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Category Archives: Love

Wings

It is Monday and I’m thinking of you. You, the mother wiping crumbs off counters — the remnants of PB & J’s made for hungry mouths which will be asking for more food just as you finally walk out of a clean kitchen. You, the woman who fought the guilt of leaving your 2-year-old at daycare this morning so that you can attend yet another day of work. You, the woman in Uganda, trying to bring home her son and aching for her daughters back home in the States. You, the mother who, frustratingly, fought the urge just to suction up your daughter’s darn Squinky conveniently lying in your vacuum’s direct path. You, the mother awakened by your crying baby four exhausting times in the middle of the night.  You, the woman still waiting for children and wondering if you’ll ever be blessed with them. You, the woman who aches for your husband just to know God as the Love-God and not just a detached, Authoritarian Father-figure. You, the woman just wanting a husband. You, the woman waiting for direction. The woman fighting fear. The woman wanting to do more than just make it through another day.

 

You.

Yes, you.

I know you don’t feel it right now, but you are more than Superwoman.

 

You are more than Superwoman because the Spirit of God, the God of space, who knows no time, the God who knows our every need and every weakness, every frustration, no matter how big or small . . . that very Supernatural Love in a Person, upholds you. No, this life He’s called you to, it doesn’t always feel like soaring on the winds (although, when it does, pay attention); this life in Christ is more like step-by-step determination and reliance. But you are equipped for this very real life. You are equipped for every squinky on the floor, every child in Uganda, every time you put your child in another caretaker’s arms, every aging parent’s doctor’s appointment, every lonely night.

 

You can fly higher than SuperWoman. 

 

Because when we dig deepest into the most mundane, the most difficult of our callings, the most trying surrender of our wills, His eye catches sight of His falling sparrow. And when we fall lowest, falling deepest into the depths of real and living trust, we see just how long His everlasting Arms really are.

 

He always catches.

 

And when we’re caught, He spins and sings and laughs and in His breathtaking way, throws us high, back into the blue. We relax in His ways. We learn to trust, mid-air, and we catch the true rhythm of our wings.

 

We fly high.

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Marriage Ain’t Easy

Marriage ain’t easy. You know this when you’re engaged. People warn you. You are made well aware of this. But until you live it, you really have no earthly idea what this looks like in real life.

I’ve always hesitated writing about marriage here because I am not wise when it comes to the subject. My hubby and I may be doing absolutely great one day, and then, some old battle rears its ugly head, and we’re back to being our old stubborn, injured  selves.

Marriage is a constant ebb and flow. Marriage is not about fulfillment, although, hopefully, marriage fulfills as much as it possibly can. No, marriage is about giving up all you want or think you need, in order to be and give all that your marriage wants and needs. Marriage is about entering into the relationship, when really, all you want to do is run and hide under some comfy covers.

We had a family movie night on the couch last night. We went through two whole (gigantic) bowls of stove-popped popcorn between the four of us! Apparently the popcorn-loving genes are genetic. 🙂 It was the first time we’d attempted a musical and I couldn’t believe that even the little one sat through the entirety of The Music Man. I was really struck by the song, “Being in Love” which Marion sings with her Irish mother as they discuss what Marion is looking for in love. She states somewhere in the middle of all those high notes,

And I would like him to be

more interested in me

than he is in himself

And more interested in us

than in me

My husband of nearly 8 years and I have this continuing running argument about time together. Basically, it boils down to him being born an introvert, while I was the woman who, after arriving home from our honeymoon to our “just-the-two-of-us” newlywed cottage , begged him for a goldfish. Yes, the little orange things that blow bubbles in a quiet, little corner. 😉 I came from a family of 8 children, five of us being of the talkative, female persuasion and I need lots of life around me. He just needs quiet.

So, for nearly 8 years, we’ve had this same back-and-forth argument about my needs verses his needs. But I’m coming to realize that it’s not a me verses him – it’s a you need/I need, therefore, we need.

Not that we’ve mastered this by any means. Just today we fought the same 8 year battle and I’m realizing that I’m not sure that either of us is supposed to win.

We have to win.

So, I vow to give him more space without feeling unloved. And I wonder for the first time whether God didn’t give me an introverted husband simply to round me out, like some strict, hard-core teacher, like I’ve always subconsciously thought. Maybe, just maybe, He gave me an introverted husband, because He has something planned for me in the extra, quiet times.


Now that is love.

Loving Love Himself

How to love Him?

 

How to truly love Him?

 

I feel I can’t love Him apart from what He’s done for me. I love Him because of His grace toward me. I love Him because He rescues me. I love Him because He makes me whole. I love Him because of His goodness to me. His provision. His redemptive power.

 

But how do I love Him for just being Him? Can I love Him apart from myself?

 

I feel defeated. Because how can I give my life to a God as a returning gift for what He’s done, when I’m really just hoping (and knowing) that He’ll give me more life? (Luke 6:38) It all feels so selfish.

 

How do I, just a Georgian housewife, who cooks in the kitchen in her bare feet and spins the washer for another round, and empties out the sink only for it to be filled again, how does little me love a God like Him? I try to picture Him. The God who spoke and flung the stars on their ebony backdrop and spun red-hot planets like tops on a table and raised up sunken mountains in the waters deep and dotted this whirling globe with teeming life? I picture Him then and He feels so utterly majestic, so awe-inspiringly powerful and I know that I could never come close to a God like that. How do you love Someone who is so completely Other?

 

And then I picture Him. That God. Coming to a slobber-smeared, dirty manger, surrounded by the aroma of hay. His only sound, a whimper. I picture Him beckoning little children onto His lap and telling stories to those gathered round and that aura of peace and wonder that surely must have infused the very air around Him. How He came to rescue anyone who wants to be rescued and I know. I could love a Man like that.

 

But how do I love Him just because He is? And I think . . . “If I was just a better Christian….” But it doesn’t matter what gaps are left to fill, what “If I was justs” need to be met, when the I AM is completing you. Does He not come, not only to bridge the gap to righteousness, but to bridge every. single. gap? Maybe, if God is love, and we want to love that God who’s love, maybe, just maybe, true love has already begun its work. And in His time, He’s transforming us . . . us made in His image . . . and maybe someday He’ll equate our names with Love too. And maybe then, when we are truly one with Love Himself, the fullness of that love will entirely expunge any thought of how much we want to love Him. Because love will have finally made its match and there will be no give and take. Just Love in all its Completeness.

 

But it will all be because of Him and His work in us.

So I ask myself again,

How do I love a God like Him?

Breaking Through

I still remember her warm face and kind smile. She, at her husband’s side, her comforting spirit all exuding. He, sick.

Sick and quickly dying.

We did what we could from our third floor office, but there wasn’t much we could do. Comfort was all that could help and she knew it. She knew it deep. But through her tears falling and her soft voice quavering, she kept smiling. And while her heart clung to him as firmly as the heart of a wife of decades would, she somehow loved him enough not to hold on too tightly. When it was time, she let him go with all the grace and beauty I’ve ever seen.

I should have checked on her more. She didn’t live far from us at the time. But I remember, the struggling . . . me, a young, twenty-one-year-old newlywed, just learning to leave and cleave. She, the mature, seasoned wife, learning to navigate a solitary life that had been built richly alongside a man she’d just had to bury in the earth. I felt the weight of my empty hands.

My husband, he went to her house today, neither he, nor she, knowing how our lives had once shared a criss-cross. In the winds of the recent storms, four trees had fallen on her property. Right onto her car. So my husband went along with a friend’s husband, met another friend, and they took a chainsaw or two in their strong hands and wrangled those trees, cutting and splintering and sharding all the storm’s devastation as best they could. Until they came to a thick trunk of tree. Their chainsaw just couldn’t do it. Couldn’t cut through . . . wasn’t strong enough.

The widow, she left our determined, young husbands and came back to them with an old chainsaw in her hands. Red.

“I’m not sure if it still works,” she says. “It was my husband’s and it hasn’t been used in years….”

They power it up anyway. And that old chainsaw? It sputters and revs and slices clean through that tumbled wood.

We may bury and we may let go and we may even build walls around our hearts, but love? Sometimes it manifests itself in sudden tears or an aching heart. Sometimes, it presents itself in an outstretched hand, or a burst of joy, or a deliberate laying down of stubborn pride. But sometimes?

It appears out of dust and dark corners and it’s not certain whether it holds any effect. But when brought to the Light, it revs and it roars and just like that, what stands stubborn and unbending, shards and splinters and fragments under its very resolve.

I could learn a lesson or two from that old chainsaw.

Marriage Glory

We’ve only been married 6 years, Jonathan, and I. I am no expert in marriage by any stretch of the imagination. But when someone invites a discussion on marriage, I can’t help but get a bit giddy and want to join in, even though I’m a day late. 🙂

 

I’ve not a whole lot to say, no advice. I think that our marriage is probably a lot like many others and I’m learning the joy and awe in loving my marriage for what it is. I know that I probably spent the first five years letting our marriage sift through my hands . . . taking it for granted, wishing it was different. That we were different. I was so focused on wanting so much more that I was missing the fulfillment of what I had . . . and what I’ve had and have leaves me so very humbled.

 

The Other Groom has slowly . . . gently been opening my blind eyes to the beautiful nuances of my own romance. And the more He uncovers my eyes to the already-there-beauty in our own togetherness, the more I fall more in love with it (our romance) and the more  I fall in love with him.

 

Because as a young bride, I thought that the truly strong marriages were the ones where the couples seemed “in love” all the time. But the more He grows me, the more He shows this thankless heart what true beauty is, the more I learn to love our marriage’s imperfections and how they drive us to learn each other and to learn of Him. Sometimes, I just need to ask Him to show me the breath-taking bird’s-eye view of the mountainous ups and downs.

 

 

Maybe this Valentine’s Day, instead of aching for more “love” through our girlish, rose-colored glasses, we can learn to embrace our real-life love stories for all their full, intended beauty….

 

 

 

What is your love story???


For us, we have lived in a cozy lover’s nest, and also in large, nearly empty rooms (read: no furniture). We have lived on love, wondering if we’d have enough money to make the next rent check, and we have stood in awe at God’s abundant provision. We have basked in love’s bliss, long into the night, and spent weeks on end, with barely a word spoken between us. We’ve shed thankful tears while holding our newly swaddled daughters, and at times, bitterly resented being “tied down.” We’ve spent a whole “date” cycling through tears (those were mine, in case you were wondering), yelling, and silence, and spent movie nights cozily cuddled on the sofa. We’ve argued over how to discipline our children, and shared eye-twinkling glances over little, precocious heads. We’ve spent solitary nights on the couch, while the other huddled lonely under bed sheets. We’ve spent days apart, one at work, the other tending to our little ones, where we missed each other so badly, our hearts literally ached. Other times we’ve quietly looked forward to Monday’s arrival. I fold his laundry, he washes the dinner dishes. I bathe the kids, he makes them giggle until our sides ache. We’ve sat, scared and anxious, in doctors’ waiting rooms. We’ve hugged the breath out of each other.  We’ve nearly suffocated our love in our own apathy, and bravely drawn the other out until apathy’s shroud has melted away.

 

To me, this is the glory of marriage.

The daily wrestling of living the vows.

The reveling in the vows’ bounty.

I am honored.

 

 

 

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Maybe Now

I remember how tired I was. Newborn baby in the sling, resting against my chest, and the two-year-old running wild in the milk aisle. I can still feel my tight hand-grip on the grocery cart and how I wrestled, trying to keep both it and my out-of-reach daughter in line, while trying not to wake the babe. It was dreary cold out. I was worn thin.

 

My eyes met those of an elderly woman who seemed to be surveying us in that milk aisle. I was too frazzled to make small talk.

 

But do you know what she had the gall to come up and say to me?

“Honey, enjoy every minute. This is the best time of your life.”

 

Now I’m not usually the type of girl who gets riled very easily. But just then, I really wanted to screech, “How can you be so cruel to say that me right now? Don’t you know I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in weeks? That my body is literally worn out? That my husband and I have barely had time to look each other in the eyes?! That I’m here in the milk aisle just trying survive this grocery trip and you say these are the best moments of my life?!?!” I don’t even remember what I actually said to the woman, but I was too tired to scream, so instead, I muffled my soul’s unbelief and gave the typical Southern smile and probably said something about how, yeah, I was trying to savor the moments.

 

To be honest, the woman’s words stuck like unwanted syrup on the outside of a glass syrup bottle, and until recently, still conjured up a twinge of panic whenever they surfaced to mind.

 

What if she’s right? This??? This could be the best time of my life?

 

Because my days are merely filled with wiping bottoms and folding underwear, sweeping floors and serving PB and J’s on Winnie the Pooh plates.

 

But recently, I picked up Laura Bush’s memoir, Spoken from the Heart. Whether or not you side with her husband in his politics, it is hard for anyone to deny that the former first lady has lived an intriguing life . . . doing things, visiting places, meeting world leaders and attending spectacular events that few of us will ever have the opportunity to experience.

 

And do you know what she wrote? After serving as the First Lady of the United States of America for two terms and having lived probably the most exciting time of her life, she reminisces on the first few months of parenting their twin girls:

 

Every morning before dawn, George would get up to make the coffee, as he had done from the start of our marriage; then he would go get the girls and carry them into our bed. We’d each hold a baby and drink our coffee while they drank their bottles, with the morning news droning quietly in the background. The start of the day was reserved for just the four of us. Those early mornings were some of the sweetest times in our lives.

 

My breath catches as I read her words.

 

That’s what I am living. Feeding hungry little tummies. Sipping coffee. Living side-by-side with the man I love. The words of the Wal-Mart lady wash over me and I realize her words just may be true.

 

And I wonder.

 

What if I lived every moment like it just might be the ______-est moment of my life?

 

Maybe every moment in our lives is *THE* something. The sweetest time. The busiest time. The most exciting time. The most difficult time. The craziest vacation. The most intimate Christmas. The stupidest recipe mistake. The wisest parenting moment. The tastiest dinner. The most hilarious date. The funniest Monday.

 

How will I embrace it?

 

Taking the time to count those little moments that make up all of *my* time, my story, my one, all-or-nothing chance at life on this earth….

 

#207 a room of sharing mamas and learning mamas-to-be, an honor to sit, listen, watch and pray

#208 that He is Sovereign – even when I don’t understand His plan in the giving and taking

#209 grace in the seeing, the seeking help, the beginning of healing

#210 a small affirmation

#211 sisters-in-law and sisters-in-law-to-be . . . little pieces of hearts known

#212 a brother’s love, brimming beneath the calm surface

#213 drawings, drawings, drawings

#214 the little one’s grasp of a crayon

#215 baby friendships blossoming from their mamas’ years’ worth of shared phone calls, get-togethers, funerals, weddings and pregnancies

#216 spontaneous sister-dates

#217 that we were made to cleave

#218 flexibility and her learning

#219 the missing of the one I love on a Monday

#220 that he misses me too

#221 hearing him play with her and watching her love tank fill

#222 that heart-stopping moment that she grabbed my face just to kiss me

#223 a shared journey

#224 that every moment is full of possibility

#225 that maybe, just maybe, I could right now be living the very best time of my life

 

 

Let me embrace. Let me anticipate. Let me find.

He is here.

In this moment.

And the next.

 

 

Joining the gift-thankers

More is More

I think I can count the number of flower bouquets from him on one hand.

 

Let’s see . . . one, two….

 

Yup, one hand.

 

My husband’s not much of a romantic in the familiar use of the word. Anything that feels the least bit contrived, like Valentine’s Day? He’d rather do without it, thank you. As a young bride, it took me awhile to see past this seeming bah-humbug way of his and into his heart.

 

But I can’t count the number of times this man of mine has surprised me with a long-desired CD, or maybe one of which I knew nothing, but promptly fell in love with. Two or three times a year, he’ll get that sheepish grin on his face and hand me a nearly-square plastic case — handpicked songs and lyrics that, unlike a spray of dried roses, still speak to me.

 

We’ve always been lovers of music, he and I.

 

We used to take piano lessons from the same music teacher back in our highschool days. Our teacher was a lady with short, silvery hair and large-rimmed glasses, with no children of her own. She was devoted. Once a month, her students would meet in classes according to advancement and she would teach music theory. They were extremely boring and nerve-wracking classes, as we’d have to critique one another’s performance of a recital piece. I suddenly began, however, to look forward to those once-a-month meetings as I got to know a particular brown-haired, brown-eyed boy who rocked at Grieg and Williams and Beethoven. Our teacher had two pianos in her darkly lit, red-carpeted basement and she would pair us off to work on scales, arpeggios and chords. I loved it when he and I got paired off. 🙂

 

Technique. Oh, how I hated it, but I was fairly good at all the little exercises because I could pretty much sight-read anything placed in front of me. I quickly learned that this guy who often sat next to me had a difficult time sight-reading but was a whiz at playing by ear.

 

 

It was several years before I told him that I used to purposefully stumble over my notes so that he wouldn’t feel embarrassed. 🙂 He looked at me like I was crazy.

 

So while, I could quickly read notes, my musical talent pretty much ended with the need for sheet music sitting right in front of my eyes. He on the other hand, wooed me at the piano, playing music that simply poured out of him. No sheet music, no rules, no lines. I could hear the sentiment. I could hear the dreams, the aspirations, the longings.

 

He won my heart while pouring his all over black and white.

 

 

He woos me like that in the everyday.

 

I think it’s partly my personality, and partly the fact that I grew up as the oldest of eight children, but I quickly learned that life goes much smoother if you just don’t rock the boat. Follow the black and white lines, follow the rules, don’t listen too much to your heart’s undertones and things will be much easier for everyone involved.

 

And this is probably mostly true in many relationships and aspects of life. Certainly, in a household of eight children, my parents didn’t need one more strong-willed, needy person to tend to. Growing up, I did a lot of dying to self . . . by keeping quiet. These were invaluable life-lessons for me.

 

But in the intimate relationship as a wife, I am learning that my “dying to self” sometimes looks exactly the opposite. This husband wants me to voice my needs? He wants me to open up to him? He wants more of me?

 

In the beautiful, intimate confines of marriage, the giving up, the laying down of me . . . is to give more me??? To not remain silent, but to knock? To ask? Receive? No holding back, no stumbling over who I am to supposedly make things easier for him?

 

This is a vulnerable place to be. This is scary. This is much more risky.

 

It is much easier to be low-maintenance.

 

And it is my downfall. Because my “gift” of being easy to live with and keeping a low-maintenance personality is laden with pride and the comfort of hiding behind invulnerable walls. It takes strength to come humbly and admit need or desires.

 

 

Whether he realizes it or not, he leads me to Him, just in the asking me to set aside all former pretense. All the safe practices of self-sufficiency.

 

They both call me.

 

Listen.

Come.

Pour out my heart.

No hiding behind safe black and white.

I dare.

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