The Conflict Of Love

Tags

, , ,

IMG_0865

…ugh, well…..um….

So if you’ve been married for longer than 24 hours you would be all too familiar with the  harsh reality that most of us eventually get blindsided by – love {and marriage} doesn’t exactly always happen the way the love songs say it does. Yet still, we all adore the love songs, and movies with beautiful love stories interwoven.

I don’t care who you are, how many times your love life has done a nose-dive into the ground or how cynical of a person you might tend to be, almost no one can resist a great love story.

But what makes a great love story? This is actually something that occurred to me recently. It isn’t that two people have everything in common, love the same things and do things the same way.

I am more of a creative type, I hate structure, agendas, I don’t like for any two days to be exactly the same, I love to stay up late and I process things by talking {or writing} it out.

My husband {Anthony} does happen to be creative, but in very different ways than I.  He likes predictability, more detailed plans of what we are doing and how things are going to go, he can’t stay up late like me, and he thinks it’s strange that I consider “fun” reading a book or writing or sitting in a coffee shop and he does not need to talk out his life.

Actually, rarely do we think alike or do things the same way. Literally, like almost never. And there have been times that I’ve been literally convinced that I married the WRONG GUY.

So there you have it, the conflict. 

The differences, the iron on iron, the fight to stay when it would just be so much easier to leave.

The conflict was not something I dealt with well at all for ehhh, only the first 9 years or so of what is about to be 11 years of marriage! I was pretty convinced that everyone should be like me, think like me and that he most of all should definitely should do things my way. And in the back of my mind, the exit door was always there just in case one of us needed to find our way out of it.

In essence, I believed that in order to possess the love story, the conflict needed to go. When in fact, what I’ve discovered is the conflict is what makes the story and it is what keeps us fighting for each other.

The conflict within marriage actually forces two people to choose – between a cold, dead relationship in which we end up living locked in “check-mate mode; or a beautifully complex, passionate place in which we are always pursuing the another. 

Because let’s face it, everyone wants to be pursued and no one wants to feel like they’ve become last season’s worn out shoes. And the conflict keeps the possibilities for pursuit, endless!

There are times in our marriage in which I honestly don’t feel like I like him one tiny bit. It’s in those times in which I choose to stay in love anyway. Because love and like don’t always co-exist, and that’s ok.

There are also times in which things between he and I feel a bit more like outdated pork rinds than the filet’ mignon’ dinner I signed up for. When this happens and I analyze how we got there, usually the answer is found within lack of mutual pursuit and intentional love.

Intentional pursuit.

Because no matter what anyone tells you, love stories don’t just happen. 

And with that said, here’s a few little things we have made a habit of doing {or not doing} in our relationship with one another to keep the warm fires of love from turning into cold, stale ash – Some old, and some new!

  • DATE NIGHTS – EVERY single week. Even if it’s just putting the kids to bed early, cooking a meal together and dancing in the living room to, “I Just Fall In Love Again.” {Anne Murray style of course!} And no, I can’t dance. But I’m good at too many other things for him to care one little bit. 😉
  • Text messages throughout the day – It just keeps us connected throughout the day and reminds us of each other when it gets all to easy to let the business of life get in between what really matters. It isn’t hard, ANYBODY can take 5 seconds to send a text message to their spouse.
  • Writing – We write to each other. This has been especially good for me. One day I just realized that I wrote more to others on my blog, fb, twitter than I had ever even thought about saying to him. Writing allows one to express things in more details sometimes than what we would tend to say in words. So we write, the good things….and the hard things that aren’t always pleasant to say or hear, but need to be brought out and dealt with anyways.
  • Affection – Publicly, privately and often. Our poor kids….
  • Pursuit – constantly staying in pursuit of one another. It’s the little things ie. comments, gestures, notes, body language, words that become the vehicle for pursuit.
  • Music  When I want to daydream about him {remember when you were 16 and in love?} I put on some of our favorite love songs, fix myself up, reflect on memories past and daydream about the future…. 😉 ALSO, I literally snapped a CD in half I had that I found myself listening to and enjoying that reminded me of someone else OTHER THAN my husband. Don’t underestimate the power of music because music leads to emotions which lead to thoughts which eventually lead to actions.
  • Communication I love deep conversations, of which I used to have with seemingly anyone except my husband because I didn’t view him as much of the deep conversationalist type. I’ve been working at this, so now we have coffee dates just like I do with my girlfriends….only I get to go home with him afterwards!
  • Hang out with couples who have the same values for marriage that we do. I guess this might sound a bit starchy to most, but whatever….I’ve tried it the other way and that didn’t work out so well.
  • Take the “D word” off the table. Divorce. In all honesty, it’s something I used to flippantly throw around when we’d get in arguments over whatever. {See I can’t even remember WHY it was I wanted to divorce him now!} But I’ve since witnessed first hand the devastation it causes and it’s not joking material, nor can it be an option for us.
  • Marriage Conferences, weekend getaways  …and when things get real bad, SEXcations! Because there isn’t much that a good sexcation can’t fix! 😉
  • Forgive It is so so true that marriage is simply the union between two people who are expert forgivers. But how many times should I forgive him for the SAME #$%@ thing? Here’s the answer.

Things we don’t’ do:

  • Go out to coffee or lunch or confession or anywhere else with members of the opposite sex. {not following this rule at all times, no matter with whom lends the opportunity to more pain than is imaginable so….just don’t.}
  • Let our guards down
  • Personally, you aren’t likely to find me hanging out with other women or even friends who have an openly negative opinion/view of marriage. Words and negativity affect me, LOTS. So I have to be careful who/what I open my ears and mind to. Trust me, I learned this the hard way and could write an entire book on it…. but don’t worry, I’m not!  🙂
  • Put church life or any other “spiritual endeavor” before our marriage. Thus why, most things we are asked to do church/ministry related is rarely ever a quick “yes” these days.
  • Talk negatively about each other to others…..EVEN if it’s true! Yep, there is truthfully plenty of negative we could both hash out with our family members and closest friends when the other one isn’t around. But what good does that really even do? It damages the entire relationship, more than we realize. And if you find yourself doing that on a regular basis, you need to stop it. You wouldn’t hack off your own foot would you?
  • Think we have it all figured out – We don’t. Not even close. We are still learning from our mistakes {and there have been A LOT} and trying to rebuild something of worth out of the mess we’ve made of things in the past.

Maybe it’s time we stop demanding that our love stories be lived out on our own terms, because the truth of real love is that..

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Learn to embrace the process of conflict and love and be willing to commit to the intentional pursuit that has the potential to make your own love story into one that’s made for the story books.

And as for us, I’m entirely convinced that the best parts of our love story….

…have yet to be written.

A Letter To The Broken

Tags

, , , , , ,

Never was I so grateful for a friend who loves me just as I am as I freely and bitterly spoke the words my heart felt, “Honestly, sometimes I just don’t feel like God is near to me or that He cares about what’s going on in my life at all. Sometimes I wonder if He even cares if I drown or not.” 

Since I was a girl my head has known that God

is only good 

faithful

constant

sovereign

near to the broken 

concerned with every tiny detail of our lives

and one of the few that will never forsake or abandon us

…..no matter what. Period. Never.

Still yet there have been nights that someone needed to tell that to my heart because nothing in me believed that a single soul took note of the tears that flowed down to soak my pillow; convinced that the canyon of darkness and loneliness I found myself in was sure to win out over the light of freedom this time.

And then my mind wanders back to times when He was faithful and full of grace to me in a place in my life, and then another, and yet another…..

As hard as I try, I end up at the realization that past storms may have been violent, and dark and longer than I felt it should have been, yet still I realize that it isn’t possible to recall a time in which He abandoned me in one single dark place without hope.

There has never been a time past that He allowed the waves to take me all the way under and hold me there. There has never been a time in which He failed to come to my rescue.

And although I can recall without effort the numerous occasions in which I’ve wondered off and been less than faithful to Him, I always lack the ability to recall even one single time when He was unfaithful to me.

He has been faithful. Always. Every time.

And for the God who never wavers or changes, I’m guessing that this too will never change. I don’t always understand how He will pull it off, but in a world full of change and uncertainty I cling to the refuge I find in the truth that has been tried and found to be consistently true….

Not for a moment, did you forsake me.

Not for a moment, will He forsake you.

 

Because I’m So Over New Year’s Resolutions…

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

seek

A brand new year is here! I always love a new year. Well, actually I love a new anything because I love change and a new year signifies just that! Out with the old and in with the new in so many ways. But this is the second year that I have been determined not to give in to the usual temptation to make all kinds of resolutions of things I want to change about myself {that I don’t keep longer than three days.}

The thing is, for the most part I feel like I’m a pretty good person with a pretty good life. Don’t we all? But pretty good isn’t good enough.  So, a brand new year usually serves as a reminder of all the things about myself and my life that I wish were different and I’d like to attempt to change.

We all have them right?

And then I realize, I’ve tried and failed to change myself more times already than I’d like to confess, only serving to add, “big fat failure” to my long list of personal inadequacies.

I’m so over trying and failing. The truth is, no matter how much willpower or discipline I am able to muster up, I can’t change anything about me or my life on my own.

So once again this year I am choosing just one word to shoot for with laser-like focus. So in mulling over which word I should pick, there were so many that I wanted to choose that fit, but only one that really gripped me.

seek

verb \ˈsēk\

transitive verb
1: to resort to : go to
2a : to go in search of : look for

b : to try to discover
3: to ask for : request <seeks advice>
4: to try to acquire or gain : aim at <seek fame>

A few days ago I stumbled across this passage that I’ve read or heard at least a thousand times in my life

Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

This time it was the word seek that captured my attention like it really never has before. So I looked up the dictionary definition of the word. That’s when I knew that God was extending a personal invitation for me to take my own little journey to go in search of, to discover, to inquire of and yes even to resort to Him above all else this year.

Because in the end, nothing else ever really works anyway.

Seek is a verb. So it means that it’s something I must do with urgent intention. I doubt it’s possible for anyone to just happen to stumble into a deep relationship with the Creator of the Universe. And as much as I long for and am excited for the intimacy of that kind of relationship with Him, I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth if I didn’t admit that I am just a tad bit motivated by the benefits that He also brings with Him.

Lastly, I looked up other scripture with that same word and discovered that the word seek is everywhere! Here’s just a few of my favorites!

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ 2 Chronicles 7:14

You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.” – Psalm 27:8

And then I knew..

It’s no wonder I’m so over New Year’s Resolutions. They don’t work!

He just wants to me [and you] to stop looking for all that I lack in my own resolve or anywhere else, and just seek out what He has already promised is there just waiting to be found only in Him.

Seek

and find.

So, do you have a My One Word for 2013? If you do, I’d love it if you’d share it with me!  🙂

Because Ordinary… Just Won’t Do

Tags

, , , , , , ,

Anthony & Rachel

We stood there, looking into each other’s eyes, so crazy in love and promised to love each other through the good times and the bad, for better or for worst, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others until death do us part.

That was nearly eleven years ago. I am sure that neither of us had any real idea of how much work it would take to carry out the promises we made each other on that day.

And we didn’t always succeed. We weren’t always faithful to those promises we made that February day.

The problem was not that we had a bad marriage – because that has never been the case. The real enemy was that we, like most couples had become all too accepting of settling into a comfortable, ordinary marriage and next thing you know, our lives, and our marriage – were on auto-pilot.

The mundaness of it all had begun to take it’s toll on me. I had signed up for the love story happily ever after and what I felt left with was far from a fairytale. And quietly within myself I began to blame him for everything our life wasn’t and for my own unhappiness.

I loved him, oh yes I did. But I desperately wanted to be in love. I missed the butterflies, the longing to be together, the excitement! I wasn’t sure what the solution was, but one thing I was sure of, the ordinary marriage may work for everyone else, but it just wasn’t cutting it for me.

Looking back, what I didn’t understand was how to transition into a new kind of love, a deeper kind….the kind of love that compels your heart to stay in love with someone long after the newness of life together has worn off.

It would take nine years of believing the lie that our marriage was good enough, only to be blindsided by addiction, unfaithfulness and dead end roads for us realize that we were more broken than we had ever stopped long enough to recognize.

This was our crossroad, in which we could scrap the whole thing and call it quits, or start changing the way we did marriage.

And then I read these words and I knew that is was exactly what was waging war against our marriage and our “happily ever after.”

Ordinary is the biggest enemy of a great marriage.
Ordinary is characterized by dissatisfaction, misunderstanding, and stale love.
Ordinary is the birthplace of adultery.
Ordinary is a place where divorce looks better than staying together.
Ordinary is the subtle trap that convinces you that your marriage is as good as it will ever get.
Ordinary marriages lose hope.
Ordinary marriages lose vision.
Ordinary marriages give in to compromise.
The way to an ordinary marriage is the path of least resistance.

If you want an extraordinary marriage, you will have to choose it.

– Justin & Trisha Davis 

“Choose”. This was the word that got me.

What we both wanted was an extraordinary marriage, but wanting had not proven to be good enough. We had failed to choose it. To choose a marriage far above ordinary would mean we would have to work at it, every single day. We would have tend to our marriage just as an athlete works for their fitness and remains daily dedicated to their health or just as a master gardener tends his garden to keep it alive and beautiful and always producing new growth.

For the past two years, this is the new path we have chosen to take. Nothing is much different about either of us accept that our hearts have surrendered to the process of making our marriage top priority over everything (well, except Jesus of course.) Over our kids, family, finances, work, church, friends.

And I will have to say that it’s work. Yes, a healthy, flourishing marriage is work. But the joy and fulfillment that comes as a result is more than worth it.

Marriage is the world’s only living representation of the Gospel. And nothing about the Gospel was easy, or pretty or comfortable. But in the end, it is exactly the thing that saved the world. All because Jesus – who did not demand justice, was willing to surrender His will and His life, to the very ones who had broken His heart.

The mutual exchange of love that flows from that act of surrender was worth everything.

And so it is, in marriage. Because ordinary…just won’t do.

anthony & rachel

The Destructive Power Of Assumption

Tags

, , , , , ,

If we are honest, most of us could admit that we have seen more than one Facebook status or tweet that we are positive was written and posted just for/about us.

You know the feeling?

Someone posts a status on FB about of which we are sure was cleverly and meticulously plotted out regarding something we secretly know we have been guilty of and viola! We have publicly been called out and embarrassed. We feel our blood pressure skyrocket and just like that we have been thoroughly offended!

I mean seriously? THE NERVE of some people! 😉

Our next tendency displays the shallow state of our hearts even more when we hit that next little button..

{UNFRIEND!}

or at the very least, every fiber of our being wants to.

This used to happen to me more times than I care to admit. Usually by someone in which I assumed their critical comment was referring to me- because well, if the shoe fits, wear it!

And I did! I WORE their words.

And they hurt, and they were heavy and crushing and kept my spirit so offended and and drug down.

But in that very moment, something even deeper had happened. I had allowed myself to become victim of the destructive power of:

as·sump·tion

noun
1. something taken for granted; a supposition: a correct assumption. Synonyms: presupposition; hypothesis,conjecture, guess, postulate, theory.

2. the act of taking for granted or supposing.
3. the act of taking to or upon oneself. 
4 .the act of taking possession of something: the assumption of power.
5. arrogance; presumption.

First comes assumption, then comes offense: and in .075 seconds we have erected a concrete wall around ourself, slammed and dead bolted the iron gate – blocking anyone with anything of value to add to our lives, out!

When we assume that someone’s actions or words were intentionally done/said to hurt or point the finger at us, we ourselves have become guilty of two very dangerous and arrogant things.

  1. We have in essence made the statement that we know their heart and the motive behind their action/words. And have assumed that they were to harm us.
  2. As the 3rd definition of assumption states: we have just voluntarily shouldered guilt and condemnation. Neither of which come from Christ.

So much about assumption and the choice of whether or not be be offended is all about perspective.

When we believe that the world revolves around US, we then believe that the actions and words of everyone around us are directed at us and we are easily offended.

Yet, when we realize that 99.9% of the time, people aren’t sitting behind their computer screens figuring out ways to condemn and embarrass the crap out of us publicly, because people actually have LIVES and experiences of their own. When that happens, we have changed our perspective and we begin to mature a bit in our thinking and feelings towards others.

It COULD be that more times than not, people really are speaking out of their own personal revelations or life experiences. Just MAYBE, there motive is not to condemn or point fingers at anyone, but out of a pure heart they simply desired to put something out there that they’ve realized for themselves and just want to share with others!

Assumptions are nothing more than something we believe to be true. KNOWING is so much more defined that assuming.

When we are self-absorbed, we assume everything negative is about us. We then become the offended who wear our offense just as if we had a bill-board strapped to us with flashing lights screaming to the rest of the world: “I AM OFFENDED!!! FEEL SORRY FOR MEEEEEEE!”

As much as I enjoy the benefits of social media; I don’t know, maybe it’s a far fetched idea, but I believe this face to face, person to person interaction thing is one worth giving a shot. And I feel that Facebook, Twitter and other social media venues are screwing with the definition of healthy relationships and are making us a numb, lonely, completely dysfunctional society. {that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.}

So I would offer to us all, that next time we are tempted to assume the worst about another person, that we instead act our age and simply call them up and kindly say, “Hey! Can we go for coffee? I have something I’d really like to ask you about.”

I’ve learned, that the things you end up discovering about another person when you take the time to actually sit across from them face to face are SHOCKINGLY positive and reassuring.

It COULD even salvage precious relationships with real people, who are sitting behind a computer screen “throwing darts at you.” But ones that you just may find out truly love, cares about, and want the very best for your life.

As we follow Jesus, may we truly be a people who are about loving people. And who are completely unoffendable because we avoid assumption at all cost.

Why The World Won’t End If My Candidate Doesn’t Win

Tags

, , , , , , ,

20121029-144152.jpg

My kids totally think “we” voted today! Little do they know it wasn’t “we” but “me.” Anyways, they got to push the buttons and everything so to them- they voted. We’ve sort of made this voting thing a big deal so they were super excited and proud to get to vote with me today!

After we got home, as the kids and I were discussing our election choice over lunch and Jackson made this statement, “If Romney doesn’t win we will all just die!” 

Now, if you know me personally or have ever read my blog before, it is no secret I’m pretty passionate about my faith and what I believe to be true about many things. And like most Americans, I also feel very strongly about this election and which candidate would be best to lead America.

However, understanding that whoever is elected will very much influence our nation’s future for the next four to eight years and will impact it’s history – and as much as I want “our guy” to win, I do not believe that whoever wins this election has the ultimate power to save nor destroy America.

I love some things that our pastor stated a few weeks back that I believe are true: “Government does not dictate culture – culture dictates government.”

So basically, if any of us believe that we are being lead by a misguided, corrupt and greedy government of leaders – well, maybe we should all take a good look in the mirror.

But I also find great comfort in something else He said: “All authority comes from God – therefore no authority is given to any man except by God.” 

So it comes down to this for me, regardless of the end result, God is sovereign over all of this. And as I explained to Jackson, the world will not come to an end if each of our chosen candidates don’t win and we will not boycott everyone we know that didn’t vote for our pick. Because that isn’t what mature (especially Christ following) people do and certainly isn’t how I believe that Jesus would respond.

Although I truly feel it is our responsibility to stand for truth – for those of us who truly follow Jesus it’s even more vital that we not let our emotions and faith get too entangled within the inner workings of the kingdom of this world. The thing is, we are not of this kingdom, we only are living within it for a short time. Therefore, everything we say and every action we put forth should be an accurate representation of the kingdom in whom we are truly a citizen of should point to the God of our new Kingdom.

I can be at peace in the fact that the Kingdom of Heaven will eventually triumph over the Kingdom of this world and no event or history making election changes that one tiny little bit.

And if the rest of the world remembers me more as a staunch {insert political party here} rather than a passionate, loving follower of Jesus – then I would have failed to truly be about my Father’s business.

I will not join up with any political party because I have been called to be salt and light, a citizen of Heaven. I have not been called to be Republican or Democrat, nor do I belong to this world.

10 Reasons Homeschooling Rocks!

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

Well, eight weeks in and so far I do believe we are sold on this whole homeschool thing. I honestly don’t miss them going off to school and I think they’d say the same! I figure we will still be in the “figuring out how to do this” stage for some time now. I’ve had a few people asking me what the biggest positives have been so far and well, I’d be happy to share what ours have been!

#1 School days aren’t confined to one place. We LOVE getting out of the house and finding spots to change it up a bit and learn in different places and environments. The coffee shop is our favorite right now! (mainly because we get to eat goodies and we smell like coffee beans for the rest of the day after we leave.)20121025-211901.jpg

20121025-211917.jpg

#2. When we hit a rough spot in school work rather than stressing over it, we just put the books away for a while and play. (This is also perfect exposure therapy for my control/neat freak tendancies. Yikes!) It literally pains me to let this go on, but I’m learning to let go of things having to be the way I want them to. Also, I remind myself of an initial motivation that learning should be fun! So, the kids get to be messy and creative and they have a blast! 20121025-211944.jpg

#3 We get to sleep until we wake up and do school in our PJ’s most mornings!20121025-211957.jpg

#4 We don’t have to worry about offending anyone by talking about Jesus or our faith and all the good stuff that makes our life what it is in our school. I love being able to freely share Bible stories, memorize the Word of God, study character qualities and instill Godly values in the fertile ground of their little hearts. And I love that we have to the time to do this without having to depend on a Sunday School teacher in the church to do our job.20121025-212026.jpg

5. Where I go, they go. For the most part they are with me! (except when I work in the afternoons and occasional coffee dates alone or with friends.) In the beginning this was actually something I was a little nervous about. What would it feel like to have my kids with me for so much of the day? But what I’m finding is that the more time we spend together, the better their behavior is and the more I find myself actually WANTING and liking to be around them! Kids CAN be a joy to be with instead of little inconveniences just to be tolerated! Imagine that?  Oh, and when I serve, they serve! – which is really more important than anything they will learn in any school subject this year. I really like that.20121025-212046.jpg

#6 We get to choose how (and with whom) they are socialized. 

‘Nough said.

 #7 They get to spend LOTS of time learning about things they are actually interested in learning. Jackson spends random parts of his school day building with legos and anything he can get his hands on to put together. Olivia gets to pick out much of the books she has to read for school. 95% of her books choices are books about horses or other animals.

It’s also a nice little perk that they don’t get government ideologies of what a good education is or political/cultural agendas shoved down their throats on a daily basis. 20121025-212058.jpg

8. When school starts feeling too stuffy we shut the books and go out and spend time learning and exploring the most amazing classroom ever made!20121025-212251.jpg

20121025-212309.jpg

20121025-212416.jpg

9. FIELD TRIPS! Because who doesn’t love field trips without having to sign permission slips, send in gobs of $ and ride on buses with 5,982 screaming, sweaty kids?20121025-212458.jpg
#10 Lastly, because WHO would be there to laugh at me when a bird $%!*$ on me at 12:30 pm if they were away at school?20121025-212355.jpg

The Things Time Can’t Steal

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

When I was a young girl I would often turn on my favorite songs and dance around my room to the songs that made my young heart feel happy. So full of life, so full of dreams, I danced…and I felt beautiful.

I felt alive.

And I believed whole-heartedly that life was beautiful and good.

Not fourteen anymore – barely young. But some days still, silly as it may seem, I let the music play and I dance around in my room. Just like when I was fourteen. And still I feel young, still I let my heart dream big. Still I feel absolutely beautiful.

It is true that time and the inevitable hardships of life have changed my mind about many many things…

But the truth that life is sweet and beautiful and good aren’t one of them.

But at times I have forgotten what it feels like to feel alive and have stuffed my soul to the brim with counterfeit fixes – Just something to make me feel alive again; only to end up disappointed and emptier than before.

Life.

I have tasted of the bitter and of the sweet and have discovered that the sweet is overwhelmingly more abundant. And in it’s wake the bitter is soon forgotten and overtaken again by the taste of all that is good and beautiful.

Little girls grow up all too quickly, and tragically sometimes life overwhelms and we find ourselves scrambling for something to make us feel young and beautiful and alive.

We have forgotten to slow down- and to just crank up the music and dance.

We neglect to let our souls linger a while in the happy moments that come so much more often than we often stop to realize.

We age and forget that youth can’t be stolen from the heart.

One day not too far away, time will have come and gone and I will be old.

I will still feel so darn beautiful.

I plan to never stop dancing and dreaming and feeling alive – and to die with a head full of priceless memories of a life well lived and a heart still bursting full with dreams.

These are the things time can never steal away from me unless I choose it to be so.

Lost In The Wreckage: A Song

Tags

, , , ,

Last evening as I was rummaging through old pictures I stumbled across this one. I’ve always loved this picture because it reminds me of how at home I feel when I worship the God I love through song. Yet as my eyes lingered there, I felt deep sadness at the realization that I honestly can’t recall the last time I uttered the words to the songs that still sing out loudly in my heart.

My song.

Life came in like a storm and it was a casualty lost in the wreckage that has since lain shipwrecked at the bottom of my heart. A raw realization of which I have long since grieved, yet forced myself to stomach.

Not for lack of opportunity, yet I’ve wrestled with the truth that somewhere along the way, I let an important part of who I am and what I have to bring drift far away. My music faded away without so much as a fight – eventually the words just wouldn’t come anymore.  I’ve found myself literally speaking the words, “I don’t sing” to others.

And I have told the truth.

Maybe because somewhere along the way I stopped believing that what I had to offer wasn’t quite good enough, or maybe I allowed my own assumption of the opinion of man to have the final say. But this one thing is sure, nothing and no man can take another’s song away without his consent to let it go.

These words I write are a painful truth for me, more than anyone knows and one that I’ve shared with few. And I honestly don’t know the resolution here, maybe that season has come and gone for now. But on stage or off, in all of it’s imperfection, I was born with a song inside to sing.

But for this time, for the first time for as long as can remember, my place isn’t on a church stage behind a microphone.

And for now, I’m okay with letting myself learn to sing songs of worship again in the obscurity of my own little space with an audience of only one. And each time I do, I come to understand that a song, in all of it’s brokenness, that had one once been lost in the wreckage of life is not beautiful because of it’s perfection, or flashy lights or adoring crowds.

It is beautiful because what I have to offer is the overflow of the abundant life that dwells deep within. HE is the author of my song, and He has written sweet songs of grace upon the scores of my heart.

And because of that, because of Jesus, it is still a song of priceless worth to bring. And even a song that has been lost, can be redeemed. 

A Little Fall Hideaway

Tags

, , , , , , ,

This past weekend our family spent three blissful fall days in a little hideaway out in the middle of nowhere breathing in clear, crisp mountain air and taking in some of the most beautiful sites of Creation with another amazing family we have the privilege of doing life with.

It was the first time all four of our kids had ever been to the mountains which made it all the more fun for we adults as we got to watch their faces light up with excitement to see and experience the brand new sites and terrain!

Our days were filled with rest, exploration, hot-tubs, LOTS of comfort good, long morning talks bundled up in blankets and coffee in front porch rocking chairs, good books, and the feeling of just being unplugged from technology and the rest of the world for a time. It was exactly our hearts and bodies needed and we left feeling incredibly re-charged.

My favorite part of going away is always coming home, but I’m so very thankful for times away of refreshing with those I love.

This corner of the world has become my own little fall hideaway and the people I’ve shared it with along the way make such it a precious place and time in life.