Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cheap Lumpy Mattresses

“What’s one thing you wish you had known when you first started out?”  That was the question I had to address recently at a ladies’ tea.  Maybe some of you youngsters could come up with a quick easy answer for this, but for me, “starting out” was literally half a lifetime ago.

Truth be told, maybe people did try to tell me certain things back then, but it never sank in until I learned them by experience.  How many people used to say, “Enjoy those children while they’re young; they grow up so fast!”  Did I learn it just hearing it from some older, wiser woman?  No way, Jose.

Viewing it from this side of fifty, it’s humbling on the one hand how much I still have to learn, and at the same time I find it challenging to take my own life lessons and make anything but a lame attempt to pack them into a neat little lesson to teach women coming behind me. 

One thing I wish I had understood better starting out 26 years ago is the nature of spiritual warfare.  I wish I had been more aware that there is an enemy out there who wants to destroy my marriage, ministry, family, and me.  I wish I had known that the enemy is not my husband, coworkers, or children.

What did I answer these kind women who so eagerly wanted to hear about my experiences?  Nothing very profound, to be sure.  In fact, I’m sure they were disappointed.  I said that I wished I had known then how much God truly loves me and cares for me apart from anything I might accomplish in this life, that He doesn’t mind if I am comfortable occasionally.

For years I used to feel a pang of guilt for even wishing for creature comforts.  Now I embrace them when they come my way, though I struggle against purposely seeking them out for myself.  I’ve learned that there is nothing more spiritual about sleeping on the ground or on a cheap, lumpy bed, and there is nothing sinful about being color coordinated or wearing makeup.

While there are certain products I need to stay physically attractive to my husband, there are also helps I need to stay physically healthy.

I’ve also learned that there are certain things I must do in order to stay sweet and productive.  I do require a certain amount of sleep, preferably on a firm mattress, and I function better with daily exercise and good nutrition.  This summer after gaining back about 15 pounds, I learned again the danger of giving in to every craving and eating every dessert offered.

Didn’t I know that before we left Mexico for our summer in the U.S.?  I did.  Yet I still had to learn that hard lesson again, experientially.  Thankfully we were able to join a gym for just two months, which helps a lot to feel better even though the rest of my lifestyle is temporarily out of balance.

So back to the original question:  What do you wish you had known then that you know now?

IRL*Most of us learn the hard way by sleeping on cheap, lumpy mattresses.


  1. I wish I would of realized sooner that my primary ministry was being mom. To often I put the hospital before my children and husband and the scars remain.

    Secondly I wish I'd spend more time with the Lord especially listening to Him and not so much listening to all the other voices [expectation, discouragement, negativity].

    As I grow and change in this life I continue to learn how comparing myself to others does very little good. I need to focus on my attitudes [unfortunately including being judgmental and selfish] and not what other people are doing, saying or feeling.

    1. Hello, again, Kris. Thanks for the good input once again. While being a mom WAS my primary ministry, I struggled with comparing myself to others like yourself that seemed to be doing so much more. I doubt there are many of us who would say we spent enough time listening to His voice over all the others. Sigh. Always learning, aren't we?

  2. I wish I had known how little I really did know. And I wish I had known it wasn't about doing, but about being and living and showing...

    1. Me, too. I wish I had known that way sooner.

  3. Seems I know it all but can never seem to remember long enough! Help me to remember, dear Lord, each day that I am a mother/wife and homeschool teacher first and that all the rest is just icing on an every day cake... Thank you for another great article!

  4. I like what you say about spiritual warfare, Jamie Jo, that's one thing I still wish I'd remember more frequently.

    I wish I'd seen more clearly how I'm no better or worse than any other worker here in my country. It's so easy to judge others. arrive, Just because you speak better Turkish/Spanish/Chinese than other people, or just because you've cultivatead great relationships with nationals, or you've done this or that, it doesn't mean you're a more effective worker. Everyone has their own role and a different slant on ministry. I understand more now how easy it is to judge others' ministry, and it's just plain wrong!!!

    It's taken me 10 years to realize this in a hard field, and now sometimes I see other newbies come, perhaps thinking that they're the new blood that will crack this giant. (I hope they're right!!!)


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