Words

Inspirational Lies and a Striving Heart

The internet is overflowing with inspiration of all sorts and some, while definitely well-meaning, are just ridiculous if actually looked at and fallen for. Isn’t the notorious “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” floating around still? Ew. Recently, an artsy typography print, complete with a little mountain sketch, popped up on my Pinterest feed stating, “Comfort is the great adventure thief.” Cute right? Go, be adventurous, don’t stand still, book a flight, hike to the top of a mountain… Not so much. Why would comfort ever be negative? Can’t I have both? I have been struggling lately and that was definitely not the “inspo” I needed.

I just completed my first full year in the full-time work force and finally have a new allotment of sweet PTO. I haven’t even seen all of the The Lord of the Rings movies, but I know full well the meaning of “my precious.” I want so badly to take it all and fly to California with Joe and stay in a cute Airbnb in Pacific Grove. I want to whale watch and finally see Big Sur with my own eyes. I want to hike Yosemite and measure how many me’s it takes to wrap around an old Sequoia tree. I have it all planned out. However, other life is happening right now, good life too. My husband is back in school, more friends are getting married, and probably more events that I’m unable to predict. There aren’t enough vacation days for all the joy I want to experience outside work and weekends. Traveling adventures, as badly as I want them, just don’t fit into the plans right now if I am to steward my pool of paid free time wisely. Regardless if my ideal adventure can or cannot happen, shouldn’t I be comfortable here—in my community, my city, my routine, my skin? Can’t I find adventure and fullness right here? Yes. All the yeses. I’ve just had to remember that I truly love exactly where I am and who I am with, and be patient for the day that we’ll go to all of the places only seen in photos.

Right now, life consists of a routine, but a sweet one. If comfort is out to steal adventure, I guess my doors are unlocked and wide-open, but nothing feels stolen. What I know to be a nasty duo of a thief, though, is discontentment and comparison—they can steal sight of all the goodness of being present. Comfort with adventure can be found in living out heavenly purpose where we’ve sovereignly placed. I don’t like to believe it sometimes but I know the truth that if I never see another new city with my own eyes and my passport expires without obtaining any more stamps, He can still use me, still fill me, and still receive the glory I’m made to give.

I wrote this post in fall for The Grit and Grace Project (if you haven’t checked it out, go!) and it is so refreshing to see how the striving parts of my heart have been calmed even since then. Had I up and left and spent time and money on travels I thought would fill me, I would have never been able to spend over a week of rest with my mom after my dad passed or enough time to take as my very best friend gets married (!!!) this summer.

The Words I’ve Found

Today I am savoring my Cuban pastries a little bit longer and more car rides are spent listening to Bob Dylan and George Harrison. I’m taking more of my time in garden centers and missing Jupiter a little bit more. I would give just about anything to listen to any story that I’ve heard countless times over and over again; to hear what store he snuck the dog into this time; to have The Concert for Bangladesh up to full volume on the living room TV; to pick up the phone on a lonely lunch break to hear a “love ya, kid”, “call your mom, she misses you. We both do”, or have to pull the phone away from a blaring laugh coming through the speaker. I want to have to tell him the name of a band for the fifth time or be forced to figure out a forgotten name with the mere description, “you know him, he’s a young kid from church.” I want to rant together about the prosperity gospel and the things people care too much or too little about.

Selfishly, I want him back.

My dad was my first and longest best friend and he did a darn good job at it, loving me well regardless if living well wasn’t as easy. He knew first-hand the effects of redemption and the grace we receive in the midst of deep struggle and he used it to bring forth the best of others. He was a giver.
Our evening beach trips and his love for fishing gave me my love for the ocean.
Each meal made me a fellow foodie.
His career gave me all the green in these thumbs.
Our car rides gave me an appreciation for music.
My knack for belting out every word if a song with zero musical talent and my unique way with words, that’s from him too.
Through his growth, I was given a glimpse of grace and the Gospel in my own home.

The loss of one so close, my very own dad, is the most unique and unanticipated event that has yet to happen in my 23 years. The near 48 hours spent in an ICU waiting room and the days following have been swirled with fear, joy, overwhelming thankfulness, laughter, deepest sadness, sweet remembrance, tears that seemed to come from every part of my body, and the most covering comfort I have ever known. The prior, present, and post, have been woven with sheer Goodness. I’ve said to anyone who asks that nothing about this seeming ripping away was easy, yet it was as easy as it could have possibly been. I think I’ve coined the phrase ‘oddly peaceful’ at this point and I really cannot understand how anyone could endure such a loss without Christ and the community He provides. There are endless small stories that piece together the events that lead to the loss of my dad but what captivates me is how the Lord completely flips this world upside down—right side up, rather.

Continue reading “The Words I’ve Found”

Our Little Nest

I remember walking into see our apartment for the first time. Then it was just one of the few choices that I reluctantly gave a chance in support of my husband and because we simultaneously had a wedding to plan, I had an apartment of my own to pack up, oh, and a degree to finish. I wanted the “perfect” first home (whatever that means) while not wanting to exhaust my efforts on just one of the major changes to come. I didn’t even need to see the bedroom before I decided it was far too small and I could not live there despite my best efforts (and my husband’s) to convince myself the difference between necessity and luxury; but, after a few weeks and stressful tears, we decided together that the one bedroom apartment would be our first home. Can I just say, God bless my husband for putting up with me. He likes it, he gets it. If I like it then want to see many more options to be sure. It sure does make for an interesting decision making dynamic.

So once we moved in this first little home of ours we did the usual, said we would never move again because let’s be real, moving is the worst. By that time though I was beyond excited for what most of us ladies thrive in doing, nesting. I spent hours pinning and pondering how to style three different neutral hand-me-down couches while not looking like a showroom at a thrift store, as well as how exactly bring life to our white washed walls, all while making it our own. I suppose nesting is supposed to be a short period of time where one fits all the puzzle pieces of furniture and accessories together to create a home but I’ve learned that we can’t expect to open our front doors like we’re opening the front page of a Pottery Barn catalog and expect to see everything perfectly placed together on demand. There were a lot things that we wanted yet waited to purchase.

There are a few things I’ve come to live by when continuing to style our apartment since I am quite capable of making myself crazy when to comes to home goods. My hope is that they can be helpful in any stage of nesting, redecorating, or even just shopping for your home. Continue reading “Our Little Nest”

A Prayer in Time of Injustice, Fear, and Tragedy Too Frequent

Our newsfeeds seem to be increasingly scattered with headlines of sheer ridiculousness, injustices and far too tragic events. We’re angry. We’re at a loss. Our hearts ache. Our great country has been and continues to go through some certainly trying times and as our home is hurting our eyes are even more prone to be open to the gross brokenness that extends to all the world. Our connection to, feelings about and actions toward wrongdoing and corruption can vary based on our skin color, cities, churches, jobs, proximity to disaster, our pasts, etc. Sometimes we don’t know how to act, how to stand up for truth, unity, and understanding. We just want to see this broken world become new or at least to have hope. We want so badly to travel to bring comfort to the hurting. Amongst new uncertainties, deep concern, and unanswerable questions, this we can know to be true, that God is ruling and his reign is not ending. We can be thankful that our prayers to him are more sovereignly heard and cared for than any viral rant, analytical article, or even well-meaning theologically-sound post. When we are searching for how to act and even for what to think, let us call out to the only one who can heal, the only one who can fix, truth and wisdom Himself. Continue reading “A Prayer in Time of Injustice, Fear, and Tragedy Too Frequent”

Wedding Day Reflections

 Slightly over one year ago, on the first day of summer, at an old white church downtown, surrounded by most of our nearest and dearest, I stood and faced the man who had grown to be my very best friend. Behind chuckles and tears we said our vows in our fanciest of clothes and kissed to seal the deal. Then we shared lots of hugs, dances, and all of our favorite desserts on the river. To see 364 days of the most important planning, pinning, and purchasing to date come to fruition was quite magical for a planner like me. It was and still is my favorite of days. Honestly, I can slightly relate to Monica Geller Bing; I want to go back and do the whole day all over again, even if I had to plan it; there are times that I miss it. Surprising peace, full joy, and overwhelming love were flowing through the whole day. Now we’ve spent one whole year fully together since that day, fully one. So surreal that I’ve had to intentionally stop and reflect on how that one day has changed every day in its following. I’m so thankful that we got to pause and do a little Naples staycation to celebrate as our times away are always so refreshing.

There were a couple times through this past year though that I would get caught up in looking back at just the short hours of June 20th. Reflecting on the first year of sweet memories and incredible growth together in marriage was honestly difficult without jumping to remember all that my wedding wasn’t rather than the most beautiful day that it undoubtedly was. I didn’t want to struggle over a day that felt flawless in the moment and a day that will go down as one of life’s most important. I want to remember it as perfect. I am sad over the fact that there has been more than one time that I’ve thought back to my wedding and pushed down real tears over the thoughts of all the things I could have changed. Continue reading “Wedding Day Reflections”

Grit and Grace: Resting in the Working

Well, I am so excited to say that my first post with The Grit and Grace Project is up! Grit and Grace is a community of women who have found hope in the Lord and seek to encourage all women in all walks of life, not only Christians. Each post is gracious and uplifting, containing truth and life-giving words that are real. You’re not going to find unrealistic steps to happiness or excuses for comparison over there, and that’s quite refreshing. I am beyond glad to be a small part of it.

Grit and Grace has a ton on work life balance which if you’re anything like me, is totally needed. In my last post I mentioned how I recently started working full-time. It’s my first year EVER without a summer break and I am feeling it. All the feels (more on dealing with that loss later). I’ve realized how easy it is to rest in the Lord when life offers you physical rest but what about during full-time work? I don’t want to buy into culture’s lie that busyness is natural and being worn out is normal and okay because goals are being achieved. Frankly, my goals are not work related whatsoever. I want to feel fullness even on days that are physically draining. I want to be comforted and connected with the Lord even when my job does not facilitate just that and I want to see the joy in good and even ordinary things. I know I can spiritually and mentally rest in the Lord but that is so. much. harder. to figure out how when surroundings are all but still.

During this last year of working a real job for the very first time, I have had to learn to find rest while working hard because I can not will life to slow down. I needed some practical things to do throughout the day to keep me centered on what matters most, which fuels me to work even harder and with integrity. Head on over to Grit and Grace (link in first line) to read my little tips and other life-giving words for all kinds of women.

When Fear is Reassuring

Here’s a little bit of background before the good stuff that the Lord alone allowed to come out of me: in May of 2015 I graduated with my bachelors in Social Work, in June I got married, in July we moved (again), and in August I was hired on the spot after a short interview for my first full-time job for an organization with a mission I truly care for, running a department basically on my own with a starting salary I never expected to have. Usually that whirlwind of change would leave anyone feeling overwhelmed but honestly, my pride was just a little louder saying, dang girl you’ve got it all together. Look. At. You.

Almost a year later, my job is not all glory, saving poor, starving babies and getting paid to praise Jesus. My ever-sharp eyes will need glasses sooner than later from staring at a screen all day. I get angry at spiritual lies that an astonishing amount of people believe and in honesty, there are days when I disagree with management decisions and I set my expectations of how a Christian organization should be run on others I work with. I have to remind myself daily—sometimes hourly- that the Lord knew what he was doing when he placed me here and the reason may not be to bestow my wisdom and fix organizational issues, though that’s what I really want to do. After all isn’t that what true “adulting” is-finally getting to go about life on your own and finding your passions in your career and activities? Maybe to this world, yes. With Jesus, not so much. Now hear me, I am extremely blessed with my job and I do enjoy it, though if I ran the place, I’d like to think there would be major cultural differences. However, maybe I am sovereignly selected for this position more for work in my heart than work in an office or a third world country. Unfortunately, pride doesn’t like sitting still in my office chair. It wants to inscribe itself right next to the golden CTW of my leather bag and be slung over my shoulder to be carried wherever I go (as if my purse wasn’t heavy enough). Pride likes to come home with me, go out with my friends, and sway right on in to church.

Now for the good stuff I actually had written first.

Continue reading “When Fear is Reassuring”

How Deep

Little known fact about me: I connect with the Lord a lot through corporate worship. The Lord has used many songs to speak directly to my wandering and restless heart and I can remember vivid moments, standing in rooms with hundred or thousands of singing people when the Lord spoke clearly, changing the path of my life. A few months ago, some friends were leading worship for a small gathering at church, angelically singing “How Deep the Fathers Love For Us”. If you have been in church for a while, you’ve most likely heard it, maybe even in different ways.

It had been a long day at work but the Lord was faithful to quiet my restless mind to be able to listen and focus on worship. I sang along until the knowledge of the upcoming lyrics stopped me, “…I will not boast in anything, no gifts, no power, no wisdom…” Singing that with such enthusiasm would be a lie, wouldn’t it?

Some days (probably more than I would want to count) I boast. I promote either in speech or thoughts, my gifts of planning and organizing, my marriage, my power to manage a department on my own at 22, and my wisdom that not many people have by their twenties. For all the things I have to be thankful for, I far too quickly flip a switch and boast that I have them. Jesus alone can fill up my heart and bring me to a place of boasting in Him, in what He has given, what He has done and is still doing for me without my help.

In reality, I have nothing to bring but my need. The second verse is a reminder of just that, “Ashamed I hear my mocking voice…It was my sin that held him there…Why should I gain from his reward?” For someone who struggles with remembering that the payment of my sin and shame is finished, my head and heart far too easily spiral into thinking about all that I should do better, that I should really be further along in this walk than I am. How do I get so distracted from being in awe of the grace that saved my soul to go about work, relationships, and my own endeavors by myself without even realizing the change in focus? Surely I did not forget of the cross and my rescue, how is it not on the forefront of my mind even in ordinary life? Then I felt the gentle reminder that halts the spinning wheels of my shame…

Continue reading “How Deep”