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8/31/2010

a divine conspiracy (the story of us: part 1)

I was 22, and he was 21 when we first met. It was November and cold enough to wear long sleeves. It was a mutual friend, mine from college and his from elementary school all the way up to college, who decided we might be a good match. I’m not sure if it was that he thought we would be a good match as much as it was that this friend of ours was tired of seeing me pick the wrong guy. Truthfully, I was tired of picking the wrong guy.

I’d already decided I would never get married. I had plans. After a summer of camp life and China, I wanted to teach, to spread my wings as far as they could go and fly across the world at least once. There were possibilities of teaching overseas or teaching at an inner-city school in America. There were options, none of which included meeting the person created for me to share my life with, and I planned to pursue every single option.

And then I met him. It was awkward at first. We met at Barnes and Noble. We’d seen each other’s pictures from Facebook but had never met. We were both on the phone and then hung up when we finally met near the checkout line. He had a book in hand, Irresistible Revolution, that he purchased for our mutual friend, and after a few minutes of how-do-you-do’s at Barnes and Noble, we left for On the Border.

Our friend was a waiter, at the time, and we decided that instead of suffering through the date we would lighten things up with someone else. We ate dessert and talked. Or rather, we ate dessert and I spent most of the time talking. I talked about China, about outreach, about the future and my passions. I responded to text messages from friends, asking when the date would be over. I flitted to a table with a different (guy) friend of mine. I ended the date and left, glad for dessert and with a tingling in my soul but the decision that I still wasn’t ready to pursue any sort of relationship.

I spent the evening with girl friends, out on Campus Corner, with my thoughts drifting to him no matter how hard I tried to keep them from him. When I woke up the next morning, there was a slight sense of panic as the thought settled on me that I had met the person who fit me the way God intended him too.

I wasn’t ready to give up on my dreams or on the thought of never settling down into married life. No matter the feelings I had, and even after I expressed said feelings, I refused to think about not spreading my wings to fly.

But as is often the case, God had other plans for my life, and His plans included my accepting the notion that I had met my match and settling into a life with him.

This post is part of a series. It is a snapshot of how I met (and married) my husband. To read the entire series, click here.

we are stitched together

In thirteen days, I will celebrate two years of marriage with my husband. Compared to marriages that last thirty, forty, fifty, even sixty years, two years seems almost laughable, but for us, it has been such a journey that I am excited to say we are still together.

Two years ago, I was preparing both for the wedding (which I planned in less than four months while working as a social worker) and to have my gallbladder removed. My surgery occurred eight days before I walked down the aisle, and I took only a day and a half off work. It's not something I recommend.

He and I had known one another for less than a year before we exchanged vows. We jumped head first and feet first into a life together, and we're still trying to sort out our limbs.

I am thankful for the way he makes me laugh, the way he makes me roll my eyes, for how much he annoys me, and also for how much he moves me. He's the exact opposite from me in too many ways to count, but his heart matches mine in all of the ways that do count.

God knew what He was doing when we met at Barnes and Noble for our first blind date; I'm just thankful I haven't yet screwed it up.

picture from riggs photography

(title from "god gave me you" by dave barnes)

8/29/2010

coming apart when you say my name

I spent much of the weekend in our old, dusty house. I watched several movies, several episodes of The OC, and I am not watching the Primetime Emmy's with my husband. There are times when I desire to go out and see people, but I very much needed a weekend of mainly solitude.

I can feel that things are changing. I feel as though God is whispering to me that as the seasons change this year so will our current status. This brings me hope as I know Fall is very quickly approaching. I'm not sure what the changes will be. It could be that the change is in me, that I learn how to better handle setbacks and uncertainty, that I learn how to take a deep breath and shake off the anxiety. It could be that the change will be in my marriage, that it is strengthened and deepened even more than it had been. So many options for what the changes will be, and as much as I want to know, I understand that right now I need to only have faith and remember that God is in control, that His way is best.

I've spent much time in the word this weekend. I have allowed it to speak to my heart, to provide me with the security I have been lacking and to remind me of His will for my life. I picked up my spiral notebook and scribbled down several verses. I read through several chapters of Job and pondered the musings in my heart, and I prayed over several of the verses.

God has revealed much to me over this weekend about His promises, His hope for us, what community should look like, and what He has in store for our lives. I am overwhelmed by Him and by what He wants for His children. I am overwhelmed by His willingness to speak to me, a woman who has turned from Him more times than could be counted. And His willingness to pursue me when I so often walk away at the first signs of difficulty.

It would be a lie to say I'm not scared because I am. I'm terrified of what might happen both good things and bad things. I'm terrified of losing everything and needing to start over. I am also terrified of being blessed with more because when God blesses you, He trusts you, and while I want to be trusted with His blessings, I am terrified of not doing the things He would want me to do with the blessings.

It would also be a lie to say I don't struggle with anxiety or uncertainty because I do. I struggle with those things on a daily basis - sometimes an hourly basis. But I know His word promises that He is there, and I claim those promises for as long as it takes until the anxiety and uncertainty subside.

I'm contemplating what to say about our struggles. I am also contemplating about what to say about the realizations God is bring me too. He has made it abundantly clear that honesty is vital. At this time, we must be honest with those closest to us because we need community and support. We must also be honest because dishonesty will only lead to us being divided, and right now, division would wreak havoc we would be unable to control.

I believe in being honest here, but I am just not sure exactly what that honesty will look like. When I figure it out, I will let you know.

(title from "who is this god" by alli rogers)

8/23/2010

a breeze in the still august air

It's easy to concentrate on struggle, on what is not happening, and so often, I lose track of what is happening. I don't want to do that. I want to focus both on struggle and on blessing. I want to remember the things God does, the way He blesses us in little ways that can be so easy to miss.

In the past week, God has done many little things, things that will help us so much in the short and long run. He provided my husband with three job interviews. As much as we are ready for a permanent situation to come out of an interview, I am thankful for the interviews because they remind me us not to give up hope (even though we often want to). There is a possibility for a fourth interview this week as well.

We also received a check this afternoon from the US Treasury. 2009 resulted in us owing a hefty amount to the government, an amount we somehow overpayed, and this afternoon, we received a check of the overpayment. It couldn't have come at a batter time. I also was able to babysit on Saturday night, which was both enjoyable and again offered a small cushion.

We have been praying for a monetary cushion, and while we may not receive as large a cushion as we desire, I am so grateful for every little bit. It helps. All of it. And I know God will provide us with the exact amount we need.

We are also blessed with two amazing families. My parents are kind, loving, and sincere. They support my decisions and believe in me endlessly. My husband's parents are the same. It is hard to fathom that God decided to bless us both with such wonderful families. So many dread spending time with their in-laws, and I never do. I am so thankful to have them in my life, and I could not have asked for better relatives across the board.

There is still much that needs to happen. There is still much to wonder about, to question, to worry about, but there is not much to agonize over. God is in control; He is answering our prayers to see His glory with these little gifts. He is providing just enough, which has been our prayer. We don't need excess; we need enough. I am so thankful that we have enough right now.

Through this season, we are learning so much about ourselves, about each other, about God, and about the church (and Church). As my husband stated yesterday afternoon, we would not be in this season of learning and of being receptive to God if it were not for the struggles.

I am thankful for our blessings. I am thankful (or trying to be) for our struggles as well. I know God is working through all of this. He is making all of this for His good as well as for our good and our joy. And I am excited (also a little nervous) to see what else He will do as well as to see where our lives will lead following this season.

(title from "brooklyn blurs" by the paper raincoat)

8/21/2010

right there where they belong

I spent Friday night caring for a rambunctious three-year-old. Tonight my husband is at work. I spent approximately four hours watching The OC, and now, I am watching The Last Song and doing my best to edit my novel.

I finished the novel my senior year of college. It was for one of my major specific classes, and I wrote it immediately after returning from a summer spent working at a Christian camp for a month, then teaching in China for a month, and finally relaxing in Michigan for a little over a week. That summer changed my life then, and it continues to change my life. It was the only thing I could think to write about at the time, and revisiting the novel now is like revisiting an old, distant friend.

Some of the writing is good, and some of it needs work. The story itself tugs at my heart, and my mom told me it hurt her to read it because she could feel the pain of returning from the summer. I remember speaking with a professor at the end of the semester and then again right before I graduated. He told me it was a story that could be published. There was still work to be done, yes, but he sensed that it had the makings of a successful novel.

This professor described the novel as a coming of age story in reverse. While so many travel in order to find themselves, the main character in the novel returns from her travels in order to find herself.

I'm still finding myself. My coming of age story continues to occur even at twenty-five-years-old and married. But maybe that's the point; maybe it never really ends, but we just stop keeping track of all the things that shape our lives.

So much continues to happen in our daily lives. At the beginning of the week, it felt like God was moving in big ways. There were job interviews and contact with our former realtor. We felt as though doors were opening and soon our troubles would be distant memories. We praised God for His timing and His willingness to help.

It is the end of the week now, and we are still waiting. We are waiting for job offers to come from the interviews, for answers to come from our realtor, for solutions to our concerns and for ever lasting peace for our worries. We are both ready for things to happen, for miracles to occur, but we know this might take time still. We know that God sometimes answers questions with a whisper rather than a roar, and we are doing our best to train our ears to hear His whisper.

He has whispered for so long that I need to write. I've loved writing since I was a little girl. I have spent days, maybe even months, creating worlds and typing stories. Some I have shared. Others I simply saved to my computer.

I've heard from others that I need to write. I've been told that I could make it as a novelist, that I have the talent it takes to write successfully. And I have ignored the words and the whispers out of fear and out of uncertainty.

I'm stepping out in faith now, though. I am putting my fears as far behind me as I can, and I am going for it. I have Writer's Market 2010 and other books which detail how to go about publishing a novel. I have a hard copy of the novel, highlighters, and colored pens.
I don't know what will come of it, if anything, but I know this is something I must do.

(title from "when i look at you" by miley cyrus)

8/16/2010

wearing weary like it's a second skin

In previous posts, I have mentioned that we are struggling. I haven't gone into open details here, but I've offered some explanation to a few people. I'm not ready to put every detail on this site. One because I am not ready to resign myself, yet, that this is the way things are and will remain. Two because I am still unsure of how to truly communicate the struggle, and three because my hope is that God will miraculously fix our current situation and allow me to share all the details and outcomes for His glory.

Even if there is not a miracle, He will be glorified. Even if we continue to struggle, there will be a reason. I remind myself of these things constantly. I know, in my heart, how true these statements are, but I struggle with understanding of His ways. Of course, that is why it is His way and not mine.

We attend Frontline Church on Sunday mornings, and for the past three Sundays, the discussion and sermon was been on prayer. Previously, there was a several month long series on the story of David. So much of David's story resonates with our story in the fact that he knew what he was being called to, and yet he was led on a path that led him further and further away from his destiny until God decided it was time. Once God decided it was time, David stepped into his role as king and began one of the most important lineages in history.

Stopping the series to discuss prayer was what I needed. I know the decision was not made solely to meet my needs, but still, it did. I've struggled recently with how to pray. I've struggled recently with knowing if it is even worthwhile to pray. I have also struggled recently with seeing the point in prayer. I felt so desperate and trapped in our situation that I was ready to give up and allow the situation to dictate my life.

But my eyes have been opened recently. Both by the current series on prayer as well as Eat Pray Love and a friend of mine who sent me words of wisdom. Whether I have been listening or not, God has recently been speaking to me. I just have to take the time to pray and understand His lessons.

A friend of mine sent me an email this morning the book of Habakkuk. She pointed me in the direction of the first chapter and said she'd recently heard a lesson preached on this chapter. Her words were: "When Habakkuk is crying out to the Father, God responds that He is already doing something behind the scenes that if He told Habakkuk he wouldnt believe Him. Also He said in these times, we must cling to what we know about God: He is eternal, He keeps His covenant, He is sovereign, He is powerful and reliable, righteous and just, and He is our rock. When He says no or wait, He has a greater Yes."

I've heard "wait" recently. I have also heard "something will happen" and "it will work out" along with "God has a plan." The words are true enough, but it's quite frustrating to hear the same phrase repeatedly and to wonder if the words carry any real weight or if they are just words.

Habakkuk 1 shows they are not just words. Habakkuk cries out "How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but You do not listen?" God's response is "Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." God doesn't give a timeline. He does not tell Habakkuk that the suffering will end, but He responds and lets Habakkuk know his prayers, his frustrations, his cries are heard.

I believe He has been doing the same thing for me and for us. But I haven't been willing to listen. I have brushed aside many words of wisdom. I have focused on how terrible our situation is. I have focused on how I feel it will never improve. I have allowed the anxiety and consuming thoughts to terrorize me.

But I am putting my foot down, now. I am listening to His words. I am listening to the words others say. I am falling back on His promises that He will make a way. Many doors have been opened for us, and even more doors have been shut in our face. But there is always a dusty, barely cracked window when we need it most.

So I am leaning into Him. I am doing my best to pray in such a way that reminds myself that He is ultimately in control. I am asking for peace and for direction. I am asking to hear from Him. I am praying still for certain things, knowing He will provide, and I am keeping my eyes open. As was said on Sunday at church, God will always provide the things you need and ask for, but sometimes, His provisions do not look the way we expect. But they are still His provisions.

(title from "the house you're building" by audrey assad)


8/13/2010

like a chest without its treasures

When I left my parents house yesterday morning, my mom printed off a story and handed it to me. She asked that I wait until I arrive home to read it, so I folded the page and placed it in my pocket.

The dogs greeted me in excitement, with jumping on the bed and off the bed and then back onto the bed. They licked me and gave me hugs. Once they were calm, I unfolded the page and settled into the couch to read it.

"I Pray you Enough" Anonymous Author
Recently, I overheard a mother and daughter in their last moments together at the airport. They had announced the departure. Standing near the security gate, they hugged, and the mother said, 'I love you, and I pray you enough.'
The daughter replied, 'Mom, our life together has been more than enough.. Your love is all I ever needed. I pray you enough, too, Mom.'
They kissed, and the daughter left. The mother walked over to the window where I was seated. Standing there, I could see she wanted and needed to cry.. I tried not to intrude on her privacy, but she welcomed me in by asking, 'Did you ever say good-bye to someone knowing it would be forever?'
'Yes, I have,' I replied. 'Forgive me for asking, but why is this a forever good-bye?'
'Well...I'm not as young as I once was, she lives so far away & has her own busy life. I have some challenges ahead, and the reality is - her next trip back will be for my funeral,' she said.
'When you were saying good-bye, I heard you say, 'I pray you enough.' May I ask what that means?'
She began to smile. 'That's a prayer that has been handed down from other generations. My parents used to say it to everyone.' She paused a moment and looked up as if trying to remember it in detail, and she smiled even more. 'When we said, 'I pray you enough,' we wanted the other person to have a life filled with just enough good things to sustain them.'
Then, turning toward me, she shared the following as if she were reciting it from memory.
I pray you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how gray the day may appear.
I pray you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I pray you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I pray you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I pray you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I pray you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I pray you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.
Then she walked away.


I sent a text message to my mom, letting her know I read the story, and she responded with "So, I pray you enough."

Right now, it feels like too much. It feels like there is no sun. It feels like there is no gain. It feels like there is more pain than joy. It feels difficult to find happiness. It feels like there is so much more loss right now.

But truly, it probably is just enough.

And maybe, just maybe, all this rain will soon turn into a beautiful rainbow.

(title from "a thousand daydreams" by tony lucca)

8/12/2010

life ain't always what you think it ought to be

I struggle with goodbyes, especially when I am saying goodbye to my mom. A lump forms in my throat, and I almost always drive away with tears rolling down my cheeks. After years of my living in Oklahoma first for school and now as a married woman, I thought saying goodbye would be easier, but it's not.

When I left my parents house this morning, it was much the same. There was a very large lump in my throat. I kept most the tears at bay but a few managed to escape and fall down my cheeks. I'd done relatively well in May when my mom visited and I drove away from the airport without crying, but this time.. I let myself cry. I knew there would be no way of stopping all the tears.

I was in Texas for five nights and four full days. I spent time with my dad, who I hadn't seen since Thanksgiving, and my mom. We ate Mexican food, sushi, Mediterranean food, steak, and smoked chicken. My parents also held a seafood boil of shrimp and lobster. I attended yoga with my mom, which I am still recovering from, and we spent a few hours by the pool. There was some shopping and lots of reading. I also spent the evening hours sipping Pinot Grigot and watching television with my parents.

The time away was what I needed. And I did need it. It gave me the chance to spend time with my parents and also with my brother. The original four, if you will. I also had the chance to fall apart with my parents present. I've fallen apart so many times on the phone with my mom, wishing she were close enough to Oklahoma City that I could drive to her house for a hug whenever I needed it.

There's a strength that I get from being around my parents, and strength is what I need most right now. It's what I am searching for and praying I find. It's also what I am lacking right now.

I need strength to fight right now. We have so much going on that this is not the time to lay down and allow things to just happen. I know that, but I don't feel like I have the strength to fight back the way I need to. I want to lay down, but I won't. I will continue searching for strength.

I found the strength to drive back to Oklahoma City. It was a difficult drive both because of the length and because of how much I miss my parents and miss Texas. 

I never thought I would miss Texas, especially not Houston, but I do. I really do. I missed pieces of my life in Oklahoma City and those important people in Oklahoma City and my dogs, but I didn't miss Oklahoma City the way I miss Texas. I guess Texas is a bigger piece of my life than I ever really thought.

This realization is unraveling quite a bit for me right now. It's making me question some things, forcing me to ask some difficult questions about what I want from my life, about where my true passion rest, and it's making me see that I do not have answers to most the questions.

I will never have answers to every question. When I do find some answers, there will inevitably be more questions. I know that, and I welcome that. But I am ready to find answers to my current questions; I think we both are.

(title from "if i die young" by the band perry)

8/11/2010

it's madness in my head

I departed Oklahoma City, OK at 10am on Saturday, August 7th. I depart Seabrook, TX at 10am on Thursday, August 12th. The few days spent in Texas have been relaxing. It was time to get away. And while I am not quite ready to head back to reality, I know when tomorrow comes it will be time to head back.

Things are rather difficult right now. There is not much else that I can say at this point other than they are difficult. Probably more difficult than they have been for the past year, which is saying a lot since this past year has not been one of the best.

Sometimes I handle the difficulty well. I recognize that God is in control, that He is working through all of this and that He will bring us through this. Other times, I cry, a lot.

When I met a close friend for dinner last night, my face was puffy. My eyes were somewhat red and my nose stuffy. She asked how I was, and I chuckled. The answer was that I had been better.

We talked openly. I talked about what was going on in my life, and she talked about what was going on in her life. There was little she could offer real advice on (that anyone can offer real advice on), but she did say she has found how important it is to ask for peace every day. Just because you have peace one day does not mean you will have it the next day.

Most nights, I go to bed with peace. I am able to sleep for at least eight hours and without any nightmares. But most mornings, I wake up and my stomach is already churning. The tears want to spring forth, and it's hard to breathe. It's hard to get up on those mornings, and I am so thankful I have had a week where I do not have to get up on those mornings.

I know God is big enough to handle this. He is big enough to handle anything. And I know He is working through all of this. His steps might not alleviate what I see as the biggest issues, but his steps are moving through the smaller issues, providing us a way out and a way into His plan. I wouldn't have realized that without going to dinner last night.

I want to know why all of this is happening. I want to understand the reasoning for all of the struggle. I ask many questions, but I receive very few answers. What is it that I can do to stop the struggle? What is it I need to learn? What do we need to learn?  Could I have prevented this, or as with so many stories in the Bible, was this always Your plan? And finally.. why is this happening to us?

I know there's a reason. I believe there is a path we are meant to follow, all of us, and I believe God pushes us on the path. I believe that sometimes we veer off the path, but that he will bring us back to where it is He wants us to be.

And why is it happening to me? I've heard many people say: why not? I don't like that answer because I want to stay in my bubble and lie to myself about what I deserve versus what other people deserve. But I know that I don't deserve anything better than another person; I know that deep down. We all have our struggles. We all have our inner demons. None of us is intrinsically better than another. But still, I wonder "why."

I may never know. I understand that. Sometimes things happen, and there's no real reason for it that can be understood during this life. I may also find out later on, years down the road. It could be that one day I will come to the place God wants me, where my desires will be His desires, where I will truly lean on Him always and truly put him first, and then I might know.

But right now, it is going to be hard. There are many difficult decisions to make and many difficult conversations to have. There is going to be struggle. There is going to be hardship. And the only way I'll make it, we'll make it, is to press into Him.

(title from "you could be happy" by snow patrol)

8/05/2010

finally ready to be here

In my twenty-five years of life, I've lived in four states. I've traveled to eight countries. I've seen so much of the beauty that the world has to offer.

I spent just under two years in California. I was a baby then. I didn't like the water. I lived in a house I do not remember with two parents and a beautiful yellow labrador retriever who enjoyed eating the fruit that fell in our backyard.

Then I lived in New Jersey. I remember that our house was "upside down" with the kitchen on the second story. My brother was born in New Jersey. I made friends with a set of twins. I dressed up as a mermaid for Halloween. I hid behind the couch of the twins' house the day my family moved to Texas.

Then, it was off to Texas. This is where I grew up. I picked the smaller bedroom with wood floors and clown wallpaper, though my parents tried to persuade me to take the larger, carepeted bedroom. We later took off all the clown wallpaper and painted the walls a light pink. Then years later we painted the walls a pepto bismol pink and sponged the walls with a lighter pink. For years, I was the only little girl on the street. I did my best to keep up with the boys by playing football and cowboys/indians.

I grew up in Texas. I found myself and lost myself. Then found myself again and eventually lost myself again. I made friends. I rode the bus to school, something I was not able to do in New Jersey. I swam in the pool in our backyard. I had sleepovers with friends. I stayed up chatting online and writing. I thought I fell in-love in Texas, but I didn't know what love meant. I don't think anyone really does at that age.

After a year of college in Nacogdoches, TX, I spent three weeks in Europe and then moved to Oklahoma, where I now live.

Through these moves, there has been one constant. My constant has been Michigan. Both my parents were born and raised in Michigan; both left after graduating college and neither moved back. I always hoped to experience Michigan as a resident, but it was not meant to be.

My relationship with Michigan is one of summers spent swimming in cold lake water, of walking into town for ice cream, of sleeping in the converted attic with sheets sticking to me some nights and shivering under the sheets some nights.

The cottage began as a one-bedroom home. My grandmother visited the home with her parents as a child for long weekends and week vacations. Eventually, my mother visited the home with her parents and siblings for long weekends and week vacations. My grandparents later purchased the cottage. It now has a bedroom and two bathrooms on the main level. There are narrow, creaky stairs to walk up that open to an attic. There are three twin-sized beds and a full-size bed in the attic.

There's a guest house close to the garage with a bed, a sink, and a toilet. The water only runs cold, and there's no heater or air conditioner in the guest cottage.

This is my favorite place in the world. New York City might have bright lights and Broadway. Paris offers the Eifeel Tower. But I would much rather be in Suttons Bay, Michigan.

I see it more clearly that my childhood home. I hear the creaks of the stairs and the waves of the lake. I smell the fresh corn and the mint and the plump tomatoes. I taste the clean air. I crave the homemade ice cream.

It's my home in so many ways. When I am there, my heart is at rest. I feel at peace, like I belong. It's the place that inspires me to write. It's where I want to be almost all the time. It's my Northern Star, the guiding light that brings me home when I lose my way and forget what is the most important in life.

I learned to daydream here. I wore hula skirts with my grandmother and pretended the creek was Hawaii. I went on adventures with friends, exploring the secret passages in the houses aroun the cottage. I scraped me knees crawling through the sewer system. I kayaked from the cottage to the library and walked the boardwalk. I made friends here with myself and with others. I combined my past and present with the past and present of my family. I pretended like I could play the piano, like I could sing. I dressed up in my great-grandmother's clothes. I watched the weather change in the span of five minutes just like I so often changed.

Suttons Bay has grown. But it has stayed the same. Just like I have grown but also stayed the same. It is my heart. It is my guiding light. It is the one place I know will always be there. It envelopes me like a hooded sweatshirt just out of the dryer.

Sometimes, if the wind blows right in Oklahoma and the clouds cover the sun, it feels like I am there. And I let that feeling wash over me again and again.



(title from "been a long day" by rosi galan)

8/03/2010

i wanna feel it from within

My mind is currently racing at the speed of at least 1,000 miles per minute. But my body is still. My heart is racing at a slightly slower rate of 500 miles per minute. There are so many reasons for this. Life is moving much too quickly, and at the same time, I feel as though I have barely taken a step forward in the past year.

I feel like something is coming, like change is coming. I can feel it. But I've felt it for several months, and I am losing hope and patience for when change will arrive.

God has moved in the past few months. He has answered prayers. He has spoken to me in dreams and in thoughts and sometimes through people. I know He is here. I know His hand is over all of this, and I know He is sovereign.

But my heart is hurting, and my mind is tired. And my body is sore. And I'm just at a point where I feel like I can neither slow down my mind, speed up my heart, or propel my body forward. I am in the place He wants me to be; it is a place of waiting. It is a place of uncertainty. It is a place of crying out to Him and then at times keeping to myself.

The past seven months have been some of the most difficult. There have been beautiful moments tangled in with the difficult ones, and there have been moments of clarity, of understanding. I know He is preparing us for something much bigger than me, than my husband, than the lives around us. A part of me feels as though I know what He is preparing me for, but I do not plan on this knowledge becoming truth. I know He can change the plans, and if He does, I will follow Him where He leads.

It's frustrating because I want to align my life with the life He desires me to have. Thinking back to my childhood, to my teenage years, I see how He placed people in my life to bring me to this point. I see how He prepared me to have a heart for people who others have forgotten. I see how He molded me to be a person who desires to take in the orphans and to love them as He first loved us.

It's a dream I share with my husband. We want a large house. We want at least five bedrooms. We want playrooms and plenty of bathrooms. We want at least one large office. We want a house with a large backyard. We want at least one swing set in the backyard. We want grass. We want a vegetable garden (or maybe that's just me). We want a fence.

We want these things so we can provide a life for the children in need. We've talked about having children of our own, but I have no desire to become pregnant, to birth a child, and to raise a child. Maybe one day I will, but right now, there is no desire. I do have a desire to open up my home to children who need a safe place to go. I want children of all ages. I want the children who need extra help, the children who have been forgotten, the children who need someone to fight for them and intercede for them.

I want to see these children return home to a safe place, to parents who love them and who know how to provide for them. I want to provide love and nurturing to these parents. Because when you take in a child, you also take in their family. When you love a child, you also love their family.

And if they can not return home, I will make my home their home, and I will provide for them the best I can. This is the desire of my heart. It is a desire I feel has been on my heart for years. The picture has changed and developed as I have changed and developed, but the subject matter has remained the same.

And I am close to being ready. My heart is close to being ready to give until I can no longer give anymore. But my house, my finances, my life are not ready.

So I am waiting. For this and for so much more. I am waiting with my husband, and I am praying for the time to come quickly but also when it is meant to. Because while I think I am ready, God knows best, and I need to believe in His timing, in the way He wants things to work. 

And so my mind races. My heart races a bit more slowly. And my body remains still. I remain still and try not to waiver. I cry out when it becomes too much. I ask for His hand to fall when hardship comes, and it does.

There's more than just this, but many of the other callings are ones that I have pushed aside out of fear. I am called to write, to tell stories. It is a desire of my heart, but I ignore it out of fear. Every now and again, I will tiptoe back into the world of stories, but I generally tiptoe out after only a few days, maybe a few weeks. 

And it's up to me not tiptoe out. I know that. But I fight it. Out of fear, out of uncertainty, out of knowing there are other storytellers in the world, some are better than me and others are not.

I've felt called to take better care of myself but have also ignored that calling until recently. I am on my third week of working out, but I can feel myself backing out of working out, out of eating better. I slip on eating something not healthy and try not to focus on it, but I know it's just one step closer to giving up, to going back to the lifestyle that did nothing positive for me before.

And so, maybe, it is these things that need to line up before my dream of a large house become reality. Maybe it is these things that need to be fixed before my mind, my heart, and my body move at the same pace.

(title from "shine" by rosi galan)

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