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

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.”