Letters from Mentors: Will the Light in My Eyes Go Out from Not ‘Achieving All I Could Be?’

A few months ago, I had a discussion with RichardP at another blog about going back to school to get a simple training degree (2 years or shorter!) eventually when the kids were older.

RP said:

“I’d hate to see the light go out of your eyes because you one day conclude that you never got the chance to be all that you could be.”

I really don’t think he meant ill-will toward me at all, but something about his comment sounded odd to me, as if the only way the light in my eyes wouldn’t go out, would be pursuing more education and getting back into the working world (which realistically, this may not happen now that we’re homeschooling).  When something bothers me, I tend to ask women I consider friends and mentors what they think.  So I asked a few women who were older (decades older) to see what they thought of his comment, especially in light of our family situation of me needing to be home with our kids right now.

Stingray gave me just an incredible reply with lots of wisdom and encouragement; it gave me much to think about.

The whole point of having these “Letters from Mentors,” is to help other women out there who may feel the way I do, have the same questions or are looking for answers that aren’t readily available anymore in our sinful culture.  I hope her words blesses any women out there who come across this same sentiment like her words blessed me.

***

From Stingray:

Hey Stephanie,

I’ve  been thinking about your email a lot over the past months and I can tell you, this man’s statement is incredibly irritating to me, as well.  I have to say, you need to go with your gut on this one.  The light in your eyes is there because of the joy in your life.  You get to decide what brings you joy.  Not some random man who only knows you from the internet.  It sounds to me like your family brings you joy.
What kind of light would you really have in your eyes if you went back to school, presumably went into a good amount of debt, and missed all of that time with your family?  And while much of the world these days tends to equate the piece of paper you would get for your degree as an education, is that really what it constitutes?
Many would say that since I’m a homeschooling stay at home mom I am wasting my life, but I can certainly tell you that I am FAR more educated now than I was when I got my degree (which was useful in finding me a husband and that was the very best thing that came from it).
Education is not a piece of paper.  It is a compilation of what you have learned.  What better age to live in than the internet age to get a true education. If it is knowledge you desire, you have it nearly free at your finger tips.  If it is status you desire, which is what most women want when the speak of career, then yes, school is the way to go.  But as you said, at what price and will it bring you joy?
You asked if I have run into this.  Not personally, no.  I mean, I’ve seen people who really resent stay at home mom’s and whatnot, but it’s never been said to my face.  (Well, when I was pregnant with my first a woman asked me what I was going to do after the baby came and I told her I was going to be a SAHM and homeschool.  The look she gave me suggested I had a foul stench, but I just thought that was funny).
But being a SAHM has always been my dream since I was a little girl.  I never had any career aspirations. I did go to college, because that is what you did at 18 those days.  I didn’t enjoy it and I didn’t enjoy working for the 5 years I did. 
I get that some women are happy working, but I do not believe that it is true of most of the women who make that claim.  I think they say it because they think they have to.  They believe it, because the alternative is unthinkable.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not unthinkable.

The alternative can really be what maintains that light.

Yeah,  I know that in the midst of diapers and sleepless nights that it might not seem like it, but really envision that dream you mentioned.

Having those Godly children and watching their effect on the world.  In 50 years, in 100 years, what do you think will have a bigger impact in this world?

This is all to say, that man doesn’t know what he is talking about.  He’s mimicking back to you the standard knowledge so many of us were taught growing up.  But were most of us ever taught an alternative choice to this?  Were we ever taught that something else that might bring us great happiness is out there?  Why were we never given a choice to make on our own?  The very fact that you believe you do have a choice says a whole lot.  Don’t let him doubt yourself.  This is your choice to make and you have given it way more thought and have more experience to make the decision than vast numbers of people out there.  It is yours to make.  You know what brings you joy.
Block the rest of the world out and listen only to that still small voice and your husband in this matter.  You will figure it out that way.  The world is not in your home.  Your home is where this decision needs to come from.
All my best to you, Stephanie.  Make this choice in a place of confidence.  Follow your gut.  You know far more about this than most.  Trust that.
Stingray
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Letters from Mentors: Supporting Your Police Officer Husband

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Mine is bottom right, taken a few years ago

About a month ago, I had a dream that my husband had already passed away, and that I was living day to day, imagining he was here for short time periods to talk or touch base with, but that in reality, he was gone from this world and I was all alone, handling everything on my own and just “make-believing” I had a partner to do life with.  I was so grateful when I woke up that it was just a dream!  And it hilariously (and horrifically) reminded me of those women a few years ago in the media who were so lonely, they started having romantic relationships with ghosts! LOL  But I can’t deny that it had an element of truth to it in that being a police wife can sometimes feel like being a “married single mom,” even when our husbands go above and beyond to be there for us and our children!
Supporting one’s husband is something I’ve written about before in a more general sense for any wife, here.   It can be extremely stressful being a Police Officer’s wife due to the particular circumstances that come with that career.  The difficult family-schedules, the missing out on birthdays, major holidays, and weekends and special days with family members can be hard on not just the wife, but also your children.  And the unique struggles a police family faces aren’t something I think a wife should navigate alone.  We need neighbors who we feel connected to, supportive family members who can help out when our husbands can’t be there, loving friends who understand our limitations with our husband’s odd schedule or rules, and mentors who can guide us when we have questions and fears about this life, and in emotionally navigating the ups and downs of the political environment saying police officers are the enemy.
Ame, from BlendingAme has been such a mentor and friend to me, giving me very cherished advice and encouragement.  This post is from an email she wrote to me months ago, (and repurposed so that it can be for any police wife reading this).
From Ame:
~ ❤ ~

“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

*
Before we took our first breath, every day of our life was ordained, written. There is no exception.
It is hard to remember that God has given each of us our own “Death Date,” and NOTHING we do or think or imagine will change that date. Our Death Date was set before the foundation of the world, so your life, your husband’s life, our children’s lives, everyone’s life – and every single day of our lives – were set before the foundation of the world.
 
Are there some who live lives with higher risk of death? Sure. Does that mean their Death Date will come too soon or unexpectedly to God who created every day of their lives? No. We cannot alter our Death Date.
 
The reality is … we all die. People die. At every age and for every reason imaginable. I know a man who works for his county’s Medical Examiner’s office, and he has seen just about every kind of death that is common and many that aren’t … at all ages … expected and unexpected. He has worked in this role for his large county for seven or eight years, and in all that time he knows of only one Police Officer’s death in the line of duty. Do officers of all agencies die in the line of duty? Sure. Is it unexpected to God? Never.
 
Your husband has chosen a very noble career as a Police Officer. It is who he is. He cannot change who God created him to be; neither can he change his Death Date by being and becoming that man. Asking him to choose between you and being a Police Officer is asking him to choose between who he is and who you want him to be, and what kind of choice is that? He would hate you because he’d hate himself, and you would hate him for caving in to you.
 
It is hard, sometimes, to accept our husbands and who they are, as they are. I remember a time when my husband and I had a conversation, and to do something that would obviously be beneficial to him, he flat out said to me, “I will not do that.” There is nothing I can do but to accept it, let it go,  and still choose to respect and honor him. His life is in God’s hands, not mine … not even his.
 
I have a friend whose husband works in a very high-security position with a good amount of stress. Although she has a good degree and had a good career before having children, they decided she would become a stay-at-home-mom when they had their first baby. So, she quit her job and her career when their first baby was born many years ago, and she hasn’t gone back. He is the first one to tell you that the reason he successfully do all that he does in his job is because she takes care of everything at home.
 
Your husband has that kind of job that demands an enormous amount from him. It demands everything from him. It forms who he is as much as who he is was made for this job. In that kind of situation, it’s like God is the CEO, and you are both Exec VP’s over the two divisions of your corporation: he runs everything outside the home; you run everything inside the home. He being the Senior Exec VP is the one you will always report to; never the other way around.
 
Do not focus on those whose husbands are home more than yours. Do not focus on those whose husbands do more outside of their job/career/profession than yours. Focus only on your husband. Focus only on who God created you to be and become and where He has placed you.
 
The risk of death is always there. For all of us. No one is guaranteed tomorrow. No one. It’s shocking to me how little it takes for someone to die … and also how resilient people are. Seemingly benign things take people into the next life all the time, and yet humanity has survived vicious wars, plagues, illnesses, and poverty since the beginning of time.
 
My first husband traveled extensively, and in the early years of our marriage I would worry myself sick. I desperately needed to hear his voice to know his plane made it, he didn’t have a wreck of any kind on the way, or nothing else freaky happened to him.
Finally one day I just got it. I got that God’s got all this, and my worrying about it would not change a thing. Either he would come home, or someone would knock on my door. And not a moment of worry would change that. 
 
My late Mentor taught me many things, one of which was to only live things once as I experience them in reality. When I worry, I let my imagination go wild and create all these possible scenarios. When I do that I live through things that aren’t even real yet affect my whole being. 
 
When you live wondering all the time about if or when Patrick will die in the line of duty, you are doing two things. One, you are living an imaginative experience that is not reality and yet is depleting you as though it is reality. And two, you are living his future death (which is guaranteed, by the way, unless Jesus comes back first 😉 ) over and over and over ad nauseam. That does NO one any good, especially you and your children and your marriage. 
 
Have a plan in place written down that is easily accessible. Review it once a year with your husband, and then force yourself to forget about it. You are prepared for “what if.” If you spend your time worrying about “what if,” you are taking away time and energy and emotion from yourself, your husband who is alive right now, your children, and what God wants you to do right now, today.  Don’t do that anymore. You only need to live through your husband’s death once – whether you’re on this side of eternity or the next when he passes through to the other side. 
  ❤
I hope her words bless you like it did me.  It’s hard to trust God with the outcome of our husband’s being in danger, and managing the home-front mostly on our own.  But even in the midst of struggle to find balance or fighting off feelings of guilt that we’re not doing “enough” like other families are able to, I’ve found that the joy and love in even a circumstantially-stressful marriage can far outweigh the trials or hardships one goes through.
I hope any police wife out there reading this knows you are not alone ❤ !
Stephanie
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Letters From Mentors: Elizabeth Elliot’s Marriage Advice for Wives

From her book Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot explains how wives can revive the romantic feelings of esteem for their husband:

Marriage is no house party; it’s not a college campus or a stimulating political row or an athletic contest, and the man’s having been a spellbinding orator or a great halfback somehow does not seem terribly significant anymore.

But you ought now and then to remember what he was, to ask yourself what it was, really, that caught your eye.

Come now, you will say to yourself, you didn’t marry him because he was a great halfback, did you?

No, you married this person.

Whatever the inner qualities were that enabled him to do the things he did then are still a part of this person that you go to bed with and eat breakfast with and wrestle over the monthly budget with.

He is a person with the same potentials he had when you married him.

Your responsibility now is not merely to bat your eyelashes and tell him how wonderful he is (but breathes there a man with soul so dead as not to be cheered by a little of that?) but to appreciate, genuinely and deeply, what he is, to support and encourage and draw out of him those qualities that you originally saw and admired.

***

I love reading pretty much anything that Elizabeth Elliot says on marriage and anti-feminism.  She is kind, clear, and to the point, something I admire in a writer.  I thought that some of her pieces may go well in this continual topic series I’m writing called Letters From Mentors.  I’ll be including these in my daughter’s book so that she has access to these other women’s thoughts in one place 🙂 ❤ .

It’s just so beautiful to have different perspectives from older women who have more wisdom or advice than I do right now.  There’s a reason the Bible counsels believers to gather many advisers, and for the older women to be teaching the younger women how to love their husbands and children, it’s because if they’ve been living rightly with God, they should be blessed with the ability to see things a younger (less experienced) woman may be able to see.  

Elizabeth points out something so crucial to marriage in this short script to us. Something so obvious and yet profound.  That we graciously and carefully handle our husbands as the unique man God created him to be.

That we remember his talents and beauty of his soul, and the romantic things about him that made us fall in love with him when dating.

That we genuinely look again at him, from that perspective we had when we were dating ❤ .

That we encourage him in his dreams right now, and for the future.

That we be his best cheerleader in his life ❤ .

And that we try to show him daily how much we love and adore him, just for the man he is and has become.

Stephanie

Letters From Mentors: “The Legacy I Want to Leave” by Linda

This post is part of the series where I feature letters (emails) I’ve received over the years from women I consider to be mentors online and in real life.  I LOVE hearing other women’s perspectives on raising a daughter (or anything I’m wondering about!), and when I see someone I admire or feel inspired by watching their life, I want to know their secret to the success they’ve had 😉  It’s so encouraging to me, to see women who are wiser, already in their 40’s or 50’s, and have worked to build the life that I want to create and am working to create.

Like I said in the last post where Stingray’s first letter was featured, we’re commanded in the Bible to get all the wisdom and understanding that we can.  There’s wisdom in having many advisers, and so forth.  I believe that as a young mom, it’s so vital to have women you look up to and whose lives you admire to be able to ask questions of, and learn from and basically model your life after.

This series is just so exciting to me because of all the wonderful advice and wisdom it will bring here for not only me and my daughter, but also for anyone of you readers who are interested in these letters!  

And if I ask you your thoughts on this subject of raising daughters, be assured that it’s because I really look up to and admire you and see something extremely valuable and beautiful in your life that I want for my own!  I don’t believe women are “island” creatures… maybe men can live like that 😉 (thinking Paul and John the Baptist), but most people seem to really get a lot of value from having deep relationships and sharing ideas that are insightful and life-changing.

Here is Linda’s letter titled “The Legacy I Want to Leave:”

***

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Stephanie from All Things Bright and Beautiful recently asked me about writing a post for my daughters.  What an honor.  🙂  It has really had me thinking.

I’m working on one post in particular, but in the meantime, to be honest, you could consider this whole blog a gift for my children.  My oldest daughter is in a serious dating relationship with a wonderful Christian young man.  My heart is aware that the time she will remain at home with us is limited…. probably one more year of community college, and then she’ll launch out on her own.

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{Oldest and Youngest, 17 years apart}

When she does leave, I know one of her wishes is to take family recipes with her.  She’s asked in the past about that, and about taking a sourdough starter with her–things like that.  Putting recipes on this blog to share with you, and others who have expressed an interest in classes, disciplines me to take pictures and get my home made recipes cataloged in such a way that I will be ready to put her cook book together for her, and all the other children as I know that the next 3 will be following her like dominoes.

My children love looking through old pictures and hearing the stories.  One day, they will enjoy looking through the updates on this blog.

And I don’t want my children to someday look back when I’m gone and think that they never really knew my heart.  I remember thinking that when I helped my mother clean out my grandmother’s home, and the fact that my own mother hasn’t spoken to me in over 14 years—well, we missed something, somewhere along the line!  My children will trust my teaching more if I am real.  I want them to recognize my strengths and understand my weaknesses, but when it’s all said and done, I want them to know me as a woman who pursued God and loved them deeply.  I want them to be secure in our family and have no regrets, knowing that while we’re not perfect and we make plenty of mistakes, we’re growing in God’s grace… a little more every day.

Every devotional I have written is something that my heart longs for my children to understand.  I pray, as they leave home, that we will remain close and be able to share the things that God is teaching us.  Perhaps they’ll visit here to see what Mom is up to.  Even now though, as I take time to share with you, I take every opportunity to teach my children what I’m learning.  Different ages understand different things, but I hope that no matter what I say, my life will reflect the changes God makes in my heart as I pray for God’s wisdom and holiness.  I learned first hand when I was growing up, where “do as I say and not as I do” was often the mantra, that it’s easier to follow an examplethan it is a list of do’s and don’ts.

As time marches forward and my children are growing up, I am realizing that though I have different concerns for my boys versus my girls, I really want them all to catch the lessons here.  What I want my girls to learn about seeking God and becoming Godly women is what I want my sons to come to expect and pray for in a future wife.  What my sons need to learn about being strong, Godly leaders is what my girls need to expect and pray for in a future husband.  Learning to help their father in so many ways will prepare all of them to lead, but also to follow, respect and support the many leaders God will place in their lives.

So what have we been learning this last year?  What kind of legacy do I want to leave?  I want to train up children who understand that:

If you want your life to add up to something, Abide in Christ, and never lose awe over what He has done for you.

In order to lead people to Jesus, you need to love them first.

In order to walk into the good works God has planned in advance for you, you do not have to wait.  God has equipped you with a relationship with Him, a unique story, talents, resources and spiritual gifts… you need only trust Him and be faithful with what is in your hands.

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{Our 3 oldest daughters, on worship team at church.  The oldest 5 girls sing for 12-20 churches and special events every year.  God has given them beautiful harmony.}

But no matter what you have in your hands, you are still a sinner, saved by grace, and so He has filled you with His Spiritto make your character like His so your testimony will be believable.

Don’t ever lose faith in God when people fail you.  God isn’t subject to our standards and failures.  He sets the standard, and he redeems our failures.

Remember that God fights for you, and though you may travel through dark and difficult places, and it is He who will bring you out.

And when you do go through trying times, remember that God never makes a mistake.  Trust Him with all your heart.

It is a blessing, a privilege and duty of every Christian to be faithful in prayer.

If you want to have an effective prayer life, run to confess your sin, live life with open hands– forgive others, and always put God’s will above your own wants–pray for His will.  Pray unselfishly.

So many other lessons I have yet to write down.  It takes time. 🙂  But this is a good start.

Linda

Letters from Mentors

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I LOVE having a daughter – I never dreamed it would be this much fun and that she’d be this feminine from the get-go!

But, with all that said, it’s actually a lot scarier to me having a girl to raise.  I understand boys ❤ and although they need a lot from their mothers, a lot of the bulk of their gaining and understanding their masculine strength can only come from their fathers.  So while it’s been beautiful to see my husband fill that role pratically perfectly, this new baby girl has turned our world upside down in this respect.  Now I’m the one who needs to teach her what true femininity and godly womanhood looks like.

Lord have mercy on me!  LOL 😀 😛  Even with all my studying, it still feels like a job I’m not fully prepared for.  But that’s why I’m forever grateful to mentors, my own mother ❤ , older women at church, and blogs with that kind of guidance.

Proverbs says to get all the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that you can, and it’s wonderful that we have access to people we’d never know if it wasn’t for the internet!  I love how there’s so many women I’ve come across over the years who have been kind enough to give me tons of advice on raising children and being a godly wife!

In fact… I’m seriously considering starting another mini-series, complete with it’s own tab (maybe), called “Letters from Mentors,” where I’ll be featuring emails I’ve received from women usually in their mid-40’s or 50’s, who have given me AMAZING advice on different topics that would fit well here on my blog.

Women you’d see in this series would be people like Sunshine Mary (Sunshine Thiry), Liz (red pill commenter from years back), Stingray (from On The Rock), Lori Alexander (from The Transformed Wife), April (from The Peaceful Wife), Ame (from Blending Ame), RPG (from NotesFromaRedPillGirl), and a few other Christian women I’ve reached out to recently to see if they’d be interested.  Hopefully it will be an expanding thing, even with my real life mentors contributing from time to time.  I’m in debt to so many of these incredible women for the advice they’ve given me over the years and setting a positive example of seeing them interact online and in real life.  And the online ones love to write! LOL  So why not try to capture some of the letters I’ve received from them, that maybe would be helpful to other women out there as well who are in the middle of raising a family?

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In fact, my husband is helping me create a little booklet for our daughter of all the posts I’ve written under the tab for her.  I figured these “Letters from Mentors,” would go great in there as well!  I’m a big paper person… I love books you can physically hold.  This little booklet is only about 8-9 inches tall, in a mini-binder, and so cute!

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And it’s so sweet how quick these older, wiser women were to either reach out to me themselves, or to be open to my going to them to seek their wisdom.  They were so generous and kind-hearted toward me, and so humble!  And thankfully, I’ve only ever had one woman snub my request to email her and then humiliate me for asking, but then I realized… maybe she really didn’t have any wisdom to impart afterall... LOL 😀 .  Oh well 🙂 may the generous, humble ones be honored and praised for gladly giving advice to someone younger looking up to them.  It is definitely appreciated, and now I’m hopefully going to find time to capture their words in our homemade book (and here), so others can have access to their wisdom, too.

***

Stingray is the first woman’s advice I’d like to write about here on this post.  For people who don’t know her, she used to run a very well-written blog on male-female, red pill concepts, with a heavy focus on married women’s responsibilities, called On the Rock.  I urge you to go check it out!  A woman in her mid-40’s, with a growing family and husband she adores, she is a faithful Catholic with admirably strong convictions.  I adore her.  When I was pregnant and we found out it would be a girl, she was one of the first women I thought of when thinking of people online to ask for advice on a variety of “raising a daughter” topics.  That says a lot about the impression she had on me.

Like I said before, it just seems so much harder raising a girl, than it has been raising boys.  Our culture is so dark, and where it used to be more based on virtue and morality, now it’s actually praised to sleep around for years, before finally deciding to get married and have children – if a woman decides to get married at all!!!  I don’t want her to be like that.  I don’t want her to choose a more painful, even disastrous path for herself.  And I don’t want her growing up believing that it is “ok” or desirable at all, even if our idiotic society deems it acceptable.

I’ve rambled on too much.  Here is just one of Stingray’s excellent letters, I sincerely hope you as a reader, enjoy it.

 

Good morning, Stephanie,

I’m sorry this has taken me so long to write.  
I do have 2 girls.  Things are different in raising them in that you will be more hands on and your husband will be less with them, but the dynamic of both is still really important.  But really, the biggest thing is that your girls will be watching you to see how to navigate the world.  They will watch how you treat your husband, how you dress, how you approach house work, how you approach the world around you, etc ad infinitum.  But, and this is hugely important in my opinion, they will turn to your husband to learn how to navigate men.  Not directly, but Dad is their first love.  Obviously not in an inappropriate manner, but they will still look to him to see how he reacts to their learning how to be feminine.  
They will look to him to see how he reacts to how they dress, “Do I look pretty, Daddy?” How he reacts when they bake him something, to something they accomplished, etc.  He will be a far more effective teacher of things like modesty because they will learn from him what men like.  Dad’s approval and disapproval in HUGE.  So it will be you who teaches them directly, but it will be Dad’s reaction that sends the lesson home.  
As far as tantrums, it depends.  Some “tantrums” are quite charming and cute.  Dad might not want to stop those outright, because a girl learning how to influence her father in a good way is an excellent skill for her to learn.  We used to jokingly have the girls go to their dad and flutter their eyelashes when they would ask him for something and it was great fun.  It’s also a good lesson.  He would say no when appropriate and yes when appropriate.  They learned that it wasn’t always going to work, but also that it was cute and was influential.  But then, he would always shut down hard any girly tantrums that were just tantrums.  
Does that make sense?  In essence, you want to teach them how to use their femininity for good.  Because for better or worse, they will learn how to influence men and that is a powerful thing.  A tempting thing.  Most especially if they are beautiful.  So learning early on what a strong man will allow, and more importantly, what he is capable of, is hugely important.  
So my best advice is to use your instinct.  You don’t want them to squash who they are, you want them to be the beset them they can be.  That includes all those feminine things that they can use to destroy or build up.  It ends up being that you will directly teach, but they will want to buck you.  Your husband will be the one who indirectly shows them that what you are teaching means everything.  
Let me know if any of this doesn’t make sense or if you have any more questions.  Also, thank you for the compliment.  Blogging just took a back seat to growing children and family.  It had to and it just kind of happened organically.  Plus, the manosphere lost it’s shine for me.  It lost it’s intellectual appeal with more and more people coming in.  I knew it would, it was just a matter of time.  
I hope you are all doing well!  
Best, 
Stingray