Some Days Are Harder Than Others

In the most chaotic moments, when I’m wrapped in his arms I feel better.

This afternoon was a rough one, as my car was smacked with a woman’s runaway cart.  That seems something miniscule in the realm of all possible things to go wrong in a single day; however, my morning was rough and I was already making a decision to have a good day when this cart (a Sams Club Cart…THOSE THINGS ARE THE SIZE OF VOLTS WAGON BEETLES!!) smacked into my car. The damage is minimal, but a smashed mirror and scuff marks to the front fender are still things that cost money.  Money that I simply don’t have. I have a deductible on my insurance that is more than what the damage is, and the damage at this point in time is more than I can afford to pay out of pocket.  Simply put, a catch 22.

So this afternoon after we had lunch, I drove Roman and I back to his house so we could rest.  He’d been a work since 5am, and I was ready to crawl in a hole for the day.  As we were taking a nap I woke up to him laughing in his sleep and for some reason I was totally comforted.  Even in the worst circumstances, this man is thankful.  Roman has encouraged me so many times just by being who he is.  He sees God’s miracles in the smallest things.  He sees God’s beauty in the smallest things.  He appreciates the smallest moments.  His laughter made my soul feel better.

So this evening as I’m processing the damage to my car, all of the issues going on at home, all of the money that I am short for one thing or another, I am also thankful for a God who brings me joy in the smallest ways. I am praying that as I continue to be faithful to God, I will be blessed.

Some days are harder than others.

Almighty

As a follow up to yesterday’s post (that you can read here), we had a rough night as a family last night.  I know I’ve mentioned in previous posts that this summer has been a difficult one for my family and last night was another one of those nights.

 

It involves a grieving mother, too much alcohol, an overbearing-incredibly-sketchy-almost-ex-step-father, a whole lot of anxiety and a whole lot more prayer.

 

Tonight when I opened my devotional I began to read EXACTLY what God wanted me to hear:

“On some days your circumstances and your physical condition feel out of balance: The demands on you seem far greater than your strength. Days like that present a choice between two alternatives–giving up or relying on Me. Even if you wrongly choose the first alternative, I will not reject you.  You can turn to Me at any point, and I will help you crawl our of the mire of discouragement.  I will infuse My strength into you moment by moment, giving you all that you need for this day. Trust Me, by relying on My empowering Presence.” (The devotional is Jesus Calling by Sarah Young.)

A night that ended with me knelt at the foot of my mother’s bed praying and sobbing over her as she slept, certainly falls within the characteristics of my “demands seeming far greater than my strength”.  Last night, I could have folded under the pressure and given up. I felt sick enough to. The fear was paralyzing enough that I could have, but in the most hopeless of situations, I turned to Jesus and begged. Guys, I begged harder than I’ve ever begged. I prayed and I cried and I prayed and I cried.  I allowed God’s empowering Presence to comfort me, I asked Roman for prayer; I asked my sister for prayer. I asked my aunt for prayer. And I allowed God’s Empowerment to Comfort my Soul. Nothing within my situation changed, but what changed was that in those moments when I was pouring everything I had to God, I felt an overwhelming peace. God doesn’t always immediately change your circumstances, but he absolutely will show you how to rely on Him. I am learning this lesson time and time again. It’s a difficult lesson, but I am thankful every step of the journey.

Back to tonight–After reading the short devotion I went to the scripture associated with the excerpt.

Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will remember you…Psalm 42:5-6

I realized in the very moment that I read that scripture, that God was showing me I’m not alone.  Spiritual “offness” (like I was feeling during the day yesterday) has happened before, there are cases IN THE BIBLE! I am so thankful for a God who takes time to show us we aren’t alone. I am thankful that when I was searching for answers yesterday and I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, God already knew and he already had a plan.

Tonight, though issues are not completely resolved,

I have peace.

I have faith.

I have a God who is all-knowing.

All powerful and

…..ALMIGHTY!…..

This is not a battle I have to fight, God has already won it. 

Have You Any Right to be Angry?

Jonah 4-4So, how about you?–Do you have any right to be angry? Let me explain a little further. Most everyone knows the story of Jonah and the whale. Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh and Jonah was like “I don’t think sooo!” and he hops a boat to Tarshish. There is a giant storm that causes sheer panic to set in around the boat. Eventually the men on the boat figure out the storm is caused by Jonah’s disobedience to God, so first they try to row back to shore and drop Jonah off, but the storm gets worse and they are forced to throw him overboard. A big fish (whale) comes and swallows Jonah. Jonah prays in the belly of the whale and 3 days later God causes the fish to vomit him to dry land. THEN Jonah decides he should probably do what God called him to do.

I know I already talked about Gideon in another post, but isn’t it kind of funny that each person who is called in the bible has a different, yet similar reaction to being called. *-PANIC!-* Like Gideon didn’t even believe an angel coming to him, and required constant reassurance. Jonah just flat out took the flight option out of his panic. He was like “Catch ya later God!–I’m totally freaked.”

ANYWAY

Guys. I totally thought the story stopped there. Somewhere in my childhood, somewhere perhaps between nursery class and junior church, chapter 4 was omitted. The chapter where Jonah is mad at God for saving the city of Nineveh. He is MAD that God sent him to the city of Nineveh to preach their doom and that when God saw the people turn from their wicked ways he decided to spare them. He was mad! Mad enough he wanted to die. (*cue the drama* Jonah is a tad dramatic boys and girls.)

I think this is an especially important point to be made. How many times have you been called by God to do something, minister to someone, do a specific job, then the outcome isn’t what you expected and then you’re kind of (or down right) MAD. We are called and whether we admit it or not, we kind of romanticize what the outcome will be.

Ok, Jesus I will totally go and tell all of these people about You and they will come to church and they will give their lives to you and they will bow down and proclaim you as King and then they will go and they will build a church somewhere and bring tons of other people to you and it’s going to be this big wonderful EXTRAVAGANT thing all because you called me to tell them about you.

Uh. Hold on just a second. Who gives us the authority to determine the outcome? And then do we have any right to be angry when the outcome isn’t what we expected it to be?

Here’s what happens with Jonah:

“O Lord, is this not what I said when I was still at home? That is why I was so quick to flee to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-4  (A little dramatic, don’t you think? Goodness Jonah, pull yourself together man!!)

And that’s when God says to him: “Have you any right to be angry?”

God uses another circumstance to teach Jonah a lesson. Jonah leaves the city and makes himself a shelter to wait and see what happens to the city. While he is there God makes a vine grow to provide some shade for Jonah and protect him from the heat. He is SERIOUSLY excited about it. Then, when morning comes, God makes a worm eat the vine and it kills it. Jonah is BEYOND upset. (You guys, he wants to die again. I mean, really.) God asked him again “Do you have a right to be angry about the vine?” Jonah 4:9

AND GET THIS (I mean, seriously Jonah…you’re a little dramatic brother.) He says, “I do. I am angry enough to die.” I just get this vision of a small child reasoning with a parent. I know this behavior may seem just as ridiculous to you, but how many of us…how many times have YOU or I acted this way with God? Like a whining child. As soon as something doesn’t happen precisely the way we intended, we are ready to “die” or to give up, or throw in the towel.

So God gives Jonah, and in the process ME, a little wake up call. He says this:

“You have been concerned about this vine, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and it died overnight. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” Jonah 4:10-11.

                                          –>Are we angry about something that we didn’t tend or make grow?
                                          –>Are we angry about the outcome of something God has called us to do?
                                          –>”Have you any right to be angry?”

I’ll leave you with this. A couple weeks ago Roman had an issue at work and I told him “You have every RIGHT to be angry.” His response to me was “No, I have every REASON to be angry, but I have no RIGHT.”

Take a few minutes today to consider the things that cause you anger. Then consider the thought

Have you any right to be angry?

Embrace It

Last night I was watching videos by Jefferson Bethke, and one of the videos was entitled “How Can I Know God’s Will?”. One of the things that he said in the video really stood out to me. Does what you’re doing bring you closer to God? Does it give you the opportunity to love people and to serve people more? Does it give God glory? (I am paraphrasing, but this is what God spoke to me out of his message.) So, like Jefferson says, if you are faced with two paths to take, chose the one that gives you the opportunity to draw nearer to Christ.

My new job is frightening because of the unknown, but there are parts of this job that are going to give me the opportunity to love and serve and give more than my previous job ever did. Sure, when I first took this job I was 100% motivated by the $3 more an hour and the health insurance. I do think that God provided this job knowing that I needed those things, but His plan–like always–was SO MUCH BIGGER than I even imagined.

Graduate school is another thing that has surprised me. Because I am attending a Christian University, we start every class with a short devotional and prayer. ARE YOU HEARING ME?! When I found this out, I was incredibly excited! I looked at other schools, I actually had been accepted already to Ohio University and just didn’t have peace about going. I now know why I didn’t have the peace I needed. God had other plans, and Marti was just too busy trying to run the show. (-sigh- the curses of a first born.) Either way, this graduate program isn’t just about me furthering my education, it is about me furthering my relationship with Christ. Furthering my knowledge about Christ and being surrounded by people who believe the way I do. I am looking forward to making lasting friendships, getting to know my professors and immersing myself in the plan that God has for my life.

2014-08-17 19.16.05

Another big thing that has been happening is that Roman is getting very busy too. Our time that we’ve spent together has really diminished in the past couple of weeks do to changing schedules. I found myself becoming sad, angry, easily upset, because I missed spending the time with him that I used to. Yesterday when I picked up “Jesus Calling” the passage discussed praying even when things get busy. That just saying His Name brings peace and comfort while you are doing whatever task requires your attention. When things slow down and you have some alone time, that’s when you speak to God more in depth. The second paragraph discussed taking the day as it comes to you and not wishing for different circumstances. That is exactly what I had been doing, and I believe it was the root of all of my discomfort. I was spending too much time and energy wishing these 2 years would fly by, that things would be different, that Roman and I would have the time that we had all summer, and really this is just another part of God’s plan for our lives. How rude of me to just push this phase away like a chore. There is a lot to be learned, a lot to be discovered, there are a lot of friendships to be made and people to talk to about Christ. God’s Will for my life is shining through it a lot of different ways. There is a lot of knowledge and growth to be had in this journey.

I’m choosing to embrace it.

Raising Our Hands, Getting the Full Affect of Jesus

Remember how a few posts back I said I like to be candid?–Well, this is going to be one of those moments. I would say, for those of you who don’t want to read the following post, please skip it; however, those of you who read these posts I’ve generally sent you a personal link to it. Thus deeming that thought as nothing more than my dream of one day having a million readers. 😉

Anyway, on to the good stuff.

I’ve talked a lot recently about how God has been working in my life and he really REALLY has. What started as a HORRIBLE day when I walked out of the last of my two summer jobs, has turned into the biggest blessing God has given me: TIME TO SPEND WITH HIM. I have had so much time to spend in his word, to spend contemplating who He is, learning various Bible Stories and their historical/ spiritual significance. I’ve spent time thinking and praying about what He wants for my life. At the very start of this whole thing I had to take time to relearn how to pray.

GUYS-this thing doesn’t happen over night. It starts with obedience–which is a little gem of information that my sister Bethany gave to me a couple weeks ago and she was SO RIGHT–and then it slowly grows and transforms into this beautiful relationship. IT’S NOT EASY. Let me repeat that so I don’t mislead anyone (again I’m talking to my invisible million readers) IT. IS. NOT. EASY. It becomes something that you enjoy. It becomes something that you crave. It becomes something that is second nature to you. However, human nature is just one that likes to take charge and figure things out on their own, and it is so easy to forget that you are to listen and wait and think and TRUST that God has something for you.

Any beyond all of that, the deeper you get in Christ, the more he’s like “Hey, give me this sin. Hey, I actually think your life would be more abundant if you decided to let me take care of this. Hmmm, my daughter, I know you are justifying and holding on to this, but I’d like to have that and give you something more.” And guess what?!–THAT ISN’T EASY EITHER!! It becomes easier, but it’s hard to admit to yourself and then to a Holy God that you aren’t perfect…AS IF HE’S SHOCKED! Really, I think it’s more difficult to admit to ourselves that we have failed. No one likes failure.

All of my life I have struggled with the thought of failure. I’ve spent a lot of time being the fixer, the comforter, the answer-giver, the oldest. So, admitting that I don’t have it all figured out is contrary to everything I have lived up until now.

Relationships have always been something I’ve craved. I want to be wanted, I want to be needed, I want to be accepted, I want to feel loved. (Who doesn’t?!) However, a lot of times I have filled this void with incredibly unhealthy things. In my current relationship, Roman and I have really started to dig deeper (or dial in as Pastor John likes to say) into this thing called life, what it means for us, and then how God intended us to live it. With that being said, that has meant some pretty serious changes in our relationship. It’s started with small things–going to church, having spiritual conversations, buying devotionals, asking each other questions about what we want the future to look like and now the BIGGEST change so far, NO. MORE. SEX. (I’m not even going to pretend like that didn’t hurt a little to write.)

God has been speaking to both of us for the past few weeks. Every Sunday we would leave church, I would feel incredibly guilty because of the church I grew up in (I already KNEW the rules!!), Roman would feel confused. He knew what he rule was. He knew what his parents taught him, but still… “I don’t feel like I’m doing anything wrong. I love you.” And to be honest, I didn’t feel like I was doing anything wrong either, but things happen over time that shift your belief patterns. Premarital sex is written about in the Bible pretty plainly. There isn’t a lot of leeway given. As God continues to work in your life, you begin to start believing.

Like I said before about this not being easy, IT IS NOT EASY. God created us as sexual beings. Period. We are programmed to want sex. And like everything else in this journey, it starts as obedience and then becomes about a relationship. Glory. Love. Reverence.

Roman and I aren’t “super-Christians”, we don’t have this whole thing figured out, but what we do have is a growing relationship with our God. I spent so much time as a teenager giving all of my time to “avoiding this sin or that sin”. What I have come to learn is that by spending your time with Christ, again it starts with obedience, things begin to fall into place. It’s not perfect. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to redirect my thoughts, or force myself to keep reading or doing what I was doing, but the longer I’ve given myself up to God, the more it becomes a joy to see what he’s going to give to me next. It becomes about having a meaningful relationship with Him and the sin part just falls into place. **This doesn’t mean we never again sin!! It just means your mind begins to change, your heart begins to change and things that you NEVER thought you could accomplish being happening just because you stepped out in obedience, which turned into faith, and then turned into a meaningful relationship with Christ.

So, here’s to a sex-free relationship. One that honors God.

P.S.- I always like to include a funny…and I HAVE to include this one. When we started talking about our “new found celibacy”, Roman and I were taking a walk together. He looked over at me and said “I’m going to start raising my hands in church, and you’re going to do it with me so I don’t feel alone.” I chuckled a little bit and said, “Ok, honey.” He continued by saying, “I mean, if I’m giving up the best parts of life, I am SURE gonna get the full affects of Jesus by raising my hands.” –I laughed so hard, I almost peed.

So really, here’s to raising our hands, getting the full affect of Jesus and living with a pure heart.

Undeniable Joy

When I originally started this blog, I wasn’t sure what the purpose would be.

I only knew 2 things:

1.- I like to write, like a lot.

2.- I had a pretty legitimately crazy boss and it needed documented for humor purposes.

Since my original blog post a month ago, I’ve had a lot of changes happen within me. I never intended for this blog to be a spiritual one. I mean, spirituality is very important to me and always has been, but I never knew that this would soon become a place for me to come and share the things God has revealed to me.

Either way, I am thankful, which is recently, a lesson that God has been teaching me time and time again. So, I wanted to make sure I took time today to document what God revealed to me during service this morning.

As pastor John got on the stage this morning and the tech people brought up the power point behind him, in BIG white letters against a black background it said “Homosexuality and the Bible”. I’m not going to lie, inwardly, I rolled my eyes. I even sighed. I was irritated. How MANY times are we going to beat this same issue?! How many times are we going to go over and over the fact that God created Adam and EVE not Adam and STEVE?!Yes, Pastor John, I get it.

Let me just tell you, God had something in store for me that I didn’t even know was about to happen.

There was a discussion about creation and God creating two sexes who complimented each other and then in their oneness, complimented God and gave him glory. There was a discussion about marriage. God takes marriage seriously! This isn’t a thing to be toyed with. Divorce is wrong. It’s more than homosexuality. It’s about sexual pureness. It’s about the sexuality of human beings as a whole and the fact that we were born into sexual brokenness. Homosexuality is just ONE of the MANY examples of sexual brokenness. Ouch.

Alright, so there is wake up call number one. Premarital sex is NO LESS a sin than homosexuality. Roger. I hear you loud and clear, Jesus. How dare I or anyone else walk with our chests puffed up telling others how much their sin SICKENS us?! Are we not sinners in some other way? What?..Your sin is better because it is socially acceptable? Not to God. Not to God it isn’t.

Wake up call number two, and the one that hit the hardest today. Divorce is a sin. OUCH! I am 8 months out from the finalization of my divorce. The marriage itself was a mistake. I was running from a home life of which I was petrified. My marriage was an answer to a problem. It was done for the wrong reasons. I was unequally yoked. I was rash. It wasn’t done out of love or out of honor to The Father. It was simply a means to an end. So, I sat in church, feeling the weight of Pastor John’s words, GOD’S words. Was my divorce really a sin?! Would I be committing adultery by getting married again? Would I be causing my spouse to commit adultery by marrying me? I left service with what felt like 1,000lbs on my shoulders and an ache in my stomach that LITERALLY made me feel like I had to throw up.

I was walking to the car with Roman and I reached into my purse to put my sunglasses on. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes and I didn’t want him or anyone else to see. “How are ya doin'”, he asked. I legitimately was so heavy and conflicted I couldn’t even use words. I just grunted in response.

As we drove out of the parking lot, tears started to roll silently down my cheeks. I kept thinking: Is there no grace for my mistakes?! Will God not allow me to marry again because I have gotten divorced?! I don’t understand. Was it my marriage that was a sin or my divorce that was a sin? Will I cause Roman to be an adulterer by marrying me? Thoughts flooded my brain and tears just kept coming. Roman sat quietly and squeezed my hand and after a few minutes he looked over to me, “What are you thinking babe?”

“I’m still just processing.” Those were the only words I could get out through my tears. He nodded his head and took a few seconds to think before he responded. “Marti, I think that the fact that you are even feeling this way says something about who you are. Did God even honor your marriage if it was done for all the wrong reasons and he doesn’t have any knowledge of God? I don’t want to put any words in God’s mouth, but I really believe that you marrying him was a mistake in the first place.”

My soul started to quiet some. I still let the tears flow freely, but I started to process what he was saying. The entire time I’m still thinking, Is there not grace enough for this? And then, all the sudden, it occurred to me. This is about so much more than a divorce, or a wrong marriage. My conviction was over the fact that I had never really asked for forgiveness about my divorce OR the wrong marriage. I always felt justified. Well God understands that I just married him because I was in such a horrible place at home. God can respect my decision.

NO. NO MARTI. God wants you to rely on him. To trust in him and his timing. Running to an earthly fix was never in the cards. What I felt in church today was God BEGGING me. Leading me. Convicting my spirit.

“Repent. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done, my child, my daughter. I love you, but you HAVE to give this to me. In order to move on, you MUST.”

When I got home I messaged a friend about the sermon. I told her I left in tears with the heaviest heart that I had had in YEARS. I told her, “I can’t remember the last time I felt so convicted.” I cried some more. And then in my heart I felt sorry. In a message I told her “I know I am probably telling the wrong person, but I am so sorry for the mistakes I made with him. I am so so sorry.”

Her response, which has lead to this entire post was this:

“Here is the Joy in God, He knows your heart. So you talking to me, He hears it. :)”

And here’s the thing…SHE IS SO RIGHT! 1.- There is ABSOLUTE Joy in God. Even when he convicts me. Even when I am SO BURDENED by my sin that I think perhaps it is unforgivable, as soon as I accept his forgiveness, there is UNDENIABLE joy. SO MUCH JOY!!!! 2. God knows my heart. He knows my heart and he knows your heart. It is so comforting to me that even through conversation with a friend, God is working.

Today, I feel Joy. I feel Joy for a God who is willing to even love me enough to convict me. I am thankful and overjoyed that the creator of all the earth would take time to speak to my soul and let me know that he wants me to cast my burdens on him.

It’s about so much more than homosexuality. It’s about our brokenness as a human race. We are all guilty and have fallen short of the Glory of God, but he knows your heart and he wants you to feel the joy that comes through forgiveness!

Thankful

Sometimes you just have to stop what you’re doing and be thankful for the people and the things that surround you. The past couple of weeks I have been overwhelmingly thankful for Roman and the joy that he brings to my life. It’s more than joy. Its comfort, understanding, encouragement, love, laughter, kindness, forgiveness, spiritual companionship, friendship. It’s really just so much.

Yesterday he and I went for a quick walk at Dillon Beach before we went to dinner and watched a movie. I found myself feeling content, happy. For a long time I’ve wondered what a happy relationship feels like. People will always say do whatever makes you happy and for whatever reason I was really stumped by that.

Dillon Beach Dillon Beach 2

I enjoy lots of things. I craft, I crochet, I sew, I spend time with my sisters, I tell stories, I laugh, I sing, but those things aren’t overly fulfilling to me. Mostly…I love to love. The issue I’ve always had is that I spend my time and energy loving people who don’t love with the same capacity that I do. The other HUGE factor that has changed recently is my spirituality. I spent several years struggling to be persistent in my relationship with God. Past relationships smothered my passion for Christ and I’m sad to have to admit that I wasn’t strong enough to battle that.

So, I’m ABUNDANTLY thankful for Roman–for the peace, love, joy, encouragement, rest, understanding and laughter that he brings to my life.

I’m also very thankful for my sisters.

SistersRecently I’ve spent more time at home being around them. It’s not always about doing something special; just being in each others’ presence is sometimes enough. Several nights the past month my sisters and I have ended up smashed into my queen sized bed, coloring, watching netflix, telling stories, sharing random vine videos and laughing. Just yesterday Abby and I were on opposite floors texting each other links to funny videos. I could hear her laughing a floor beneath me and I’d chuckle to myself wondering what video she would send me next.

Last week I took Charis to get her nails done for the first time.

Charis

I watched her make faces as the nail technician used the various filing tools. Amazement…PAIN. (I remember what it feels like the first time.) At one point she jerked her hand back and screamed “Owww!” The nail technician proceeded to tell her “Well, if you’d relax you’d get hurt less.” After we left Charis says to me “That was totally not my fault!” I told her I knew. For whatever reason the nail technicians always make it your fault. These are little moments that seem trivial or irrelevant, but when I take time to reflect, I realize that these are moments I am able to share with each of them that I will never forget, and I will never get back.

August 8th Abby and I will be taking a trip to New York City together.

New York

It is something that the two of us will remember for a lifetime. The 9th is her 19th birthday, which makes it all the more special!! Making memories is what life is all about and I am so excited to be making this one with her. I’ve already bought us tickets to see Wicked and we are SUPER pumped. We’ve had two solid months from Hell and we absolutely deserve this trip.

Abby

She is a fly by the seat of her pants kind of chick; she’s always been adventurous and loves to push the limits. I’m a nervous nelly. Period. Just the other night we decided to look up where our show was in comparison to other places we wanted to visit. There was slight panic (ok more than slight) as she said “Well, it’s on a island”….I go into immediate PANIC MODE! “ON AND ISLAND?! How are we going to get from New York City to an island?! Are we going to have to take a ferry?! OH MY GOSH! We’re only in the city for 12 hours! We will miss our bus home!! Or we won’t get to see everything we want to seeeee!!!” If I don’t come back from NYC, Abby has left me on a street corner because I have stressed her out too much. *Correction- If I come back without Abby, she has decided to make a life without me in NYC and insisted that I go back immediately!

And of course there is my sister Bethany.

Bethany & Eli

There aren’t enough words to express the love that has happened to all of us the past year. She has opened her house to all of us for the past 5 months. My nephew has brought so much joy to all of our lives and we all drop in and invade her space to smooch his cute little face. I remember finding out she was pregnant and I was devastated for myself. I had been trying for several months to have a baby and it just flat out wasn’t working. I will never be able to repay her for the incredible kindness and sensitivity she showed me even in my most selfish moments. Looking back everything has happened for a reason. I quickly jumped on board with the pregnancy, but the first few weeks were difficult and she showed me love and compassion that was immeasurable, and to be blunt she didn’t have to.

Since then baby E was born and I’ve watched my sister become the most loving mother. She is HILARIOUS with her son, which I also love. One of my favorite things to watch is when baby Eli is just throwing and all out FIT and she picks him up, puts him eye level and says “Ohhh my gooodnesss…”, in this weird, silly voice. He continues to scream and she’s just baby talking to him. I’ve enjoyed watching her mother and I’ve loved watching her and Patrick become a little family.

 Bethany and Eli  bethany family

Her persistence with breast feeding even when it was the most emotionally and physically exhausting thing has been inspiring. It’s a role reversal. I’ve done a lot and experienced a lot of things first. I can say without a doubt that I am the one learning from her every day. Parenting is hard. There is no other way to explain it. From an outside perspective, it’s hard. I know there is incredible joy. I know she is the happiest she’s ever been and that love is overflowing, but I also know she has put in the hardest days and nights of her life. If ever I doubted her strength, she has BEYOND proved that she is the flat out bomb-digity. There’s just no other words to say it.

Behind all of the things and the people that I am thankful for, is a woman who has fought to stand her ground all through her life. I get angry, I want to scream and yell and carry on. I want to live her life for her, or ship her out to live her life somewhere else at times, but there is no denying that all of us are who we are because of our Mother.

Mom

It’s where Bethany gets her mothering and her persistence. It’s where Abby gets her curiosity and adventurousness. It’s where Charis gets her sensitive spirit and her attitude. It’s where I get my passion for people and my nostalgia. Life isn’t easy. In fact life is probably the hardest thing we’ve all had to endure, but who we are has a great deal to do with who has influenced us. Without her, we’d be nothing. God gives each of us people in our lives that we are to influence. Her job was to raise 4 daughters. Daughters who have gotten her head-strong gene. Daughters who have learned to challenge authority and think for themselves. Daughters who were encouraged to have minds of their own and to chase their dreams. Daughters who were taught to be creative and innovative. Daughters who were taught to look to God for answers. Daughters who were taught that “sisters are forever”. Daughters who were taught to be kind to one another and to always defend each other. Daughters who were taught to love with a ferociousness that not everyone has. Daughters that were taught to have a compassion for all people. These are all qualities that have been facilitated and given from her. 

Even in the darkest times, there is no denying that we are who we are, because God gave her a specific mission and she accepted it wholeheartedly.

I am thankful.

Playing Catch Up

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write my thoughts and other various ridiculousness for a few days, but I’ve always had someone in my space. It’s not a bad thing by any means, I enjoy company–most of the time I crave companionship–but I find it’s a lot easier to be candid when I don’t have someone reading over my shoulder.

Last week The Boss had a conversation with me about admonishing another person’s sin and how it’s an act of love. I challenged her asking if it was really an act of love if we did it in such a way that was condemning, to which her response (in a mocking tone 2 octaves higher than her normal voice) was “people who say don’t judge me, only God can judge me… are really just people who are sinning and don’t want to be called out.” She proceeded to lecture me on the importance of judgment insisting that I realize that without properly judging others’ behavior we won’t know the difference between right and wrong. She is thoroughly exhausting. I spend most of the hours in her presence with my head down giving an occasional “Mmm, Yeah-Uh-huh, You don’t say, Wow” when she takes a breath between rants. I got lucky enough to only have one of these conversations last week, she was rather busy doing other things and I was incredibly thankful for my time alone with porcelain bears, vintage ice cream scoops and my contemporary Christian Pandora station. Can I get an AMEN?!

Also on Thursday(July 17th to be exact) I had the privilege of celebrating Roman’s 25th Birthday with him and his family. Lately I’ve been feeling particularly thankful for our relationship. A lot of things have happened in the short time that we’ve been together and we’ve grown as individuals and as a couple exponentially. He challenges my mind, he makes me laugh until I snort (EMBARASSING), he encourages my faith and he supports my endeavors. He is also that portal to “all things nerdy”, which has been an interesting journey. In honor of his 25th birthday and his love of nerdy things big and small, I threw him an intimate Lord of the Rings Party. I literally watched a lone, salty tear run down his cheek as he admired the décor. (Ok, this part is fictional, but in my mind I envisioned it happening just like that–one single tear, enough to show complete admiration and still keep his manhood.)

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Happy 25th Birthday, honey!!

Happy 25th Birthday, honey!!

Last week was also the annual Church of God Church Camp, aka Warsaw. I grew up there, I learned a lot there, I made lasting friendships there, and I’ve also avoided there like the black plague. This week did not let me down in the drama department: various gossip, affairs with pastor’s wives, and church politics that could make you vomit. However, in the 3 visits that I made, I heard 2 really great sermons, I visited with lifetime friends and I watched my baby sister be baptized. There really isn’t anything greater than my sisters and watching the youngest of us be baptized made me feel all sorts of wonderful things! 🙂

Those seem to be the highlights of last week, The Boss, Love’s Birthday and Church camp drama and excitement. Here’s hoping this week has just as many exciting adventures. 🙂

 

Wrestling With Compromise

Compromise is a tricky thing.

It’s seemingly something as simple as giving in half way, your significant other giving in half way and proceeding to meet dead center. However, when we are talking about compromise in regards to decorating a living space with WWE memorabilia, my compromise meter is down right busted.

Arguments commence and by the end of the discussion,  I may or may not have made a comment about being his mother. He may or may not have said that he doesn’t want to feel like he’s losing himself being in a relationship and feelings may or may not have been hurt. See, it’s about a lot more than a wrestling collection–various pictures of Stone Cold Steve Austin in all of his greasy, oily glory, The Shield looking equally has greasy but much more ominous because they dress in all black and there are three of them, WWE playing cards and action figures–it’s really about two people figuring out how to merge two lives. How to combine two separate sets interests, two minds, two bodies–into one single house.

The things that I find important, he may not. The things that he feels are important, may be perplexing to me. Life is an interesting game of give and take. Compromising and standing your ground. In this particular case is it worth it to me for my love to feel as if he is losing his identity because I am nervous about having a dinner party with the Undertaker as the kitchen table centerpiece?–No. I suppose it isn’t. However, don’t be surprised if I post pictures at a later date of a pink, purple and zebra printed living room. 😉