Tuesday, September 5, 2017

To My Friends Struggling With Infertility

I'm not necessarily writing from the experience of infertility, although I am fairly certain I have lost a baby in the past. But some of my friends are struggling with it. I feel their hurts. Whether we understand from personal experience or not, we should always seek to stand in the shoes of others. And, for those not classified dealing with infertility but desiring a baby with all their hearts, this post is for you too. 

To my friends struggling with infertility.

My heart goes out to you. 

It's a struggle in many ways people don't often think of. I don't know all of the ways. But the struggles are there, each unique to you personally. 

It hurts when you're asked for the millionth time if you're expecting. The gazes of curious, yet well-meaning acquaintances travel your belly, scrutinizing every fluctuation of your weight during those delightful times of month when you're a little rounder, a little plumper than normal. They nod if satisfied that something really is going on--or shake their head in disappointment.

It hurts when a newborn near you in the store cries that delightful squall that kicks up a flutter of maternal instincts in your stomach--and heart. It hurts that you have to blink back tears as you race to another aisle, only to come face to face with those wee booties, diapers, and bow-trimmed socks.

It hurts when children innocently ask you when you're going to be a mother.

It hurts when you log into your social media, only to be bombarded with articles glorifying motherhood and placing it on a pedestal above wife, daughter, and beloved servant of the King. You know in your heart that the articles were well meant to encourage mothers who are struggling with their worth, but you wonder if people recognize your worth as just a wife faithfully serving her husband and her God.

It hurts when people tell you of all the emotions you cannot possible understand because you have never loved your own child or--worse--insinuate your selfishness in not having one, when they cannot begin to understand how desperately you want one. 

It hurts when infertility begins to affect your marriage, as oneness with your spouse begins to slip to the overwhelming powers of charting, temperature, and the right time of month.

It hurts when you're doubled over in cramps, each one reminding you that this is not the month, this is not the time. 

It hurts when you see the disappointment in your spouse's face when you tell him about yet another negative pregnancy test. You see the wheels working behind his eyes, wondering if it is somehow his fault. You see the way he looks at children at church, the way he talks about taking his future son fishing and of cuddling his baby daughter. 

It hurts when friends and acquaintances who did not want or were even trying for a baby announce their pregnancy. It hurts when they complain about the children they have.  

It hurts when you've lost a baby to miscarriage, but are brushed aside with comments of "maybe it was only the stomach flu", "there's always next time", and "at least you were not very far along."

It all hurts.

And I'm sorry. 

I'm sorry for all the pain. For all the prying into your personal life. For all the monthly hopes, the agonized waiting period, then the grieving stage. For all the hurtful comments, made whether purposefully or in innocence. For all the feeling that being a wife is not enough. For, in some circles, all the judgment. For all of the nursery themed Pinterest boards that just seem like a wasted dream. 

"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart..." --Psalm 34:18

"Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." --Matthew 11:28

 "Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved." --Psalm 55:22

It doesn't always feel like God is there. It doesn't always feel like He understands. It may not be until far, far down the road that you can look back and see that He was carrying you. 

But you will. Grace is best seen looking back. And He does give more grace. 

He does understand. 

And so do others. Maybe not perfectly, because no one can perfectly understand your unique set of trials, but others have walked this path before. It hurts. But you're not hurting alone. So often in our grief, we forget that others are walking through the storm too. 

If at all possible, find someone else struggling with infertility. Pray for them. Pray with them. Talk about your dreams together. Point each other to verses of healing. It may be that a little bit of healing, a little bit of hope, a little bit joy will surface from you helping someone else.

If nothing else, know that I am praying for you. My readers are always free to message or email me with their prayer requests. Your hurting heart is never alone. 

"And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." --Revelation 21:3-6

How Can I Be Praying For You Today?

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Friday, September 1, 2017

Our First Camping Trip!

Samuel and I were *finally* able to have our first camping trip! Davis Pond was just so beautiful. We were camped right by the water. Instead of the forecasted rain, it was just a beautiful, thick fog pretty much the entire time. We saw wild turkeys, tiny little water frogs, mourning doves, and were stalked by a weird cat that meowed at us all day and at my head at night, hahahah! I'm so glad God let us enjoy the wonders of His beautiful creation in such a relaxing way.

It's hard to see, but we found flocks of wild turkeys!

We took a selfie before we became too filthy for selfies, hahahah!

Love this man so much. He's pretty hot. Also, he's pretty good at building fires, even out of green, wet wood. 

Davis Pond was just so beautiful. 

Our tent was from my sister and brother in law. It proved to be very, very water proof. 

We had authentic boyscout dinners, right down to keeping the fire going in the rain so they could cook. 

And more pics of my smoking hot man....

Y'all. The fog was just awesome. 

Anybody know what kind of berry this is?!

The fog was so thick you couldn't see the pond!

Not sure who carved this, but it's really cute!

I know I'm not the pro a lot of you are, but I did enjoy doing some photography on my phone. 

Samuel and I have a tradition. Every time we go on a hike, he picks flowers and puts them in my hair. It makes me feel so very special. <3 

You see the butterfly-in-progress?!

We discovered a crab apple tree. Boy, were they sour! Hahahah!

It was such a great, relaxing time. No internet, no cell service. Neither of us could contact or be contacted by work, which was awesome. We had really needed to get away, just to talk un-distracted. There is something about nature that makes me feel closer to God and closer to my husband even. I'm just so glad we were actually able to make it work and went for it, despite severe weather forecasts due to the hurricane. God just really blessed. 

It's the little things in life that are most important. We don't necessarily need a big budget camping trip, a vacation at the beach, or a Disneyworld trip to really enjoy life. Little things like s'mores, bright fires, tiny water frogs, meaningful talks with people we love, fog, raindrops on leaves, butterflies and fireflies in the grass...that's what makes up happiness. Let's not lose sight of what true memories are made of by comparing what we have bigger and better things...not when the little things often count most.

So what have you been up to? 

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

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Mentor or Manager? (And How to Tell the Difference!)

When I say manager, I am not referring to managers in the work force. Managers in that field are, obviously, right, needed, to be respected, etc. Those are not the managers referred to in the context of this post.

Mentor or Manager?

We all have managers in our life. We all answer to authority. There are right and good authorities in our life that we obey. There are also mentors in our life: people who teach, exhort, and encourage us. If we're wise, we want godly mentors. And a lot of godly people want to be mentors. (We're commanded to exhort and mentor others by Scripture, after all!)

The problem is that a lot of people who want to be mentors are actually being managers. 

We never want to give someone false authority in our lives. After all, a person of maturity does not want to give false authority to someone who is just vying for the privilege of telling you what to do (when they don't deserve or ought to have the right.) Being a leader yourself means recognizing who is and who isn't an authority in your life. It also means recognizing when someone wants to be your mentor or just your manager.

So how do you recognize when someone wants to be a mentor or just wants to be a manger? There's a huge difference between a leader and a dictator. Sometimes you don't realize the difference right away, though. Here are a few thoughts.

In general, here are the characteristics of a manager:

  • A manager usually tells you what to think. They are usually pretty dogmatic about their beliefs -- especially ones that are grey areas and should be open to debate. When there is an issue upon which there are many varying opinions and many possible correct conclusions to come to, they will usually insist that their opinion is the only correct one.
  • If you chance to disagree with the manager, he/she usually endeavors to change your mind. Obviously, if your position conflicts clear Scriptural teaching or moral ethics, this is a good thing. However, many managers want your complete agreement on issues that are not always clear cut. Tactics such as guilt, manipulation, or personal disappointment often follow. If these do not work to change your mind, some managers will refuse to meet with you any more or express that you are not the person they thought you were (i.e. you had a mind of your own.)
  • Managers may say they want you to think for yourself, but, in all reality, they want you to agree with them upon just about every subject. 
  • Managers tend to be unreasonable with your time. They may expect you to be at their beck and call on their schedule. They may demand large portions of your time without taking into account that, if you're a mature leader, you have learned to balance your time and cannot devote all of it to any one person.
  • Managers may expect you to follow all of their suggestions, as if a suggestion were the same thing as a command. 
  • Managers don't always respect your season of life. They may be overbearing or condescending, treating you like a stupid kid or assuming you know nothing about life in general. They expect to be revered, although they would never say this.
  • Managers ultimately want followers, not leaders.
  • A manager may be someone you follow simply because of reputation. Reputation is not a bad thing, but it sometimes overlooks character.

In general, managers tend to be focused on feelings: feelings of gratification when you align your thinking to theirs, feelings of pride to be considered a mentor, feelings of superiority when they instruct, and feelings of dominance by controlling another person in the name of mentorship. Managers can be more self-oriented.

Compare all this with the characteristics of a mentor:

  • A mentor teaches you how to think, not what to think. They are usually firm on their beliefs on issues that really matter, but don't claim to have all the answers in grey areas. They respect other people's opinions and are not offended when you may think differently from them. They usually focus on teaching you how to think wisely and make mature decisions, rather than simply telling you what to do based on their personal life experiences and personal convictions.
  • A mentor is gracious with disagreement. If the disagreement is over a major Biblical or moral stance, he/she calmly gives solid evidence on why your position is wrong. If you disagree on issues that are not vital to fellowship and friendship, they listen to your side and generally point out what they both agree and disagree with on your stance. When everything is said and done, they are not angry or disappointed you disagree and do not throw you out for having your own mind.
  • In fact, mentors are usually surrounded by people that do think at least somewhat differently from themselves. They are able to converse graciously with people they disagree with and are not easily angered by debate or disagreement. They encourage you to study, to search the Scripture, and point to several sources for continued research. 
  • Mentors respect your time. They realize they are not your first priority, even if they are important to you. They realize you have family responsibilities, work, relationships, and other daily activities that are a natural part of life and take up your time. While they may expect some commitment, they are not unreasonable in their expectations for your time and energy.
  • Mentors make suggestions, but are not hurt or angry if you do not always follow them. If the matter is a spiritual one, they will counsel you to read the Bible and follow the Holy Spirit's leading for yourself, rather than give you absolute directions to follow.
  • Mentors respect your season of life. They understand you may actually have more life experience in some areas than they themselves do. They do not assume you are poorly educated, without life experience, and/or ignorant. As they are guiding you on how to think Biblically, maturely, and wisely, they recognize that the best teachers learn from their students. They are not above learning with you.
  • Mentors want to shape fellow leaders, not followers.
  • A mentor is generally someone you want to learn from because they have demonstrated great character and have made wise, mature decisions in life. They tend to focus on wanting to help, not to control.

I personally know some great mentors. They are truly fabulous people that I (we) have learned so much from. 

Are you being managed or mentored? 

There are some tips for figuring out if someone (or you!) is being managed instead of mentored.
  • A managed person usually does not know his/her own mind. In conversation or when attempting to teach others, they usually refer back to their manager and repeat what they've been told. They don't usually have evidence of having studied anything out for themselves. When asked probing questions, they are often at a loss for answers because they were only repeating what they had been told to believe. Their conversations lacks evidence of research from multiple perspectives or any research whatsoever.
  • A managed person who exude pride at being "mentored." Rather than being humble and grateful for what he has been taught (a characteristic of someone who is being mentored), he feels superior simply by rubbing shoulders with the person managing him.
  • A managed person will generally not think outside of the box his manager has set for him. They are reluctant to disagree with their "mentor" figure, generally because they fear repercussions, are not being taught to think for his or herself, or are afraid of being unpopular.
  • A managed person may be unable to say no to the expectations of his manager. He may sacrifice responsibilities (those that the mature person would recognize as being at the top of the priority list) to be at whatever event, doing whatever thing, completing whatever task his manager told him to do--most of which should have been lower on the priority list.
In general, a managed person feels good about himself while being controlled, rather than being a mature person who receives wise counsel and searches all things out for himself while still fulfilling his obligations in a responsible manner.

Is it possible for a single individual to be both your manager and your mentor? 

Not equally, no. 

Your boss may mentor you, but his primary and always underlying role is your boss. When everything is said done, whether he mentors you or not, he is still your boss. It's always a blessing when a boss has a heart for mentorship, but his primary position in your life is an authority. 

A parent may mentor their teens, but, ultimately, they are still a parent and therefore a manager. They set the rules. Mentoring may and should happen, but an authority still has a responsibility to BE the authority. 

A manager has the prerogative to be the manager first and foremost. Mentoring may or may not happen on the side. However, a mentor does not have the prerogative to be a manager. When this happens, the one seeking to be a mentor has assumed a false authority and lost sight of what mentoring is really all about.

It is up to the mature leader to recognize his authorities and obey them, guard against submission to false authorities, and humbly seek the advice of a true mentor--one who will point him to the Lord, not self; teach how to think, not what to think; and seeks to shape leaders, not followers.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

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15 Money Saving Hacks For Newlyweds (Or Anyone!)

With some of our links, we get $$$ back if you click on them. If you're going to sign up, we'd love it if you did it through our links! Thank you!

We're newlyweds. Saving money is kind of important to us (well, to Samuel more than me, but you know. Wink, wink.)

I'm in charge of the grocery, gift/giving, and date budget. As in, Samuel designates a certain amount of money to those three categories...and I'm responsible to fit everything in. Talk about motivation for me to find those awesome deals! So here are some of the things I've learned about saving money!

1. Ibotta

Ibotta is an app for your smart phone. You set up your account, set up which are your favorite stores, and then browse through the available rebates at those stores. You select which ones you like. When you purchase the item and bring it home (or in the car!), you scan the product and the receipt to get money back in your account! 

I have not worked it super hard since I mainly shop at Aldi (a discount store), but I have already made $25 for my few trips to Walmart, Target, and Dollar Tree. Folks who regularly shop at those kinds of places can make a lot more and much faster.

You get $10 just for signing up and completing a rebate or two. Oh, and you get $5 for inviting your friends. Win, win.

2. Use Baking Soda--For Everything

I kid you not. I use baking soda for everything. In fact, I just bought a 13.5 pound bag at Costco--that's how much I use it. It's cheap and very, very versatile.
  • Throw it in with your laundry soap to eliminate odors and give it an extra boost.
  • Make your own laundry soap (more on this in the post). Or, make your own washing soda by baking the baking soda at 400 degrees for 1-2 hours. You're essentially turning sodium bicarbonate into sodium carbonate.
  • Fill a jar with soda and add essential oils (optional). Sprinkle over carpet, rugs, your mattress, etc before vacuuming. It deodorizes, kills bugs, and smells great!!!
  • Hair weighed down by product overload? Do a deep clean by using baking soda instead of shampoo.
  • Brush your teeth with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. It's whitening and cheap.
  • Exfoliate your face and cleanse it from acne with a baking soda paste.
  • Scrub your toilets and showers with baking soda.
  • Bake with it. (Hahahah!)
  • Put a small jar of it in the fridge to deodorize and freshen.
  • Feel a cold coming on? Stir 1/4 tsp or more into your water and drink every hour or so until symptoms are gone. I add Thieves essential oil to mine. It tastes horrible, but it works. My husband does baking soda nasal rinses when he is getting sick. A lot of the germs center in your nose and throat, so gargling/rinsing with baking soda water helps kill them.
You get the idea. Baking soda works for everything!!! It's cheap and you can make a lot of stuff with it--rather than buying products that complete the same end.

3. Use Dr. Bronner's

Yes. Dr. Bronner's castile soap is super versatile. They provide a whole list of options for you on the side of the bottle, so here are just a few of the ways I've used it.
  • Make your own carpet cleaner. Seriously, store-bought carpet cleaner is expensive and smells like a musty, wet dog or harsh chemicals. Simply add a squirt or two to the warm water in your machine tank and viola! I use Dr. Bronner's rose soap. My whole house smells amazing after carpet cleaning!
  • Make your own laundry soap. (More on this later.) Even if you don't, Dr. Bronner's soap is perfect to add to wash as a booster. 
I love how you can get so many different scents or scent free. I have purchased lavender, rose, and am now trying out eucalyptus. They all smell great! The soap lasts a long time, too! Just a little bit goes a long ways.

4. Swagbucks

So, Swagbucks is new for me and I'm still learning how to work it. But I have friends who have great success with it, so I am giving it a try.

Basically, you get paid to watch TV snippets, play games, or take surveys. If you're not into that sort of things, you can also get paid to shop or brows the internet through them. Different stores offer different offers. They have a lot of popular stores, including Amazon, Walmart, Target, Old Navy, etc. You get paid in gift cards. 

Check it out. I personally like the idea of getting paid to answer questions or take surveys while I'm watching a movie or in the car. 

5. Grove Collaborative

So, I love Grove. If you are like me and want to save money on all-natural cleaning, body, and laundry products, this is definitely the way to go. 

Basically, it's an on-line pantry that is set up according to your schedule. You fill your cart with the products you want and set the shipping date. You can do the same thing for next month or have certain products on an automatic subscription, so you never need to worry about running out. Here are the perks I've enjoyed:

  • I get to choose from scents or products not always available in stores. For example, I've been to stores all over Chattanooga and cannot find Bees Wrap. Grove has it in all its available sizes. Yay!
  • The products are at a discount you may or may not find in stores.
  • It keeps me out of Target. Seriously, who wants to run all the way to Target to pick up some Mrs. Meyers only to walk out with $100 spent on things you had no idea you "needed." 
  • I like having everything on my schedule. Plus, it's like a homemaker gift that arrives monthly. Hey, if I am the main house cleaner around here, I get to make it exciting for me, right?!
  • Speaking of gifts, I'm a VIP. Which means I get FREE shipping and several, high quality gifts throughout the year. When I signed up, I got around $20 in free gifts alone and have continued to get some really nice stuff since then. I also get discounts on and early access to new or limited products. I have so far received close to $100 in discounts and shop credits, too.
They offer you $10 off your first order just to try them out. If nothing else, it's a way to get just a one-time deal on all-natural supplies. Just don't go crazy. You won't save money if you go crazy.

6. Make Your Own Laundry Soap/Detergent

Yeah, people laugh at me over this one, but seriously. Making your own laundry soap is easy, fun, and very inexpensive. Especially if you're like me and want all-natural soap. That stuff gets pricey.

There are a ton of great articles out there on how to do it. I personally make my own washing soda from baking soda, buy a big old box of Borax from Grove (above), and mix several cups of each with some water and a generous squirt of Dr. Bronner's. I sometimes add essential oils (which I buy from a high quality, therapeutic grade, non-mlm company.) The soap lasts a long time, and I personally like my own over Mrs. Meyers. 

7. Use Wool Balls

Seriously. You don't have to have dryer sheets. Not only does buying them get expensive, but they don't save power. You can scent wool balls however you like and they actually cut down on drying time by improving air flow. It's estimated that they cut down on drying time by at least 25%. I love my wool balls and am so happy not to have to buy dryer sheets ever again.

You can get them at Grove or on Amazon. Many stores carry them now, too. It's a one-time purchase and they last forever! (Some people even make their own, but I'm not that ambitious.)

8. Be Creative About Dates

Dates don't actually have to be that expensive. It is entirely possible to have an amazing time without spending way too much. Here are some ideas that we love:
  • Go to a used bookstore and find a good book. Also peruse their movies. We've come home with brand new or lightly used movies for as little as $.25. That's way cheaper than renting them and you get to keep them! 
  • Go on a walk in your favorite local park. Go at sunset and hold hands and just talk.
  • Share a dessert. One of our local restaurants offers an enormous piece of cake (enough to feed 4 people) for $7. We have gone out for cake and still brought some home!
  • Only go to the movies if you really, really, really are absolutely dying to see the movie. It's much wiser to wait until it comes out on DVD and have your own movie-in night with your own cheaper popcorn and candy.
  • Several places offer $5 pizzas. 'Nuff said.
  • There's nothing wrong with a good old fashion pillow fight, board games, online Battle Ship, movie nights, picnics, and singing. Exploring your city or just going on a drive can be fun and inexpensive. 

Inbox Dollars is similar to Swagbucks, only you actually earn money instead of gift cards. It's not hard and I've earned $15 in just a short time. If you are going to waste time on the internet anyway, you might as well make money, right?! 

10. Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

Some people feel this is a bit extreme, but other people enjoy it and the savings. Some people don't have the time because of children and other busy-ness. But, if you have a few minutes to spare making your own cleaning supplies is easy and definitely worth it.
  • Make your own linen spray. It's outrageously priced in the stores considering how few ingredients go into making it. If you already have essential oils around, add a few drops of lavender to some water (and witch hazel, if you have it.) It's easy and your sheets/clothes will smell so fresh!
  • Mix water, a dash of vinegar, lemongrass, lemon, lavender, tea tree, and other cleaning oils to make an all-purpose cleaning spray. 
I actually make my own bug spray too. It's cheaper than stores and actually works while being all-natural. You can get a six-count of 10ml bottles from Eden's Garden for $30. They're therapeutic grade, pure, and are non-mlm, which means they pass on the savings to you.  

11. Amazon Prime

This is one of those money-saving hacks that is not for everyone. It depends on your situation in life, where you live, and how much you use Amazon to make it worth it. For us, we've enjoyed the following perks:

  • Free 2-day shipping. For us living 1400 miles from our family, it was costing us an arm and a leg to buy presents and ship them home. This way, we can buy everyone presents and let Amazon worry about the shipping part.
  • Amazon Pantry, which enables us to buy some things in bulk if we're watching for savings. We've also gotten free food, since Amazon offers you a $5 voucher if you opt out of 2-day shipping.
  • Amazon video. There's free videos and shows to watch, which cuts out our need for Netflix or Hulu. We don't have a TV and don't pay for cable, etc., so this is pretty much all of the video streaming/TV we get.
  • Music. 'Nuff said.
  • Savings on Prime Day and Black Friday. I was able to stock up for an incredible price on some cleaning supplies on Prime Day. 
Again, it's not for everyone, but it's definitely been worth it for us.

12. Dollar Shave Club
I asked my hubby about this one and he felt it was worth the price. 

For the first month, you get The Executive for only $1, a well-made razor and six stainless steel blades. After that, you can pick which package you want. We're currently on The Humble Twin, which is 2 blades a month for $3. 

You can pick your subscription and blades based on what you need. Also, Samuel really liked their shave butter. Everything is very reasonably priced, and Samuel feels that they are much, much higher quality than dollar store razors and last much, much longer. 

A subscription also makes a really nice and fairly cheap gift to that special guy in your life. (Okay, maybe some girls you know could use a subscription too. Who knows?) I thought their little newsletters that come with the subscription are hilarious, too.

13. Shop At Discount Grocery Stores/Buy In Bulk

I mainly shop at Aldi, a discount chain. You can get a ton of deals on food and some household products. Just know which products are better purchased at other stores. I don't always buy all of my produce at Aldi since it tends to spoil so quickly. Know which products are worth spending more on.

Also...find a friend who has a Costco membership. Ask if you can go in with them. There are definitely things that are worth buying bulk. If you're like us and live in an apartment, you don't always have room for a whole lot of bulk items, but some things are worth getting. Rice, beans, toilet paper, bottled water, cereal, grains, etc. are all worth buying in bulk. You save money and sometimes actually get nicer products than if you had bought them elsewhere.

We actually ended up getting our own Costco membership so we can get money back on purchases and get our gas there. It's cheaper than anywhere else where we live and is definitely worth the membership fee. 

14. Use Groupon

We were able to go on a super nice river cruise date because I found a deal on Groupon that was like 50% off the usual price. I also got a great deal on a mani and pedi before a wedding that I found through them. Plus, if you use Swagbucks, you can earn 3% back on making purchases through Groupon. Win, win! Save money and get paid to do it!

15. Use Jane and Groopdealz

My hubby bought me a fairly expensive coat that was on discount at Groupdealz. Jane also has great deals on boutique clothes and accessories. You can find big discounts on clothes, shoes, household products, decor, and more. 

So what are some of your favorite money-saving hacks and tips?! Share in the comments!
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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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Created To Be His Helpmeet: Discovering the Dangers

Disclaimer: We believe in marriage as described in the Bible. We believe in a marriage built on Jesus, mutual love, mutual respect, submission (both mutual and the reverence a woman is to sweetly offer), the leadership of the husband in the home, the mutuality of sex, and that we are heirs together of the grace of God. We neither identify with the modern feminist movement nor the patriarchy movement. 

We are open to discussion. However, we reserve the right to delete comments that promote abuse, misquote Scripture, or promote falsehoods that have been promoted throughout the centuries.

Before Samuel and I were ever officially dating, we were given a copy of the dangerously popular Created To Be His Help Meet. I had been warned that it was a less than Biblical book and didn't read it. However, after our marriage, we heard more and more about the bad fruit of this book and decided to read it for ourselves. 

We both read and reviewed it. Samuel and I talked for weeks about this book. But we were hesitant to publicly review it at first. After all, so many other people have come out against this book. There are many excellent articles on the subject. Who are we to think that anyone will care what we have to say? But we were reminded that there are some people who will only hear the truth if it comes from someone they actually know and love. We have much to learn and are far from perfect, but we believe that a person is never too young to recognize truth and error. Our goal is to express the truth in love.

So here we are to share why we think Created To Be His Help Meet is not only erroneous Biblically, but dangerous to the Christian woman and marriage. Please consider our thoughts with an open heart and closely evaluating what Christ and the Word have to say.

The false teachings of the book are as follows:

  • hermeneutic errors in which stories of the Old Testament are allegorized and misused, as well as a return to patriarchy and the law.
  • women are created solely to fulfill a man through marriage.
  • all man's sin, sexually or other, is a result of women. 
  • wives must submit to abuse and reverence their husband even in the midst of his foolishness and a lifestyle of sin.
  • women are responsible to help their husbands without actually having a say and must maintain the order and attitude of the home without ever assuming any kind of authority. They are responsible for everything that goes wrong without having the authority to actually fix it.
  • women are not capable of discerning the Scriptures for themselves and must agree with their husband at all times.

There is neither time, nor space to address all of the issues of the book, but we wanted to hit on some of the deepest issues. 


Created to be His Help Meet, written by Debi Pearl, has been a popular marriage book targeting women in conservative Christian circles since its publication about 12 years ago. Pearl and her husband Michael oversee No Greater Joy Ministries. They publish material on marriage, child rearing, and other aspects of the Christian family.

Pearl says that her motive in writing Created to Be His Help Meet is to teach young women as described in Titus 2:3-5.

“The aged women likewise...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.”

It is true that older wives should be sharing wisdom and insight with younger women. This is commanded by scripture and something that seems to be lacking in modern churches. 

However, a person attempting to influence others in this area has a great deal of responsibility to lead people properly according to the mandates and principles of the Word of God. While Pearl does have some good advice (though not enough to make the book redeemable), there are some underlying assumptions  in the mind of the author that did not come either in command or implication from God. 

Also, there are some hermeneutic errors as far as some of the truths presented. Are these just slight errors, or serious problems? Does the book promote healthy husband and wife relationships? I read this book and spent a great deal of time in trying to understand what is being taught. And I found many unbiblical errors.


As a young married woman, I am pretty passionate about learning all I can about being a godly wife. I've had some great role models in my life and continue to seek for new mentors to pass on what they've learned. 

But, when I picked up a copy of this book, I was startled by the overwhelming bondage Debi Pearl attempts to thrust upon women. Her every point was made by the underlying assumption that women are to obey man rather than God, that woman are created solely for the pleasure of man, and that we are still living in some kind of Old Testament, patriarchal system. Not only is this unbiblical, but it really is dangerous and brings women back under the yoke of bondage Christ died to set us free from.


The title and synopsis of this book contain several assumptions which are neither presented nor defended in the book itself. 

“Somewhere over the passing years and changing culture, women have lost their way. This book is written to bring them back home. Regardless of how you began your marriage or how dark and lonely the path that has brought you to where you are now, I want you to know that it is possible today to have a marriage so good and so fulfilling that it can only be explained by a miracle.” 

Here is a glaring first problem. 

According to the Pearls, all women are intended by God's will to marry. God evidently created each women for the sole purpose of being a “help meet” for a man. On page 38 she states: “When a woman gets old and realizes that there is no man to to love and cherish her, it is sad indeed, for she has failed in the very purpose for which she was created – to be a suitable helper for a man.” And again on page 73: “What is God's purpose for your life? - To be a good help meet.” This thinking comes in part from a poorly researched, allegorical application of Adam and Eve to married couples today. Nowhere in the Bible does God claim to have created all women for the sole purpose of being a help meet for a man. 

Additionally, the underlying theme is that being a wife is the only acceptable life and calling of a woman. In the synopsis, women are assumed to be married. This narrows the will of God for a woman, allowing her to only be a wife. This is in direct opposition to the words of the New Testament by the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 7:8,34: 

“I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I (single)... There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” 

A wife can be pleasing to the Lord, but a single woman or even a married woman acting outside of her role in marriage, can also be pleasing to the Lord. 

Women in scripture were sometimes recognized for leadership roles outside of their homes. Deborah is one of these (Judges 4-5), also Rahab (Joshua 2, 6:17,23,25), the woman who washed the feet of Jesus (Luke 7:37-50), and the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-30) This is just to name a few! 


For me, this was just really sad. I love being married. I am definitely one of those people who is called to the ministry of marriage and can really serve the Lord better by being married. I love being a wife and wouldn't trade it for anything. 

But I know that God did not create me solely to fulfill a man. God did not create me primarily for marriage. He created me for a love relationship with Himself first, to honor and glorify Him, and to serve Him. True, I do fulfill part of that calling to honor Him by being a wife, but only partially. My role as a Christian woman is much bigger than just being married. I have a walk with God to follow, a Great Commission to fulfill, a life of ministry outside of the ministry of marriage. 

Imagine telling a woman who never married that she missed her only purpose in life. Can you imagine how devastating?! But that is exactly what Debi Pearl does. She literally preaches a message of hopelessness to every girl who is yet unmarried and to every woman who is a widow or never married. 

The following quotes are just a few that filled me personally with extreme sadness for any woman who listens to Debi Pearl.
  • “If you are a wife, you were created to fill a need, and in that capacity you are a ‘good thing,’ a helper suited to the needs of a man. This is how God created you and it is your purpose for existing.”
  • “The only position where you will find real fulfillment as a woman is as a help meet to your husband.” 
  • “God’s ultimate goal for you is to meet your man’s needs.”
  • “God has provided for your husband’s complete sanctification and deliverance from temptation through you, his wife.”
  • “No single man completely expresses the well-rounded image of God.”
  • "God's original intention was that a woman would spend her life helping her husband fulfill his dreams and ambitions."

I'm sorry, but that is NOT what the Bible says. Isaiah makes it crystal clear that we were ALL formed for God's glory. We don't exist suit the needs of men. "Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him."

Women do not exist solely to be wives. Our lives are to honor and serve God, not fulfill our husband's dreams, and, although it is special and wonderful when we can, it is not our purpose for existing. We do not exist to be sexual slaves, nor is that God's ultimate goal for us, nor do men alone have sexual needs. And upright single men are not less of "men" because the Lord has not brought them their wife yet. That statement alone causes serious issues for Paul...and JESUS.


According to Debi Pearl, a woman is always at fault when she is the object of a man's lust. This is one of the most alarming points of the book. 

The first paragraph on page 202 begins: “Jesus said that a lusting man commits adultery WITH a woman, not against her, meaning that the woman is included in the lusting adultery.” 

There is no indication from the English translation or the underlying Greek text that this is the case. This would tend to lead a woman to unhealthy extremes concerning her dress. If her sole purpose is to keep poor men from stumbling, she would avoid wearing anything attractive. She would dress in burlap sacks to keep men from lusting after her, and if she was exceptionally beautiful, she would just wear a burka. But, alas, some poor fellow would be captured by her beautiful eyes and she would be responsible for another round of mental adultery! If a man could pervert his mind to the point that he imagines cleavage when he sees a woman's bare toes, a woman cannot be held responsible for making him stumble by wearing open-toed shoes! 

Pearl uses the story of David and Bathsheba on page 207: “Because Bathsheba was indiscreet, she caused great calamity, resulting in the bloodshed and suffering of many. Her lack of discretion cost her husband his life, his comrades-in-arms their lives, her baby son his life, and the integrity of one whom God upheld as a man after his own heart.” 

Nowhere in scripture does God correct Bathsheba for being careless or indiscreet. God places all the blame squarely on David. The Bible clearly says: “the thing that David had done displeased the LORD”. If Bathsheba was responsible in part or whole for David's actions, God could have told us of her correction. 

A woman is responsible for the way that she dresses. She will surely answer to God for any evil motives. But, as men, we cannot blame a woman for our sinful thoughts. If her motives are pure and she seeks God's direction for the right way to dress, then what more does God expect? He does not expect a woman to change something right and wholesome based on whether or not a man can still manage to lust after her. A man saying “I am a normal male with a normal need, and the problem lies with females dressing so godless”(page 200), is a man that refuses to take responsibility for his own actions and seeks to blame his shortcomings on anyone but himself.


I was blown away by some of Debi Pearl's quotes. Honestly, her view of men's sexuality is crude and low. Her entire book writes about men as if they are naturally some kind of beastly, fleshly sex addicts who cannot see a woman's natural, God-given shape without lusting or worse. 

She gives a very disgusting example of a man who was once exposed to porn and, therefore, the poor fellow simply could not control his thoughts when he saw a Christian woman dressed in a short skirt (page 204.) It is a section of the book I could not in any good conscience describe due to the pornographic nature of her descriptions of a lusting male. Additionally, while her description of what presumably could happen to a man who sees a woman in a short skirt is not only disgusting, it's also physically impossible. However, a young, unmarried woman reading this book would know no better and would be trapped into the lie that she is responsible for any sick and lewd thoughts of a man. 

The above lie (in which a woman is somehow responsible for every thought of a man) has provoked real-life rules I personally know of. These rules include no wet hair in the presence of a man, no open-toed shoes, no lettering of any kind of a shirt, and so forth--all designed because a man somewhere, in some place, had sick thoughts. Many extreme rules are imposed upon women because churches have bought into the lie that women are 100% responsible. However, as my husband pointed out, this teaching would really require a woman to dress in a burka and wear sunglasses, lest any man should ever "stumble" by catching a glimpse of something that he might lust after. Both men and women are responsible to be modest, but it is for a far purer, higher reason than the lie that men are sick, animalistic lusters who continually see woman as sex objects.

Forgive me if I refuse to approve of a book that both gives a sick, low, and false impression of our wonderful brothers in Christ and binds women in guilt, legalism, and fear.

Not only does she take the stance that men somehow have a greater sexual need than women (a lie introduced to the church throughout various generations), but she claims that we exist for the purpose of fulfilling them. Therefore, if your man lusts after another woman, you are at fault for somehow not fulfilling him. And the other woman who was lusted after is also at fault. Never the man.

She even goes so far as to claim that women are solely responsible for all the sin of man. I quote: “Adam, the first man, Samson, the strongest man, Solomon, the wisest man, and even David, the man listed as being after God’s own heart, were all brought down by the women they loved.” This is wrong. These men were not brought down by the women they loved. They were brought down by a lust and disobedience that was brought about by their own bad decisions, not women in general.

Debi Pearl claims that a lack of sexual desire is actually a sin in her quote, "Hopefully, you didn't realize that your lack of sexual interest in your husband was sin, but you know now." 

Um, hello, where does it say that in the Bible?! Any simple study of both men and women's hormones and the different phases of life reveals that sexual desire is not 100% controlled in the mind. It simply isn't. Stress, sickness, change, hormones, and much, much more contribute to a lack of sexual desire. Yet, she ungraciously and unbiblically terms it "sin" for a woman to say no. Not a man. Apparently, it's his right to do whatever he wants. But a woman can never say no. Not only is this nothing short of abusive, but the Bible talks much about the mutuality of sex and never claims that one spouse has more say than the other. This goes against everything the Bible teaches on marriage as a representation of Christ and His church, true charity, and what it means to mutually submit to each other.

She additionally teaches in page 170 that women have no right to their own comfort. Their husband should total access to them even if they are in extreme pain. That's abuse, folks. 

Another quote that blew me away was as follows: "Wife, it is your God-orgained ministry to your husband to be his totally enthusiastic sex partner, ready to enjoy him at all times. To do less is a grave error. If you love your husband as God commands, you will always seek to give him pleasure. In so doing, you will fulfill your role as his suitable helper."

I sincerely though that marriage was more than just being sexually enthusiastic for him at all times. I really thought it was about mutual love, mutual respect, friendship, strengthening each other for the ministry, and serving together in the ministry. Yes, sex plays a huge part of the marital relationship. It's great. It's beautiful. It's awesome. But it's also mutual. Women have as real of needs as men. The mere idea that we exist to fulfill sexual needs is low and blasphemous to the God who created us for His pleasure--not man's.

Serving one's husband is a beautiful thing and, of course, is to be encouraged. However, it is never to be encouraged in the abusive level this book takes it. Marriage is meant for both man and woman to love, edify, honor, serve, and respect each other, not just women.


One of the scariest issues of this book is Debi Pearl's take on abuse. I quote:

“Mr. Command Man: They are known for expecting their wives to wait on them hand and foot. A Command Man does not want his wife involved in any project that prevents her from serving him... Command Men have less tolerance, so they will often walk off and leave their clamoring wife before she has a chance to realize that she is even close to losing her marriage... She is on call every minute of her day. Her man wants to know where she is, what she is doing, and why she is doing it. He corrects her without thought. For better or for worse, it is his nature to control.”

“A husband has authority to tell his wife what to wear, where to go, whom to talk to, how to spend her time, when to speak and when not to, even if he is unreasonable and insensitive."

"Dominance and control are always masculine characteristics."

In other words, she categorizes away a selfish and narcissistic husband, titling him a Mr. Command Man. However, Jesus did not categorize away sin by giving men different titles and thus making allowances for bullying or abuse. Nowhere in Scripture are men given the right to demand submission or obedience. There is no place in Scripture that gives men the right to break their wife's spirit and curtail all liberty. Instead, we are to be heirs together of the grace of life and give honor to each other. 

Girls, if you meet a man who wants to control every aspect of your life, run. And run fast. He is not a Mr. Command Man. He is exhibiting sinful dominance, control, and the attitude of a tyrant--not a godly husband. Dominance and control are not attributes of a godly man in Scripture. There is a world of difference between a confident, God-fearing leader and a dynasty-minded tyrant.

But it gets worse. 

"To those of you who are enduring verbal and physical abuse, we realize that statistically, you are likely to remain with your husband. It is therefore important that you understand how to speak and conduct yourself in a way that will maintain your physical and emotional safety and ultimately win your husband."

In other words, you are responsible for your own safety by treading on tiptoe around your hostile man, saying what he wants to hear and anticipating his every want to ease his anger. 

Michael Pearl weighs in on this issue and actually says the following:

"Has your husband reviled you and threatened you? You are exhorted to respond as Jesus did. When he was reviled and threatened, he suffered by committing himself to a higher judge who is righteous. You must commit yourself to the one who placed you under your husband’s command. Your husband will answer to God, and you must answer to God for how you respond to your husband, even when he causes you to suffer. Just as we are to obey government in every ordinance, and servants are to obey their masters, even the ones who are abusive and surly, ‘likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands’…You can freely call your husband ‘lord’ when you know that you are addressing the one who put him in charge and asked you to suffer at your husband’s hands just as our Lord suffered at the hands of unjust authorities…When you endure evil and railing without returning it, you receive a blessing, not just as a martyr, but as one who worships God.” 

Yes, ladies. If your husband is beating and raping you, you must respond by continued obedience as a martyr. Unbelievable.

Please, ladies, never believe the lie that God demands you suffer as some kind of martyr enduring abuse. That is not the heart of the God of the Bible. There is no command in Scripture that imposes this upon women. God never commands women to remain in danger. 

There are many, many quotes commanding women to love, reverence, and stand by their man through his "troubles" of lust, adultery, and fornication. I'm sorry, but marriage is not a licence to enable sin. Women were never meant to be enablers of sin, turning a blind eye to sins Jesus strictly forbids. We as Christians are instructed to edify, exhort, disciple, and even discipline each other (church discipline.) We were instructed to obey God rather than man. Ladies, you are never called to be an enabler of sin.


So, a wife who sticks it out through abuse from her husband is more spiritual than the one who leaves because of abuse?!

On pages 126-127 in “Queen for the Day”, Pearl uses a letter from “Judy”. Judy's husband committed adultery against her many times, yet she did not leave her husband. Judy is held up as a wonderful example of a faithful, submissive wife. However, according to Scripture, fornication is grounds for divorce. There is nothing wrong if a woman chooses to stay with her husband, but there is no obligation for her to stay according to Scripture. 

Also, there is a story about “Sunny” (pages 132-134.) Sunny suffered various physical abuses including attempted murder before winning the heart of her husband. She chose to submit and love instead of leave, and her husband eventually came around. 

In both of these examples, Pearl fails to give a balanced view. The wife who stays is seen as good and spiritual, but her rightful grounds for leaving are not given the same attention. A woman reading this book would be inclined to believe that she is a better woman for staying. However, a wife is permitted to leave her husband according to 1 Corinthians 7:11, “But and if she depart [the wife from her husband], let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband...” She is allowed to depart in all cases. There are times when a wife should leave her husband. There are times when she can remarry. Sometimes, a woman just needs to get out to protect herself or her children. One is not necessarily a better wife for staying, nor less of a woman for leaving. 

(Nor does the woman who stays have the promise that her husband will repent. Abusers are not rational people who just need extra respect in order to turn their hearts toward their victims.)


What if your husband molests your children?

Debi Pearl admits you may call the police, but instructs women to take their children to see him in jail 3-4 times a year (page 174.) Apparently, the child will heal from sexual abuse by having the satisfaction of seeing his father in jail and will be able to forgive him. 

Wow. Absolutely not. If a man molests a child, he loses all rights to ever see them again. (As far as I am concerned, he loses right to his own life, too.) A child will NOT heal by visiting the man who molested them. A child deserves the safety and healing of only being with those who love and honor them. It breaks my heart to think that a woman who calls herself a Christian would dare teach that children be exposed on a personal level to their molesters.


On the issue of spirituality, Debi Pearl states that women are unqualified to seek spiritual knowledge for themselves. On page 107, she states: “[Eve] was meant to be Adam's helper, but she helped herself to spiritual knowledge and acted independently, becoming his downfall instead of his help meet.” 

On page 231, Pearl holds up a conversation between her daughter and husband as a good example of submission: “When our first daughter was just two months away from being married, she asked her daddy a theological question. Remember now, she was a graduate of Bible college and had spent three years on the foreign field as a missionary. But, rather than answer her, as he had been doing for the previous 26 years, he told her, “I cannot answer your Bible questions, for you now believe what your husband believes. He will be your head, and you will follow him...”

Not only is a wife forbidden to have an opinion slightly different than that of her husband concerning some apparently minor theological point, but also she is assumed to be incompetent in discerning spiritual things on her own. If she is not allowed to get theological insight from her own father, it is assumed that she should not get insight from any other sources apart from her husband. Is she permitted to reference a Bible commentary in her personal Bible study? Is she even capable of understanding the Bible when she reads it for herself? 

A theological view that attempts to prevent a woman from thinking for herself in spiritual matters is strangely reminiscent of a time in church history when only a certain elite group was allowed to interpret the scriptures. God wants every man and woman to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him. Every believer has access to the throne of God and the rich promises found in the scriptures.


I was once told by someone that God did not create me in His image and that women cannot have as deep a relationship with Him as men. I was also told that all women are silly and continually prone to deception, unable to function spiritually without a man to teach them.

The above teachings are the heart of Created To Be His Help Meet. Laying aside the dangers of the physical abuse, misogyny, narcissism, and dominance this book teaches women to embrace, the teaching that women are incapable of interpreting the Bible for themselves is dangerous enough to throw the book away over.

Ladies, the Holy Spirit is your teacher. You have the Word of God and a brain. Yes, ask your husband your questions. Study them out together. Enjoy the beauty of having your husband point you to Jesus when you need it. After all, as your head, your husband is supposed to gently point you to Jesus and be a spiritual example. But you are ultimately responsible for your own spiritual growth. Your husband cannot force your relationship with God. You have a conscience. And Jesus is as real and open to you as He is to your husband.

"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

Oh, by the way. It's okay to have different opinions. It really is. I'm not talking about one spouse being a heretic. I'm simply saying love and respect are built on honoring each other and understanding that God created each of us to have our own likes, dislikes, opinions, consciences, and brains.


This is a small point, but it bothered me. According to Pearl, wives are to submit to their husbands at all times, yet they are still somehow responsible to take the lead in “fixing” broken/dysfunctional marriages. Why write a book about taking the lead to solve marriage problems and address it to the one in the relationship who has neither right nor responsibility to resolve issues? Pearl would tend to make the average wife in a rocky marriage feel responsible for the condition of her home.


There were a LOT of underlying themes of female manipulation that really bothered me. Since wives are taught to stand by their husbands when he is committing adultery, Pearl instructs women to win them back with seduction. When husbands are blatantly sinning, wives are taught to woo them from sin with charm--instead of confront sin. Apparently, their goal is to simply get their husband back, not point him to Jesus and repentance.

Additionally, wives are not to give an opinion or have healthy conversations with their husbands. They are never to give a different opinion or even raise concerns if their husband is watching porn in front of the children. Pearl literally calls women who question the righteousness of exposing children to wickedness Jezebels.

Scary. It's as if she forgets that we as a Church are to be sharpening and encouraging each other in the Lord--especially in our homes.


Lastly, I think all Christians would agree that mentorship and teaching others must always be in the spirit of love. It is never God's intention for us to beat someone over the head with our conclusion (the only correct one, of course!) and call him foolish, dumb, or ignorant when he does not agree.

Pearl shows a distinct lack of love in many areas covered in the book. She includes a “Dumb-cluck test”(P. 218) for one woman to communicate that she needs to learn to fix things around the house, she calls “Sunny” dumb (132-134), kids dumb (184), and others. She refers to a lady on page 27: “[T]here was an overweight hillbilly woman who worked in the local store in our hometown...this woman was ugly, I mean, hillbilly ugly, which is worse than regular ugly.”

Talking down to people and rude perceptions of their actions seem to be a recurring theme. I understand that it is necessary at times to communicate tough truths, but leaving off common courtesy is not the way to go! The proper attitude is shown in Ephesians 4:1-2:

“I...beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.”

Also, 2 Timothy 2:24-25:

“And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.”

A leader that takes his role seriously according to scripture will be firm, but still meek, gentle, humble, and patient.

I do not feel that Mrs. Pearl is competent to be a leader for women or families. What do you think, men? Should she mentor your wives and daughters? Why or why not?

Lest you think that we are the first to delve into the dangers of Created To Be His Help Meet, we've added additional links for you to read. We may not agree 100% with every word from these fellow bloggers, but they've all done great jobs on presenting similar/more errors than we had the time and mental energy to expose.

We do not believe that Created To Be His Help Meet is redeemable. There are far too many excellent marriage books and blogs out there to compromise the safety and discernment of young women and couples by in any way endorsing anything about this book. This is not a book in which people can simply pick out the good parts. The entire foundation is built upon error, poor hermeneuticsabuse, shame, and legalism. We hope and pray that more churches see the light of God's liberty and stop promoting abuse and dominance in the name of Jesus.
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