Sunday, July 21, 2013

Our Love Story

I thought since our 2 year wedding anniversary is Tuesday I would blog about our love story! This just might be my most favorite post; I will try to keep it short : )

We met in 7th grade. I know, I know, we were super young! We were best friends all through high school, then we finally started dating our Senior Year! We had one of those he was dating someone when I was single and I was dating someone when he was single kind of things going on. It actually ended up working out for the best because when we finally did become more than just friends, I knew I could truly trust him. He had proven his loyalty time and time again during our friendship.

It wasn't until I ended up in the hospital after a bad car accident and the end of a relationship he was in that our love story could truly begin. God had brought us through so much and our paths finally crossed at just the right time. God's timing is everything. I had made it through a horrible wreck. I was an 18 year old kid, and I was legitimately worried I would never find the one for me. Now I look back at that time and realize how blessed I am that God brought Michael and I together when we were so young. I was reading Captivating, and 2 months later was actually not searching for a boyfriend. I wanted to be focused on my relationship with God and His plan for my life.

Well it's just like they say, as soon as I officially stopped looking Michael began pursuing me. Since we began dating at such a young age, we knew we had a long road ahead of us. We both wanted to go to college and get jobs before we were married. Was it hard watching friends get engaged and married before us? Absolutely! It was especially difficult when some of our friends were getting married after only dating for a year or two. While the emotional side of me wanted to marry Michael much earlier in our relationship, I knew God's timing would be best. I wanted His plan for our lives. It was also an early lesson in patience, which I am now quite thankful for. So we dated all of college. One week after graduation, he PROPOSED! That may have to be another post, because this one is getting kind of long. We were finally engaged! I was the happiest girl in the world! After 6 years of dating, we were wed on July 23, 2011. It was the most magical wonderful day ever! Michael was finally my husband, and I couldn't wait to start our lives together! We went to the Dominican Republic for 8 glorious days, and we couldn't have been happier to finally be married. I will have to write separate posts for proposal, wedding, and honeymoon! As our anniversary approaches, I realize I have so much to be thankful for. I am so proud of the man he is. He is a great husband, coach, teacher, son, and friend. He reminds me to stop, slow down, and enjoy life. He makes me smile. He is my rock, and he is still my best friend. Nothing melts my heart more than watching him play with the 3 year olds we teach on Sunday mornings : ) I know he will be a great daddy one day. Until then I am so grateful for our marriage and our wonderful life that God has given us. I look forward to many more years with my sweet husband.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Trying to be a Mary in a Martha World

From the first time I ever heard this Bible story (I was probably 5 maybe younger) I knew I was more like Martha. As I grew up, I didn't really see anything wrong with being like Martha. I knew that being more like Mary would be better, but my Type A personality was much geared towards Martha tendencies. Then the pressures of being a Martha became too much, and I spiraled out of control (but that is a story for another time). Now at 26 I fully realize and appreciate the beauty and value and importance of being a Mary. I truly want to be more of a Mary than a Martha, but it is difficult. It is especially difficult when I see friends, TV shows, family, and all sorts of ladies who seem to have it all together. They have a great house with beautiful decorations. They work, cook, clean, AND take care of children. While most of my friends don't have children, some do. With or without children, they appear to have such productive, organized, decorated, and well-managed lives. When I see this in the lives of friends and family, it makes me feel that I need to turn into a Martha and get busy making my home and life productive, organized, decorated, and well-managed. I can easily become distracted with cleaning, cooking, and projects just like Martha was the day Jesus came to visit. Well this week the Lord truly got my attention in His perfect way.

While last week was great getting things unpacked and organized around our new house, I knew that me finding a job was a higher priority. When the Lord granted me a wonderful opportunity for a new Job Wednesday, I gladly took it. I am so blessed for his provision. The only thing is that now I have less time to do all the stuff to make our new house feel more like our home. Since I worked Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, I knew that today would be a day of work. Michael and I woke up and pretty much went straight to the garage to start working. While we had a wonderfully productive day of unpacking and organizing, when I took some time this evening to do my devotional these were the first two lines: SEEK MY FACE, and you will find all that you have longed for. The deepest yearnings of your heart are for intimacy with Me. WOW! Is that crazy or what? Then a few lines later I read this: Do not feel guilty about taking time to be still in My Presence. Again - Oh my goodness! Finally I read this: To follow me wholeheartedly, you must relinquish your desire to please other people. I really thought at that moment that my devotional book was written just for me. The Lord knew that I needed to read those words today. He set everything into motion back in April when a good friend told me about this book. I was amazed. God is so incredible and SO patient with me. When I keep my focus on Him he will give me all the desires of my heart, but more importantly I must let go of trying to please/impress everyone around me. While some competition is healthy in certain areas of life, competition does not need to be the driving force for every aspect of life. I also realized if I stopped trying to be like others and please others, some of my "wants" would go away. I only want what God wants for my life. I want to spend more time simply enjoying God's presence instead of worrying about cooking, cleaning, and decorating all the time. Those things are good, but I want to seek God above all else. I am also so much more relaxed when I am being more like Mary. While it is not easy to be a Mary in a Martha world, the outcome of a Mary life will be much more of a blessing than one could ever humanly imagine. So with God's help, I want to work on being more like Mary and less like Martha. We must not be afraid to be different from other people. The path God has called you to travel is exquisitely right for you. The more closely you follow God's leading, the more fully He can develop your gifts. My God is so good to me. I am humbled by His love and patience with me every day.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Two Years Later

While I am trying to find a new job, I am also in the midst of moving to a new home with my wonderful husband. Can I just say that I HATE packing?! Our house is in total chaos! My husband, who hates packing even more than me, has been so good about helping me. I just have to realize that this is a slow process. While I would like us to work all day and have everything in boxes in a short amount of time, Michael reminds me this is simply not possible. He is always good about bringing me back to reality. I have to accept that we are human, and we do get tired. I just hate that unfinished feeling. BUT I am learning to deal with it. During these breaks from packing, we have had some very productive conversations about how living in our new house will be. While we have been married almost 2 years, we have never lived in a house with so much space. We have currently been living in a small townhouse that is a little on the outdated side (OK really outdated! BUT I am thankful we had a home!). Michael moved every year that he was in college, so last summer when our lease was up he didn't want to move. We signed on for 1 more year. While I am grateful we had a place to live, there are multiple things about it that drive me crazy. I have very little counter/cabinet space in the kitchen. We share 1 small bathroom. Our bedroom is quite tiny. Then there are the issues with the plumbing and the A/C unit and the unsafe neighborhood. Needless to say I am ecstatic about moving next week! I guess that's the other reason why I am so ready for the packing part to be over. Michael has worked so hard to give me a home that I love and feel safe in; I just can't wait to live there! It amazes me how much he still tries so hard to make me happy after almost 8 years of being together! I am one blessed girl! Speaking of being together our two year wedding anniversary is coming up! I am thinking about blogging about our love story. I truly do love this man so much! His love for me makes me want to work even harder at making this a great marriage. With that said, we had a conversation about bathrooms last night. While it did get a little heated, it was good for us to talk about it. Too often I keep things in my head, like expectations for us, and then make a decision without really communicating. So the conversation of bathrooms came up last night. In the new house, we will have 2 full baths. In my head I was super excited. I thought I can have 1 bathroom, and he can have the other. My bathroom can be super girly and cute and most of all clean. Now this is not to say Michael is not clean, but if you are married you know that "girl bathroom clean" and boy bathroom clean" are two different things! So I simply expected that we would have our own bathrooms. When this actually came out of my head in our conversation, Michael was not happy about it. I was shocked. I thought it was such a great idea. Then he proceeded to explain to me that if we couldn't learn to share a bathroom, how would we learn to share other parts of our lives. It made sense. My husband really is so wise. I know I need to be less selfish and more willing to share. The conversation may not have begun well, but it certainly did end well. I love how patient my husband is with me. I am now even more excited about us living together in our new home!

God's Timing

I never realized how amazing the 23rd Psalm is until recently. Not only are the actual words amazing, but if you're like most of the people I grew up with this is THE verse to learn as a child. Now this may not have been the case for you, but I remember growing up and this verse was everywhere. Even today I meet people who can pretty much quote this verse. I think it's incredible that this is the verse that adults chose to teach to children time after time. Maybe it's a coincidence, but I think it was taught with a divine purpose. If you really pay attention to the words and don't take them for granted, this verse can pretty much guide any teenager and/or adult through all of life's phases. To me that is remarkable.

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of
For His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through
the valley of the shadow
of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and your staff, they
comfort me.
You prepare a table before
me in the presence of my
You anoint my head with
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the
house of the Lord

God is so good. My words are not even enough to express just how great and awesome our God is. This chapter in Psalm is more profound than I ever realized. I think I most certainly took it for granted every time I read it and heard it. I didn't really pay attention to the words. This is just one more example of how a person can look at the same verse and discover something new with time. God showed me this verse last week. The burden of searching for a job and dealing with rejection was weighing heavy on me. Honestly it has been weighing heavy for over a week. I had been doing so well and had been able to rest in God's peace and joy for a couple of months. Then last Wednesday I just lost it. I received another email explaining the school decided to go in another direction. I was crushed. I allowed worry to come in. It was an ugly break down. Even though I began to doubt, God never left my side. He is just too good to me. While I am still taking it just one day at a time, I know I must rely on God and keep my focus on Him. When He showed me this verse, I almost missed everything AGAIN. Thankfully God helped me to pay closer attention. In the very first line He pretty much sums it all up. As a writer, I appreciate the great topic sentence. God is so smart! The first verse tells us that we will not have to want for anything. God will provide! We just have to depend on Him and be good with his timing. If we trust Him there really is no need to worry. With the next few verses, we read how His peace will bring good, pleasurable things into our lives. He goes on to remind us that in times of weakness and trouble He restores us. Only God can make us truly better when we are down or going through life's trials. Then there is the verse that has even been featured in some secular songs. It may seem that death and destruction are upon us, but with God we have NO reason to fear the evil of this world. God is not only our provider but our protector, as well. He provides, protects, and comforts. We are weak, and when we humbly admit this God WILL comfort us. There is nothing more comforting than His peace. Then we get to the really good part. I mean all of this is good, but this next verse is certainly the climax. If we trust and obey God, He will give us exceedingly abundantly more than we could ever imagine. How amazing is that?! Then it gets even better, because our God is just that awesome! While on earth He grants us His goodness and mercy as we trust Him and wait for His timing. Then we get to spend FOREVER with our Lord and Savior. He is our hope and our future! I am just blown away by how incredible this one chapter is. With all of this said, I know I must rely on God and trust Him, NOT me. I can do nothing without Him. God created me for a purpose. I want to listen and find out what that purpose is. I look forward to the work that God is going to do in my life. I know God's timing is way better than my timing. I am so thankful for the 23rd Psalm. I want my life to glorify God. These verses can be an amazing guide, if we let them.