Monday, December 02, 2013

The Portrait of Silence.

I know I start out every post like this, but.... I don't post a lot these days.  I've kind of lost my mo-jo, and my verve when it comes to writing, and I hope it's just a phase.  It doesn't help that I'm genuinely happy, and don't have a lot to say.  Unless you like reading about recipes I've tried, movies I've watched, and books I've read, there's not else much to share that isn't boring newlywed drabble.  Even those kind of posts feel like work though, like a person being forced to talk about the weather, when they'd rather talk about anything else.

I used to find it so easy to write here.  It was cathartic for me - my own kind of journaling, except the whole world got to see it.  These days though the vulnerability and willingness to speak my heart that I may have felt in years past has been changed it seems, though not necessarily "for the good".  Whereas before I somehow always felt safe to write what was on my mind, it was because I knew I had a safety net of many friends there to catch, love and support me.  I choose not to share my heart now in the absence of some of that security.  There are a few good and loyal friends that I know will always have my back.  I think of them as a pyramid of love, a base of names and faces that have stood by me through thick and thin.  I smile when I picture their laughing faces, whether in my head in memories, or staring back at me from wedding photos on my desk.  I chuckle when I remember the hilarious good times we've had.  My heart warms when I remember the feeling of safety in their amazingly wonderful hugs, and couch conversations that last for hours.  Oh man, how I love you girls, you few sweet, dear friends.

But they stand alone, and overall I have seen other friendships slowly erode over the past few years.  One of the by-products of that erosion is a self-awareness that causes me to guard my tongue much more now than I ever did before.  I used to be a lot more transparent and open, like a tree blowing its branches in the wind.  Now I tend to be guarded, hidden and quiet, and you'll find it much harder to get anything out of me. I'm a bit of a new person, a new me and this one, much unlike the old me, keeps her mouth shut.  You could look at that like I'm wounded - I choose to see it as growth.

Now I must say this - please don't get me wrong! I don't cast blame for this disintegration of friendships.  I don't name names, I don't cast blame, and I am doing my damndest every day to not feel any personal shame about it either. I won't blame me, but I also work every day to not blame you.  Like the old REM song goes, everybody hurts, sometimes. I know I'm not alone in the world in this regard.  Living with grace means that every day I try to count my blessings instead of sheep, and that's where those beautiful faces come in.  It helps, and because of those disciplines, like I said, I'm genuinely happy.

But if I don't blog with much regularity, if I've lost my passion for it, if I don't have anything to say, it's because of this change in me.  Every day I'm learning to take a little of the old and blend it with the new, and today this is how I'm trying.  By writing again.  By not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and telling myself, I can blog with vulnerability despite the fear of being judged.  I can be honest about my life, and do it because writing is something I enjoy, and transparency is something I value.  Let the haters hate - they're going to anyways.  I just need to be me, for the sake of being me.

And today, what that looks like, is just saying this.  Nothing more than this.  Just saying what I've shared above is enough to get my panties all in a bunch, and so I think it's time to leave it at that.  There is a lot going on in my life that is good, there is a lot that is challenging, and there are ways God is growing me.  I might share about them later.  But for now, this is my story, and I'm stickin' to it.

Friday, May 31, 2013

True Confession Time - I Am A Person Of Wal-Mart: A Blog Post About Modesty.

I posed a question on Facebook recently, namely “What should I blog about?”.  The very first answer I received was from one of my guy friends, someone who I hold in the highest esteem, and who’s kindness, love and service to his wife and family, as well as to our country, cause me to respect him greatly.  He suggested I blog about “being awesome while remaining modest”.  At first I wasn’t quite sure what that meant.  I mean, yes, I know what it means to be modest, in the Christianese sense of the word (hemlines that touch the floor when you stand on your knees, right??)  But what about being awesome?  Am I really awesome?  And do people really think that??  Score!!  Thanks dude J

Now, I’m pretty sure I’m not the most modest person I can think of (again, in the Christianese sense of the word that we can all easily define).  I was rather flattered that someone I respect so much thought that of me, and had to ask myself, what have I done right in this area.  Whether intentionally or unintentionally I have definitely worn some outfits that were probably a little too revealing.  And that’s me sugar coating it for the sake of my ego.  I can think of a (beloved) maxi dress, that I wore to my new niece’s birthday last summer.  Some in-love-weight-gain meant that it was not fitting as well as it had when I first bought it.  But it was supposed to be in the 90’s and we were going to be outside the whole time, so I went with it anyways.  I think I was pulling that thing up to cover my chest the entire time we were there.  I only pray no one saw me, but I’m sure if they weren’t looking at me pulling it up to cover myself, they were looking at me wishing I would.  I’m embarrassed now, and can’t go back and change it, but I haven’t worn it since. 

Also, recently, I had a true People of Wal-Mart experience. Without meaning to, I was completely immodest, and exposed a LOT more of myself than I ever meant to, at the one place on earth where people are not afraid to let it all hang out, quite literally.  Again, let’s blame it on the weight gain (dang it!!).  I have only been able to fit into a few of my pairs of jeans lately, and this past winter I threw on a pair of boyfriend jeans I hadn’t worn in a very long time.  As the HH and I were leaving the house to go run a few errands, I slipped on the ice, and fell down, landing on my bottom in the driveway, so hard that I cried.  I hate, more than anything, falling on the ice.  I feel so clumsy and childish when I do.  But I digress.  After falling, I picked myself right back up, and got in the truck, and we ran up to Wal-Mart to do some banking and grocery shopping.  HH and I walked from the outskirts of the parking lot into the store, and once in the store, to the bank, where I walked up to the ATM machine while HH waited in line to see a teller.  All of a sudden, I felt him come up behind me, and wrap his coat around my shoulders, and tell me “Here honey, wear my coat.”  I pushed it off, I actually wasn’t cold – I had on a warm sweater, and scarf, and hat, and my cute boyfriend jeans, after all.  That’s when he told me “No, you need to wear my coat” and he leaned in and whispered “You have a hole in the butt of your jeans”.  That’s when I turned my head around and discovered that when I fell on the ice in the driveway, apparently my pants split right up the butt, from waist to well, past my waist.  My underwear were exposed for the whole world to see.  I truly was a Person Of Wal Mart, with the exposed behind to prove it.  Of course, I immediately took the HH’s jacket, put it on, and was positively mortified.  As soon as we got home, I threw those stupid jeans out!!  Modesty, no.  Clumsiness, definitely.

Now here’s the thing – in both of those cases, my intent was never to attract attention to myself, to show off my, ummm, assets (?), or to send a mixed message about the type of person that I am.  But that’s what modesty, or lack of it, does exactly.  It’s not so much a statement about what you’ve got (though, immodesty definitely advertises that well enough), as much as who you think you are, and how you want the world around you to see you.  I definitely did not want to be known to the people at my bank as “butt bearing jeans girl”, nor to my new family as a hoochie mama in my lowcut maxi dress (just because you can’t see my legs or ankles doesn’t make it modest).  And fortunately I don’t think anyone at the bank or Wal-Mart, except for my adoring HH, noticed.  The birthday party, well I’m hoping they love me just the same, nah, I know they do.  But the message I was communicating about myself in both of those outfits was not that of a person who cares what other people think of her in a respectful way.  It was the message of someone who just doesn’t care.

You see, modesty doesn’t have to just be about flaunting your body parts as an advertisement to “come and get it boys” (spoken in my best Moulin Rouge Nicole Kidman voice).  Being immodest can send all kinds of signals.  What it never spells out though is that the person being immodest cares enough about themself to care what other people think of her/himself.  If you’re immodest, unfortunately the first thing I think of you is “whoah, self esteem issues”.  Sorry, I know I judge, I do.  (Eh, this post is full of awful confessions, is it not?)

So, in thinking about modesty, how I judge it, my own perilous struggle with it, why we should even bother with it, et all, this is what I came up with. 

Modesty, by definition means “Freedom from vanity or boastfulness. Having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc. Having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc. Limited or moderate in amount.”  I think that pretty much sums it up well.  The bible never clearly defines what modesty means, though it admonishes us to be modest.  1 Timothy 2:9 warns against showy appearance, too much jewelry, etc., “I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles, or gold or pearls or expensive clothes.”, wrote Paul (italics mine).  From what I found, that’s the closest the Bible comes to defining the term.  Yet, our Christian culture has regarded it, in relation to women, as covering up one’s body parts, and not showing too much skin. Or as my old pastor, Pastor Tom, used to say “not leading men into Death Valley” (his personal euphemism for cleavage). 

But, if the secular definition is correct, you can have a potato sack on, and have an immodest heart.  Modestly means acting and dressing with propriety, showing a humble estimate of one’s self.  Being moderate.  Not wearing neon to a funeral, or white to someone else’s wedding.  Scripture says that Jesus “being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage” (Philipians 2:6)  He was modest, in heart, and I’m sure always in appearance.  Men had it easier even back then, with their robes and caftans and such.

Modesty isn’t about what we wear, or fail to wear, it’s about a heart attitude of thinking less of one’s self than what is proper.  It’s a heart attitude, not a name brand.  It’s the way you view yourself, in relation to the world and the people in it, and how you act accordingly.  Immodesty wasn’t my torn jeans at the Wal-Mart – honestly, I was mortified.  Maybe it was my low cut sundress at a family gathering, and in hindsight, I ought to be mortified and ashamed.  You can be modest and stylish, you just have to respect yourself, no kidding. 

I mean, think about it.  If the Bible says that modesty means no elaborate hairstyles, gold or pearls or expensive clothes, then what are we to do with the fact that the Proverbs 31 woman wore fine linen and quality clothing, and made the same clothing for her family as well?  What about Esther and her near year of beauty treatments (ohmygawd am I jealous!)?  Does this mean I need to give up my quest to learn hair braiding, in an effort to braid my hair Swiss Miss style?  What about the fact that I love to score really expensive designer items at places like TJMaxx, or online?  What about those splurges I’ll make once a year or so, on an Anthropologie statement necklace or a costly new winter coat, knowing that I’ll wear it for more than a few years?  Is quality immodest?  Is spending more than the thrift-shop price on something immodest?  Is pampering oneself in an effort to just feel pretty again immodest?  I seriously hope, and think, not. 

If you think about it, back when Paul wrote to Timothy, the women who were prostitutes adorned themselves with lots of jewelry, and fancy clothes in eye-popping colors and styles to attract the attention of men.  What they wore sent a clear and deliberate signal about who they are and what they did/their profession.  Just like the uniform of the Hooters girls today sends a clear and deliberate message – “I.  Work.  For.  Hooters.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be wearing this hideous orange belly shirt and short shorts with pantyhose.”  A cop can be identified by his uniform, a fireman by his, and back in the day, a prostitute by hers.  Nowadays some of the high end prostitutes have enviable wardrobes that are very business professional, so as to attract a certain high end clientele.  And I am not talking about anyone who’s ever stood at that gas station on Penn and Dowling in fishnets and hooker platform boots, trust me.  In biblical times, pearls, gold, and purple or red were as obvious a uniform as the camoflauge army fatigues of a soldier are now. 

Recently, a friend of mine from high school, an earnest Mormon, posted a link to the website that his wife buys some of her clothing from.  Though I cannot remember the name of the store, I do remember that the word MODESTY was in its title.  Imagine, in this day and age, a store that advertises modesty!  I was intrigued!  After browsing their website, I realized I was in love with their style, and their products.  There were very cute outfits, that were in line with today’s fashion trends, but much more modest.  Think higher necklines, and longer hems, but cute ModCloth or Anthro styles to begin with.  Let me tell you, if anyone has this whole modesty thing down, it’s those darn LDS girls!  They are so cute!! Seriously, those gals from Utah, the cute stay at home moms, with their perfectly highlighted blond long bobs, and graphic designer/work from home careers really got it going on, and know how to do stylish modestly.  In their religion, and culture, modesty is a way of life.  It’s a heart attitude, and never a second thought, and they’ve learned to do it well. 

I guess when I look back at my own struggles with modesty, I would have to say, the real turning point came as I was considering what was best for my career.  Though I always tried to make sure I was dressing modestly, the actions were there but not always the heart attitude.  I did it because it was what was “right” in Christian culture, not because of how I respected myself or others.  But as I’ve grown older, and have looked to advance my career beyond an administrative level, I’ve realized that the old adage of “Dress for the job you want, not the one you have” is true.  So I’ve started thinking about what the women who were in leadership, that I admired and wanted to be like, wore.  Besides being stylish, professional and on trend without being a head to toe trend statement, the one unifying factor amongst them was that they all dressed modestly.  Even if they weren’t professing Christians, they understood the value of modesty in the business place.  Their message was “I’m current, I’m polished, I’m professional, and by golly, I sure as heck do respect myself, so you should respect me too.” 

I also realized that love has made me modest, or at least falling in love has.  I attribute this to the fact that for the first time in my life, I stopped trying to dress for a man, and started dressing for me, because that was who the man I loved wanted to be around.  Gone were the times I’d wear something to be noticed (even if it wasn’t skin bearing, and was technically modest, that heart attitude of “notice me” wasn’t modest at all).  I was thrilled with the fact that my HH loved me best in jeans and a tee shirt, or sweats and a tee shirt, clothing that he said made me look like I was comfortable.  He loved me at ease, and relaxed, content and not tugging and pulling and yanking at my clothing.  Not all gussied up and trying.  That, is the heart attitude of a man who wants you to be happy!  When I asked him, one time, about whether or not he preferred how I looked when I dressed up for work, or for date night, his reply surprised me.  “No”, he said, “I prefer it when you look like you’re ready to sit on the sofa, and read a book, because that’s what makes you happy”.  For my HH, modesty was equated with comfort.  But not just being comfortable in jeans and a tee shirt – being comfortable in one’s own skin.  Being in the frame of mind that wasn’t out to impress anyone, or draw attention to one’s self.  It was a frame of mind, a heart attitude, was happy and content with who they were, and had stopped trying to draw attention through appearance.  I’m not saying it was frumpy, or messy.  It was the quiet peace of mind of relaxing, and enjoying life’s simple comforts. 

I guess as I’ve grown older I’ve become a more modest person.  But that transition hasn’t grown out of a dedication to pleasing the surrounding Christian culture, but out of a spiritual and personal maturity.  With wanting to be professional, and be taken seriously, I’ve become more modest, or moderate, in my choices at work.  From experiencing love, and the desire of someone else to see me happy, content and at peace, I’ve stopped trying to impress a certain man through my dress.  Without turning towards frumpiness, because I believe it’s totally possible to be stylish and modest simultaneously, I’ve made some personal strides in this area.  Am I saying I’ve got it all figured out?  Well, as a certain winter’s day at Wal-Mart proved, far from it.  But if anything, I have changed my thinking about how I want people to view me, and what it takes to get the right kind of attention.  I have truly come to believe that in this world, you are perceived to be what you wear, and who I want to be at 27 is quite different than it was at 17 or even 27. 

So, what is anyone supposed to take out of this post?  That’s a great question, and as I’ve been writing it, one I’ve asked myself multiple times.  There was a request that I write about modesty.  And if I didn’t think it a worthwhile topic, I wouldn’t comply.  But, in this world where so many mixed signals are sent, and so many role models are offered for young women to emulate, ranging from the vampy to the faux-intellectual (read, hipsters), and everywhere in between, maybe it’s worth saying at least SOMETHING on the topic.  I can only share from personal experience, but if sharing my thoughts on this subject opens up the mind of one young women about how she views herself, and what image she presents to the outside world, then mission accomplished. 

And yet in writing this, I want to make one thing clear – let it be said that I always want to be modest about being modest.  Until my friend called me modest the other day, I would never have attributed that characteristic to myself.  If modesty is a freedom from vanity or boastfulness, then I will always try to be modest in the area of modesty.  That heart attitude is one I will always wish to cultivate, in the spirit of Paul, when writing to the Romans.  In the fourteenth chapter he shares some of my favorite thoughts about how to approach interpsonal relationships, including how (loosely interpreted) to think about the issue of modesty. 
Rom 14:7-19       For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.  If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. ….  Therefore, let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. … For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

And that’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ten Thoughts For Tuesday

I'm gonna be better about this blogging thing than I have been in the past year, I swear! And on that note, here are ten thoughts that are running through my head this Tuesday:

1.  I cannot stop thinking about this poem:

What Was Told, That

by Jalal al-Din Rumi 

What was said to the rose that made it open was said
to me here in my chest.

What was was told the cypress that made it strong
and straight, what was

whispered the jasmine so it is what it is, whatever made
sugarcane sweet, whatever

was said to the inhabitants of the town of Cigil in 
Turkestan that makes them

so handsome, whatever lets the pomegranate flower blush
like a human face, that is

being said to me now.  I blush.  Whatever put eloquence in
language, that's happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude,
chewing a piece of sugarcane, in love with the one to whom every that belongs!

2.  So excited for my handsome hubby, as he starts book club this week.  One of the reasons I fell in love with him is because he is a voracious reader.  Our children are gonna be wicked smart!  He and his book club guys are reading C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters.  Anyone else read this?  Any thoughts on it?  Seriously, I need to get into a book club!  Grrr.

3. Spring is here (well, a very Seattle-esque kind of spring, if you will).  That means dresses, and skirts.  I love dressing up, and feel so much better about myself when I do.  Although in the last two years I have become much more accustomed to just being comfy in jeans and a tee shirt, and I like that too, but in an entirely different way, with different gratification.  Today I look very nice in a royal blue pencil skirt, a coral cowl neck, dotted shell, and a tan leather belt and pumps.  I have already received two compliments from coworkers, who are probably surprised after I came in on Friday in yoga pants, a tee shirt, and flip flops.  I hope the HH (handsome hubby) appreciates the look.  I remember so many times, in my single days, thinking I was wasting a pretty outfit on no one at all, and now that I have someone, he prefers me in sweatpants and a tee-shirt (true story!).  Even still, I know he loves me.  

4.  Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper's character on the now ended The Office) is my new fashion inspiration.  I think I'm going to Google as many of her outfits as I can. 

5.  Was anyone else seriously let down by the quality of the new Arrested Development episodes?  Bummer!!  I ended up playing Draw Something during a few of them (the George Sr. episodes mostly) because they were so not up to par. 

6.  "It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness."  - Charles Spurgeon.  As I contemplate my desire to have a baby, and the inexplicable pressure I feel (sometimes self generated, admittedly), to have one sooner rather than later, I need to remind myself to appreciate, enjoy, and be grateful for what I have, instead of focusing on what I want.  This is tough.  Now that the wedding is over, I am left with this "what now?" feeling.  The fact that we live in a culture that sets brides up for that particular failure, all too easily, only makes me sad and angry.  It is time to rejoice, in the fullness of love poured into our hearts by the Creator Himself, and out to the ones we love, and the world around us, instead of searching for the next big thing to fill my life.  Which in my case, is the (only natural) desire to have a baby.  Of course, the fact that I'm not getting any younger either, approaching my 38th birthday in a week and a half, only exacerbates things.  Amidst all these valid feelings, and desires, I have to honestly ask myself, "Would I be happy with my life, if I never had children?"  I have to evaluate the sincerity and motivations behind my answer, and deal with myself honestly too.  I keep telling myself, it is not how much I have, but how much I enjoy, that makes my happiness, and I have a lot in life to enjoy.  And yet, knowing this truth, I still find myself falling prey to the all consuming thought of pregnancy, on a daily basis.  I'm sure there will be more on this subject later, but for now, it is a daily discipline to rejoice in what I do have, and lay aside anything distracting me from that contentment.

7.  Speaking of birthdays (I did somewhere, right?), now that I'm a married woman, I get to share my birthday (or close to it, only two days apart) with one of my darling new nieces.  RJ :)  I have told my HH for sometime that not only am I super blessed to marry him, but into his family as well.  I now have an awesome brother and sister in law, two darling nieces and one adorably rascally nephew!  They all are so precious, and I couldn't love the five of them more!  They have welcomed me, and we get along in that way that people meant to be friends would, not just as those thrown together by new family ties.  The kiddos are precious, and each one unique in their own personalities, which makes me love them each for so many individual reasons.  RJ, who was born 2 days and many years after me, is spunky, sassy, sweet, cuddly, and, like me, kind of clumsy.  She signs (ASL), like a pro, loves pickles, rolls her eyes in a most exaggerated way, and does not take crap from her younger brother.  Her adorable toddler talk has stolen my heart, and I can't wait to celebrate her upcoming birthday with her, and sneak a few snuggles in there too.  Happy Almost Birthday to my new niece, RJ.  

8.  Now that the honeymoon is over - I want to go on a trip.  I want to go to Boston, and San Francisco, and Montana, and Italy, and Scotland, and just take a road trip.  Though at $4.19 a gallon, for gas, I doubt that is happening.  This year, I doubt that we'll be going anywhere, and that makes me a little sad.  I sometimes wonder how I can ignite the travel bug in my HH, as he's much more of a homebody than I am.  Hmmm, any suggestions folks? 

9.  To the person I follow on Pinterest, who keeps posting photos of winterscapes and snowflakes:  If you do not knock this $#!& off soon, I will find you, and I will end you.  Seriously, half my Pinterest this morning was photos of snowy white fields, tress covered in snow, and up close snowflakes.  I know you, you live in Minnesota, the same as I do.  Are you on freaking crack?  Quit that #$%@ OUT!!

10.  I want to learn to braid.  To French braid, and Fishtail braid specifically.  Am looking for people to practice on.  Please let me know if you want to come over and sit in front of me and be my guinea pig for a while. Serious.

Well, that's it for this Tuesday.  I got no sleep last night, so I'm a little crabby and finding it hard to focus.  Our crazy neighbor was banging on the wall last night because my HH was snoring too loudly. Seriously woman?!?!?!  He sleeps through your knocking, but I, halfway asleep due to said snoring, do not.  Do you think your knocking on our walls at midnight helps?  You have no idea what a truly loud, or inconsiderate, neighbor sounds like.  Trust me, I lived in that fourplex.  I know.  YOU, do not.  Thus, I think it might be time to go hit up the Nespresso machine in the breakroom and make myself a quad shot almond milk latte.  Serious.  

And that's my story, and I'm stickin' to it. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

New Lessons & New Promises As A Newlywed.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

That verse is repeating itself over and over in my heart today.  I love it when that happens. 

It’s a good verse, for any day, in any situation.  It’s kind of an Awana’s verses, one of those fundamental truths you memorize right away in life.  Today I’m glad it’s on repeat in my mind and heart – today I need it.  My life is so good, and we’re so blessed.  But today, my sweet hubby found out he is facing some strong challenges at work.  And now, for the first time in our (brief) married life, I’m getting a taste of what it’s like to love someone so much that your heart breaks for them, and you grieve with their grief.  I am powerless, as I watch this man I love go through a challenging situation, and that in itself is hard, so therefore, the verse. 

I love my husband.  So, so, so much more than I ever imagined I would love any man.  I’m surprised by how much God has transformed my heart from a curmudgeony old crankster (think Carl in Up), to a soft, pliable and caring thing of beauty.  I credit Him, for giving me him, the one who I love enough to change and grow for.  I guess in this kind of love, I’m discovering so much about the true depths and nuances of God’s own love for us.  That is the kind of gift that really glorifies the Giver, and so happily all the credit goes to Him.  The complexities of a love so grand, well, I guess that’s part of its beauty really. 

Really though, I’m just glad, that as two people now married to each other, we really like one another as well.  We’re best friends - picture two little kids, holding hands, skipping down the middle of a suburban street, the girl in a little red gingham dress, and the boy in overalls.  That’s us. And we’re really just fond of one another, and enjoy the other person’s company, and get along tremendously.  I hear the horror stories, of fights over mundane things, of separate bedrooms, and sarcastic, cutting comments, and I cringe, waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I think I know, somewhere deep inside, though, that that will never be us.  We’ve both endured the broken marriages of parent’s we love, and have learned so much from.  Waiting till later in life to get married has enabled us to know all the things we don’t want to do, and to be able to commit to fulfilling those promises.  There’s the chance that the shoe might drop, but I really don’t think it ever will, and I look forward to a life spent with someone I just really like, and love. 

So to see him hurting today, truly hurts me deeply too. I know God is good, and I trust in Him and His faithfulness.  I cling to this verse, from Isaiah, a promise He sweetly gave me to years ago, which I claim now for my marriage, a most sacred thing:

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.  You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.  Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the LORD's renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever." Isaiah 55:-13

I know that through any challenges, we will be able to face it, in the light of God’s unfailing goodness and His sacred promises for our wellbeing. 

Yet, till now, I have lived a life believing in His promises, and trusting them only for myself.  Now there is someone other than myself, who I love more than myself now.  And trusting in God’s promises not just for me, but for that person too, is a harder lesson to learn.  I’ve always known I can go through any fire, and be strong; any trial, and come out a better woman, tough, fierce and emboldened.  But to believe, and cling to, God’s promises for someone I love as much as him, well that’s a tougher leap to take.  I cried when we got the news about this challenge he’s facing at work, and I can’t imagine how I’ll ever hold up as he faces other challenges in life.  I just want everything to be perfect for him, and to work out flawlessly to his advantage.  Yet, someone reminded me today that maybe this challenge will be a catalyst for growth in him, and THAT will be good.  I want my husband to grow, and to be raised up as a sterling man of God.  I guess that kind of growth comes through trial by fire, the refiners fire more like it.

So, thinking of the other challenges that face him now, and of the tough times he may face ahead, I’m mildly comforted (let’s be honest here, it’s still all sinking in), in thinking of God’s promises in view of another person.  My faith has now grown in a new way.  I claim to promises not just for me anymore, but for us, the new family unit. 

That thought alone – wow, we’re a family unit – makes me remember that His ways are not our ways, and who can know the Lord?  Bah!! He is GOOD!

And that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Wedded Bliss

I know that probably many former readers of this blog have dropped off, discouraged by the fact that I never seem to write anymore.  I apologize.  I still, always, have a lot to say, and even as I start this post I can think of book reviews, and musings on social injustices, and random thoughts about something I saw on tv, or read in National Geographic, and contemplations on the nuances of relationships - all things I want to write about and have plenty to say about.

Please know that I don't neglect blogging because I've stopped caring, and have nothing more to say.  I just don't have the patience to get it all out, arrange and organize so many thoughts, and make it coherent and interesting, throw in some pictures and hit post.  I envy people who do have that time.  I hope someday again that will be me.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Till then - know that life is great.  I got married!!!  I met the "one", and we did it.  We tied the knot.  After two wonderful years together, and much more joy than I'll ever deserve.  We stood in front of family and friends and I wore a big old white dress, and he was in a suit, looking so handsome.  And now we call each other "hubby" and "wifey" and nothing feels different, and yet it all still seems so surreal.  Like I'm floating outside my body, watching someone else's much happier, much more conventional life.  I will never be a crazy cat lady again.

Anyways, because I want to put these photos somewhere, and share them somehow, but don't necessarily want to go the Facebook route, here they are.  A few snapped pics of our wedding day, and the man I am deeply and madly in love with, and who patiently tolerates and appreciates me daily.

I am incredibly happy, and hope the same happiness for everyone on earth.  If only we all were so happy, how would this world be different?

And that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.