that he would let me post the blog I wrote about how we sealed that deal. It’s entitled “He gave me Peace, I gave him Peas” I’ll leave it at that. Maybe someday.

So, here we are, done having babies, ready to raise children. Ready to do the next phase of life. I’ve been a stay at home Mom for almost nine years. I was in college for twice as long as I actually taught in the classroom. Sorry, Mom and Dad!:) We have been ‘broke’ but happy. Wouldn’t. Trade. A. Day. Except for every single one of those spent potty training.

But, here we are, ready for this next phase, ready to see what God has in store. My baby girl is home for only one more year. This is it. This time next year I will be  a basket case helping her pick out her first ‘big girl’ backpack for kindergarten. Oh Lord have mercy, I ain’t ready.

But, for now, I also feel a great calling to be faithful to His work in me. I know He has called me to write some words and speak some words. I know His message in me is dying to get out. To splash all over anyone and everyone I can find, like a huge and sometimes hilarious tidal wave of His grace and mercy. But, now? Is the time now, God?

I’ve been wondering this aloud to Him a lot lately. Here I am faced with the reality of my little baby girl who will be in the same Pre-K program her big brothers were in. She will be gone five days a week from 9am-1pm. Not as much time as big kid school. But, still – five days. I couldn’t stand the thoguht of it, but knew that’s where she should be.

So, here I would be with five days, a few hours each day to myself. What should I do?

Serve at my beloved homeless church I haven’t been to in far too long?

Clean and cook and become the homemaker of my husband’s dreams?

Perhaps, sleep in late and tan in my pool? Say Yes Jesus, please!?!

Or truly pursue this writing thing like a grown up? Format a website? Record some podcasts? Get an agent? Finish my book? Learn what the heck a platform is?

Lord, what do I do?

Then, it happened.

Pause.

That’s right, God went and pressed pause on my life.

He heard my cry. He knows my heart. He sees every penny we have and every penny we don’t have. He knows this school year and His plan for it.

It won’t be this. It will be that. yes to this. No to that. Or in my case –

I’m not saying No, my child, I’m staying wait. This is your last year with her. Make. It. Count.

How does one willingly put a hold on a calling they know in the marrow of their bones God has for their life?

Easy.

They honor the first calling He placed on their life nine years ago.

I am a Mom. By His grace, He has entrusted me with three precious souls. Three babies to raise, to love, to guide and to let go.

God willing, my life will have forty to fifty years of life of work and purpose after kiddos are under my roof. But, that is not now.

Now, I have messes on my floors and noise in my ears. I have three little ones. I have two in ‘big kid’ school and one left with me.

And then – just because He can – He handed me a blessed answer. I was given a chance to work at my baby girl’s preschool. I actually get to take her to school, eat lunch with her, watch her on the playground and see her grow and learn and play. Every. Day. From 9am-1pm. I get to see her more in this role than if I remained a ‘stayathome’ Mom. Crazy, isn’t it? And since there are now more babies at home to raise, I get to go with her! It’s just for this year. A unlikely increase in enrollment and a director who prayed for who could help accommodate this year. God knew and she knew who would want to be there five days a week with a certain baby girl. Pick Me! Pick me! And, oh by the way – I get paid for it. Glory.

He heard my cry. He knows our needs. He knows my heart. And precious friend, He knows yours.

I can’t wait to get to be a real grown up writer and speaker. Ok, lie. I’m actually totally freaked out by it. I humbly anticipate getting to share His story with others. But, now, dear friend. He has pushed pause.

His Soverign pause on my life.

Have you felt it?

Have you obeyed it?

It sometimes ain’t easy. Especially if your name rhymes with Baroline Sholzberger. It often ain’t glorious. It ain’t always fun.

But, oh that we would sit in the silence of His pause. Oh, that all the glory would be His. Oh that all the obedience would be ours.

May we each desire to obey Him fully. He will bless your obediecne. He blessed mine.

Maybe yours is a new job. Perhaps a new career all together? Marry this guy? Move to this city?

I don’t know, friend. But He does.

Pray. Listen. Humble yourself. And pray some more. Give. It. Up.

Let Him push Pause. Then let Him push Play again – in His time.

Because get this – I don’t have to miss my show. I don’t have to wonder what happened or what will happen, because I know Who holds my remote. I know Who will push Play at exactly the right moment. When He is ready for His show to resume. For now, I get to sit and play and soak up my baby girl.

To Him be the glory.

And to me be the sanity…cause y’all – she is her mother’s child. Help me, baby Jesus.

Old Dogs, New Tricks

I was never a girly girl.

In fact, I was basically a little boy until womanhood hit me over the head at the ungodly early age of eleven. Not cool, God.

I liked getting dirty.

I love, love, loved sports.

I loved building and inventing.

I didn’t play with dolls.

I didn’t have an Easy-Bake oven.

And I certainly didn’t knit or crochet.

Until now.

Now, as a Mom of Miss Priss, I love playing dolls.

I love cooking and baking in my big girl oven.

And last night (dun da da duuuuun!) I bravely embarked on the world of knitting.

I mean, crocheting. Which, apparently is not the same thing.

Super Neighbor learned how to shocker! and she’s now a crochet extraordinaire. If she starts making her own bath soap or candles, I’ve told her I’m moving.

As soon as I took this picture of what she made my baby girl and her ‘best baby’, I knew I had to learn. I am aware ‘best baby’ needs a bath. Just sayin’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t get me started on the adorable one she made for me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OR her sweet baby boy…

 

 

 

 

 

I know, I know. Ridiculously cute, huh?!

Anyway…I had to be able to tell my little girl, “Mama made that for you!” someday. And not be lying through my teeth.

I want to learn teach her about make-up.

I want to learn how to French braid.

I want to paint her sweet little toes.

Not because i think she has to do this stuff to be a ‘real girl”. That’s dumb. But I want to be into what she is into. And she is into that stuff. Along with bugs, dirt and trying to pee on a tree like her brothers. Don’t get me started. But, these girl things may be easier than learning French without Rosetta Stone. At least, for me. But, God can teach an old dog new tricks. He can. And He’s gonna have to.

So, Super neighbor threw a little crochet girl’s night, which, a few years ago I would have laughed at, politely declined, and then teased my friends that did go. While I stayed home and watched SportsCenter.

Now, however, I am much more mature. So, I accepted the invitation, arrived, and then made fun of all of us while eating chips and queso and chocolate. I love you queso!

I generally don’t like to do things I’m not good at. It’s one of my finer qualities, of course. In some cases, I keep trying, so that once I become good at it, then and only then I enjoy it. Then, all is well. After all, my kids gotta eat. The ‘learning to cook’ stages of my life have been darn near hilarious. But, that’s for another time.

So, some of my dear friends and I sat around trying to not get kicked out of the party pay attention as Super neighbor’s sister-in-law, Anna, with the patience of a saint, explained everything. Again and again and again. Undeterred by our rascally attitudes – “I teach high school Spanish, I can handle you girls.” – Anna stayed the course. God bless her.

Let me tell you something. Crocheting is not easy. At all.

It takes patience. Discipline. Precision. Consistency.

In case you didn’t know, no one has ever described me in that way. Quite the opposite actually.

But, I am convinced that God can teach an old dog can new tricks. Eventually.

There’s something peaceful about crocheting. It is adorably mind-numbing. I appreciate that.

This hobby has been enjoyed for decades centuries? I have no clue. and has brought women together for a purposeful gathering.

To laugh. To listen. To share life. To be productive.

I kinda love that I actually sat there and tried but failed miserably to do something that generations before me have done.

A hundred years ago, women didn’t txt each other.

They didn’t blog, or post on facebook.

They gathered around and quitled, or knitted, or crocheted.

I am not saying that those two things are next on my list, Lord, help me but God once again didn’t cease to amaze me as I reflected on my attempt at this time honored tradition. He assured me that old school isn’t bad. Getting back the basics can be a beautiful thing. Pure. Lovely. Good.

I’m kinda over the whole fast-paced and culture-driven life everyone (including me!) has fallen victim to. I don’t have any desire to be a part of any rat race. I don’t know the Joneses and therefore don’t’ feel like I want to try and keep up with them. Been there, done that. Got the materialistic closet full o’ junk to prove it.

Last month, Anna lost her husband to cancer. She is thirty-nine years old. She crochets these hats for cancer patients. She gives back. She serves. She takes this beautiful trade and blesses others.

I want to do that too.

Winter is coming and God has already told me that I can be praying for some people who will need warm scarves and hats this winter. People with no heater to keep them warm and no roof to keep them protected.

So, I will keep practicing. I will make it past the eight inch straight line I made last night. Frustrated, I cried out to my friends for reassurance – “Homeless people need yarn-snake-bracelets, too, don’t they?!”

They didn’t comply.

Darn those old dogs.

I sure do love them though.

 

 

 

 

 

Ps. Look what I taught myself how to do today. Girliness, here I come.

Too bad sister friend will never sit still that long again!

Green-hearted

I kill plants.

It’s true.

If people have a ‘green thumb’ due to their talent, knowledge and ability to help things turn green, then, friend, my thumb is black. No trace of green here. Just black. And let’s be honest, it’s probably spread to my fingers too.

Plainly said, my gardening life is scattered with disaster after shriveled up disaster. I am given flowers, a plant, a bush, or goodness sake some sort of food producing thing, and I kill it. Every. Single. Time.

I’m not sure if having a ‘black thumb’ is really a thing, but I am sure that if it was, I’d be their spokesperson.

My husband, however, grows everything well. Really, everything. Plants, flowers, trees, fruit, veggies – name it – he grows it well. Two big ol’ green thumbs on that man. I think he simply has an instinct about these kinds of things; an instinct I have clearly lacked.

I have always felt somewhat badly about it, because I want to be good at this, I’m just not. It’s like when people talk about cooking, or organizing or cleaning reading…I smile and nod and try to say something witty. I want to be good at those things, but I’m flat out not. And gardening is at the very top of that list. I either forget to water the poor thing or I drown it. Either way, it dies and Ryan ain’t shocked.

Over the last decade or so of our relationship, Ryan has said many things that have stuck in my head. Some good. Some not as good. But, there are two statements in particular that not only have stuck there, but they’ve stayed there like grass stains on my kid’s jeans.

The first one came about when I asked Ryan what he saw for his future…what he had in mind for years to come.  Without hesitation, he said “Someday I want to be that older man who walks around giving my freshly grown tomatoes to my neighbors.” That is classic Ryan. Not ‘I want a flourishing stock portfolio.’ Not ‘I want to travel the world.’ Although I think he’d be fine with those too. But, that wasn’t his answer. He just wants to be the tomato guy. I love it.

The second comment wasn’t as sweet and innocent so it stained my brain all the more. I came out to the backyard  a few weeks ago, after being inside with the kids for a while, and Ryan looked at me plainly and said “I love being outdoors. I love planting things and caring for them. There’s something completely soothing about it. I sure wish you enjoyed it too. I wish we had that in common. It doesn’t seem like we do anything like that together anymore.”

That one stung a little. I mean, he wasn’t trying to be ugly, but it hurt, all the same.

Doesn’t he know that I kill everything I come near? I would feel really bad if I killed all his outdoor stuff he loves so much. Besides, he doesn’t scrapbook with me or enjoy anything crafty like I do.

Um, hello defense mechanism, how you doin’?

Over the last few weeks I’ve learned a lot about myself. For one, I have some serious issues. Shocker. That’s a given. But, secondly, I can get fairly defensive anytime someone brings my attention to the possibility  I could be wrong about something. Wrong, me? This always often rears its ugly head more prominently in relation to my man.

You may wonder how I’ve become so self-aware and clear of thought. Simple –

I learned this in counseling.

That’s right, Ryan and I are entering the sixth week of marriage counseling. I’m assuming you didn’t know that. But, it’s true. Ryan has given me permission to write about it. For our good and God’s glory. You may have wondered why in all my writing over the last year or so, I haven’t given a whole lot of marital advice. I haven’t modeled to you through my words what a healthy marriage should be. That’s because I haven’t had one.

Are we separated? No way, Jose.

Are we talking divorce? Absolutely no! Never. We both bear the scars from divorce and are committed to ending that legacy with us. By God’s strength, our children will not know what we knew.

Are we happy in other areas of our life but pretty miserable in our marriage? Yep. That pretty much covers it.

I think Ryan is a phenomenal Dad. I mean it, he truly is. He feels the same about me and my mothering.

I know he is a good, kind, caring, God-loving person. He feels the same about me.

I believe he is a hard-worker and an intelligent-minded educator. He pretty much feels the same about me and my job as a homemaker.

We are good people. We love each other. But, we just haven’t done this whole husband and wife thing that great. And we were over it.

So, after fifteen years together, almost eleven of those as man and wife – we were due for some marriage counseling. To be completely frank – we are about fourteen years past due.

Bernis, our amazing counselor, has truly helped us get through the same ol’ argument we’ve been having for over a decade. She has given us strategies. She has given us a safe place to speak honestly, seeking His Truth, not a third party who will pet us and tell us we are right! Although I secretly hoped she would tell me that! Not him, but me. Obviously.

We have been whipped around on a chaotic roller coaster for the last four years or so. We thank God for all He has taught us. We praise Him for His faithfulness. We know with certainty He is using it for our good and His glory. But, to be honest, we’ve simply been trying to keep our marriage-neck from some irreversible whiplash. We both now desire more than just “ok”. We want healthy growth.

So a few Sundays ago, Ryan and I pushed the ‘repeat’ button for the millionth time on that same, tired ol’ argument we’ve been having for years. We were acting very mature about it. Not true. We weren’t speaking. And on the Sabbath, too. We’re awful! Anyway, we were doing our own thing and I glanced over as he approached the kiddos. I saw how excited they got when Daddy asked them to garden with him. I thought, Hey, I want to be a part of that.

So, in the warmest voice I could muster up at the time, I asked Ryan to wait for me. I wanted desperately needed to go do some Bible study for an hour or so to get my ugly heart in the right place. He agreed to wait.

And at that moment, without my knowledge, my black heart began to turn a bit greener.

We had the most amazing afternoon with the kids. Getting dirty, talking about God’s amazing way of growing an oak tree from an acorn, etc. It was the coolest.

It was as if a little switch inside of me suddenly turned on.

In the past, when I saw the bags of fertilizer, I was surrounded by little children creating their very own fertilizer six times a day for me to clean up. I had enough cleaning up poop in my Mama-life, thank you very much, you go on ahead and plant with it, babe. Knock yourself out.

But, in this time of life we are being obedient with what we feel God wants us to do — stop the baby making phase of life and enjoy the baby raising phase. It’s a weird phase for us. Void of diapers, nursing, cribs, infant car seats, pacifiers, etc. It’s stinkin’ awesome! a beautiful world, don’t get me wrong, it’s just not one we have seen in over seven years.

I am daily reminding myself how blessed we are by my continued renewal of health and the consistent health of my man and my kids. I am content.

But, I think that switch that flipped took all the nurturing I’d been doing toward babies, and pointed it to this garden.

I’m quite a fool for this thing now.

I talk to my spinach.

I think about my mixed greens when I am not around them.

I celebrate the growth in my rosemary as if she were my proud toddler learning to skip.

It’s actually quite weird. Don’t email me, I’m well aware.

So, over the last few weeks my man and I have planted more and fought less. We have thoughtfully talked about our garden, which has opened up conversation to many other topics as well.

As I was watering that day, God hit me.

Duh! Here I was thinking I was cultivating a garden, and all along, God knew He was cultivating a marriage.

How cool is God that He would pick something I usually stink at – which is both gardening and submitting to my man — and He would slowly change both my heart and my thumb from black to green.

We aren’t fixed. We still argue. We have a ways to go. But, things have changed. We now have something in common again. Actually two things – we have gardening and we have us.

It doesn’t happen overnight, for sure. And it doesn’t happen by chance.

It takes time.

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Eph. 4:2

It takes good soil.

“But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” Matthew 13:23

It takes watering.

“But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:14

It takes hard work and a willingness to get your feet in the dirt of this world.

“For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world.” 1 John 2:16

But yes, I am dorky ol’ me – so I did rush out to the garden the day after we planted to see if I could see anything green popping up yet. I knew I wouldn’t, but I’m an eternal optimist, sometimes to a fault. I know all about God pruning me for a patient heart. So, I just watered and waited. Sure enough, within a few days, green popped through — in both the soil in our yard, and the soil of my heart.

Goodness gracious that was cheesey, but I thank my gracious God that it’s true.

“So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” Matthew 19:6

In my heart just now, as I am posting this, I feel burdened. I am picturing all of you who may be going through something similar to Ryan and I or perhaps even harder. Or uglier. Or more complicated. You put on your happily married face, yet your heart grows colder every day. I am sorry for your pain. I don’t know your story. But, my friend, God does. Nothing, and I do mean nothing is beyond his ability for redemption. Seek HIM! Seek wise counsel. Get involved with a church like mine. Get into Bible study or a small group of fellow believers who can lift you up. Don’t give up hope.

While I’m no master gardener yet, I know this Truth about God – “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Grab your mustard seed sized faith, my friend, and hold on tight to it.

“For nothing is impossible with God.” Luke 1:37

i’ve got no pearls and no lace apron

ahhh…june cleaver, the stereotypical vision of the perfect homemaker, wife, and mother. always there with the delicious, healthy, home-cooked meal, made from scratch and ready precisely on time…and always with a smile on her face, not a stain on her apron, and not a pearl out of place.

well, friend…i’ve got a smile. but, i’ve got no pearls. and i’ve got no lace apron.

but, man, oh man…we have swung SO far in the other direction nowadays haven’t we?

well, i can honestly say that for the last year, i often haven’t even felt like i’ve lived in my own home. i mean, ryan and i love, and i do mean LOVE where we live. but, it hasn’t felt like mine in soooo long. let me try to explain…..

i have required soooo much help for soooo many things over this last year of medical drama. and don’t get me wrong, we are SO beyond thankful for the help. truly. i am not sure what we would do without the amazing support of our family and friends. from cleaning our house, to doing our grocery shopping, to folding our laundry, to cooking our meals for us, to chauffeuring my kids and anywhere we have to go…we have been humbly served in the most amazing way. it has been quite a blessing. something that we can’t ever be grateful enough for, and something that we very much look forward to passing along to others.

but, that’s just it…all of this stuff around my house that has been done for me and not by me, has, in some ways, made my house feel less like mine and more like a home i am just visiting. i can’t quite find some things that i would normally put in a certain place. my pantry isn’t arranged like i am used to. there are meals i haven’t been able to fix, that i miss. (ok, maybe two meals, who are we kidding, i’m not much of a cook…but, hey, i miss those two!:) even the type of cleaning supplies that we have is different. is this the absolute silliest thing you have ever heard?? i honestly do not mean to sound ungrateful, because i truly am. but, well, i am just sharing how i feel here.

i don’t know about you, but i have found that when i lose something i have, especially something i take for granted…once it’s gone, i miss it so much more. is this true for you too? let’s just say, for instance, that you are an active, athletic type person, and you, oh, i don’t know…sprain your ankle severely. (those who’ve known me forever are laughing because they know i’ve only done that like 324 times!) and all of a sudden, you desperately miss being able to run around the soccer field, jog on the treadmill, go to a step class at the gym….shoot, just being able to walk to the mailbox would be nice! but you can’t. everything is different. and none of it seems good at the time. it makes you miss your mobility sooo much more than you ever appreciated it when you had it.

well, that is me right now… for the last year i haven’t been able to be the homemaker…the wife…the mom…that i want so badly to be. in fact, in so many more ways that i can fully express, i haven’t really felt like “me” in sooo long. it is amazing what we miss when it is gone. at this point, friend, i would LOVE to be able to to do some laundry…clean up the dishes after a meal that i made for my own family…run all those errands i’m always hearing people complain about…even clean my bathrooms for goodness sake…all of those things i would have complained about before. maybe even some of the things you complain about now. trust me, i know, i get it. i’ve been there.

and let me tell you, just for the record, this is SO far from my nature, it….isn’t….even…funny! to give you a bit of perspective, i will share a story, one of my husband, ryan’s, favorite stories to tell, about my “infamous” laundry basket. ya see….i have never, ever…. ever been a very clean or organized person. by the way, right now, all of my past roommates, my parents, along with my super tidy and organized hubby and big brother are ALL laughing out loud and saying, “ya, you, not very clean or organized, that is the understatement of the century!” so…here i was in college, finally out from under all of the “awful” 🙂 weekly chores of my parent’s house, and let’s just say that i “let a few things go”, shall we? 🙂 i will spare you the actual details of the cleanliness of my bathroom, or really, the lack thereof, because i don’t want you to lose all respect for me, but mainly because i don’t want you to lose your lunch. 🙂 but, back to my infamous laundry basket….ya see, i had the tendency to just pile….and pile…and pile dirty clothes up…and up…and up. i would literally stack them up as tall as i am, and then, when i absolutely couldn’t take it anymore (which was, on average, about three weeks longer than the average 19 year old male) and i absolutely had to do laundry, i would just scoop off the top layer or so of clothes and do one load…maybe two. maybe. so…if you do this long enough, eventually, the seasons change and you don’t actually need the clothes near the bottom of the pile. in fact, funny thing…you don’t even miss them. 🙂 and then, by some miraculous or maybe divine intervention (enter sarcastic, ha.) i, at the wise and completely responsible age of 20 (enter huge sarcastic ha.) received in the mail a credit card. and, get this, i didn’t even have to pay it off in full every month – wow, how cool is that!? those fools, i only have to pay them $30 a month. score! uuugggh. needless to say, when the seasons would change back again and i had “nothing to wear”, visa made it easier on me. darn you, visa.

so, now….enter ryan. a type-A personality, true methodical to the core, only child…who (no lie!) has underneath his bathroom cabinets organized with labeled plastic totes….first aid, travel accessories, razors, etc…..c’mon people…labels? seriously? labeled totes under the sink, gimme a break here. anyway…but he had…for some reason fallen in love with me. i swear people, i didn’t drug the boy or anything, he actually picked me, and yes, even after seeing my bathroom! this is living proof that love really is blind. literally. so, before we got married, ryan kicked me out of my apartment and spent the day…yes, the day…and cleaned my half of the place, so that we…about to be wed…could get my share of the deposit back. and people, this was not a large apartment at all. and then, he braved the closet. he went in, (i was kinda scared he wouldn’t come out!) and took huge black garbage bags and bagged up all my dirty clothes and we spent the day….yes, the day…at the laundromat together. we took up 12 washers and 12 dryers. that’s right, friend…twelve. i wouldn’t make that up if i could. and besides…why would i? oh..and while i’m confessing…i might as well tell you that on our wedding day, i had a whopping $74 in my checking account and i owed that darn visa about $1,300 for all of my super wonderful choices. ugh. i promise, people, he picked me. and i am soooo glad he did. and i really think he still is, too, by the way. i think. 🙂

i tell you all of this now, only to let you know, in a small way (trust me, i could tell you story after story, unfortunately) that it is not in my “nature” to desire the things that i have now missed so greatly. i was a major tom-boy growing up. athletic, independent, outgoing, stubborn…never lady-like or girly. i didn’t “play house” really. i was the baby of the family and was kinda used to entertaining people, and, well, pretty much used to getting my way. whew. all this makes you want to run right out and buy me a BFF necklace doesn’t it?? ugh.

anyway….here is my point, friend. with all my f.o.b. time lately (see other posts for reference) i have had the blessing and opportunity to listen to some amazing teachings on cds from Christown ministries. most of their focus is based on the following Scriptures from the book of titus that i had honestly never read, ever. but as soon as i did, and heard these cds, i felt such joy because it is something that God has put on my heart in such a HUGE way, especially over this last year as i have so desperately missed being the homemaker…wife….and mom i want to be…

titus 2:4-5 “that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [to be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the Word of God be not blasphemed.”

have you ever read these verses in the second chapter of titus? verse three is really great too! it talks about how older women should be teaching younger women these things. has an older woman taught you these things? i can say that i have had older women try to teach me some of this, but i wasn’t as receptive as i could have been. i am much more receptive now, let me tell you! and although i don’t necessarily consider myself “older” 🙂 – i do want to share my heart about a few things….

there is waaaay too much great stuff in these two verses for just one blog, but i do want to hit the highlights that God has been working on in my heart so strongly lately. unfortunately, if i am being truly transparent here, which i really try to be…when you read my blog, you get the good, the bad, and the ugly…i would say that if someone were to sit and describe me, i’m not sure they would say, “oooh, yes, she is lovely, she’s discreet, chaste, and obedient to her husband”. partly because people don’t really talk like that anymore. but mainly because it is all to often not true. and as far as people using outdated language, that is just a lame excuse. i looked up some synonyms and i haven’t had anyone describe me saying “she is of a sound mind, self-controlled, and curbs her own desires and impulses” either. i will honestly say that i am generally not the first to curb my own anything. in fact, i often think my ideas are good ones, they deserve to be heard, and generally, i am right. (she said, ever-so-humbly. ugh) over the years, i have become, thanks to God’s help, much more self-controlled and less impulsive than i was, but i am surely still a huge work in progress. in the first years of our marriage, though, i was great at the quick-witted and harsh-hitting comebacks to ryan. if he hurt me, it hurt me deep, because i love the man so much. so, if my pain was deep, i naturally (sinfully) wanted his to be deeper. i always felt bad after wards, but that’s the thing…when you are quick tempered and impulsive, there is no time for that before. but, it wasn’t until i truly asked God to help me with this that i saw any real improvement in my actual behavior….and more importantly, in my heart behind it. yes, it still rears its ugly head sometimes, of course, but thankfully, it is less often.

obedient to my husband?? hmmm…also not something i ever felt much like being. i was raised in a home with a lot of rules and regulations. and whether my perception was reality or not, at that time, i didn’t feel like i had much of a voice. so…as a newlywed and in my very early twenties, i felt like i had “served my time” being told what to do and how to do it. that was over. i was a real grown up now and wouldn’t be bossed around anymore. and ryan, being on his own now for years and years was somewhat set in his ways. and remember, by nature, a much more methodical and organized person. so, even his suggestions as to how things could be done around our house, i took as threatening. and boy was i quick to buck the system. again, my heart was SO not in the right place. i still struggle with this in one way or another. i take so personally when things aren’t “up to par” in our home, because i feel it is a poor reflection on me not only as a homemaker, but also as a person. all of these are paths of destruction that the enemy would love for me to stay on for a loooong time. but God wants me to be on His path…to seek Him…act like Him…serve like Him…have a heart like Him….which makes most of this resolve itself, friend. is it hard work? absolutely!! but, it is so worth it! in our society today, submission might as well be a four-letter word. (it isn’t, by the way, it has 10 letters, i counted 🙂 women are too entitled and independent to “have” to be that way. our personalities are too strong and our brains are too smart. i do not think AT ALL that God wants us to be doormats. in fact, i know He doesn’t. but, girls, we are supposed to allow our husbands to lead us. i’ve heard it said that a home with two heads is a monster…an ugly, two-“headed” monster. scary, huh? and not at all God’s design. (eph. 5:23) but, i know i need to remember, and i want you to keep in mind too before you get your panties too much in tangle, that our husbands are called to love us like Christ loved the church and be willing to lay down their lives for us. (eph. 5) so, i do think we get the better end of the deal…not that we should be comparing roles, of course. more on this great subject on a different blog….

because, really, the main point that God has been talking to me about in these verses is about being the “keeper at home”. i have learned a lot about this lately and have such a huge heart to get to feel like this again in my own home. the keeper at home in titus 2 watches over her home, oversees it, cares for it, protects the heart of it, and ladies, as you know…this entails soooo many little and big details. but, oh, what a privilege we have to be able to set the atmosphere of our home….to provide a loving place that our husbands want to hurry home from work to…that our kids want to hang out in, and for their friends to want to hang out it, too! ryan and i have always said that we want to be the house that all the kids want to hang out at. we hope to provide that. i think so many people miss the mark and think that means you just have to have the nicest “stuff”. that isn’t it. i believe so much of that begins with the mom and how she keeps her home. whether she works outside the home or not…is it clean? not immaculate, friend, that isn’t what i mean. i think that is virtually impossible, especially if you have children under the age of six…and definitely if you ever serve rice for dinner…ugh, can i get an amen!?. 🙂 is there food in the pantry? is mom in a good mood? is she happy about her role in the home? or is she upset all the time? bitter about not getting to have all the “nice things” and being “stuck” with the kids all day? or is she overworked and stressed because she feels she “has to” work outside the home and she feels she can’t “do it all”? some women really can handle ALL that it takes to lovingly care for her husband, and her children, and her home unto the Lord and still work outside the home….and with the right heart. i cannot. and i know that is not what God wants for me and my family.

i want to confess to you that i have, in the past, had a judgmental heart about this subject. let me explain the best i can. six years ago, ryan and i were blessed with our first child, jacob. what a joy! for us, it wasn’t even an option…i was going to quit my job and be a stay at home mom. but, just so you know, i loved my job! i taught middle school math and coached as well. i felt called to do it, i felt i was gifted at it, and plus, i just enjoyed it! but now, we had this sweet baby and raising him was our priority. was this decision tough? no, making this decision wasn’t tough. for us, it wasn’t. there was no way we were going to put our baby in day care. and honestly, at that time i couldn’t even fathom how anyone could. hence, my judgmental heart about it. God and i have talked a lot about it since then. trust me, a lot! 🙂 and i still stand by what i’ve always said…if possible, i do think it is best if a mom can stay home and be with her kids as much as she can. obviously, everyone’s circumstances are different and i do not ever want to hurt anyone by saying that. really, i don’t. (i mean almost to a fault, because i am a pleaser. ugh.) but honestly, friend, somewhere along the line, in our society, there has become this “working mom vs. stay at home mom” battle…and wowsers, it ain’t a pretty one! i am not wanting to fuel that battle, trust me. but, our enemy sure wants to, be assured of that! i heard a great phrase recently that said “you can’t mandate what God’s Word doesn’t dictate.” so true!! this just means that because it never actually says in God’s Word that “the wife shalst not worketh”, it is not my place to make that a rule. if i do, i am no better than the pharisees who made up their own laws for people to follow and added them onto the Bible. trust me, i do NOT want to go there, friend! it is not un-Biblical for a mom to work outside the home. just like it is not un-Biblical for your kids to date at 15 or go to public school. these are decisions for you and your spouse to make for your family. but, friend, the Bible does talk about our special role in the home and our heart about it.

in fact, i was talking recently about all of this with a sweet friend of mine who is contemplating whether she is going to stay at home with her new baby or not. i was reminiscing about how hard it was for us. now, remember, i told you that making the decision wasn’t tough for us. but, i will be honest, actually living out the decision was hard for us. for some families, the husband makes bunches of money and so even if the wife stays home, they still have lotsa cashola. not for team holzberger. for us, it was a sacrifice. truly, it was. in fact, it still is! 🙂 when we had jacob, and i quit my job, we cut our family’s income by more than half. and for the record, the “half” we were left with, was ryan’s teaching salary, so we weren’t exactly loaded here, people. 🙂 i was remembering and telling my friend how we never, and i mean never got to eat out (no, not even taco bell)…or buy new clothes…or go on fancy vacations….or on any vacations really….or drive nicer cars…or even drive our old cars around much because back then gas was crazy expensive…or decorate and update our house like i wished we could…like our friends could. sometimes, i missed my job. i missed the affirmation i got there, the feeling of accomplishment and fulfillment, being around the people and students i loved (this was hard for a true social like me!) but, then it hit me one day as i was attending my very own pity party (i was attending it alone, by the way…funny how no one ever joins me at those parties…hmmm, go figure.)…all of that…and i mean all of it…was…all…about…me. ouch. me, me, me. i was beyond blessed that God had given us this precious baby now and the very second that little guy took his first breath on this side of heaven, my calling was different. and clearly, my priorities and my heart needed to be different too. i was so very thankful for this baby and for this conviction to where my heart was wrong. but that was for me. i was being selfish about it all. i was more concerned with the “things” i felt was missing out on, instead of the many things God had given us through the blessing of staying home with our son. ouch. that hurt.

trust me, i still have my moments. when i go to other people’s fancier houses or see their cars that are less than a decade old, i may have a flash of desire that my husband made more money, too. but then i remember how incredibly blessed i am to be married to a man that handles our money so very, very wisely (dave ramsey’s book – “total money makeover” – go buy it!) and that we have three healthy, amazing kiddos! and besides, i always say that i’ve asked God not to give us one more dime that my character can handle. and friend, He has been more than faithful. 🙂

but, really….in our society nowadays, i feel too many moms get trapped in the feeling that they “have” to work. like there is no possible way they could make it work without two incomes. it is almost like the concept is foreign to people now. trust me, friend. it ain’t easy. we have to say no a whole lot. a whooole lot. but really, we lack for nothing that we need. and we have done it on one teacher’s salary. so, it is possible. we are proof. i hope that encourages you. because our budget didn’t make much sense on paper, but we chose to do without a lot. we knew what God wanted us to do and we stepped out in faith…and, friend, God has been more than faithful to us. so much more. so, if He has placed something like this on your heart, too, i encourage you to talk to your spouse about it. pray about it a lot. get others to pray with you. this is a big deal. this is the future generation you are raising here. and boy does the time fly. that sweet baby boy i quit my awesome teaching job to stay home with… he is now missing three front teeth and is away from me for seven hours a day at kindergarten. i promise i was just rocking him to sleep yesterday. it…was…just…yesterday. and i so treasure every single day i stayed home with him. i can’t think of one “thing” i don’t have now that i would trade for that. not. one. thing.

friend, i also feel like our society doesn’t place much honor on women who choose joyfully to be homemakers or on their families that are willing to sacrifice the custom hand-scraped floors or the media room so that their children are home with mom. and like i said before, maybe it isn’t as much of a sacrifice for you. maybe you can do both, stay home and have the fun extra things. if so, rock on! for the record, i love hand scraped floors and media rooms and would totally have them if we could afford it. i am not anti-hand scraped floors or media rooms, people. i’m a fan. i’ve probably complimented yours! 🙂 but, again, it’s just not something in the team holzberger budget right now. or anytime soon. and i am cool with that. (at least, most of the time! 🙂 money and having “things” is not the problem, friend. it is the love of money and “things” that God has a problem with. it is putting the desire to have that stuff above what God has called you to do that is not ok. in fact, 1 timothy 6:10 says pretty clearly that it is the root of all kinds of evil. ouch. and unfortunately, in the time we live in, it is an easy trap to get caught in.

i feel there is no greater career path a mom can take than that of actually being at home and a mom to her kids. don’t feel like you have to say “oh, i’m just a housewife”…sweet friend, be proud. it is a noble career. in fact, my dear sweet friend who let me borrow these cds also told me about an awesome book titled “professionalizing motherhood” by jill savage…can’t wait to get it! now, of course…there are plenty of stay at home moms whose hearts need to be checked as well. mine included. are your motives right? are you truly desiring to spend quality time with your kids? or do you run all over town with your own agenda and just drag them along with you? do you really spend about as much time actually playing with your kids as you would if they were in preschool or daycare all day? do you like to just say you’re a stay at home mom because you think it makes you look good? you think to yourself “yep, i’m really a great person, soooo willing to sacrifice for my family. go me!” careful, friend. careful. (just speaking from my own convicted heart here, people! been there – thought that – have the spit-up stained t-shirt) i also encourage you to do your best not to be the martyr either. don’t have the “i gotta take one for the team” mentality. “oh, woe is me having to spend all day with these blasted kids every day!” guard your mind from thinking toward your spouse “oh ya, but at least you get to escape to the magical place called “grown-up-land” every day where you get to have full conversations with other grown ups, you don’t have to feed anyone but yourself and you never, ever have to wipe anyone else’s hiney but your own!!” again, friend..i have no idea where i’ve gotten all these examples of awful thoughts here. (insert sarcasm) trust me, i don’t need to survey stay at home moms for this stuff. i got it covered.

sweet friend, what a JOY and a blessing to get to care for and set the heart of your home. i know it is hard and even draining sometimes…ok, most of the stinkin’ time. and if you still have kids in diapers, it does literally stink most of the time. 🙂 but, take it from someone who hasn’t….gotten….to…do…it…in…a….year – – it is a blessing. and God has designed each of us girls to do just that.

you may think, “God did not design me for that, trust me!” well, i can relate to that feeling, trust me! i do not resemble anything that comes even remotely close to a distant third cousin of june cleaver. lest we forget the 12 washers and dryers, people. but i do have a heart to please God and to be the woman He describes us all to be in titus 2. and if you look at the end of this verse, the entire point of all of this is “that the Word of God be not blasphemed”. friend, we, as Christians should stand out. our homes should stand out. our marriages should stand out. the way we raise our children should stand out. people should look at us and see a difference. hopefully, a huge difference! no matter whether you get your paycheck in cash and stock options, or in cheerios and finger paintings, this is how we can honor God….by living as He calls us each to live, by acting as He calls us to, by serving as He calls us to. and for some of us, myself included, it may be a tougher road. i don’t think i am “built” as well to be a super great homemaker. but, i think it would be waaaay too easy to hide behind the “i’m just not built that way” excuse. i think that, because i’ve done that. i encourage you not to do the same. we have no idea what we can or can’t do until we try. and besides if He’s called you to do it, you need to do it. end of story. He will work out the details. i love what my friend’s pastor said, “God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called!’ amen! phillipians 4:13 tells us that we can do anything with the strength God gives us in Jesus! anything. and in a world that pressures us to look a certain way, own a certain size and style of home, drive a certain well-equipped van, wear a certain style of clothes…yet isn’t concerned AT ALL with the motives of our hearts…can i encourage you instead to look inside….at your heart? matthew 23:26 tells us “blind pharisee! first clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean”. you and i have the potential to be beautiful inside, where it actually counts. we may not be right now, though. fair warning…when i truly looked inside at my heart, what i found there wasn’t pretty. but, man have i been blessed by the cleaning up God has been doing. but, friend, trust me when i say He has waaay more cleaning ahead of Him than a simple 12 loads of dirty, piled up laundry. thankfully, God, like my sweet ryan, actually picked me too! and He picked you! (1 peter 2:9) my heart and your heart is really what matters. and whether you have kids or not…whether you are married or not….if you are a woman, these verses in titus 2 describe YOU! He is just working now on where He wants you to be. maybe He is working on your heart for when you will be married someday. maybe He is working on your heart for when you will someday have children…or even grandchildren. maybe you feel you didn’t “do it right” the first time around with your own kids. don’t worry, friend. there is nothing that our great God can’t redeem. nothing. or maybe you are divorced or single and living alone in an apartment right now…you can still be a lovely example of a Godly keeper at home. it is all about your heart. and His heart. one in the same.

so, friend…please keep me accountable. if, in a couple months, when i am all healed up and my life is a bit more back to “normal” (which i am believing, in faith, that it will be! amen!)…if i am complaining about cleaning my bathrooms or folding the piles and piles of my kid’s laundry (God’s sense of humor as payback for my infamous college laundry basket:)…remind me of this blog (in love, of course 🙂 although, after sooooo much time away from being able to feel like a keeper at home…after sooo long of this void in my heart…i would like to think i would not so easily forget. in fact, i hope that i never forget the sheer emptiness i feel from not being able to be the homemaker, the wife, and the mom i want so desperately to be. oh, how i miss it, friend. what a blessing! what a noble calling!

thank you God for making our role so special! thank you for choosing us to serve in this precious way! may we wear your Name well. may we be emptied of the selfishness, love of money, envy, and pride of this world. instead, may we be filled with Your joy, peace, thankfulness, love and utter selflessness.

and may we do it all with no pearls and no lace apron needed! 🙂

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