“The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.”
Psalm 145: 14, ESV
We’re coming out of the gate strong with this one, my friends. Y’all will have to give me grace during and after you read this silly, dramatic story that actually taught me a valuable lesson early on in my marriage. It was quite the bumble and something that has stayed with me as I’ve grown in love with my husband, and myself. This is the first but certainly not the last time that the topic of marriage will grace the pages of “Bumbling Beauty”, but I pray it will be a powerful and encouraging beginning!
During my doe-eyed season of engagement, I was a young almost-bride who dreamed of making the perfect wife who selflessly served my husband with joy in every task, no matter how diminutive. I was going to make the bed every day, keep the laundry and dishes clean, scour the house every week, and have delicious, nutritious dinners on the table every evening without fail (or so I thought – HA!). I created this lofty vision that included what I didn’t know were wildly unrealistic expectations, but even after we said “I do”, I was determined to create the perfect home for my new husband. I worked so hard, threw myself into homemaking and cooking and spending my idea of quality time with Ben, only to end up disappointed in my performance facing a reality that was lackluster compared to my unmet expectations.
One night I was excited to break in one of our shiny new wedding gifts: an electric crockpot! I knew this kitchen gadget would be the key to preparing perfect meals without the time and hassle of traditional stove top cooking; the food, and I, were going to be hits with Ben. I went to the grocery store and carefully picked out the perfect cut of meat to prepare in the pot’s maiden voyage: boneless ribs (which I had never prepared before, of course). I came home, quickly searched the Internet for the recipe that looked the simplest and tastiest, meticulously followed the preparation instructions, set the timer, and smiled thinking about what I knew would be an incredible finished product in just a few hours.
When I returned home that evening, I walked into the house to a less-than-pleasant smell and dread filled my heart. I opened the lid of the crockpot only to find a brown, sticky, gooey mess inside. I prayed that it would taste better than it looked and smelled and hesitantly plated it for our evening meal. We sat down, I took the first bite, and I was MORTIFIED. Somehow, I had overcooked the ribs and they tasted like burnt slop; I didn’t even know you could burn something in a crockpot! My trooper of a husband tried to tell me that they weren’t that bad, and that he was happy to eat them. I scrambled to find something else to make in its place, but with our limited newlywed budget, it didn’t make sense to waste what I had prepared. Discouraged and distraught at my embarrassing failure to make a decent meal, I burst into tears, ran into our bathroom, locked the door, and collapsed onto the floor in a pile of despair. It wasn’t just the meal that had failed – I had failed. I had failed as a wife and a woman because I couldn’t prepare a simple dish with what was supposed to be an easy, fail-proof method. I wasn’t worthy of my husband’s love, respect, or admiration in that moment, or at least I didn’t think so.
As I was lying there on the bathroom floor, sobbing and feeling sorry for myself, my poor husband was on the floor pleading with me through the crack under the door to stop crying and trying to offer me encouragement. Eventually I calmed down, came out, and we powered through our less-than-yummy dinner of overcooked ribs and undercooked rice.
It took me a while to really look back and understand my over-the-top reaction to the crockpot tragedy that night in our first month of marriage. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my expectations of myself were so high and my sense of self-worth so low that something as simple as overcooked boneless ribs threw me into a spiral of defeat. I was working as hard as I could to earn my husband’s love when he had already given it to me when he pledged himself to me in marriage. He didn’t have these expectations of me to be the perfect wife, which he of course repeated to me over and over again in our first year of marriage, but for so long I wouldn’t let myself believe it, which led to these paralyzing moments of disappointment every time I felt like I failed.
But, because my God is gracious and faithful, He of course drew beauty out of this silly, but also deeply telling bumble. What I learned from this challenging situation was one lesson that impacted the two most important relationships in my life: my marriage and my walk with the Lord. Something within my deceitful heart, paired with what I know and believe to be lies from Satan, was telling me that I was so unworthy of love that I had to work and prove myself and earn any affection that I would receive. This played out practically in my marriage to Ben and ultimately made it harder for us to grow together as one in the early months of our life together, but it also created a barrier between my Savior and I that kept that relationship from reaching its full potential as well. I had to learn and accept that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and loved so deeply that God was willing to sacrifice his only Son to save and draw me to Himself, and that Christ was willing to die so that I might know communion with the Father. My husband loves me so much that he was willing to commit himself to me in holy matrimony, a covenant relationship that is designed specifically to mirror the sacrificial love that Jesus has for the Church. I am an image-bearer of the Creator of the universe, a child of the one true King, bought by the blood of the Lamb. I am worthy simply because I am. I don’t have to earn the love of anyone, I just need to have faith, both in the Lord and in my husband, and know that I am enough.
I am happy to report that since that fateful night nearly three years ago, I have learned to successfully use the crockpot, I no longer cry over burnt food, and I rest securely in the love of Ben and my Heavenly Father, because I am worth it. I am worth it because when Christ died on the cross, the ugliness of my sin, my failures, my shortcomings all died with Him, and when He was raised from the dead three days later, He gave me the gift of becoming a new creation in Him. He’s given you that gift as well.
If you struggle with feelings of worthlessness or self-doubt, of feeling like you have to earn love instead of receiving it freely, I hope my bumble and the beauty God brought from it have been able to offer some encouragement. You, too, are worthy, beautiful, loveable, cherished, and my hope is that you will use that security to battle against negative thoughts and feelings and Satan’s deceit. If I can pray for or talk with you through your struggle, please feel free to reach out to me; there is power in prayer and in community!
This journey with you all has been brief, but already so, so good. Thank you for following along, for offering your feedback, and for allowing me to be vulnerable with you and bumble even through this blog. Your support is felt in big ways!
I hope this week you are able to bask in the goodness of God’s unconditional love, and to trust and believe that you are worthy and loved by so many. Wishing you beautiful bumbles, this week, my friends. Talk soon.
P.S. Peep some cute photos below of my hubby and I, who have successfully made it through the newlywed stage and will be celebrating three years of marriage in just a few short weeks!