He Restores.

It’s been such a wild and drawn out ride, I’m sure many of my friends and family are done hearing about it. But bear with me just one more time.

In March of 2016, the love of my life officially proposed to me with a ring I had picked out while still in Nepal. Handcrafted by an artist to resemble branches, it matched our wedding bands and was my pride and joy for the summer.

Just days before the wedding, however, the ring disappeared. I had taken it off during a time of sweet blessing and prayer with some of my dearest friends, and during that time it “mysteriously vanished.”

Being the amazing man that he is, my husband stole away with my brother in the middle of an utter bridezilla meltdown in Macy’s and figured out a way to surprise me with another ring, so I would still feel like a bride (despite my diva moments) on our wedding day. This is the ring I have worn and cherished since October 28th, 2016, when the most amazing man in the world took me as his wife.

Praying that the original ring would turn up, however, we had had the second ring sized a half size too large, so that should the first one surface, the second would fit on another finger as a reminder of the devotion of my husband, and my God. However, after endless searching it never materialized.

Today, on December 27, 2017, exactly a year from the date we celebrated our marriage in California, I received in the mail my husband’s Christmas surprise for me. Over a year later, as we continue in our new life in SoCal, my husband located the artist who originally crafted the ring for us, and had her make another. Today the ring sits proudly on my finger, with the wedding band it was designed to match, and the ring signifying the faithfulness of a husband sits on the other.

I’m aware how petty this may seem, but to Jon and I it symbolizes so much.

It symbolizes the faithfulness of the Lord in our marriage.
It symbolizes the strength of choosing love when everything seems to be going wrong.
It symbolizes redemption, in every area.
It symbolizes a fresh start, just in time for the new year.

When the ring first disappeared, the Lord told me He would restore it to me. I came across verses such as Joel 2:25 on a daily basis, often multiple times a day. At the time, I had no idea how it would come about. As I sit typing this proverbial journal entry, I am so grateful for the perfect beauty of His timing and methods. This is is so much more than a ring: it is a stone of remembrance of all that He has done and will do in our lives, of His unfailing love, and all of His fulfilled promises.

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And may I just say, I have the most devoted and romantic husband a woman could have.

Until next time,
XOXO

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It’s Not About You.

Life is always filled with complicated situations and confusing choices. The type of choices which you know deep in your marrow will forever alter the course of your future. Feverishly we seek counsel, read self-help books and articles, try and pave some way through this maze, but still everything feels muddy and grey.

In the midst of these unsolvable plights, He remains simple. But let’s be real. As you read that sentence there was a two-fold thought passing through your mind: “I know, I know,” and “But how is that relevant to my current situation?” Because, darling, it’s not about you. This post has been in my drafts for a month. Even then, it was around a month overdue. I’m at the inevitable intersection every twenty year old faces, when life is changing and paths are opening up all around. 

“All kinds of trees providing food will grow along both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. Each month they will bear fresh fruit because the water comes from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be used for food and their leaves for medicine.”
Ezekiel 47:12

When I first wrote this post, it was too raw. With every crossroad there are deep elements of fear, confusion, dreams, and hope. The junction this post was first written about was more personal than the professional future it now regards. However, the premise is the same. Every crossroad can be handled and simplified the same way: realize that it’s not about you. Scarcely anything of this life is actually about you.

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If we only knew His heart more, I am convinced we would understand the beauty in this statement to a much deeper degree. Instead, we often slip into the mourning of a season’s end, overwhelming celebration of a fresh beginning, or the confusion of what it will all mean. Once we recognize that it is not about us, but rather we are simply allowed to be a part of something God is already doing, the weight is lifted and joy re-enters. He will guide you! If we’re willing to listen, He won’t withhold the wisdom of which route to take. Even when He seems silent, that is in itself for a reason regarding His purpose.

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Friend, He is doing something new. Don’t let the unknown or novelty of it all frighten you out of your calling. Stare it in the face! We’re made to be a piece of something so much grander than ourselves. While you will be immensely blessed by being a part of the beauty He is working, in the end, it will never be about you. It is always about the Kingdom. While He does not ask you not to feel the fear, just to obey nonetheless, He also doesn’t request you not feel the joy of a fresh season beginning.

“After these things I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, so the rest of humanity may seek the Lord- even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, declares the Lord who does these things, known from long ago.”
Acts 15:16-18

Whatever it is He is asking of you, charge forward! He is already there, on the other side of it all, just as He is here, walking you through it and helping you decide which road to take. No matter the intersection of decisions you may be struggling to make sense of, ask Him, think outside the realm of yourself, and He will give you clarity and peace. Even if you accidentally choose wrong and mess it up, so what? Yes, it’ll be frustrating and something to work through, but He’ll take you through it! It’s time to begin the trek into the Promised Land. The only true questions then are will you listen, will you trust Him, and will you start walking?

“And I will give them one heart and put a new spirit within them; I will remove their heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh, so they may follow My ordinances, and practice them. They will be My people, and I will be their God.”
Ezekiel 11:19-20

d-ng-tr-n-qu-c-16965.jpgUntil next time,

XOXO

Sandcastles versus Marble Palaces

There is an undeniable scream inside all of us crying out for something more, a meaning beyond the world behind our eyelids. Like stormclouds gathering, we let the emotions roll in one after the other. Insecurity. Disappointment. Hurt. Bitterness. Perhaps they don’t always arrive in that order, but arrive they do. All are symptomatic of the same thing, what my brother calls “sandcastle pride.” We stop trusting entirely the Lord’s plan for us, and start searching out ways to make our dreams happen on our own. True, any dream worth anything at all requires work, but at what point does work transfer into idolatry?

In the words of one wise nine year old, “Start reading your Bible so you can learn how to get your life back on track!” We are desperate to be alive, yet terrified at what that would mean. Authors make millions off self-help books, either about gaining control or letting go, or doing one to achieve the other. We all dream of a higher existence of some sort, but only once we seek and pursue the Lord’s vision over our lives will we find any sort of the divine calling we crave.

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ – this is the Lord’s declaration – ‘plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'” Jeremiah 29:11

It’s not about the work itself. It can never be about the work or else we’ll fall into either a cycle of obsessive over-achievement or bitter resolve to press on. Neither can it become about whatever earthly outcome, money, or fame, for in the end, once it’s been realized, there will be an inevitable sense of “that’s all?”

I’m not saying we all need to jump up and become ministers; He did make some doctors, filmmakers, musicians, or writers, etc, but there must also be some eternal goal for our lives or else what’s the point?

We all have some daily burden; what’s yours? The daily awareness of what is, and screaming response of what should be? This is your battleground, so wage war! There we find our sense of purpose, of vitality- there we bring bits of His kingdom to earth. And it is in this process of fighting for the “should be,” of fighting for some necessary change weighing on us so heavily it seems that to not strive to bring it about would be a moral slight, that we being to trade the sandcastle for the marble palace.

 

On Pride&Bitterness

It’s a cancer; she lies within
Stroking her prey with whispers of when
Her arms lay not about their lungs
Their glory was equal to the sun

Slowly then, she sinks her teeth
Insisting you’ve marched “Once more
To the breach,
Dear friends, once more!”

But your friends wouldn’t march along
So you went it alone
Saving, you think
This ship about to sink

Or perhaps you chose to flee
Solitary in your “glorious wisdom”
Nursing the hurts
Of when body met sea

While left behind
Laid passengers crying
“Ungrateful,” you whisper
Under your breath whilst swimming to closest shore

Then there she is
Happy as can be
Her prey returned of his own volition
Resting in the glory of his “glorious wisdom”

You don’t see her talons
The venom seeping from her lips
As you run to her embrace
Beg for a kiss

Which ginergly she places
Upon cracked blue lips
Before returning to the waves
A body limp from poisoned bitterness

And the passengers of that sinking ship?
They reached back to Ithaca
With splendor and joy at overcoming hardship
But your fate was chosen at Anthemoesa

In the name of glory
You wrote your own story
Deeming the Author too distant
Because home’s shore was hidden
Beyond the curtain
Of arrogance’s abdication.