life of faith

taking baby steps & leaps & everything in between


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


The hunt for a job and a house.

Not too much small stuff happening this week, but an overload of big stuff! Besides Dayne & I making the sooner-than-we-expected decision to replace his car, here is a little update on what’s been going on:

My job hunt has had its ups & downs. Mostly downs — I don’t do well with job hunting at all. I start feeling like I picked the wrong major in college and that I chose the wrong jobs ever since. Dayne made the point that there are so many things in my life that wouldn’t’ve happened, and I wouldn’t even be the same person, if I had done things differently. He’s right; when I’m tempted to regret majoring in Youth Ministry, it really helps me to remember how much I spiritually gained from my ministry classes, my internships, and my Biblical studies classes. When I’m tempted to regret nannying for years, Dayne reminds me that the relationships I developed are so special to me, and I may not have met him if things had happened differently. He’s right, but it’s still very hard to find value in things that the world makes look like nothing. In worldly terms, I don’t notice the character growth as much as I notice the lack of years of experience on my resumé.

^Apple picking with Dayne last fall. It helps to look back
on all the ways I’ve grown personally & professionally
since then.

I do have to shift my focus and realize that while I don’t have specific experience in many business arenas, I do have valuable skills and talents. I also have a unique personality and character that has been shaped by my education and experience. While that may not be incredibly valuable in the workplace, it is at least valuable to the people around me, such as my husband, friends, and family.

Anyways, all that to say I have an interview tonight that I’m pretty excited about. If it’s legit, I am very optimistic. If it’s not, hopefully I’ll be able to learn something from it and not be daunted in my search. One thing I was nervous about, which I mentioned to Dayne’s mom yesterday, is the “long term” commitment. I don’t know when Dayne and I are going to have kids, but I know that I want to stay home with them. Most likely, I won’t be working, or I’ll be working very limited hours while Dayne or our parents can be with the baby. That being said, I didn’t know how I would respond if I was asked about my long-term commitment to a job. Deb just advised me to be honest; if it’s the right job for me and God wants me to have it, that won’t stand in the way.

Topic shift: Dayne and I are meeting Kay and Dayne’s brother (Chad) and my parents to look at a house for the second time later this afternoon. I love this house. Dayne is a lot more apprehensive about it; there are some major things he doesn’t like. Bottom line: it is the nicest single family home we’ve found in our price range. The only other option we’ve seen are townhouses, some of which we’d like to see in person before putting in an offer on any house, but hands-down this is a great single family home in a great location for a very good price. I’m interested to see how today’s walk-through goes; I’m praying about it, and if I have to let go of the house, I have to let go of the house! I just pray often that Dayne and I will be led in the same direction; it’s very hard on a marriage to be divided on big decisions. Thankfully, God has been faithful recently to lead us to the same church, and I think He desires for us to work together in these areas 🙂

That’s about it! The struggle to discipline myself to blog came back the last couple of days, but today I defeated it! And that is a small victory for me 🙂 I read a great blog entry from Donald Miller the other day that I’m hoping to write about soon, and I’m also in the process of reading The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield. Incredible book so far. Here’s to all the upcoming small – and hopefully big, too – victories!

Leave a comment

Something Beautiful.

I’m meeting my hubby for lunch today! But before I do…

This was one of those “cryptic notes” on my Blackberry I referenced in yesterday’s post that I just can’t ignore. When I was still training at the inne where I work (hello, I’m an innkeeper! What is that? I’m not sure), I walked into the office one day and Gretchen (my friend and co-worker) was playing Needtobreathe. I’ve heard a lot about Needtobreathe over the years because they are a favorite in The Rock Boat community (The Rock Boat and what it is and my experiences on it are an entirely different post or three) and there are a number of people who just love them. For whatever reason, I had just never listened to them (?? Right?). Anyways, the music she was playing just hit me – it was catchy and meaningful and actually kind of reminded me of the style of worship music at my college church (powerful). So I wrote a note to myself on my Blackberry (what would I do without my Blackberry? Not sure) and then checked them out on iTunes and downloaded some of their music (namely, their album The Outsiders). I love it.

They are Christians, but I don’t think they’re necessarily labeled as a “Christian” band; they’re more mainstream. But their music echoes many spiritual themes. Then the other day I heard this song in the car, and it just blew me away… basically because this is exactly where I am right now with God. I feel like I’ve been distant for so long, and I believe that God is always, forever faithful. He is always pursuing us in exactly the way we need, wooing us to Himself. And now that Dayne and I have started going back to church, and I’ve started hearing and learning from the Bible again and praying, my thoughts are more on God than they have been in a long time, and I am less afraid (of Him, of what could happen to me, of the world, etc.) — I just feel more peace. And an eager desire to know Him more.

I just wanted to share the lyrics – like a diary entry, like a prayer…

“Something Beautiful” by Needtobreathe

in Your ocean, I’m ankle deep
I feel the waves crashing on my feet
It’s like I know where I need to be
I can’t figure out
No, I can’t figure out
Just how much air I will need to breathe
When Your wave crashes over me
There’s only one way to figure out
Will You let me drown
Will You let me drown

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire
‘Cause I just want
Something beautiful to touch me
I know that I’m in reach
I am down on my knees
And waiting for
Something beautiful

And the water is rising quick
And for years I was scared of it
We can’t be sure when it will subside
So I won’t leave Your side
No I can’t leave Your side

Hey now, this is my desire
Consume me like a fire
‘Cause I just want
Something beautiful to touch me
I know that I’m in reach
I am down on my knees
And waiting for
Something beautiful