life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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Sometimes Life Isn’t Pretty, but it’s Beautiful

Do you ever have times in your life when you know God is doing something purposeful with you? I know nothing in our lives is an accident, but I’m talking about seasons when you can clearly see God teaching you something.

I am in one of those seasons. I love these seasons because I get so excited about what I’m learning, growing closer to God, and how He is shaping me to be more like Christ. But, from a quick glance from the outside, these seasons can look like a weird time to be thankful.

I liken these seasons in life to our house. Our house is a MAJOR blessing. Does it look straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog or a Pinterest “Dream House” board? No. Do we have any new furniture besides some thrift store items and a $69 IKEA desk? No. Have we finally removed the freaky Dr. Seuss-looking rhododendron from our front yard? No. Am I sitting on a folding chair in front of aforementioned desk right now? Yes. Is one of our spare bedrooms dedicated to cats? Yes. Do we have one room filled with unpacked boxes for the foreseeable future? Yes. And does the dehumidifier sometimes startle me when it runs because it sounds like a flock of crickets? Yes.

However, if you could see the heart behind this house… we LOVE this house. We see a future in this house. We are taking steps to make this house our own piece by piece. We are making memories and growing our family in this house. And the house is already beautiful, we just need to enhance its beauty! It’s a process. Our house still has spiders and stinkbugs and scratches on the hardwood and undesirable paint colors and mess (sometimes smell), but we are going to tenderly take care of it because we love it, we bought it, and we see its potential as our house.

Dayne & I in front of our new house on move-in day.

And that is what God is doing with me and my husband. He’s invested in us, and He’s growing us in Him.

So… what does that look like in this season of our lives?

Well, sometimes it’s kind of funny. Like… we have ringworm. Dayne and I have ringworm. I joked about it when Dayne got what looked like a little bug bite on his arm, like, “haha, you have ringworm!”, but then my doctor told me I have ringworm and therefore Dayne has ringworm and now twice a day we help each other apply Lotrimin to all our “bug bites”. SO sexy.

Other times, it’s not so funny, but there is the opportunity for growth. I am currently going through some undiagnosed pain issues that have caused me to miss lots of work and to stop drinking coffee in the mornings and to otherwise completely revamp my daily routine. I am tempted to feel guilty, and like everyone at work is going to hate me, and to constantly think about all the work I need to get done, and to worry about being fired. But I am realizing – through a lot of prayer, a loving friend, a supportive husband, an overwhelmingly supportive boss, and time in the Psalms – that I don’t need to carry these worries. I have zero control over how I am feeling and I can’t diagnose myself. I can’t force myself to feel better and I can’t do a very good job at work while I’m sick. Jesus is the only solace I have, and He is completely in control of every little detail of my life. If I get fired, I get fired. If I can’t get the work done, I can’t get it done. If I can’t drink coffee, I can’t drink coffee. He will take care of me. He’s using this situation to change my perspective, i.e.: what does this look like from the angle of a sovereign, loving God? I think David and other Godly men of his time asked themselves this question a lot (Psalms 1-150).

Same with our marriage. Guys, marriage is HARD. Like, harder than I ever dreamed or imagined it could be. Like, please tell me someone is going to pay me for all this work I’m putting into our marriage. But the payment is our spiritual & emotional growth. And you better be thankful for that, because you’re gonna be in a tough place if that’s not enough for you.

Other times this season is funny and not so funny at the same time, like the Sump Pump Disaster of 2012. For a couple of days, our sump pump starting mysteriously dumping gallons & gallons of raw sewage into our yard. Where was it coming from? Why was it running through our French drain? How were we going to deal with the smell? Wonderful, yet unanswered questions. Our sump pump hasn’t run for a few weeks. It just suddenly stopped. It’s a mystery. In that, I’m learning to be comfortable with the unknown, and to not have to have everything under control or answers for everything all the time. To let God be God and to let myself be His.

So, even though it’s uncomfortable and I find myself praying for bravery a lot, I’m kind of oddly happy to be in this season. God is close to me. He is shaping me. He is showing me the reward bit by bit. And I’m learning to let go. Freedom in Christ is a beautiful thing.

“[Jesus] is not saying, ‘I will put you to bed, hold your hand, and sing you to sleep.’ But, in essence, He is saying, ‘I will get you out of bed – out of your listlessness and exhaustion, and out of your condition of being half dead while you are still alive.'” – Oswald Chambers

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17 Days.

Where did the time go? I checked Dayne’s and my wedding website today, and it felt completely surreal to see that there are only 17 days left until our wedding day.

Our five-and-a-half month engagement has been a whirlwind. There have been some amazing moments, and some decidedly painful moments. There is not one moment I want to forget. I have been forced to grow as a person and as a future spouse. I have appreciated my friends, family, and new family in a deeper way than I thought possible.

Every so often, I find myself staring at this person in front of me whom I have decided to spend the rest of my life with… and I am baffled by how people make this kind of a decision everyday. How do you know? What is ever certain? Can you trust yourself? Can you trust anyone else? Who has a “good” relationship, and what does that look like? What is healthy fighting? Will our relationship change? Will we change? Will it bring us closer together, or push us further apart?

I wanted to blog throughout our entire engagement – to give mundane status updates on all the little details of wedding planning, to post pictures of all the DIY projects, to describe what we were learning through our pre-marital counseling, to document our growth as a couple… among other things – and yet, most things that have transpired were either too awful or too private. And I was always too busy. Overall, I didn’t want a published microscope looking into what our lives have been like over the last few months. Now that we have gotten through it, and are almost at the altar, I feel like I can finally bring myself to blog again.

I am excited. I am nervous. I have NO IDEA what the wedding day is going to feel like. But my bridal shower and my bachelorette party were three of the happiest days of my life, and I truly have an amazing support system, and I cannot wait to see everyone in one place celebrating this huge event of passage — and I can’t wait to look to my right and see Dayne there, and to take his hand when I get to the end of the aisle. He is the best person I know — incredibly patient, strong, and caring, and his love for me continues to humble me everyday. We’re not perfect, but I hope and pray that we can learn to love each other in a way that fulfills each of us, makes us stronger, and pushes us to love God and others more and more.

As for all the little details? They’ll come together on our wedding day and speak for themselves. At the end of the night, we’ll walk away with the warm glow of love from our family and friends, and the anticipation of our lives to come, beginning with the time we need to solely focus on each other and why we fell in love in the first place.