"For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace"

Friday, September 28, 2012

wrestling with my heart.

Whew. I didn't want to write this blog post because it's easier to keep these feelings to myself instead of exposing myself to the world. Those deep parts of the heart that are easier to just cover up. But this morning I read a friend's blog who lives overseas and how having a baby overseas and away from family isn't what she ever wanted and it's hard. That's what i'm struggling with- minus the whole overseas part. After I read that God probed and poked my heart and told me to write too. I didn't want to because my pride was telling me that it would look like i'm just "copying" or emotionally responding (haha part of that actually may be true :)). I hope this will all make sense because I honestly feel like I am about to take my heart and dump it out all over this computer screen.

I don't know if I ever realized how much I wanted to be close to family once we had a baby. I always knew that is what I wanted but I never knew how much I would really want that. It's a crazy thing, really...God has given me incredible friends here, but yet I still find myself feeling so alone and not even sure of who I am anymore at times. It's an ongoing identity crisis and now I add trying to figure out who I am as a mother. A mother.

I want to be by my mom to teach me how to be a mom. I want to take Gracie to her grandparent's house and for her to love all the things that we loved about growing up there. I know we've been here over a year but I can't run to my parent's house on the weekend and smell my mom's apple crisp on a fall Saturday and no amount of time here will ever make me not miss and want those moments. I think I am homesick....not like "let's go visit and cure this homesickness" but truly homesick, the aching kind. But I don't know if the cure would be to move home, either....because for different reasons God has us here. I often ask what will come after this chapter? Where will we be? Where will we live? Will we have to start over again? Why can't families move with you when you're called somewhere? haha (selfish, yes, but I still want it sometimes!). Alot of my friends are having babies back home too, and I feel like i'm missing everything....we were all supposed to do life together- you know those dreams you have in high school and college?

I know everyone is only a phone call away, but it's not the same as sitting in the kitchen with your mom & dad or meeting a best friend for coffee or a walk.

I took a walk last night and told God that I felt so alone and He whispered to me that "no matter if you have no-one you still have Me, you're not alone". I felt full for a moment that I wanted to last. But why can't I feel that all the time then?

I want to share from my friend's blog:

"So much of me hates admitting that. So much of me wants to write about how I've overcome the anxious thoughts and have moved on to greener pastures. So much of me thinks God is disappointed in my poor attitude and lack of trust. But as I was praying and thinking about it a couple of days ago, I think God has me exactly where He wants me. Never before in my life have I had to work out my faith like this. And I don't mean it in the same way that people use "walking by faith". For me, walking by faith was moving to Thailand and trusting that God had gone before us to prepare the way. Working out my faith looks like a daily, gut-wrenching, tug-of-war where I don't feel like believing in His goodness but choose to anyway. It's when I feel like calling it quits, but choose to stay. When I feel like giving in to my selfish desires, but choosing to believe God's way really is better.

And mostly, it's when I don't feel God, but choose to believe that He's still right by my side, caring for my heart and all my needs."

Much of my wrestling with God recently has been the hardest battle my faith has ever withstood. I don't know why and I don't know why now but I've never doubted, felt so alone, and unsure of who God is as I do at times. Part of that has been just not feeling Him like I am used to. I know He's teaching me something about simple trust that He is always who He says He is, but I don't know how to grasp that yet.
I don't want this blog to be a pity-party or poor-ang. It is just where i'm at...hopelessly hopeful that God will do all things well and knowing that because He loves me, He won't leave me alone or abandon me. I write these things to tell them to myself- that I can trust God. That He is good. That He hears me and cares about how I feel. That He never turns a deaf ear on me but instead is working good at all times.

I find myself timid to approach God at times- fearing rejection or not being met with. I know these are not characteristics of God, but I still wrestle with them. This morning was good. God washed over me with His love. And then I questioned it. "God do you really love me like that?" "Are you really that faithful?" "Are you really that good to ME?". I landed in the psalms (my place of comfort this past year) and He spoke verse after verse about His steadfast love, He unending promises and faithfulness, His compassion on the hurting. His delight to bless me.

I think it's at times of greatest struggle you meet God in ways you didn't know He existed...in magnitudes of power and love that keep you trusting when you are weak and believing when you can't see. I can only imagine the season ahead of us is full of moment to moment trust and believing He is with me. Maybe that is partly why my heart is being trained now to deepen that and to wrestle through some of the scariest places in my heart- my fears.

Writing can be healing for me- which is why I journal and blog. It helps me to see True things and get outside of the inside of my head. Thanks for walking with me through this journey.

[I have pandora on as I write this- which could be good and bad as my emotions fluctuate with the songs, but regardless, it's been constant song after song of God's promise to be here no matter what. Thank you Jesus.]

Here's a couple that hit my heart strings:
"If you want me to" Ginny Owens http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMKp4g_ZrGk
"Never let go" David Crowder Band http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jHrbXEcee8

favorite quote of the day: "YOU [God] are stronger than any terrible possible scenario today".

Friday, September 14, 2012

happy 4 years!!

Happy Anniversary Baby!

Can you believe we have been married for 4 years? That's 1460 days of marriage. To some that may seem like nothing and that we are just pee-wees at this marriage thing- but in my opinion, dear, we've lived a lot of life in 4 years. A lot of amazing and and a lot of really really difficult life.

Do you remember our first date after you asked for my hand in marriage? I think our conversation went something like this:
me: "are you sure you want to marry me?"
you: "are you kidding me?"
me: "no, i'm serious. I am not sure if you know what you're getting yourself into"
you: "i'm up for it and yes I want to marry you"
Oh my dear- if only you knew then what you know now :). Though, knowing you, I know you would've still said the same thing, even if you did know it all.

What I love about you:
-I love when you smile. really love it- your eyes light up and my do you have pretty eyes. That was the first thing I ever noticed way back in high school when we first met- though you don't remember that- what an impact I made on you :)
-I love love love when you laugh. It does my soul good.
-I love when I don't want to wake up in the morning and you come in singing some kind of ridiculous song or talk in some goofy voice until I finally cave in.
-I love watching you build things. I think this is one of my favorite things about you. You are so skillful and so intelligent with tools and wood and design. I love watching your creativity at it's best. This is when you're truly in "your element"
-I love when we are driving down the road and you find it a mission in life to point out various different buildings, trucks, etc to me and then proceed to educate me on the function of them. I've learned more about crop dusters, lumber mills, and fields than I ever knew I could learn :)
-I love how much you love our daughter already. How you get so excited to feel her kick and how you talk to her in your different voices that way she knows them all. I love how you think you have to get right up close for her to hear you, haha :)
-I love your surprises- you are so good at them. I love how you express your love through surprising me with outlandish places and ideas!
-I love your saturday morning omelette's...you're the best omelet maker EVER. You've even mastered the "flip" in the pan.
-I love how precise you are. Though it drives me crazy at times, I love how I can trust you know where are are going and how we are getting there.
-I love your logical-bring-me-back-to-earth-thinking. We make a good team most of the time :) though as you know I love it when you entertain my crazy ideas, even for just a bit!
-I love how you try to show extra emotion for me when i'm sharing something or telling a story- I know it's not easy all the time, but thank you- it blesses me.
-I love watching you with our nieces and nephews. They love their Uncle Sethy!
-I love your super dry-old-man sense of humor...but what I love more is how funny you think it is- I think that makes me laugh the most!
-I love watching you grow. In 4 years I've seen a new man spring forth. Your thirst for finding freedom in Christ is so awesome to see and I love seeing how God is continually growing your heart day by day.
-You are passionate about our marriage and that we don't settle- sometimes I hate this, but in the long run I love this.
-You are a hard and loyal worker. People like to have you on their team because you do a good job and you are dependable.
-You help me clean- seriously, thank you!
-I love your beard. you just look so cool.
-You are going to be an awesome dad. Our little girl will be SO loved...even if it means having raw pinkys :)
-I love how you love me and try to make connecting a priority!

4 years is a lot of memories. I have been thinking through the things we have done and learned together and it's really amazing how much you can pack into 4 years.
I thought a fun way to recap 4 years would be to remind you of some things we did!

When it all started:

This was when we were in love with eachother but neither of us knew it :)

                                            I love this picture because your eyes hold so much love in them.

                                                               One of my favorite engagement pics!

On September 14, 2008 you and I promised forever to each other in front of hundreds of people. Do you remember what it was like standing at the front of the church in front of everyone?! I was soo nervous and so excited at the same time!! I couldn't believe after a few short words we were husband and wife! Even though the entire downtown peoria was flooded on our wedding, I think it was perfect :).

                      We started off so young, naive, and poor. Now, love, 4 years later- we are still pretty young, not much
                        less poor, but i'd say definitely wiser!

Thus began year one: Remember how year one was packed with me studying for nursing school in our basement apartment in the middle of nowhere (to a city girl) with that beautiful lake? I loved taking 4 wheeler rides with you on those cool fall days and watching the dear jump through the fields. I loved taking walks around the lake and searching for the infamous beaver. I love how you killed a snake for me so I could take a walk. Our memorable and lesson-learned honeymoon :). I loved hosting people and having bonfires in the backyard. Mart & Eric's wedding. Celebrating our one year anniversary at the Goldmoor Inn in Galena. You having to leave work to come pull my car out of our driveway when it was snowy. Those many many times the electricity would go out and we'd be stuck in the dark and you'd have to make up excuses for the sounds I heard.
                                                                    Our Honeymoon- St. Maarten
                                                      Our first thanksgiving together in a Residence Inn!

My college graduation!

                                                I loved our chalkboard wall and the notes you would leave for me!

                                                        again, I loved (and love) your little notes & surprises

 Our first Valentines day- when we started the One World tradition and met our favorite waiter, Dave- who we liked to pretend remembered us :)
Yes, you killed it. Thank you.
                                     Your science project, Bart. That had to sit in our dinning room for MONTHS!

                                                                 Celebrating one year at Galena!!

 Year two. I started my first job as a nurse. You let me call you crying every day on my way to work. We moved to Goodfield and had an awesome duplex and planted our first garden- that yielded award winning crops. We took many long walks out into the country and rollarbladed a lot. The freeze-out campout with our bible study that chilly october weekend! God moving in our hearts to look into missions and opening doors to FamilyLife. Going to staff preview. My new job. Haiti. Hawaii. Sarah & Jason's Wedding. Orlando. Whew- what a year!
                                               Our awesome Halloween costumes!

                                      In Orlando for staff training. We celebrated our two year @ Disney World!!

                                                   Parasailing in Hawaii- me freaking out the sharks would get us!

                       One of our favorite things to do together was to go spend weekends in Chicago for fun!
                                                    At the Staff Training for FamilyLife- we had no idea what was ahead of us!!

Year three: Raise support , raise support, raise support to head to FamilyLife. Bebo Norman concerts- our favorite! The beginning of a difficult and refining season for us! Texas trips. A HUGE blizzard & we got snowed in! Cori & Adam's wedding. Kenz & Mike's wedding. Went to CSU in Colorado. Move to Little Rock. Start work at FamilyLife. Travel to Honduras & Costa Rica. Celebrating our third anniversary at a BEAUTIFUL b&b in Hot springs!
                                                           At a Bebo Norman concert in Chicago area!

Our favorite person to see in concert- Bebo Norman.

                                                              Hiking the Colorado Mountains at CSU!
                                               Our Christmas tradition of making homemade pizzas!!
                                                                           My cookie decorator!!
That HUGE blizzard with like 2 feet of snow! You even did a Jillian video with me!
Celebrating year 3!!!
Year four: baby- what a growing, stretching, refining year for us! One of the hardest and best yet, i'd say. We've adjusted to Little Rock and Southern culture this year. Went to texas, went to IL, went to Kansas. Camping out at Chickfila.We braved our first Little Rock winter (like a charm) and then truly braved a Little Rock summer (not so easy). Lots of growing spiritually- new friends, new bible studies, new church, new home, new activities, new lots of things! We got pregnant with our first baby & she's a girl!! Lots and lots of walks at 930 pm after the humidity has slightly lifted (or at least we like to think so). An awesome babymoon/vacation out west to Washington, Oregon, and CA. Megan and Mitch's wedding. Family and friends visiting us. Getting involved in PATH and watching God work that into our hearts deeply. Your first triathlon! The beginning of pinterest inspired everything :). Finding out who we are and who we are in Christ.
Our first Chick-fil-a campout! 104 coupons richer!
Ugly sweater contest- you won!
                                                               Your amazing skills at work!
                                                   Best birthday EVER. You blessed my socks off this year!
                                        Valentines day dinner, so fun to get dressed up with you my love!
                                                                    We are having a baby!!!

At Megan and Mitch's wedding....you are SO good looking!

                                  Our babymoon/vacation out west!! loved having those memories with you!
                              That's me, now, 25 weeks, with our little Gracie Mae growing and being knit together!

Wow. Doesn't it just make you stop and sit back and stand in awe. Baby, you and I both know that I didn't even scratch the surface of all the places we've been, the things we've done, and the memories we have made. I know we have both said that marriage has been the hardest thing we have ever done, but I promise and sincerely mean that I would not trade it for anything. You are a gift to me. You have stood by me through some of the hardest seasons we could imagine, and it's only been 4 years- who knows what is ahead. God is building a foundation for us. It's taken and will continue to take work. I've learned that love is not always a feeling, it's a choice too. There are so many things I could say to you, but mostly I want you to know that I love you so much. And that I am so thankful for you. They may sound like simple statements, but hear the depth of meaning in them. You are my best friend and my love. We are about to embark on one of the scariest and most exciting adventures yet- parenthood. Let's keep doing this life hand in hand and step by step. You keep me grounded when I get overwhelmed and you remind me that I am loved by the author of Love. Baby, we have an adventure ahead of us- heck, we don't even know what we are going to be doing in a year! But i'm so glad I get to do it with you and follow you through it.
I love you I love you I love you. Thank you for the life and the love you have given to me. Thank you for teaching me and leading me.
Happy Anniversary of 4 very full, wonderfully, difficult, crazy, fun years!!!