Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lies and Submission

Do you ever lie to your husband? Are you ever tempted to lie because you want to appear to be submissive? Let me give you an example from our life:

I believe God places a desire (in most women) to make their house feel like a home. I believe God puts it there, which certainly makes it right. Our Creator forms within us a desire to create--to make our earthly dwellings a (albeit meager) shadow of the heavenly one He has prepared for us. The problem I run into is that He also asks that we be good stewards of the money He entrusts us with. I don't know about you, but I have trouble making a beautiful home without money :). There is no "decorating budget" at our house at present.

So, what is a girl to do? I was about to move into a fully furnished home. Amen, what a blessing! However, while it is a blessing, it is also strange to be surrounded by things that aren't ours. Especially since the couple we are renting from have an avid (AVID) love for the Orient. As in, the wife has written textbooks about the Sung Dynasty, and her husband devotes a large part of his retired life to collecting Asian art and textiles. There are also total libraries filled with books written in Chinese. I can value their passion; I can appreciate the art and clothing of a different culture, but it is in not my personal shadow of a heavenly dwelling :)

When we walked through the house before moving in, there were decorative robes and long tapestries written in Chinese hanging from the walls. All I could see were Mary Aplin's peanut butter and jelly covered fingers running by and smudging their priceless collectibles. They offered to take down anything that made us nervous, and I smiled and asked that they please take it all down (Have you met Mary Aplin?!).

They did take down the valuables, but that left me with a whole LOT of blank space on the walls. I knew I couldn't fill it all, but the big gaping area over the fireplace where a Chinese painting once hung just screamed "Fill Me!! Fill Me!!" While it was screaming at me, I received a little brochure in the mail from Pier 1, with a picture of a mirror that sent off a little spark in my heart. I started doing internet searches to see if I could find one similar on eBay, or Amazon, or a random knock-off anywhere. I tend to get obsessive when I get my mind set on something. Finally, I call our local Pier 1 "just to see," I tell myself. Keep in mind, this has all happened over a couple of frenzied hours, and I have not informed Jeremiah that I even have a desire to fill a few wall spaces.

The nice lady at Pier 1 puts me on hold while she goes in the back to see if they have my mirror in stock... ... ...Not only do they have it, but it's ON SALE!! I ask if they can hold it for me, but the answer is "No," not for a sale item. The only way they can hold it is...if I buy it. I looked down at the coupon for another $15 off I held in my hand. I thought back to all those mirrors on eBay, none of which were as pretty or as cheap, and I swiped it. I caved under the sales pitch. I couldn't stand the thought of losing my mirror, even if it did mean making a (for us) big purchase without asking my husband.

As soon as I hung up the phone, the dread hit me. How was I going to tell Jeremiah? It's not as though you can easily hide a big mirror hanging over the fireplace :) So here's when the lie happened over our innocent little dinner table:

Me: I feel like we need to put something over that huge open space above the fireplace. Don't you? It just feels sort of stark in the house with all the empty space, and I think that is probably the most important space to fill...

J: Ummm, have you looked around the house to see if there is something lying around we could stick up there?

Me: Pretty sure there's not {What on earth does he mean? Seriously, I am thankful he is not in charge of decorating.}, and I found this really beautiful mirror at a great price from Pier 1. It's on sale and I have a coupon.

J: We've been spending too much lately with the move and living here, let's just be content. We have a great house, the last thing we need to spend money on right now is a mirror.

And there it was. Sunk in the water. My lie of omission, thinking I would manipulate him around to my way of thinking, not happening. And my mirror waiting on hold, already purchased, right down the road. What bothered me the most, was that he was absolutely right. I didn't need that mirror right now. If I had consulted him, like I knew I should, from the outset, I could have been spared the lie and the buyer's remorse. Why is it easy to lean on my husband in the big things (like whether or not to move to Seattle, or where to go to church...) but much harder to relinquish control of the small things?

I didn't say anything to him at first. I was too embarrassed about being caught in my lie and unsubmissiveness. However, conviction crept up on me while I washed the dishes and kissed the girls goodnight. As Jeremiah and I sat in bed, I debated how I could ease the blow on myself, and finally decided that I should just be honest:

Me: I lied to you.

J: About what (His face is turning red, like he's imagining some huge scandal)?

Me: I already bought that mirror I told you about at dinner. And I'm not sure if I can return it, because it was on sale.

J: Why in the world didn't you just tell me you already bought it?

Me: Because I knew you would be more likely to agree if you were part of the decision. I know that's manipulative. I'm sorry. {And now I am crying over a stupid mirror} I'll ask if I can take it back.

J: I don't want to be a person that tells you "No" all the time. I don't think we should get it, but you decide.

What a beautiful picture of the grace God offers us. Even though we screw up, and think we can hide things from Him, and think we can make a better decision than He can...He's still there, waiting for us to stop wallowing in our mistakes and just confess and ask for forgiveness.

After all that grace, you'd think I would have found a way to return the mirror wouldn't you? Weellll, I got there, and I'm afraid I loved it even more in person. He had told me I could make the decision...And I convinced myself that he would be glad one day. How could he not love such a beautiful mirror at such a great price?

DSC_0907

As a sort of an apology, I devised a much cheaper way to decorate the even larger wall space:

DSC_0911

DSC_0916

Which serves the dual purpose of helping us fight our homesickness. And the pictures reflect off that lovely mirror above the fireplace :)

14 comments:

Kat said...

Wow, I can totally relate to this post. I married a CPA. I feel like I married a shopping conscience, which is a good thing almost always, but sometimes, it really irritates the stew out of me to picture a miniature version of my husband sitting on my shoulder every time I shop, asking me, "Do you REALLY need that?"... Your mirror looks amazing and good for you choosing to tell the truth. :)I love the picture wall too.

Beth Goff said...

Haha... Sounds like me and TJ :) He did NOT want me to buy a beautiful $200 (originally $1000) china cabinet brand new but I did anyway!! It was too good of a buy and I apologized and I do think he is thankful now :)

Okay, now you have to tell us specifically how you created the BIG wall picture gallery!!!! PLEASE :)

Beth
www.domesticease.com

Elaine said...

Ugh, I have totally been there before. The guilt is just killer! You are a good wife b/c you want to make your house a home and that you did tell him, even if it was that small. I know for me it's SO hard. Thankful we both have loving and forgiving husbands. I'm sure he is glad that it was JUST a mirror and not something else too :) It could have been much worse. The mirror is so stunning and I absolutely love the wall of pictures. So creative!

Gail said...

I am glad you did buy that wonderful mirror! One day you will look back and be so happy you did. I had to live a total of four yrs. away from all my things! YOU have to have something of your very own, and this will be a something special later down the road. I promise! I really loved the way you hung all your own PIC's, too! GREAT idea! I hope you are adjusting and life is rolling along good for Y'all..How is the weather? Are the girls in school? Do you get to write? Have you visted any really neat coffee shops? Did Ashley have to return home? Enjoy that mirror and I think you have the most loving, loving heart! :O)

Gail said...

I am glad you did buy that wonderful mirror! One day you will look back and be so happy you did. I had to live a total of four yrs. away from all my things! YOU have to have something of your very own, and this will be a something special later down the road. I promise! I really loved the way you hung all your own PIC's, too! GREAT idea! I hope you are adjusting and life is rolling along good for Y'all..How is the weather? Are the girls in school? Do you get to write? Have you visted any really neat coffee shops? Did Ashley have to return home? Enjoy that mirror and I think you have the most loving, loving heart! :O)

Blake said...

Abby- I love, love the wall with the pictures and mattes- creative and so personal. My husband finished his hand fellowship 2 years ago, and for 12 years I "worked with what I had" and scrounged for some decorating budget :) I think all of those years taught me to be resourceful. There were a few times that Dan let me "splurge" on a want, not a need, and those are the pieces that I treasure the most even now. I hope that the mirror through the years reminds you of grace and the journey you two (really four :) are on that will result in a great feeling of accomplishment and teamwork in the future. Til then, keep on being resourceful!

I love reading your blog, even when it reminds me of some of the hardest days of our life, when we were clawing through training and residency. Thanks for being transparent and true to yourself, even in an "alien" place.

The Rigoloso's said...

abby-
Thank you for sharing this post. How very real. I, too, can relate to the very strong need to make a house a home...and the desire to honor my husband in the process. Isn't it such a huge relief to receive grace from the man you love?

Caroline said...

I love it! we are so much alike. And Jeremiah and Riley are a lot alike too:) I could hear him saying the same thing.

The hanging picture frames are adorable too! You are so creative. And it inspires me!!

All my love!

Gail said...

I chewed on your thoughts all night. Girlfriend, you can teach!!!! I learn so much from your blog. It gives me so much "food for thought" Thank you, and enjoy that mirror! :O)

The deVilleneuves said...

Hey Abby,
This is Jenn deVilleneuve (I don't know if you remember me from Redeemer Comm. church in bham). I did not have your email, but wanted to email you because Ryan and I are going to be in Seattle for just a couple days this weekend, and I wanted to see about maybe getting your recommendations on anything you would suggest doing and anywhere you might suggest eating. I saw in your blog (and steph had also suggested) palace kitchen, but if you have any other suggestions that would be great. You can email me at jdevilleneuve@charter.net Thanks so much! ps. The girls are getting so big and are so pretty!

Julie, the mama said...

LOVED this post...as a stay-at-home mama with a military spouse, I could SO relate.

That mirror now has "a story," and I bet y'all will treasure it even more because of that story.

Shallyse said...

I stumbled across your blog when I did a Google search for "Japanese Maples" (something new that I absolutely fell in love with when we moved to the South a couple years ago and I just learned what they're called, lol). I don't normally post on strangers blogs, but I just have to say that I LOVE your writing - you describe your faith and your relationships in a way that wants to make me be a better person.

I love the mirror, and I think it will mean so much more to you in the years to come since it has a story. I can totally empathize with the lack of a decorating budget - DH graduated a couple of years ago, but thanks to Sallie Mae, we still don't have much of a budget for "wants." I keep telling myself it will help me appreciate the time in the future when we *do* have a budget for fun things.:)

Anyway, I LOVE how you decorated with pictures. I have tons of open wall space in my house, and I would love to do something similar. Where did you get the wires to hang the pictures?

Anonymous said...

mirrors are good to reflect light from a window to brighten a dark space. perhaps you might try the mirror in those situations to demonstrate the versatility of your purchase. Perhaps you may also find somethings lying around the house at some point to make use of his suggestion that way both points of views have been examinined --- while living in this particular house use it as an experiment to change your surroundings photograph the arrangements and then include in your portfolio of design what an opportunity this house presents you good luck the pier one in jax fl had that mirror on sale for 149 just wondered if sale prices are sale prices from coast to coast

Toby said...

Gosh, there's a great deal of helpful data in this post!
pickling salt | Council | massage happy ending