Onward and Upward: 2 Days and We’ll be One

Two more days, folks…

2 days.

7 1/2 months of engagement have (crawled) by, and in 2 days my whole life will be joined to another’s. Our souls now joined to Christ, will be partnered for life. Comrades in going onward and upward. Soon two souls will be joined for the rest of our travels on this earth.

We’ll take this road together. The twists and turns will bend before our feet. Often we’ll be joyous. Often our feet will swell with road weary wandering. Often our souls will gather close to be understood…to know…to love.

What a journey it is to love another person!

What a journey it is to let one’s self be loved, be accepted, without striving. without struggling to prove one’s own worth.

I’ve heard that marriage gives us a knowing of what it is to realize how deeply we are loved by God. We feel the swell of sacrifice in our hearts. We know pain is coming, and with another, we open and embrace in the work of holy-making…the sanctifying passion God works in us to make us our truest selves in image of Christ.

I am an image bearer, and I’m marrying an image bearer.

I see my inability to love (because of the pride that dwells in me that thinks I know how to love and be loved).

So I say I’m willing..willing to learn.

I’ll be saying “I DO” to laying down my life on the altar of sacrifice. That is love.

That is where the spring breaks up, and breaks forth.

The snow is ending, the winter is passed.

Spring is coming.

Love is here.

I love this Dan Ng, and I’m honored to become his wife.

So many prayers have blanketed this path to here. So many desperate prayers cried, and so much mercy has fallen on our heads. We’ve learned how forgiveness is the food of love.   We’ve seen grace meet us in deep hard places where love could have flown the coop, but instead the Spirit kept us close, and kept us humbled.

Who is this man who (patterned after Glory) lets me cry on his tan coat, lets me confess and be forgiven, who says “I’m not going anywhere.”?

Dan, who’s blessed me in millions of ways, is this man.

This Mighty Man of Valor.

My heart and my love from Christ to him….

 

back again.

Hello blogging friends.

I’m back, and taking just a few of the moments this evening at home in Indy to blog while I have internet access. My heart is rather content to pour out some words here, sitting on the blue couch with tan trim next to my Dearest Daniel while my sister and mom watch Psych on television.

Watch.

I’ve felt like an observer of my life  in some ways, watching and trying to pick up as much as I can as life has changed at a rather hectic pace. If my memory serves me correctly,it was two weeks or so after getting engaged, that a company I’d interviewed with at least a month prior called me to (basically) offer me a job (through a temp company). I happened to be right in the middle of trying on wedding dresses at the time. That call was part of the waterfall of change that has occurred over the past few months.

August: engagement, getting hired, finding an apartment within a week in my the college town I’ve now lived in every autumn since 2008,  moving out of my parent’s house, living on my own. climbing a STEEP learning curve at the new job.

September – October: Getting in rhythm, working 8 to 5 everyday, lunch break with Dearest until his shift changed to the same as mine, cooler weather and less sweat happening in my apartment. Wedding prep in swing, and visits to my parents house, job got a bit easier. Dan and I celebrate 1 year of being in relationship (and it’s various states) :)

November:  We make two trips to Ft Wayne (or was that partially in October too?). I can’t remember. More wedding prep occurred on weekends to visit family. I was in a car accident about one block from my house and met the people from the UK that we communicate with at work on a fairly regular basis. We decide on a church home, hear about future ministry opportunities overseas from various people, and my car still survives (thanks to the Lord!). I rumble along through various life rhythms. The most consistent rhythm being: work, exercise, Dan time/friend time sleep. (And, did I mention that some consistent spiritual warfare has intermingled with all of this?)

I don’t have too many words to express what’s been going on internally over the past few months. Stuff, thoughts, feelings joggle around inside and bump into one another confused. When they do make their way to my mouth, often they sound more confused than boggled internally. I have my moments of clear revelation regarding my heart, the lies I’ve been believing, and what I want to do, how I want to live instead of in those lies. Courage, peace, hope, deep nuanced gladness and… well,  alive-ness.

I want to savor life, breathe deeply (instead of shallowly while bracing myself in fear). I want to appreciate the nuances that is the old me, and the resurrection of the new me through the royal blood of Jesus by believing the love of  Him my Beloved, and by loving Him by deeper, “more real “ways.  I’m seeing that it takes courage not to live a life that’s based on fear. I want to live confidently as myself because I’m loved…

But, the creative part of my heart has been lacking, almost aching.

Perhaps I’ve been a little depressed, a little weary, a bit anxious, a usual amount of fearful and a LOT exhausted. Fearful living is exhausting. Performing life is exhausting. I don’t have energy to explore creativity most of the time (maybe, perhaps excepting weekends). Maybe the tiredness is from realizing the deeper throbbing issues I’ve had down in my soul, issues that need to be redeemed, healed, re-made by Jesus.

There are moments when I see my heart raise it’s head in inspiration. Yet I’ve wondered if that part of me has died, or at very least, gone to sleep or become numbed.

Numbed, perhaps by change? Or new phases of adulthood? I’m ready for it to come back, ready for inspiration to strike again. I wonder if it is more sporadic time in the Word, or rushed time in the Word, or a heart that feels cramped by constrictive everyday rhythm.

Maybe I just haven’t realized how tied my spiritual life is to my creative life. When one suffers, all of me breaks down.

Maybe I didn’t believe that before.

Maybe I didn’t’ believe that I was a whole person, not segmented parts.

I want to break out of this rut, but I also realize that patterned living is part of adult-hood.

And now, content, I sit here eating the cookies and cream ice cream with Oreos that Mom very kindly served up (and I try not to give into the deeper body image insecurities I’ve seen I have since I’ve lost weight and gotten healthier and stronger over the past year). Jesus loves me, even though He’s got a lot of stuff to raise up from a grave-tending existence  and expectations I’ve laid down in desperate submission.

(Also note, that Dan gave me an excited high five when he saw me blogging. Yeah, that’s how little I’ve been my creative self lately).

And so, I’m now back in the blogging hemisphere (though hoping that the creative thread in me will heal and surface more in the future.)

Here I am, Lord, waiting for a new spark of life and power to live who You made me to be for Your glory, Your enjoyment, Your delight.

from the fullness

I just have to write, to list the things of God, and how He has been so very near to me these past weeks (and even before when I could not see it).

I tend to have realizations and ponderings while I am either 1) driving or traveling somewhere or 2) in the shower. 

So, I could probably come up with something WAY more poetic and logical than what I am about to write now. But I’m not concerned with it now. I’m simply recording so I don’t forget this season.

Tonight, I pulled my car into the car into our driveway, and was drawn into prayer for someone I love a whole lot. I sat there, completely content, and my heart lifting it’s prayer to God. Wow, it has been an amazing journey. And, it isn’t over yet! Isn’t it amazing and wonderful that we can go to God and ask Him to fix us in the middle of circumstances? we can ask for his restoring/fixing/re-creating power! He desires to give it! It may not look like what I want, but I am able to lift it up to Him by His Holy Spirit working in me. (To will and to work for His good pleasure? YES!)

Have I before considered the importance and power of prayer? Have I considered before the importance of the people of God, the members of His Body before? Yes. I can answer with an affirmative to each of these statements. And yet, between uplifting and courage-giving conversations with friends this week, and repeated time in the Word, I’m finding it all to be so good, so true.

I am so very thankful. GRATEFUL.

Grateful, because He’s here, even though my situation has not changed, been released all that much, or provided me with additional outside security or comfort.

1)He’s providing ways of freedom, even though circumstances seem very constricting. I can live fully here, and I want to be like Paul or Silas (singing praises in jail, chained).

2) I have learned the amazing joy at giving generously, and trusting God to provide for my needs. I’m starting to get excited about this, because in this time of unemployment and dependency on others, I’ve seen very clearly how giving is way better than receiving, and receiving from God is the best of all.

3) Julie-friend reminded me (during her spontaneously God-ordained phone call) that I had told her that a woman who fears the Lord can laugh at the future. (“Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. -Proverbs 31:25.) I needed to be reminded of this. Life hasn’t felt like a laughing matter in a while. The future hasn’t looked like little rays of sunshine and blessing bouncing off of every rock. But, I remember realizing this past year at school (can’t remember specifically when), that because God has promised that He will provide, we don’t have to fear the future because we take Him seriously. 

3) I think the thing I am most joyful/happy about is the nearness I have felt to God this past week. I had asked a friend from church to pray for me two weekends ago, and boy, was I overwhelmed by peace! it’s been a peace-and-enjoying-God journey ever since. I still sin, and I’m still tempted (and fall) to hitting the “panic button” daily. But I am finding that enjoying God is one of the most joyous things of all! He is always available to meditate on and think about (without sin!). He is always available to talk with, and to receive love from. I haven’t reached some super-spiritual point where I will never feel distant from Him again, but I’m realizing how much my #1 prayer and priority needs to be enjoying God.

I keep asking to be filled up with Jesus. There isn’t room for sin and death if I am filled up by Him. Pray for this for me please? I’m still deeply in need of constant unmerited favor from Him and others. 

2 Corinthians 2:14

“But (B)thanks be to God, who in Christ always (C)leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads (D)the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”

Spurgeon and those who wandered before us

cabin-ing 066

“Let no agitation distress you, but be quiet from fear of evil. Whatsoever cometh upon the earth, you, beneath the broad wings of Jehovah, shall be secure. Stay yourself upon his promise; rest in his faithfulness, and bid defiance to … Continue reading

among fruit trees

Evening, and a porch embraced in screen

after sister has driven us to

Grandpa’s.

Remember, those ‘soft-drinks’ and icecream

a grandma and grandpa’s house

staple treat?

We sit inside, and then out of doors

as the breeze blows cooler,

and robins hop

among fruit trees.

 

I want to run through them,

break away from the small-talk and laughter

for a bit,

and run on slightly crusty grass

over and around like a child

in dusk air

among fruit trees.

 

I want to grow an orchard.

{I’ve decided quite romantically and sweetly}.

Someday.

I know that real-fruit and soul-fruit

I crave, I love.

Remembering from the message heard in the morn

of His growing, harvest, and my planting,

not my proding,

among fruit trees.

 

When you need to remember that He uses it all…

“Record my lament;

list my tears on your scroll –

are they not in your record?”

{Psalm 56:8}

What do you do when your heart screams “NO!” and “What about me?” How do you pick up the “yes” of this morning, this new day of more waiting on the Lord?

 “My heart is in anguish within me;

the terrors of death assail me.

fear and trembling have beset me;

horror has overwhelmed me.

I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!

I would fly away and be at rest –

I would flee far away

and stay in the desert;

I would hurry to my place of shelter,

far from the tempest and storm.’”

{Psalm 55:4-8}

Do you ever wonder if He hears? Or if all your mumblings are just that…mumblings?

“But I call to God

and the Lord saves me,

Evening, morning, and noon

I cry out  in distress,

and He hears my voice.

He ransoms me unharmed

from the battle waged against me,

even though many oppose me.”

{Psalm 55:16-18}

Do you ever long to not just survive, but flourish?

“But I am like an olive tree

flourishing in the house of God;

I trust in the Lord’s unfailing love

for ever and ever.

I will praise you forever for what

you have done;

in Your name I will hope, for your

name is good.

I will praise you in the presence of

your saints.”

{Psalm 52:8-9}

Oh Lord, please give me, give us, eternal perspective. We need to see how you fill up all of the places of our souls, how you are the fullfillment of every soul desire. Help us to hope in your unfailing love. Too often I trust in my own love that fails. I cannot trust in my own love at all, only Your love…only Your love. I can’t fix this mess that threatens to overwhelm me. I can’t make it feel better forever, or understand where to go from here to avoid the pain. So, help me dwell with you in the pain, “going with the pain,” Finding Your love vibrant, passionate, faithful even when your beloved falls to fearing.  None of this feels ideal, or seems like there is an easy solution. I confess that I doubt Your love, I doubt that your love lasts forever.

But it is unfailing.

Help me please, oh please, to believe it.

Let it sink down into all the marrow of my being, all the wasteland places where your living water streams haven’t been allowed to go by my own selfishness.

In a world that fails and falls apart,

oh hold us together.

“7 Beloved, (Q)let us love one another, for love is from God, and (R)whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. (S)Anyone who does not love does not know God, because (T)God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that (U)God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, (V)not that we have loved God (W)but that he loved us and sent his Son to be (X)the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 (Y)No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and (Z)his love is perfected in us.

13 (AA)By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And(AB)we have seen and testify that (AC)the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of (AD)the world.15 (AE)Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So (AF)we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. (AG)God is love, and (AH)whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this (AI)is love perfected with us, so that(AJ)we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because (AK)as he is so also are we in this world.18 There is no fear in love, but (AL)perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not (AM)been perfected in love. 19 (AN)We love because he first loved us. 20 (AO)If anyone says, “I love God,” and (AP)hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God (AQ)whom he has not seen. 21 And (AR)this commandment we have from him: (AS)whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

{1 John 4:7-21}