Marriage and Jesus

September 11th, 2012

Marriage is such a fluid thing. I am amazed by how much my relationship with Chris has changed over the past three years. First, the fear, then the falling in love, then marriage. But since then even more. First there was the honeymoon stage. The constantly wanting to be together, and alone. Being totally wrapped up in each other and living for the time we got to spend together. The time when snuggling on the couch was the happiest place to be. The time when every day was a date and every night was a sleep over. The time when nothing he did could bother me, not really even those socks that were always on the floor or the dishes that never made it to the dishwasher. Who cared? It was my purpose and joy to serve the man I loved.

Chris and I were at a wedding a few months ago and I felt an ache, a longing for those times to come back, when it was just the two of us and everything was so easy and happy.

Pregnancy changed things a bit. I was so sick and so tired. Chris was frustrated at work, and then starting a new job. I didn’t always want to be touched and he wasn’t always as aware of my needs. I felt guilty for not keeping up with the cleaning and cooking as well and for not being as quick to recognize his needs. But life was still good.

Then the baby came. Talk about your world being turned upside down. Miles seemed to take every last ounce of energy and attention I had. I remember crying one night, just a few days after Miles was born, because I didn’t feel like I’d even seen my husband since coming home from the hospital. I missed him and I needed his strong support to get through those rough days, but he was overwhelmed and sleep deprived too. A baby doesn’t mean all hard things, but it does mean an awful lot of change, no matter how you look at it. Our world was no longer just the two of us. There was someone else to think about now.

I started to get more and more frustrated with Chris. Little things, but things I no longer had the time or energy to deal with. I hated being upset with him. I felt guilty.

I had to work really hard to get through that time. I had to pray lots, evaluate and give up some expectations, and most of all communicate with my husband in ways I never had to before. I chose to focus on the good in him, and guess what, once I looked for it there was so much to be found. I was reminded again what a fantastic, funny, loving, selfless, godly man I had married. And he is an amazing father.

I’m thankful every moment of our marriage so far hasn’t been easy. We have grown so much closer together because of it. There were moments when it scared me, but we have grown and that is the whole point, I think. And always, hard moments are there to push us to God. If I married a perfect man I wouldn’t have need of God. Something I always pray is that Chris and I would know and serve God better together than we could separately. I don’t think I originality realized how much our weaknesses as well as our strengths would enable that to happen.

A couple weeks ago Chris and I were at another wedding, Miles in tow. This time as I watched the couple, I was struck by how unseasoned and, well, new their relationship was and I was happy to find how satisfied I am with were we are right now. I love my husband more than ever, and I trust him more than ever too. Our world is bigger than just the two of us now, and I hope it continues to grow as we see more of God. I know we will always keep some of that “newlywed love” but I’m glad for change and growth as well. I think we are happier now than we have ever been.

Marriage is amazing.

There was a time when I honestly would rather have remained single. I saw marriage as okay for some, but certainly not the thing for me. I loved my relationships -with God, my family, and my friends- just as they were. I was so happy with where God had me and I didn’t want it to change. I didn’t want to give it up for something new, untested, and, inevitably, harder.  Looking back, I am glad I was content. I am so thankful I didn’t waste years wishing for a time that hadn’t come yet. But I also wish I hadn’t fought the change so hard.

Marriage, and now motherhood, have made me a much more rounded, mature  woman. It is amazing to look back and see. The stability I see in my life now is amazing. I have learned things I absolutely never would have had I stayed single. I know God now in a way I never could have. Life feels so much more complete, more full. It is good. I really believe God means for most people to marry. Of course there are those He does not, and that is wonderful too! But I know beyond doubt that He does not mean to leave us in that stage of 20-something freedom. We are all supposed to move on and continue to grow up. And it is good.

I am enjoying the experience and wisdom and stability that is slowly growing in me. (I know that sounds quite silly to say at only 25, but I completely recognize it as a process. I’m sure after 20 more years of marriage, or maybe just 2, I will look back and think “What a baby I was!” But that’s ok too.) I am thankful for the hard times and the weakness that has produced so much good. I’m glad marriage and motherhood is hard. It is a good hard, a learning hard. God created us to do hard things. It is fulfilling.

 

I am seeing a growing trend in unmarried Christian girls. High expectations. To put it bluntly, these girls want to marry Jesus. I’m glad they don’t want to settle for less than God’s best, but really, girls? I think this philosophy comes, in part, from the verses in Ephesians that draw a parallel between husbands and wives, and Christ and the church. Husbands are shown to be the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church, and commanded to love their wives as Christ loves the church. From this, the conclusion is drawn that the husband is supposed to be Jesus in the relationship. He has the responsibility to model with precision the perfection of Jesus Himself. A girl then begins to hope that the truly perfect man is out there, and begin to build castles in the sky and wait for Jesus to come along, sweep her off her feet with spiritual dazzle, and proceed to live a perfectly selfless life where he edifys and exhorts her in all the ways of God, loves her through all her shortcomings, shares with her in endless joy, as they together serve God in world impacting ways.

It doesn’t work that way. I absolutely believe that a man should aspire to be a picture of Jesus to his wife, and surrender himself to the working of the Holy Spirit to that end, but the wife has the exact same responsibility to her husband. We are all to be pictures of Jesus to everyone we interact with, filled more and more with Him each day.

Another part of this is found in 1 Corinthians and is something I really struggled with myself.  “There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” And the question begs an answer, if being married would distract me from knowing Him, why in the world would I want to get married anyway? It would have to be a pretty amazing man.

And so the standard is set elusively high and a girl is frustrated and confused, or simply wonders what our world is coming to, when there are no good men to be found.

In reality, God’s purpose for marriage is for two sinful human beings to love and live together in their mutual pursuit of Him. There is so much to be learned from close contact with someone else’s imperfections. There is so much to be enjoyed from life with a still learning man. There is such closeness to be found in pursuing holiness together, and in those moments when you have to exchange “I was wrong”s and “I forgive you”s there is beauty. I am so thankful that neither I, or my husband, is perfect. I am thankful that we can, step by step, learn to know and love God together.

Girls, you already have Jesus. Marry a man.

Little Monkey

September 10th, 2012

How can someone who is so much work also be so much fun? It has really been sinking in for me how blessed I am to be able to stay home and spend all my time with my little man. He makes my days so happy. I really don’t want to miss a minute with him, well, except for the occasional time alone with Chris. 🙂

Miles is the happiest baby I have ever known. Even when he isn’t feeling good he tries so hard to be happy and he smiles in the middle of crying. He is content to play by himself for long periods of time, loves to simply sit and stare at his surroundings, and gets so excited when someone pays attention to him.  He is becoming more and more active and mobile. His favorite pastime right now is to walk circles around the coffee table and couches. He is way more interested in walking than crawling – we’re still working on that one. This little guy is growing so fast and adds so much to our lives! Love him to pieces.

Weakness and Waiting

May 3rd, 2012

Today I was searching through some old documents and found something I had written at least 6 years ago, yet it is so applicable to where I am now, in so many ways. Maybe you can be encouraged as I was.

 

God has impressed on my heart how imperative it is to be real.  One of the most impactful things I learned in the last year was to be honest with God. I saw how incredibly important it is to go to God with all of it, to sob, to yell, to question, to take all the frustration and hopelessness and fear and lay it all out, in the open, at His feet. I always feel awful doing this. I’m often shocked to see what is inside me, and often embarrassed to bring it to God. I think I should be stronger than that… but I’m not, and He didn’t make me to be. He wants me to give Him my weakness, not so that He can change it into strength – which is what I always thought He would do- but just because when I give Him my weakness, without expecting Him to do something great and mighty in return, I am broken.

Broken. That is when He gets excited. I am beginning to see the beauty of brokenness. It’s another of those incredible mysteries of God. It goes against so much in me, more than I care to admit. Yet God’s Spirit in me cries out that this is beauty. There is beauty in my confusion, there is beauty in my questions, there is beauty in my fear – as long as these things are give over to God, there is beauty. I don’t understand it. I don’t understand why God is so pleased when I come to Him in tears and tell Him that I’ve just discovered that I don’t trust Him. It seems strange that He is delighted when I tell Him that I cannot make it through another day. I think it has something to do with my stark realization of need. Somehow when all I can see are my broken pieces in His hands He is looking with expectancy to the process of putting them back together. Here is another mystery, because He doesn’t do it right away.

Timing is a strange thing. God is not bound by time. He is, at this very moment, indwelling every moment in history and every moment in the future. I don’t understand why He chose to make us in His image, put eternity in our hearts, and then make us bound by time. But He did. And because He did I am so often frustrated when He does not work according to the timetable I set forward. But I have had to learn that just because I don’t see the answers yet, doesn’t mean that something is wrong. Either it isn’t time yet, or He’s doing something other than what I expected. Or both.

God is impressing on me the value of being brutally honest with Him, and sometimes with a select few of His children. He indwells them, and often chooses to use them to speak truth to me. There is absolutely a place for that brave face, but there must also be a place, a much larger one at times, where there is gentle, open, honesty. It is okay to be weak. Weakness is necessary to healing.

Days with Baby

April 17th, 2012

I’m thankful for my wonderful husband and all he put up with while I was pregnant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m so thankful for my amazing midwife, Lisa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful that I got to have almost all my labor at home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for a good doctor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for family

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for my precious boy, Miles Lucas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for HOME

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful that Miles sleeps so well

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for baby cuteness

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for snuggles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for sleep

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for bath time

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for swings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And seats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And slings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And ducky towels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for smiles

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yawns

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m thankful for learning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And growing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And I’m thankful for all the amazing things yet to come with my little boy

My Little Man

April 16th, 2012

 

Miles Lucas Ong

10lbs 5oz. 22 inches long

11:20 AM

January 27th, 2011

 

January 18th was my official due date, though I had been telling everyone the 20th just because that was the first date I had come up with and 20ths are meaningful to us (dating and wedding anniversaries are both 20ths.) Both days came and went with nothing more than my traditional contractions that came every evening when my husband and I walked laps around our outdoor mall. They always went away after I got home and sat down.

I was very committed to waiting until baby was ready to come and tried really hard to not be impatient. At my 41wk midwife appointment I had the first twinge of really wanting to push things forward because once I hit 42wks I could no longer have a home birth by Colorado law. I trusted that God would direct the timing however and tried to quell my anxiousness. My midwife, Lisa, said that we would chat again on Friday (the 27th) and if nothing had happened we could discuss ways of starting some natural induction efforts.

I was also struggling with a horrible rash that we were assuming was PUPPPs. The itchiness was just about unbearable most nights and I would often lay awake in the dark crying and begging God for it to all be over. That rash was the absolute worst part of my pregnancy and was the biggest reason I wanted that baby OUT. I was told that it would disappear soon after birth, but in reality I continued to fight it for more than a month after my son was born.

I told myself I could make it until Friday. I wanted to give my baby all the time he/she needed. I knew God would give all the grace needed to get through each moment. I did a lot of mental preparation that last week. I knew that birth was simply part of life and that God had given me everything I needed through Jesus. I repeated so many truths to myself over and over in those last weeks. I told myself that God would be near and give me strength. I told myself that pain is a necessary part of life and growth. I chose to embrace this birth as something I wanted and was choosing, not as something that was forced on me in order to get this child out of me. I told myself that I would accept and embrace the pain and choose to not take it out on anyone around me, but to let it do it’s work.

Despite all of this, I woke up Thursday morning with a feeling of urgency. Both God and my body were telling me it was time to take action. I felt that something wasn’t quite right and I could no longer just wait for baby to pick the timing, but that I needed to step in and get things moving. I called my midwife and she was fully on board with following my gut and seeing what we could to do move things along, both for the baby’s sake, and because the rash was making me so miserable and exhausted. She, and the assisting midwife, Joanna, came over that afternoon to check me (first time that had been done) and strip my membranes. My midwife had actually never stripped membranes before but Joanna had and talked her through it.  (Side note: I was truly struck at this point with how committed my midwife was to letting babies come on their own, and also how trusting she was of my gut feeling that something wasn’t quite right, enough so to do something she had never done before.) She was very gentle and it hurt, but not too bad. Later Joanna did it again and I could tell she was much more confident. It hurt so, so much more that time! Lisa also had me start taking caster oil. That was the grossest thing I have ever put in my mouth. It is such a thick, oily stuff that I could hardly get it down without gagging and it coming right back up.
The midwives left for a while to give me some space and my mom and youngest brothers came over for a bit and walked around the yard with me. I told Chris I would let him know when things started picking up, but he was too excited and just came home at lunch time. Mom and the boys left a bit after Chris got there. The midwifes came back and checked me again, set up the birth room, and said to get some rest and call them later. Chris and I watched something on Netflix and then headed to bed about 9.

I had just put my nightgown on and was walking around the end of the bed to my side when the first real contraction hit and stopped me in my tracks. I looked up at Chris with wide eyes and didn’t say anything. He asked, “A contraction?” and I just nodded. Once it passed I told him to call Lisa. She said to time them for a while and try to sleep if we could. I was completely exhausted from a long day of anticipation and walking and everything else, but I simply could not sleep. I don’t think it was even an hour before I asked Chris to call Lisa back and ask her to come. I’m not sure why I felt like I needed her there so soon, but I really wanted her to be there for my peace of mind.

I moved downstairs to the guestroom that was set up as our birth room. I quickly wanted nothing to do with moving around at all and spent the next few hours on my side only half conscious between contractions.  Every hour or so I would have a particularly strong one that would make me vomit. I don’t know if that was a side affect of the caster oil or just the way my body responds to pain but it was icky either way. If I hadn’t been so tired going into it I would have liked to try to be up and moving around but I was so very exhausted from the very beginning and slept as best I could between contractions. I never knew I could sleep for two minute snatches like that. Some time during the night Lisa said I could go ahead and get in the birthing pool and see if it helped me relax. I loved that thing and wasn’t too happy when she wanted me to get back out a couple hours later so she could check me.

Breathing was my best friend during labor. The harder a contraction the more I would relax and breathe through it. Sometimes I felt like I was hardly conscious  hardly “there” at all. Chris couldn’t even tell when I was having contractions most of the night except when Lisa was having us time them. I had wondered frequently how I would handle the pain but I found that as things got more intense I was able to completely pull into myself and focus on breathing and coping and stay totally calm. I know all my mental preparation in the weeks before really helped. I had no conscious thoughts of talking myself through things during labor (I hardly had any conscious thoughts at all) but I know the truth was there, embedded in my subconscious, and was a huge part of my ability to stay calm and relaxed.

I had terrible back labor almost from the start. I hardly even noticed my stomach contracting because the back pain was so awful. At some point in the early morning hours I remember thinking that I wasn’t sure how much longer my back could take that kind of intense cramping.  I asked Lisa how much longer she thought it might be. She said it didn’t seem like things were progressing very quickly based on my pain level. She said it needed to get alot worse before much was going to happen. I was disappointed and a little overwhelmed because I didn’t know if I could handle much worse and I knew I had to hold myself together otherwise I would not be ok at all. If I lost control I knew bad things would happen. I wondered if she just couldn’t tell how bad it really was, but I figured I probably just had no idea how bad it was really going to get. Looking back I think I just hid pain really well because I was progressing faster than we thought.

I moved back and forth between the pool and lying on my side on the bed most of the night. Chris sat in a chair near me. I probably seemed to ignore him, but I was always relieved each time I opened my eyes and saw him there. I needed his presence.

At one point Lisa came in and sent Chris upstairs to rest for a bit, saying she would sit with me. I was semi-reclining in the pool with my eyes closed most of the time. We suddenly heard a really strange noise. I opened my eyes and looked at Lisa. We were both puzzled by it. She got up and looked around the room. We wondered if it could be an alarm of some kind. It was just a steady, sort of high pitched whine. Eventually we realized that it was a hole in the side of the pool leaking air! She asked me if we had any duct tape and I was able to tell her exactly where I had last seen it. She teased me about it later. Here I was in hard labor, hardly able to speak most of the time, and describing exactly on what shelf in the laundry room the duct tape was sitting.

I lost all concept of time during most of my labor but I remember the sun finally coming up and a little big later Lisa and Jonna checked me again. I was getting a feeling that Lisa was concerned I wasn’t progressing very fast. I felt like there was a little bit of tension in the room. Finally Lisa announced that I was about 9cm and almost completely effaced. Everyone was so relieved. I had been feeling that I was getting close but I was unsure of myself because I had never done this before. Jonna gave me a back rub and some counter pressure during contractions and I was amazed to find how much it helped. I wished I had thought to ask for that before. From then on things seemed to get moving and everyone was much more involved. I had someone press on my back with every contraction. I was relieved to find that help and thought maybe I could handle more after all.

Around 9 in the morning Jonna checked me again and broke my water. Only a couple minutes later I felt the urge to push, however Lisa and Jonna came back in the room with some hard news. Lisa said that there was quite a bit of meconium in the water which could mean the baby was under stress, and also be dangerous if the baby had aspirated any of it. She said everything was probably just fine but she wanted us to transfer to the hospital just in case the baby needed extra care.  I think Chris and I just stared blankly for a minute.  We felt we were so close to meeting our little one, and now everything was changing. We totally trusted Lisa’s judgment and knew this was a very hard decision for her and I remember nodding in agreement because I knew she wouldn’t make us transfer unless she really felt it was necessary. At the same time I remember thinking that maybe if I just pushed that baby out right there she couldn’t make me go. I did not see how I could possibly get dressed, get in the car and go to the hospital right then. Chris brought me dry clothes and tried to help me get dressed and moved to the car. I glared at him and mostly refused to move. My contractions were right on top of each other and I was not the least bit happy about what they were making me do. I’m sure I made it difficult. I was practically dragged across the house. They did finally get me in the car on my hands and knees and Lisa sat next to me while Chris drove and Joanna followed behind. I was so thankful the hospital was only 7 minutes away. It seemed like such a long 7 minutes.

I had told myself over and over in the last weeks of pregnancy that no matter how I felt I did not need to take it out on others. I remember quietly asking Lisa to push on my back (though maybe with a tinge of desperation,) even though I felt like screaming at the world. I was honestly shocked at how well I was able to stay calm and composed. Something in me just new that the moment I gave in to the pain I would loose all control and it would be a fast down hill road.  Things did seem to slow down a bit on the car ride and until I got up to the hospital room. I assume my body kinda put things on hold while everything was changing. I know labors can get stuck if there is too much distracting mom, and I really appreciated that at the moment!

We got to the hospital, found a wheel chair, and had a hard time getting passed the front desk. They wanted all my information right then and didn’t seem to understand that I was not only in labor but ready to push. I wondered if I needed to start screaming to get the point across. Someone finally wheeled me upstairs to a room. I remember her saying “You can tell me if you have a contraction.” I didn’t say anything but I was thinking “First of all, what good whoudl that do? And second, I’ve already had 3 while you’ve been pushing me.” Chris pulled me out of the wheelchair and helped get my pants off and I climbed onto the bed on my hands and knees. I knew right then that I was gonna push that baby out no matter what anyone said. I announced my intention and the room was suddenly a flurry of activity. It all got kinda hazy at that point. I know there were people around me, flipping me onto my back, strapping on a monitor, clipping things on my finger, etc. I remember a nurse asking where the doctor was and telling someone to find him right away – multiple times. I remember Chris behind me and leaning against him. I remember being told to push, and push harder. Pretty much the only conscious thought I can remember was about the pushing. Lisa had told me at an appointment that we would take it really slow and carefully, and I remember thinking this was NOT slow, as the nurse next to me yelled “Push! Push! Push!” I was thinking “I AM pushing!”  I remember feeling Chris’ excitement and people saying they could see the head. I wished I could be excited too, but I was working to hard to have any emotion at the moment. The nurse asked me multiple times if I wanted to reach down and feel my babies head. I half wished I could, but I was too focused on pushing to even try to divert enough brain power to do that. There was a sudden whoosh of release, and the doctor announced it was a boy, Chris cut the cord (spraying blood everywhere,) and they whisked the baby off to the other side of the room to make sure he was ok. We had only been at the hospital for about 30 minutes.

This was the worst part of the whole experience for me, because suddenly, I was alone, Chris had gone to see the baby, the doctor was pushing on my stomach and it seemed even more painful than the whole labor process. The nurse stuck some needle into my leg (to try to get the bleeding stop) and I started to realize the doctor was a little concerned about how much blood I was loosing. I started crying a little bit then. I just wanted my husband and my baby and for all the pain and strangers to melt away. Chris came over and said “He definitely looks like a Miles. I think we should name him Miles.” (We had two boy names that I hadn’t been able to choose between. Miles had always been Chris’ favorite.) I was so frustrated because I hadn’t even SEEN him yet. The doctor, nurses, and my husband all got to hold him before I did. I hated that. I was his mama and I had such a hard time giving up that right to be the first to hold my baby. I tried to watch him over there with the nurses, Chris standing over their shoulders, but I was too distracted.

Pretty soon Chris brought him over and I held him for the first time. My little Miles. My son. All 10lbs of him. And that 15″ head. Yeah.

Miles was just fine but because of all my bleeding I needed to be at the hospital and would have likely ended up as an emergency transfer if we had stayed home. That kiddo was just so big. God knew.

I am so thankful for the promptings I felt to try to get things going. If Miles had not been born when he was, the meconium might have become a problem and he might not have been born healthy. Besides, I’m not sure I could have pushed out a much bigger baby!

We finally got home two days later and I felt that life could begin again. I really don’t like hospitals. I’m thankful it was there when I needed it, and I do not truly regret the way things happened. I know I coudn’t have asked for a better outcome with circumstances as they were.

It was an amazing time getting to know this child, who was ours. To know him, as Miles, and not just “little one” or “the baby.” He is so precious.

 

 

Learning Grace

January 9th, 2012

Sometimes I’m scared to be a mom. As uncomfortable as pregnancy is, sometimes I wish this little one would stay put forever. I’m used to being pregnant. Its normal. I’ve never been a mom, and its not something that will be over and done with after 9 months. It is a role I will have the rest of my life. It sounds so overwhelming. I can hardly take care of myself, yet I am about to become responsible for another precious life. I am realizing again that no matter how well informed I am this is simply something I cannot do.

Grace.

This is still His battle. My righteousness is all His anyway. My success is only Him in me. He is the one who does all the work. My job is to trust, and rest, and follow unquestioningly, and revel in this overwhelming grace.

It is so amazing to contemplate His work in us. I look at myself right now and I don’t see much that reflects Majesty. I’m still in my pajamas, I need a shower, I’m surrounded by mess and half eaten food, I’m huge and can hardly move, I cry lots. Still a voice inside whispers that I am made in the image of the Giver of Life. I feel the little one move and am filled with wonder. This little one is receiving from me the greatest gift, the gift I need daily – Life. I receive Life from the Giver of All Life, and then I share it as well. I share with this little one I have not yet met, with my husband, with the people I rub shoulders with each day. To be a part of His work, is it not amazing grace?

I may be afraid at times of the changes to come, but I’m excited too. I don’t want life to stay as it is. I want more. I don’t want to miss out because of fear. I want to do hard things, and see God work. I want more of God. As I give freely of my life, I will be given more and more.

Life changes

December 5th, 2011

Chris has been using our website for some experimenting with other projects and I haven’t had a chance to update much.
In April we found out that our happy life is going to change in the biggest way yet. Baby Ong will be here some time around January 20th. So we have begun a new and miraculous journey.

In August we had a two year prayer answered in a new job for Chris. He is now working as a Project Manager at Madwire Media in Loveland. It is a really awesome job and he even gets to do some video work here and there.

In October our amazing God gave us another one of our incredible dreams – a little house. I really didn’t expect to be out of apartments only a year and a half into marriage. The whole process was such a God thing. So quirky and impossible.

[Journal entry 10-27]

I love this house. I love our cold little bedroom and wonderful windows. I love waking up to a roaring fire and whistling tea kettle. I love the wood floor and the huge kitchen and the narrow staircase. I love finally having room for people. I love having a whole room dedicated to Baby. I love curling up on the couch in the mornings, by the fire, and having time to just think and be still.
The reality of being an adult is really hitting me right now, along with the amazement of this parenting journey we are about to begin. What a responsibility. I have been struggling with the fear of caving to the mediocre and mundane, the “cage”, but I am realizing that what God calls me to will never be lacking in abundant life. I was reading Isaiah this morning and marveling at the incredible promises God made to His chosen people. Because I know that I am now included in the children of promise through faith, there is no way that even a life full of curtains and cooking and diapers and dusting could be anything but unbelievable fulfilled and even exciting.

God’s promises hold true no mater what my stage and station in life. It is my responsibility to stand fast in faith, and His to get creative in fulfilling them.

 

 

Prayer Power (Yet another “A Year Ago Today Post”)

April 27th, 2011

[Journal Entry 4-27-2010]

“Tonight Chris handed me a stack of papers and asked if I was ready to hear the rest of the story.

I had no idea.

I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve a man with that kind of faith and determination and selflessness. But… I don’t deserve anything You give me, and yet You want me to accept it as an expression of Your love and use it for Your glory.

I feel pretty loved.”

I had shrugged, nodded, sipped my Chai and started reading.

Dec 1st, 2009

Dear future wife,

Last night while having my quiet time with God before going to bed I felt led to start something odd. I am going to be praying for you for an hour a day for the next 25 days. I have no clue as to how or why 25 days but it just seems God wants me to put some intense effort into praying. Can’t wait to see what happens.

Chris

I was speechless. It had only been a week since I had told him I was willing for our relationship to move forward. I was surprised that he was already handing me letters addressed to his future wife. Presumptuous?

This is an excerpt from the Dec 12th letter.

“I pray that I would completely leave the picture, that Christ would send His spirit and fill me even more, that I would die so that Christ would take over, knowing that you are going to be the type of person that will only love a man who himself is a clear picture of Christ. I pray for you that you would do the same.”

I’m pretty sure my heart stopped for a couple seconds when I got to Dec 18th and read:

Dear Christy,

I am writing this in faith that God will soon give you to me as my wife. I have gone through a tremendous journey the past few days. A journey I would not trade for the world. I don’t know you very well right now but I do know you are a remarkable woman who loves the Lord with her whole heart, mind, and soul. I have asked God that he would work in your heart so that our paths in life would merge and we would walk the rest of the way side by side as best friends who’s only desire is to serve and bring glory to God by any means He deems fit. Writing this letter is a huge step of faith for me. I have only recently started this deeper life of bold prayers to God. My prayers are born out of my asking Him to lead me in the prayers He wants me to pray. I am very exited and can’t wait for the day I can give this letter to you.

Boldly asking that God bestow His favor on me by letting you eventually be my wife,

Chris

Ummm. WHAT IN THE WORLD??? This letter was written a whole 4 months before I gave him any indication that I would even consider marrying him. 3 months before I was even willing to think about marriage at all. The audacity of this man. The faith…

Dec 22nd, 2009

Dear Christy,

I had a great hour of prayer, especially the last half hour when God brought even more scripture to me encouraging me that He will answer my prayers. I got done with prayer and you were on google chat. We talked about the struggles you have been having the last week or so. I believe they are caused by God working in your heart due to my prayers. I never meant to cause you pain or struggle and would gladly let you off the hook but I believe God is doing something much bigger. I know exactly what you are not surrendered to but only God can open your eyes and show you … Who knows, you still might get to Africa yet.

That was in response to the chat I posted a part of in the What Do You Fear, My Lady? post. I actually laughed out loud a couple times, through my tears, as I read his letters and remembered the conversations and realized how much more was going on than I knew at the time and remembered my confusion that God would tell this man my secrets when I knew so little of him. Now I knew why.

The letters continued on, past Dec 25th, when his “Prayer Project” ended and clear through April 20th, when I’d finally said yes. Here are a few more excerpts.

Dec 31st

Had a wonderful chat with you. He is working so much in your life. I am afraid my prayers have caused you pain in that at the moment marriage seems like the worst possible thing to you. I wish I could just out and tell you what is going on, but I cant… You don’t know it yet, but all the adventure, all the romance, and all the joy of serving God that you desire will be best brought to you by marriage. I just wish it was to a better man than me.

Jan 11th

I heard your mom say your middle name on New Years. Laurel. I find it ironic. A laurel is a wreath or crown bestowed on an athlete or warrior as a token of favor.  My middle name is Stephen. Stephen means crowned one. One of my prayers has been that God would show me his favor by giving me a wife because “he who finds a wife obtains the favor of the Lord”. Proverbs also says a virtuous woman is a crown to her husband. I hope I’m not making to much of this, but I think it’s really awesome.

Feb 15th

My prayers for you continue. At the same time I pray even more for myself. That I would seek God above all… If I can somehow keep Christ first and abide in Him you will eventually come and help me delve these truths deeper. I see small things happen and wonder if you aren’t trying to give me signals, yet at the same time you still talk about marriage as if its something you would rather avoid, even though you are slowly becoming more accustomed to the idea. I will continue to pray more. I think its just a matter of time.

March 15th

Another month. We have seriously gotten to know each other so much better. I praise God for you so much. Right now in my life, of a the people I know, you point me to God the most. I keep wanting to rush things but God is saying “Just hold your horses. I am working slowly but surely.” I can see his fingerprints everywhere in our relationship.

April 14th, 2010

Dear Christy,

This is what you wrote,

“Dear God,

You told me its what I need, the only way to fulfill some of my dreams, to trust you, and be ok with it. I am ok with it, ok? But you know how much I hate the limbo of waiting indefinitely, so as shocking as this may sound coming from me… would you please hurry up? Sincerely, me.”

Can’t tell you how much this filled me with joy. Your wait will not be long. Now I can move, now I can act, now I will be able to start giving everything I have been wanting to give.

Chris

What he quoted me saying here came originally from my journal. On a whim, I posted it as my google chat status for all of 5 minutes before I decided it was too personal and took it down. He saw it. There were only a couple people who would understand what I was talking about. He knew.

This is from April 19th. The night before our little coffee shop talk.

My chest is tight and pounding. I am praying for peace and faith. Christy, I only want to help you achieve your dreams. The prayers I have been pouring forth all day, whenever found with a moments time, have been that this news would simply make you happy. I really, really do not want to create any stress or cause for more struggle in your life as you have already been going through so much. Rather I want you to embrace this as God working and answering your desires to move forward in your walk and a large step in the direction of your dreams of being able to serve Him answered. This step I know is of God, and I have prayed over it so earnestly… Christy, other  than my desire to know God more and please Him, my greatest desire has been to simply see you happy. This step, if you choose to take it, will allow me even more freedom and tools to help make you more happy and in seeing your joy I will be joyful too. Please, let me serve you, let me be God’s tool to help fulfill your dreams and desires, let me be the one that God uses to enable you to serve Him. Nothing in this world right now would make me happier.

The person who wants to be the best friend that is always there and will never leave,

Chris

 

And the last one:

April 20th, 2010

Dear Christy,

You said you want to move forward. I am a very very happy person tonight.

Chris

Show Me Your Glory

April 26th, 2011

[Journal Entry]

I want You to be my center. I want the confidence that my life truly revolves around You.

I want You to be my basis of orientation. My True North.

I know this is a process but I feel such a desperation for it to be more true than it is. I feel that I waste so much precious Life on things that are not You, yet I know learning and growing is never a waste. And often, I just don’t care as much as I wish. I just don’t want You as much as I’d hope.

I think I need more investment in You and Life and Eternity so that my heart will follow.

Sometimes, even when I know I do want something more deep down, I decide I would rather browse Facebook, or even do dishes than make the effort to pick up my Bible or fall to my knees and grasp for the heart of God.

O God, I have tasted Your goodness, and it has both satisfied me and mad me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want You; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Your glory, I pray, that so I may know You indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow You up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.
 In Jesus name.
 Amen – A. W. Tozer

words

April 22nd, 2011

I love words.
Words are beautiful.Words carry such meaning. I don’t use words as well as I’d like, but I’m trying and I’m learning and I’m loving words more each day.
Words show love.
Words reveal truth.
Words give definition to emotions.
Words give expression to LIFE.
Words are amazing.

I love them.
(I’m particularly in love with some of these words right now. I want them. ALL OVER my house.)

[/end random muse]