I Have Issues by Jelly Valimont Book Review

I’ve been searching. For weeks. For months. I was searching and looking. I was on every blog, Pinterest, Stumble Upon, Google, Facebook groups- you name it, I was searching. I am engaged to a pastor. Being engaged to a pastor means that one day, in the very near future, I am going to be….a pastor’s wife! I had a brief moment of panic. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!? How am I supposed to do everything? What does everything entail!? How can I be the best wife, pastor’s wife, ministry partner, (future) mother, teacher, and all of the other things we’re expected to be?

Let’s get real here, I am the farthest thing from perfect there is. I grew up in the church, but I am not a pastor’s kid, missionary kid, or any of the like. My mom was head of hospitality, my dad was a trustee, and we did music and vacation Bible school. I went to school to be a high school English teacher. I’ve been blessed with wonderful pastor’s wives in my life over the years, but becoming one myself was never really a “thing.” But, I have quickly learned in my 23 short years of life that God laughs at our plans.

This book fell into my lap. It was exactly what I had been searching for, delivered in the mail. Definitely a moment of God saying “Ya know what? You are earnestly looking, searching, and seeking for something to help you grow, and I know just the thing, I Have Issues by Jelly Valimont!”Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 4.53.47 PM.pngUpon opening the package, I was already in love. There are super cute shoes on the front, and anyone who knows me also knows that I have just a bit of a shoe problem. Jelly Valimont is a pastor’s wife who also searched for “Being a Pastor’s Wife for Dummies” and came up short. It’s not quite a how-to manual, but she did the next best thing! Using her own experiences, the Word of the Lord, and just general common sense (seriously, it’s amazing how much of ministry is just common sense), she crafted a nicely packaged help guide for the “partners in ministry.”

This book reads like a conversation with a friend over a good strong cup of coffee. Each section is named after shoes, or some aspect of the shoe. From there she relays a short story or anecdote that goes along with the shoe theme and topic of the chapter. Her humor, vulnerability, and honesty, take you through the many areas and processes of being in ministry.

I hate writing in books. I think it has something to do with being told not to write in my Bible as a child that’s carried over to regular books. I’m now fine with underlining, taking notes, and even Bible journaling, but I still hesitate to write in regular books. When I first sat down to read this book, I grabbed my pen. I knew that I would want to highlight some “good stuff.” Below, you will find a few of my personal favorite quotes and nuggets of wisdom.

“…be pleasing to God- not the church, the church board, or the women’s ministry leaders.” (9)

“One of the problems with not taking time to recoup is that it produces a very high sense of frustration when you cannot accomplish tasks because fatigue will not allow you to.” (15)

“Doing the work of the ministry or living the Christian life by completely relying on yesterday’s revelation alone, will eventually cause you to burn out and be counter-productive.” (56)

“Successful marriages are developed using the same components as successful ministries: much prayer, planning, and action.” (88)

“Our busy-ness is not a sign of our righteousness or Godliness.” (125)

“The best way to help people is to love them and build relationships first.” (157)\

“Life is not about how high you can climb or how fast you can run, but it is about how well you can bounce.” (172)

“When a tragedy comes, it is not the time to go ‘Bible dipping’ for the right things to say.” (184)

I Have Issues is about more than issues in marriage, in the church, in motherhood, or even life. It is about being a partner, a helpmeet, a woman of Christ, a leader, and a lover, within our families, our churches, and the body of Christ. If you are preparing to step into ministry, have recently entered, or have been in it for decades, this book is for you. Every pastor’s wife could get something out of this book, whether it is advice as a newbie, or a refreshing reminder of how to take care of yourself and take control of your life back. 41s1LYw5l2L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThank you Jelly for seeing a need, listening to God’s prompting, and filling the hole so many of us have been searching for!

I Have Issues is available on Amazon.

Follow me on Instagram @brunetteswithbrains to keep up with the latest posts, books and news!

PS Be on the look out for my author interview with Jelly in the coming weeks!

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The Power of a Praying Wife- Part I

I am not a wife. At least, not yet. However, like most future brides, I’m sure there is some fear. NO I AM NOT RUNNING AWAY! Am I sure that Ethan is my better half? Absolutely. Do I think there is anyone else in the world who could put up with me forever? Nope. Is there any one else I would rather drive crazy with my crazy? Not a chance. He compliments who I am as a person with his own stellar qualities. So why am I afraid?

Because being a wife is scary! Being a “modern Christian” wife is doubly scary. Not only are we supposed to be Proverbs 31 women, but we’re supposed to have careers too. If you read Proverbs 31, that woman’s life and job WAS being a house mom/wife. Talk about some pressure. How are we going to delegate chores? Cooking? Cleaning? How are we going to balance church, careers and a family!? Am I going to be able to do enough? Will I be able to balance everything? Will I be enough?

I don’t remember where I saw this but about 2 years ago I read this statement “Pray to be the wife your future husband is praying for,” and it changed my heart. We are taught that God will send us the perfect man, we just have to pray for it. As girls and women, it is important to remember that moms and boys are praying for future wives like you’re praying for a husband. I encourage you to get into the Word and look at who YOU need to be. Be the woman a man would want to marry. Get your heart, attitude and actions in alignment. Little did I know 2 years ago that God was really preparing me and changing me to be the woman I needed to be for the most incredible, kind, encouraging and perfect man I could ever imagine!

I wrote that about two weeks before Ethan pulled off the best surprise ever by asking me to be his wife. I’ve graduated college and Ethan is finishing up his masters. We’re both working, but kind of in limbo. I’m subbing; and as a theology major, his job options are kind of limited. We are trying to make decisions balanced between the fact that we are getting married, but we aren’t actually married yet. We have NO idea where the Lord is leading us or what we are doing. We just know that we are supposed to be together and are taking it one day and one step at a time, together.

My answer to all of this? Buckle down, start taking my own advice, and the advice of millions of people before me- start praying! I had been looking for a new devotional and settled on The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian. She has written a number of books, and this one is part of her “Power of Praying” series.

Again, I’m not a wife. I’m a “I’m almost a wife so that counts for something RIGHT!?” I’m 3 days in. I started a day early since February is short, and I will have to either read 2 in one day, or go a day into March for the length of this study. This is what I’ve learned so far:

  1. That advice that I came across two years ago, is SO important. It is important to pray that the Lord work in your life to prepare you to be a good partner, and continue to pray it! Just because you find a man does not mean that you should stop! You will continue to grow, change, and face new challenges together and as an individual. Praying that God continues to work in you and make you the best team-mate is imperative. With His help, you CAN balance, do, and be, everything you need to be for your best friend, and for yourself.
  2. Not knowing what or how to pray just means you need to think outside of the box. I have been praying for direction, for jobs, for encouragement…the typical things. And they are fine! Those ideas are all chapters in the devotional. But other things like: faith, self image, his walk, his reputation, his purpose- these are all things that we as wives, and almost wives, can pray for as well. If you still aren’t quite sure HOW to pray for these things, Stormie provides sample guided prayers at the end of each chapter. She also includes what she calls “Power Tools,” which are Bible verses that go along with each focus. They might be my favorite part! *Prayers and Power Tools are available in newer copies that include new content, or separately in a book on their own.*
  3. Praying for your husband is one of the most important things that you can do in your relationship. If there is a problem, changing a man will not happen without His help. If things are going well, you should still pray for guidance, wisdom, and continued blessings. Don’t forget to thank God when things are good. The power of prayer can literally move mountains. In the first chapter, she refers to prayer as the ‘ultimate love language.’ “We want to be on the same path together. We want to be deeply compatible, lifelong companions, and have the love that lasts a lifetime. Prayer, as the ultimate love language, can make that happen” (27).

Geez. Only 3 days in, and I’ve already taken in so much. I will never be a perfect wife. Try as I might, we will have a pile or two of laundry. Dishes may get left in the sink now and again. I won’t always remember to clean the hair monster out of the tub. But I know that just by praying, and making the conscious effort, that God will change me, mould me, and bless me so that I can be the best partner, team-mate, peanut butter to his jelly, and wife that I can be. I can not wait to see what mountains are moved at the end of these 31 days.

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For more of Stormie’s books and about her, check out https://stormieomartian.com/ You can also Like her on Facebook and follow her on instagram @stormieomartian.

To keep up with my own progress through the devotional, and find out what else is happening on the blog, follow me on instagram @brunetteswithbrains.

 

1 Peter 3:3-4

I wrote this for my Chaucer/Medieval lit class. We had to do a modern retelling of a tale or create our own. Mine is a combination retelling of the Wife of Bath’s Tale along with creating my own based on 1 Peter 3:3-4. I’m a bit of a helpless romantic, lover of all fairy tales with a concentration in Medieval/Ren lit. SO here’s an original by yours truly.

1 Peter 3:3-4 “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

Once upon a time in a far off land there was a Princess. She was not just any princess but a spoiled, rotten, flirtatious princess. She was beautiful, so beautiful that men came from the ends of the earth to gaze upon her beauty. And she, in her vanity knew and used this. She played cruel tricks on the men of the court. Even her own father was under the spell of her beauty and trickery. There came a day when her games had gone on for too long. All the men in the court were sick except for one. He was a new courtier from a kingdom from the Middle East. He dazzled her with his stories and foreign magic. She was smitten. Being the cruel, selfish princess that she was, she decided to trick him into staying in her court.

She used her womanly wiles and snuck into his bed chamber one night. As the courtier roused from sleep he could smell her fragrant perfume near him. He had caught the princess slipping between his bed sheets. “How dare you!?” He cried out. Unabashed, the princess simply bat her eye lashes, “Why whatever do you mean?” she asked coyly. “I know of your schemes! The entirety of the court is almost in ruin because of you! But I am above your tricks and wiles! You are selfish and trying to keep me here longer by slipping into my bed.” The princess had been caught and knew it, but was unaware of how to proceed. She stared at him with wide doe eyes. “Enough! No more will you torture the men of your father’s kingdom or those who come to gaze upon your beauty for you will have it no more!” And with that the courtier spoke in a language unknown to many, and when he was done the princess fell into a deep sleep.

The next morning she awoke with a start! Remembering the night before she looked around to find she was in her own room. She tip toed to her dressing table only to shriek in shock. Her once beautiful milky white complexion was marred by freckles of the peasants. Her illustrious shining smooth hair of deep brown silk had become limp and mousey. Her bright mischievous eyes had become dull and hollow. Next to the mirror was a note-

Dearest Princess,
Not all who are beautiful possess true beauty, and not all who are without are ugly through and through. I will return to court in a years time. It is your duty to find your beauty. Look to the ponds and the swamps and cricks through the land. Look for the frog that possess true beauty and kiss him. It will only be then that you will regain your own beauty and save him from his tragic life of mud and bugs. However, if in a years time you are unable to seek true beauty yours will be gone forever.
Your humble servant-

The princess was stunned. “What am I to do!?” she wailed. No one could see her in this state. She quickly grabbed her cloak and slid through the servants’ entrance, down the terrace and into the court below. She slipped out the side gate to the gardens and beyond. The first place she went was the pond in the center of the gardens. Here as a child she had seen plenty of frogs of all colors, shapes and sizes. After a short time she found a beautiful frog. He was a shining apple green with dark spots the color of holly leaves. She scooped him up and said “How beautiful you are dear frog, are you the one?” The frog opened his mouth and replied “Why thank you my dear, I am beautiful indeed! My croak bellows, my legs are of pure muscle and my colors make others swoon.” Thinking that this was the most beautiful frog she could find, the princess kissed him. And nothing happened. Through the day she continued as such, going from pond to pond through the land around the castle, finding the prettiest frogs she could spot, but to no avail. She still could not return to the castle, so she found herself an abandoned house to spend the night in. The next day she began her search again, and again to no avail. Soon she had searched the ponds, lakes, and creeks all around her father’s kingdom and had found beauty many times over- but none for herself.

She was running out of time. The princess in desperation left the safety of her father’s kingdom to continue the search. After months of searching she still could not find the right frog. Frustrated, angry, and humbled the princess carried herself back to her father’s kingdom. She returned to the pond she had searched her first day. She lowered herself onto a bench and began to weep. A frog hopped out of the pond and onto the bench next to her. “Why are you crying?” asked the frog. The princess sniffed and looked over. There, sitting next to her was one of the ugliest frogs she had ever seen. He was not a beautiful shade of green, and was half covered in mud. He had some warts and no stunning markings like other frogs she had searched for. The princess responded “I was once beautiful and have lost that beauty. I have run out of time.” With endearing eyes and quiet voice the frog gently whispered “I have never been beautiful.” It was then the princess looked at him again. He was an ugly frog, but was the only frog in her quest that had asked her why she was on such a journey. He was the only frog that had stopped to question why she was crying. Reaching down she picked him up and said “You are the most beautiful frog I have ever met.” And she kissed him. Suddenly he croaked, and croaked and continued to croak like he had the hiccups. He hopped off the bench and swam away into the pond.

The princess was sure she had truly run out of time. Her last hope had just swam away. Dejected she entered the great hall of her father’s castle. The noble knights and busy courtiers, ladies in waiting and servants turned and gasped. With head hung low the princess made her way to her father’s throne. Kneeling the princess said “I have been gone for many months. My beauty was taken away from me. My vanity and selfishness ruined me and I was ashamed. I have spent these past months looking for my beauty and have failed in this quest.” Confused the king and all in attendance looked to each other. “My dear,” her father said, “you are as beautiful as ever.” The princess stood and turned to look at a mirror on the wall. In front of her stood the courtier who had cast this wicked spell on her and a stunning stranger. The two stepped forward. “My princess, I am glad to see you in such good health! It has been some time since I’ve seen you.” “I don’t understand,” replied the princess. “My dear, you were a beauty on the outside. Your hair of deep silk, your eyes bright and lively with skin as pure as a young maiden’s; but your heart, your soul, they were ugly. You needed to find beauty within others to find it in yourself.” Dumbfounded the princess gazed at him. “And my I present to you, your beautiful frog-a prince of my kingdom. He could never find a woman to love, for they all rejected his plain looks, no one dared to see beyond into his heart. In trust, he allowed me to show him that one day he would find a beautiful woman inside and out to love him as well, in exchange, I would make him handsome.”

Laughing the princess ran to them both. She finally understood that though beauty is fleeting, and in order to be truly beautiful one must have beauty from within. The courtier left the courts that day, and was never seen again. The princess and her frog prince were married on a fine spring day next to the pond where she had found him. When the time came, the two ruled the kingdom and lived happily ever after.

The End