Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Anniversary Recap

First off, I just want to say thank you to everyone who was so affirming and encouraging after my last post. 

Here is how we celebrated in pictures:


Started with a glass of wine at The Twisted Vine in Fullerton

The surprise: The Cellar in downtown Fullerton

The infamous Lobster Bisque. 
Short Rib with truffle macaroni and cheese
Yes, they cover your meals when they bring them out then lift them up at the same time.
This is how I felt after dinner so we skipped out on dessert.
Thanks Ken, for seven years and wonderfully yummy surprises.








Friday, February 28, 2014

S E V E N

Happy S E V E N years, Ken! I think every year that passes I am surprised it has been this long. It seems to have flown by, but when I look back I see years that have been filled with many adventures, memories (good and hard), and laughs. I might think I would have grown tired of the same person, but I can honestly answer that I haven't. I look forward to the days I get to see Ken and spend time with him even if we are doing absolutely nothing. He really makes my heart happy.

I think as Christian women we have been told to pray for this person that has all the qualities that we need/desire. I spent many of these seven years creating this checklist in my head seeing if Ken has met the requirements. Ken, I am truly sorry that I ever thought this is how it was supposed to be - you meeting my requirements. Did I realize that I am picking apart someone I love and not lifting up his qualities that I find so amazing? I didn't realize this and for that I am truly sorry.

When I actually took time to see who Ken is I am overwhelmed. I am not sure if you all have read the book, "The Greatest Generation" but many of the qualities this generation is defined by are qualities Ken possesses. He is teaching me how to give generously. He is helping me become a better woman. His perspective on the world can be so incredibly different from mine, and I am constantly learning from him. He reminds me of my beauty when I can't seem to see the way the Creator made me. He is continuing to navigate through my tears, and loving me despite all the emotions that ooze out of me.

This past year has been filled with hard, but very good, conversations. It has taken me this many years to realize it is time to stop analyzing Ken and take a hard look into myself. What an absolute mess! It turns out I am a horrible communicator. I am hard on me, and I am hard on him. I live with expectations that are not beneficial to anyone. I function through control because I am a fearful person. I am afraid of abandonment and so I hold tight. Please know that I am aware of my good qualities in the midst of these other not so pretty ones. 

I just realized as I wrote this past paragraph Ken might be re-thinking this whole relationship. I wouldn't blame him. Most days, I don't understand how God's love for me can be so unconditional. 

I have also had to step back and see what I have been thinking marriage is all about. I ran across this blog post, and she has put into words what I have been realizing...slowly.

"The world says the person should be perfect for YOU. The ring should be perfect for YOU. The proposal should be perfect for YOU. The wedding should be perfect for YOU. And the Pinterest world will certainly praise YOU. (If you manage to host the perfect barn wedding, that is.)But the WORD says it has nothing to do with you. The Word says the covenant of marriage has everything to do with God. The Word says the journey of navigating a lifetime promise has everything to do with Jesus. And the only thing perfect for YOU in the equation is grace."

My relationship with Ken has been a mirror. I have been holding it up so Ken could see where he lacks. WRONG! He has been holding up a mirror as well, and I have been blind to see the reflection of my heart. I think marriage is like one of those magnifying mirrors where you only see those selfish parts even clearer and bigger. I am no longer blind to my reflection. It's now time to start working. What is great is that I get to do this work alongside a man I respect and admire. Plus, he knows how to make me laugh when life is just pounding me. 

Please refrain from asking us when we are going to get married. We have some heart work to do, and we are on it. God's plan for our lives is better than what we can imagine for ourselves so we will cling to His goodness instead. 






Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Be healed.

During this season, I have been given the chance to be in a discipleship group with some amazing women. We are going through this book called, "Sacred Rhythms:Arranging our lives for Spiritual Transformation" by Ruth Haley Barton. This group was an answer to prayers. I actually had written in my calendar to speak with a woman from church about discipleship. At dinner that night, she mentioned she felt led to start a discipleship group. Wha?! I do not usually show outward excitement, but I pretty much freaked out. God definitely sees me.

We have been reading the story of Bartimaeus, and it has been seeping into my heart for the past couple of weeks. A story that I have read right past many times. The desperation of this man who needed to be healed. A Savior who asks His people what they need or what they want. The faith and trust to be healed.


I have been sitting with the question of what do I want? Jesus asks us, and we don't always even know what we really need. I don't ask because I feel like a burden to Him or in the back of my mind I don't really believe He will answer me. Can you say abandonment issues?


My prayer is for healing. Father, reveal my heart and heal me. I want to be healed of any childhood scars that try to ruin my future. Those wounds have left scar tissue made up of: trust issues, control, and fear. I have forgiven those who have hurt me, and when I remember those events I don't feel the pain I once did; however, those events have created defense mechanisms in me that prevent me from living life abundantly. He has the power, and I am learning to speak my needs and allow Him to do the work. 


This morning I read this verse:


Mark 5:34 Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed of your plague.” (The Message)


I will cling to this and know I am not alone in my desire for healing. I will have faith. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Happy Friday.

It's Friday and instead of my usual heavy posts, I thought I would just post some images that bring me J O Y. Dahlias, ranunculus, and peonies. The colors, the textures, the beauty...enjoy them. Happy Friday! 

"Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?" Matthew 6:28-30. 

Clothe me Lord in your splendor. May I display your glory.






Friday, February 14, 2014

L O V E is...

Happy Valentine's Day! I know, I know it's commercialized - it's blah, blah, blah. I have heard the complaints just check your Facebook today for the varying views of Valentine's. For some reason, this Valentine's I have been excited about this commercialized holiday. The excitement sparked when I painted several of my friend's nails in the spirit of pink, white, and red. 

However, It went deeper when I heard these two words, "God cares". As I sat with these two words, I was overwhelmed. The God of the universe cares for me. The love He has for me hit. I felt like I had been hit by a wave. I heard this words in this video: 


I recently listened to Octavio Martinez (same man in the video above) talk about 1 Corinthians 13, "the love chapter", but he didn't do the mushiness most usually do with this chapter. 

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 

1. I could be the most educated, wealthy, beautiful individual, but if I do not have love, I am nothing. All of these things do not matter without love.

2. What is love? It is patient and kind. I am pretty sure when I drive I don't always have patience or kindness for my fellow drivers.

3. Love is not: envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, bossy, irritable, resentful, or holds grudges. I might not remember what I wore yesterday, but I am pretty sure I remember exactly what you were wearing when you...oh yes, I forgave you, but I will NOT forget. Yes, that is a glimpse into a thought I have probably had on several occasions.

4. Love is easy to give when the person is lovable, but what about those who are prickly? It almost feels like I am hugging a porcupine. I would just rather not do it. I would like to choose to love those who already love me, those who are cute and cuddly, but that is not L O V E in all its essence.

I am challenged to start this Valentine's a new way to love - the love found in the Bible that Jesus displayed. He died for the unlovable, the guilty, the sinner. I have been the recipient of this love, and it has reached those deep parts of me. It is now my turn to give this same love to others. 

Let this be the love you find and give this Valentine's Day:

"When you are loved in a healthy way, you're healed. When you love someone in a healthy way, you become courageous." 
-Octavio Martinez

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Be still.

Remember that time I wrote about autonomy? I have also shared in the past my need for struggle and working things out on my own. I do not know how to depend on others and so I work, and I work hard. I end up getting tired because life can be like getting stuck in the waves - you keep trying to reach for the surface but another wave hits and pulls you under.

These verses popped up in my reading today:

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. 
                                           Exodus 14:14

Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth! Psalm 46:10

The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. Psalm 91:1

Here is what I read in "Jesus Today" by Sarah Young:




Do I seriously question if He is present? He keeps sending me words, verses, and people to remind me otherwise. I grew up in survival mode and as a result turned off a lot of good stuff. I now have to learn how to reverse that because I don't have to live in that mode anymore, He offers me the abundant life mode. 

How many times growing up did I long for someone to fight for me? No one stepped up so I fought for myself. He is teaching me I no longer have to fight but just be and rest in who He is. How do I do this after so many years of doing it myself? He requires that all I need to do is call on the Spirit to step in and help me. Isn't that the first step anyways, asking for help? This step seems so easy, but for me it is not always that easy. 

Spirit, help me release and learn to be still. Remind me that He is fighting for me. The Almighty is fighting for me. 



Wednesday, February 5, 2014

God's goodness

I am actually reposting from my friend, Jaclyn's blog - Kinda Crunchy, check it out here. Recently, I have realized that at the heart of my thoughts and actions is a questioning if I believe that God is truly good. It's interesting because I see His goodness in other's lives, but I don't always believe He is good in my life. I also don't always believe He has good planned for me. Turns out, I am not the only one who questions God's goodness.

Jaclyn questions His goodness when she reads the violence of the Old Testament or when people we love experience horrible things out of their control. Didn't Adam and Eve question His goodness as well? I guess we aren't that far removed from them. What are the things that cause you to question His goodness? 


***


One of the fundamental questions we all struggle with, right up there with “Does God exist?” is the question, “Is God good?” In fact, I think if we don’t reconcile the latter question, we may come to a negative conclusion to the former. With all of the ugly in the world it can seem that God must either be uncaring or he doesn’t exist at all.
I have both struggled with doubting God’s existence and his goodness. I particularly struggle with God’s goodness when I read of the violence he condoned (or maybe I should say: commanded) in the Old Testament. How could a loving father wipe out entire populations of people?
I could get into a lot of theological debate on this subject. I have read many books and articles that address this subject because I wanted to try to understand the God of the Old Testament (aka the God of Now too). Reading from various philosophers and theologians helped me intellectually reconcile who God is. If you’re struggling with this question, I highly recommend that you do some research.
But here’s the thing… No matter how much you research and come to an intellectual understanding of God’s character, you will always have to reconcile it in your heart. There will always be things we will not understand about God. That’s part of being human, unfortunately, being human makes us NOT God by default. Therefore, our understanding of him will be painfully limited.
This is where that awesome (sense sarcasm here) word called: faith, comes in. At some point, we have to make a choice. We have to decide whether or not we are going to believe in God and believe that he is good. There will always be evidence for either side of the debate, but never concrete proof. We have to be ok with that. The nature of our faith is that it requires faith. Funny how that works, huh? Just remember that it takes faith to believe the opposite is true too because last time I checked, God isn’t sitting in a laboratory available for scientific research. So, what are you going to choose to believe?
We must choose to trust that God is good. When our spouse dies or our child gets cancer or we become unemployed, we will have to continue to choose to believe that God is good. It won’t feel like he is and that’s why it is important to have an intellectual understanding of his character. When things feel horrible, we will have our knowledge and our faith to pull us through the darkness of life.
I hope that you will seek to reconcile these questions in your heart and in your mind. The worst thing that we can do is to resign ourselves to confusion and doubt. Remain in conversation with God and other believers. I would even say that it was helpful for me to read the arguments from non-believers. Just don’t settle for being in a rut with God. Continue to seek and ask questions. Stay connected to God. He will help you get through that dark valley of doubt. I can promise you that because he’s done it for me and countless others.
If you’re ready to do some research, check out these resources:
Image
Image
Image
And a blog that Caleb recently found: www.reasonablefaith.org.
Hope these are helpful for you!