When HE doesn’t do what I want…

Today in church I was startled by a thought… You know, one of those times when you can’t tell if you came up with the thought, you heard it somewhere, or the Holy Spirit brought it to mind.

It startled me by the blatant simplicity, how I haven’t looked deeply at the concept before(?)…

Palm Sunday.

Yes. Jesus entering Jerusalem. Jesus being lauded as the coming king. 

They shouted “hosanna!” Which I believe means, “Save us!”

Only days later would they shout “Crucify him!”

They were shouting for him to bring them a new life, to bring in the new promised kingdom, to save them from the dominion of the Romans.

He didn’t do what they wanted.

So they shouted for his crucifixion.

He wasn’t the conquering warrior saving from all of their pain, all of their physical and societal oppression that they wanted. He came to conquer a deeper pain than they even knew existed. He was killing the very death that wanted to swallow them up forever by dying for them.

This all starts back when Adam and Eve did the opposite of what God Himself wanted. He wanted them to be near Him, but in love, He gave them the choice to obey. This is volition. 

They turned away from Him and toward the lie…The lie that everything could be found apart from Him. That He was really hiding the best from them…holding out on them. 

This is what brought Him bloodied and disfigured before them as they shouted for His death. Unknown to them, they were shouting for a truer salvation than the days prior. 

He didn’t do what they wanted.

This looked like a disappointment to them I imagine. Here he was, mocked, standing before the very Romans they wanted Him to dethrone. 

What do I do when He doesn’t do what I want?

Do I shout “crucify him!” In my heart? 

Do I turn away from the living God because my plans don’t look like the salvation I want? 

Ouch.

Do I want the deeper salvation? The deeper winning? 

When the pain is allowed into my life I struggle to see how this could be good. I struggle to see how God can allow or even ordain the mess that can bring heartache. I struggle 

His suffering was a mess. It was gutted and bleeding and stripped flesh to see bone.

It wasn’t wanted. But it was good. 

They wanted jewels and a golden crown, a kingly horse and chariot. They wanted enemies crushed and battles won for them.

I want easy, comfortable existence, little pleasures, and a beautiful, perfect life. Oftentimes, if I’m honest, I don’t like His way. 

As He was crushing their ultimate enemy winning the biggest battle, He begged His Father to forgive them…because they didn’t know what they were doing.

He was in perfect control I the midst of their rage, in the midst of their mocking, in the midst of their ingratitude. 

I don’t want to miss the deeper salvation in my life. 

How does your reaction to God’s ways show your relationship to Him? Do you want Him for the kind of life He can give you, or do you want the beauty of who He really is? I know for myself, I don’t want to be with God when it seems to hard or too much work. I need to put forth the time to sit down and ask Him to show me a truer picture of who He really is…beyond all that my mind thinks it knows of Him.

These are questions I really have to ask myself. Here lies stuff that I need to assess in light of Him. How about You?

Letter to my husband,

I know you’re tired. You work so hard for our family. This whole two jobs thing has filled your sleeping hours with serving those with disabilities on top of serving your family. In this way, and in many others you have loved me. 

Loved us.

You have given up a lot of your personal time to help us make ends meet. You’ve been supportive of my desire to be at home with our son. It has cost you. You don’t begrudge the life you are living. 

I know that this may not be how our life together always goes. But, our life here has meaning and purpose. You are a champion of this living in the present. Your little birdy wife runs ahead and I try to figure out all the ways our life will be better in the future. 

But here. HERE. This is where love lays down its wants, plans, and sleep to move toward the ones loved. 

You get up early with the baby when he demands his “GULK!!!!” before the sun has peaked it’s head out of darkness. You snuggle me close and let me put my cold feet on you every night. I can always count on a back scratchy before I close my eyes at night and a good morning kiss to wake me to say goodbye. 

Yesterday I saw an older couple walking slowly through the Aldi parking lot. He had his cane and she her kerchief and purse, and the slow steps echoed love between entwined fingers and many years. 

I have much to learn from you, many paths to tread that you’ve already mastered. I doubt I’ll ever have your level of patience when I’m tired in the evening. But when I sit and remember you loving your son in the quiet moments before he shuts his sleepy eyes, I think that this here…

…is worth more than all the money in the world.

Love, 

Your Wife

New home

Back in December we started looking at the market for a possible new living situation. We weren’t sure at that point if we would be staying in northern Indiana or moving south to Indianapolis. As it ended up, we saw a renovated cape cod that was a foreclosure in North Webster at the beginning of February. After about six to eight weeks of praying, inspections, and getting paperwork together, we became homeowners. 

It’s been a crazy ride of emotion and thanksgiving as we now have a new little nest to call our own. 

We will be coming up with an official name for the house soon. Most lake properties have names and we were encouraged to name ours. This excites me, who loves to name pretty much any and every meaningful item (from gps to cell phone). Naming a house is just a given to me. 

While we unpack boxes and make this house that more than doubled the amount of house we had before a home, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed sometimes with all that needs organized and put away. I’m glad that I don’t have another full time job on top of being home with little man right now. 

I’m also glad that our final home is in heaven with Jesus. I don’t want to get so comfortable here that I miss that very true fact. One of our main hopes for this house is that it will be a safe place for people to feel at home and able to be themselves. But at the same time I don’t want to put my hope here.

 

 I’m excited to see my gifts grow here as I minister to our church family and our friends. I think one of my primary spiritual gifts is hospitality. I know that the seasons of our life will ebb and flow with this gift. It will look different and I can’t expect it to always look perfect or without wrinkle. 

One aspect of my life I’m learning about right now is how my heart loves to worship the idol of security instead of Jesus. I tend to use my other idol of control to service my idol of safety/security.

Both of these idols “demand a sacrifice” as Dee Brestin points out in her book ” Idol Lies”. We think that idols will make us finally feel satisfied, complete, whole. Instead we end up empty. Our relationships suffer. Our joy and peace are dried up in our pursuit of what we think will make us happy.

 

One of the most deadly forms of this security idol comes in the deep responsibility I feel for my own holiness. I struggle so often to let Jesus  work fruit in me by the Holy Spirit. I know I have a call by God to put off what is part of my old nature and the lies in tempted to believe about myself and the God who loves me. 

But, daily I find myself in this battle of wanting to confess things to my husband to simply feel better about myself. Dan graciously forgives me, but the part of me that struggles with OCD refuses to rely also on the forgiveness that has already been purchased on my behalf. Sometimes I ask for forgiveness for things that come into my head instead of speaking the gospel to myself and moving forward in grace. It’s hard to believe that temptation isn’t sin, or where that line is sometimes.

It’s humbling to admit this weakness. But here I am, learning to depend on the righteousness of Christ instead of my own striving to cleanse myself.

Philippians speaks about this in chapter 3:7-11. Verse 8b says, “I have suffered the loss of things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from Gid that depends on faith…”

What truth there is there in Jesus. I don’t need my own righteousness to feel safe when my security is kept forever in Jesus Christ.

How do you see the idol of security in your life? What is it demanding as a sacrifice in your relationship with Jesus?

what every mama wants to hear

One: You are the right parent for your child.

Two: you’re worth isn’t determined by how much laundry you have done, how many woogies are at the bottom of your sink or on your floor, or how long ago you cleaned the bathtub.

Three: Your mothering story is more than how many ounces your child gained or how many tablespoon your child ate for breakfast. This is a soul being formed, and whether your child lives to the age of 5 or dies in a nursing home in their nineties, your planting of grace, mercy, love and truth will echo in their soul past their death. Because, here, now, you are echoing the song that the Lord Jesus sings over them, and has been singing since their life began.

Four: The Good News runs deeper in the heart than the bad news of our unredeemed mess. See, here the Gospel rings out true, in the cry in the night from a teething baby, or the tantrums of a toddler. It it is easy to identify failure. It is more noble to acknowledge the sin and point to the Savior. A mother must have her oxygen mask of hope on in order to give it to her children when the and the day and the world go wrong.

When this woman learns to breathe again

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Life as the momma of our little half Asian ninja has been an interesting few months. With Saturday marking his 7th month, we’ve been learning quite a bit about nurturing this tiny soul that screeches like a flying dinosaur and adds more flailing and testosterone to the Cottage than a small male puppy on caffeine.

Little Ninja is still a tiny person and discovers his ever expanding world through his mouth and fists.

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Dan is working 2 jobs (plus a couple of odds and ends type side jobs). The transition to the 2nd job on top of an already full time work week as been less complex (for me) than I expected it would be for our small family. Dan has felt the brunt of it I’m sure. He is doing this so that dollar amounts add up in the ledger. We have tried to also decrease our expenses. This is for a season we’ve agreed. We hope to have him back down to one job in the future.

Meanwhile, I’m adjusting to being a full-time Momma. There is definite monotony with dashes if joy in the mix. Watching Little Ninja accomplish new feats and make new discoveries has been a whole new playing field for both of us. I’m very thankful for my Daniel who selflessly has supported me in my desire to stay home with the baby. He works so very hard…long hours…long days. And he is very patient with this often weary home-maker.

Post-partum depression was a very real part of our lives for many months. I still feel as though I’m emerging…crawling out of an isolated darkness. I feel the effects of “shrapnel” in my soul that I often wish were totally and wholly healed. I thought before that I had dark nights of the soul but this has been the darkest and longest night yet.

Spiritually it has been very dark, dank, and hard…which is probably one of a couple reasons why I’ve not written here frequently.

Now, I have more easily accessible internet and a way to connect quickly to the blogosphere I hope to write more frequently. I know that each of us need healing. That is how this world works until our Bridegroom returns for us.

I want to be a beacon of hope and healing. I want to be a hand reaching out with a warmth that only comes when someone has felt the icy breath of the enemy, and the death grip of their own sin threatening to take them down.

I want to take HIM, the King Jesus, seriously. I want to take his words down into the very marrow of my soul and be healed, warmed back to live by His blood bought freedom. I want to walk forward in faith, truth, love. I don’t want to be afraid of myself and what I am capable of, but living mercifully out of who I already am.

Beloved.

I want to selflessly love others instead of loathing myself or waiting for someone else besides Jesus to fix me.

Join me I the journey?

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I’ve been writing here since 2009.
Here a new. chapter. begins.

Because He has been beginning me all along. Recreating the song that he created me to live and sing and move within.

Singing begins with a deep breath…a moving of living force into the lungs.

Breathe.

In with grace…out with thanks (as Joni Fads would say).

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Necessary things

During the past couple of months, I’ve come to analyze quietly in the undercurrents of my soul those things which are 

necessary.

Money, being tight and tighter, and my heart and mind stretched full past what I thought was possible to live in faith, I live.

Yes, this here is the necessary tending of my soul.

If we had “enough” would I have ever walked this path with the brambles of fear, the fallen oaks of worry, and the dark eyes of doubt peering from darkened shadows?

A mentor and friend of my husband has told him this:

“Do not dig up in doubt what you once planted in faith.”

Sometimes the line between something being a necessity and a want/desire is very cloudy. I feel badly spending money (I’m more of a saver) on things that are necessities, and my husband brings me back to reality. “Don’t feel bad spending money on that if you need it…”

I now wonder over the necessary things my “soul needs”. 

  • Spiritual food and drink which have been sorely missing from my everyday.
  • Good friends to remind me of good, beautiful, deep treasures of life and truth. They show me treasures they’ve mined themselves, and I want to dig some up too.
  • A community of people who realize that there is a greater purpose than self.
  • Goals for ministry now and in the future.

These are just a few of the things I have found to be necessary. Necessary defined as…something on which someone is dependent. 

All of these things are just little rootlets that lead back to the larger, main root that is Him.

I walk out to my yard, the sun beams food growing power on the smallish plants that I’m wanting to thrive.

Bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes. I want them to LIVE.

I water with my plastic watering can, and wait for the tiny flowers to grow into little fruits to grow into bigger juicier vegetables. Water. Sun. Soil. These things my plants NEED. They need them in order to spread roots out to receive nourishment. They need them in order to grow. 

What of the things I need more of? Peace, courage, faithfulness, loyalty, long-suffering, self-less giving.

What of these fruits of the Spirit? They are lovingly sown as my Maker digs in rich soil He’s tilled through pain and struggle. Spade digging a hole out of dark earth so that a smaller plant can be transitioned into bigger soil with more room to grow and change. The digging wrenches out what I once knew of myself, and what I once thought so steadfast and immovable in the hardened dirt. The plant needs room to spread out, to be it’s truest self. The self the Gardener and Creator intended it to be.

He uses the community, the friends, the goals, the plans, the deep workings even when I’m not aware. He uses them to show me my neediness…my steps away from and toward Him.

And I get a deep drenching of His love when I realize that it’s been Him. HIM all along that I’ve needed. HIM that all my neediness has been yearning, aching, working itself into snarls of worries without. Of Him I’m needy. For Him I am grateful. 

Though my heart battles for more security, I realize that peace, courage, and faithfulness cannot be purchased or guaranteed by the world and It’s system of clamoring and “jockeying for position” (as A.W. Tozer would say).

I need more of Him…this watering and sun on my soul…this Word of Life and listening to the Spirit through prayer. I need more time talking to and with Him, processing all the crazy-making that gets tied up in my soul. 

Only He can work out my tangles. 

 

 

 

–transition–

transition.

In around 6 weeks I’m going to learn a new definition of this word.

As I stretch my writing “legs” and open my mind back to the words I’ve written here before, I sit, looking back on who I’ve been, and who I’m rediscovering.

Dan and I have been married months and months now and we see the one year mark coming our way. In that amount of time, we have battled deep, dark depths of depression, pain, nights praying through fears and deep valleys of sin. During this time, I’ve felt like the person I knew of myself slipped somewhere, like when some article of clothing slips behind a piece of furniture, only to be discovered many months later. Where was teh me who dreamed dreams, lived deep thoughts and pondered things…Gone? Missing?

Marriage didn’t do this to me. Honestly, I don’t know what happened. I’d like to blanketly blame hormones and all of the crazy transition that has melted into our days. It has probably been a combination of spiritual attack, my flesh, and hormones.

We drove from NY to IN across snowy landscapes to celebrate with another half of family, I started to feel more like myself…not perfect (I’ll never be that), but more like ME. Refreshing breezes in my soul that has felt starved or at least, very hungry.

In short…

In June we found out we are expecting our first child (our boy!). Following the path of faith, Dan and I have put this parenting journey in God’s hands, and now continue to try to walk this path of faith, not fear. Motherhood stands only 6 weeks in front of me as I sit with laptop on legs, and reaching around my belly.

During the summer the orthopedic company decided they wanted to hire me full time direct instead of as a vendor through the temp agency. I made them aware of our upcoming arrival, and they were good with hiring me knowing that Dan and I had decided that I would leave full time work and stay home to be Momma. My last day was the Friday before Christmas. It was a weird feeling to leave, but also relieving.

So now the month of January is full of possibility  learning, preparing, wondering, hoping, expectation, and battling anxiety with praise and faith. Dan and I decided to leave work early so that I could spend some time regrouping for this new phase, this new transition.

Transition (to my limited current knowledge) is the time during labor that you move to the last stage…the most painful, yet rewarding stage. I wonder if this next several months will hold the same pain and reward.

We are walking by faith. Finances, life in the future, and becoming parents are things that are new adventures for us. We are still sinners and are still learning to love and forgive and draw close to one another. I can say that my husband has walked the dark corridors of my soul with me, and has borne the weight of heaviness with me. He has taken me back to Jesus, and has prayed so lovingly over me. Gratitude fills my words, but I run short on vocabulary for him. God has used him mightily in these 10ish months.

Here we go, on a new ride of loving, living, and breathing in grace.

{Mr&Mrs}

Photography by Verve Photography
Photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography
photography by Verve Photography

We’re off friends! On a new adventure. We are just shy of being married for 2 months. We’re learning what it means to love deeply, forgive freely, and to move in the eb and flow of uncertainty. That’s life, isn’t it?

It’s been a hard couple of months. Months filled with some serious love, joy, peace, spiritual attack, and looming choices. Through it all, I’m grateful. When I realize how many pure blessings flow through our hearts here, now…I’m amazed.

Amazed. As my husband naps right here with me as I type, I’m storing up loads of memories and remembering how God keeps His promises.

I’m waking up a bit from my creative slump…a creative slumber that has yet to come completely back to life. I have dreams, wishes, and figuring out how those goals fit into life right now seems complicated when I’m doing good if I make it through work without loads of anxiety at end of day, dinner gets made, we work out,  we  get laundry done at the laundry mat together, and groceries are in the fridge with meals planned.  Our lives aren’t as complicated as they will be in the future, but right now trying to get into a pattern, a wholesome rhythm seems like plenty of work. Writing, deep reading, and other creative pursuits seem like a little ways off, though I’ve been expanding the photography business a bit, shot engagement photos a few weeks ago, and have a wedding on the calendar for the fall.

In all of this, I feel ready for a new adventure, a new place to live, more adventure road to travel together. Of course, when that adventure means pain, I’ll probably back peddle a bit and avoid it as I crawl into a “safe” hole.

Whew! Life is moving along, and as I crawl out of depression and anxiety aided by Jesus and Dan, I’m grateful. Dan’s showed me more kindness, forgiveness, and has demonstrated more hope than I’d ever imagined possible. He’s had a lot to deal with with me. But, in God’s power and love, we’ve prayed, loved, and grown together. Here we are, deepening our roots in the good news. :)

 

 

…Because of March 16, 2013!

“Even The Winter”

What if we find ourselves beneath the snow,
our warmest words all frozen in our throats
and all we feel is left out in the cold,
you and I?What if the days grow short and lose their light?
What if the coals burn black and the embers die?
and we can’t find each other in the night?
You and IEven the winter won’t last forever
We’ll see the morning, we’ll feel the sun
We’ll wake up in April, ready and able
Sowing the seeds in the soil
of our love
of our love

What if the ice we tread is just too thin?
What if we can’t escape the squall we’re in?
What if our hearts of stone are permanent?
you and I

Even the winter won’t last forever
We’ll see the morning, we’ll feel the sun
We’ll wake up in April, ready and able
Sowing the seeds in the soil
of our love
of our love

What if the spring comes soon
and we’re surprised?
What if the seasons help us realize,
some things are only proven over time?
You know

Even the winter won’t last forever
We’ll see the morning, we’ll feel the sun
We’ll wake up in April, ready and able
Sowing the seeds in the soil
of our love
of our love

Even the darkness cannot disarm us
We’ll break up the earth, because we know
that it’s worth it
Sowing the seeds in the soil of our love