Friday, November 18, 2016

Here in This Moment

This past week I was cleaning out my inbox of seven years' worth of emails. A lot accumulates in that span of time. I realized that all the problems and worries I had thought were so insurmountable had been handled...every single one. All those bills I had to pay, calls I had to make, opinions that I had held so stubbornly to...none of them mattered anymore. All the relationships and conversations I had lost sleep over--I had forgotten about all of them. People had come and gone from my life, some had passed away into eternity.  I'm saddened at how much has changed in seven years. I wonder how life would have been different if I hadn't worried so much about everything.

But one thing I don't regret is that I lived each of the moments over the past seven years to the fullest. I don't regret the time I spent staying up with a friend, or giving someone a meal or a gift, or opening up my home to a person that needed it. Even when friendships didn't pan out like I expected them to, or when people let me down or took advantage of me, or when promotions passed me over to someone less qualified, I was able to sleep at night knowing I had lived my life to the best of my ability. I had done right by everyone and I had nothing to be ashamed of.

This was a lesson I had learned while still in college, from a wise professor who had been cultivating this in his own life. These are just some of the things he taught us:

Be fully present in the moment. Embrace every situation life gives you. Even in sorrow there is much to be learned. Listen intently to each conversation you're in. Don't try to multi-task. Do one thing fully until it is done.

The only things that matter in life are people and God. These are eternal and essential. Everything else eventually fades.

Stand before God for men before you stand before men for God. The most effective way to serve and honor people is to do it from a place where we first serve and honor God.

Love your neighbor as you love yourself. "I don't want to be loved the way some of you love yourselves," he would say. And he was right. The only way to truly love is to know how fully we are loved by the Lord. Otherwise we hurt or push away everyone we meet. 

Write. Always keep a notebook on you to record your thoughts, ideas, lessons, or Scripture. Memories fade, but what's written down endures and has a way of reminding us how far we have come. 

These precious lessons have stayed with me for the last 12 years. I am so thankful for them. They have become even more important since getting married and having a child. There is more vying for my attention now than ever in my life. But in the craziest moments I can remember these words and come back to what is truly important. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Let There Be Love

Spending some time with the Lord.

I love my story in God...
In the hardest chapters I have seen beauty
and extreme loving-kindness...

That's where I am today...shocked once again by how much I am loved.

I have days where the depression is so dark and heavy and deep, it's almost physically difficult to breathe. Days when i think thoughts I'm later too embarrassed to say out loud.

I hate myself for these days. I hate that my usually joyful self can be so shaken by such an elusive thing. I hate that one thing my husband does or says during this time can pierce me to the core. I hate the things I think toward him. I hate the things I think toward myself.

In the depths of humiliation and embarrassment,
crushed by my own inadequacy and stupidity,
He mined grace for me at a depth I hardly knew existed...

I have learned to come to the Lord during these times, to worship and pray when I don't feel like it. And he has been for many years, my constant source of encouragement during these times.

But he has been changing the way he encourages me.

He is showing me that it's time to share my feelings, both the good and the bad, and everything i think is ugly. And he's showing me how important people are to the health of my mind and heart.

For example, a few months ago, Joe and I had a couple of friends over for a night of games and dinner. As much as I usually enjoy their presence, I was not looking forward to cleaning the house, cooking, and staying up late chatting with them. I was exhausted and feeling peopled-out.

But what I didn't know was that their presence and love and fun was exactly what I needed. I was so touched by their generosity, their peacefulness, and their laughter. I went to bed almost in tears with how much they had spoken life into me in just a few hours.

Grace purified me by restoring me to holiness 
and leaving me awestruck with gratitude.

That's where I am today...awestruck with gratitude. Over and over this kind of thing keeps happening. Little things from people that touch my soul and bring me to tears because they reveal that the Father doesn't care how deep the darkness is...he lives in light and wants me there with him.

I've been on the mountain, bathed in a light so strong
I thought I would dissolve in happiness.

Dear friend, let your guard down. Let yourself open up to the love of the Father. Let that love come through the kindnesses of others. Stop striving. Stop beating yourself up. Just let Him love you through someone else.

The matter, therefore, of how much we are loved is most vital.
What if every day, every circumstance was cleverly designed
to show us another glimpse of the Father's heart?

Quotes from the book Prophetic Wisdom by Graham Cooke.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Letter From a Husband

I wrote this post 2 years ago, and it's one of my favorites. Every woman and wife is different, but we all want the same thing. We want to be appreciated, and loved, and romanced. We give our everything for our family, our friends, and our spouses every day. All we want is to be made to feel special every once in a while. Love the way this husband does that!

Two weeks ago, we had another wedding in the family. It was absolutely beautiful! The bride arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. Her white dress billowing gently in the breeze. They said their vows under a canopy of vines. The blue sky above, the green grass below, and the scent of a hundred varieties of roses all around. Joseph and I kept looking at each other with giddy smiles, remembering our own special day almost 6 years ago.

For so many the romance ends on their wedding day. But it doesn't have to. The beauty of marriage is getting to fall in love with your spouse every day. 

So when I saw this beautiful letter written by one of our dear friends to his lovely wife, I had to share it with all of you. With his permission, here it is...

So I read an article that embodies the way I feel about you today. After reading the article I was struck with appreciation for how special you are to me, and here is why...

1. You are smarter than me without a doubt, from intuition to spelling, you teach me things about life everyday.

2. Your Beautiful. Like sooo beautiful and I am so thankful that you put in the effort to look beautiful for me.

3. You are kind and nurturing. I have never seen this more clearly than the past few weeks with our new son. You are so good to me and I love how great you are with him.

4.Your Vivacious. You are energetic and always up for an adventure.

5. You love me with all your heart,and you show me this fact every day.

6. You are willing to compromise. I love the fact that you are so willing to talk through the issues and that you try and see things from my point of view as well as yours.

7. You feel like home. They say that home is where the heart is and that could not be more true than when I'm with you.

8.You are more than happy to tell me I'm wrong. I love this about you, and I love that you are able to do it in such a gentle way.

9. You are strong, but feminine. I never thought that these two characteristics could be balanced so well by someone, yet you do it effortlessly.

10. You are Passionate. I finally found my match when it comes to this.

11. You are Driven. You inspire me with your drive, and dang Is it attractive.

12. Last but not least you mean the world to me. Thank you my love for being such an incredible partner in life, thank you for embodying these and so many more enviable traits. Thank you for loving me. I hope this note puts a smile on your face and pep in your step today, you are truly one of a kind and I will love you forever.

It's so beautiful, right? Makes me tear up every time I read it! Ladies, may you know a love that cherishes you like this. Men, may you know the gift that your wife is to you and your family.