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To My Husband

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It was supposed to be a beach, sunset wedding… That is what we planned out over the course of six short days. And we weren’t even going to have a ceremony. We were going to go to the courthouse, get married and “make things right in the eyes of The Lord.”

That is what we were told we needed to do, by the mystical, “tennis court angel.” That is what I like to call her, even though you and I both know she wasn’t really an angel. And she wasn’t really “mystical.” She was just a woman who followed what she called the “leading of The Lord” late on a September night and found you exactly where The Lord told her you would be. She led you to salvation, and you then led me, but there was one thing she mentioned that we needed to do in order to “make things right”… Get married.

And it sounded crazy, stupid even… Believing some random woman was truly “Led by The Lord”…. “Having” to get married to “get right with The Lord”?

But we went with it. You followed the leading of a woman you truly believed was placed by God to intercept our world and forever change everything. You made the choice to follow Jesus and “make things right” as you felt you were being led to do. And I… Not so convinced… Simply made the choice to follow you. If you were going to follow Jesus, so was I. I would follow you anywhere… God knew that .

So we went to the courthouse on a Monday morning in order to “make things right,” if only on paper.

We walked out of that courthouse, ages nineteen and twenty-one, with a marriage license in hand. It was surreal to say the least.

And we would have gone to the court, but Tia and Tio said that wasn’t good enough and so we began planning a wedding.

Sunset. On the Beach. Hawaiian style. Standing room only… Lots of room.

We lined up a family friend who was a notary to perform our ceremony. We began thinking about flowers and favors… Little chocolates with our picture on it…. A cake with seashells, which we later learned was a bad idea.

(Mental Note: Real seashells on a cake is a bad idea. Also bad at the bottom of two betta bowls. Our poor wedding fish… Rough start but they survived! And so have we… Taking lots of “mental notes” along the way).

We planned for awesome homemade food cooked by your brother, a reception at Tio and Tia’s… It was all planned.

We invited every shocked friend we could think of and family. But being dead-set to get married soon, many, including our own parents were not able to attend.

We got as much marital counseling as we could in a week and a lot of prayer… God bless Pastor R and K-A for believing in us.

Come wedding day we ran late. Yes, late to our own wedding. Our “sunset” wedding became a pitch black wedding with only the headlights from family cars shedding light in the dark. And then half-way into the thing, it started. Little drops of rain. Wind getting stronger. After we both said “I do” it felt like the skies broke open and the wind came full blast. Sand whipped up from all around us. And our little flower girl, took off running. I can still remember the sight of her screaming and running off. Perhaps my favorite memory from that night.

It was so perfectly imperfect. So unpredicted. Planned and yet nothing really going according to plan. Light in the darkness. A name given. A name taken. Two vows made in the presence of heaven and earth. Holy and beautiful moments, and other moments that made us want to run…

Yeah- that is marriage in a nut shell.

But the secret to enduring the storms has remained the same, lock eyes, lock lips, and laugh in the rain.

And as I write this, it is 13 years. 13 years from that precious day when we “made things right”… So much has changed and yet so much has stayed the same.

To my husband- I love you. I thank God for you. Thank you for being “crazy” enough to step in faith, over and over and over again. Thank you for loving me, truth-be-told at times enduring me, with relentless, crazy, God-given, love. Thank you for locking your eyes on Jesus and leading me to do the same.

 

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There is Beauty in the Weeds

What Matters Most- A Mother's Devotional:

May you find it today… The beauty in the weeds.

Originally posted on What Matters Most:

I used to be a waitress. (Which, for the record, is EXCELLENT training for any future mother.)

We had a term back then that we would say when we were totally overwhelmed. We would say we were “in the weeds.”

In the weeds…

Lately that keeps coming back to me.

Perhaps it is because lately I have really began to notice this:

There is beauty in the weeds.

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These were on the side of the road. I stopped and took their picture, because even though they are weeds, I cannot help but stand in awe at their glorious yellow bloom that points straight to the heavens.

And they grow wild, and can be seen all over the sides of the roads here. At every turn, you will find patches of bright yellow overtaking the desired green. They proclaim with no voice:

There is beauty, wild, overtaking, God crafted, heavenly…

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To You

To you with problems ahead of you that seem so big… I want to encourage you tonight to listen for Jesus. Listen close and hear him whisper, “I am bigger.”

To you who feels so weak tonight and so rightfully sure that you don’t have what it takes… I want to encourage you tonight to close your eyes and fix your heart on Jesus. Because he is there- right in that place with you. May you feel his peace wrap around your heart and here him whisper, “I have what it takes and I am with you.”

And to you, who has come to know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that on your own, there are so very many things that are impossible, that you simply cannot and will not ever do. Can I tell you something tonight? To you Jesus whispers, “With God all things are possible.”

And to you who wrestles daily with fear, who fights to find peace, who trembles inside at the tribulations ahead. Yes, tribulation will come, just as Jesus said. But listen close to His voice one more time. He spoke it, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Did you hear what he said? “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.” His warnings of tribulation were not meant to scare you, but to assure you… That the only One strong enough to conquer the world is available to you. May you lay your head down on your pillow tonight and rest in His peace.

A prayer:
Sweet Savior Jesus, you are never too far, but all too often, I am. Help me to draw close to you tonight and rest in your presence, your goodness and your love. Thank you. Yes, thank you. Amen.

 

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Feathers from Angels

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I guess our freezer door wasn’t fully closed. Opening the door and seeing the frost that developed on the shelves, our little girl shouted out:

“Mom! Look! It looks like feathers from angels!”

Her words caused me to look closer… Changed my entire perspective.

And now every time I see frost I am going to think of angel feathers… Of our awesome God, and the precious gift He has given to this world: children.

Feeling so thankful right now for our little “angels” that all too often open my eyes and my heart to the beauty and the heavenly right in front of me- beauty I am often too blind to see.

 

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We will Leave our Imprint

Sometimes I wish my little phone camera could catch with greater depths the beauty I see.

I woke up this morning, walked into our kitchen, passed by glass doors covered with smudges and little hand prints.

Out passed those doors a morning mist was gently moving across a dark and still lake.

Stepping closer to our kitchen windows I caught sight of what inspired me to write this morning- one window among a row of windows, covered in dew.

A tiny slug must have made its way across this window pane.

And every where it went, behind it was left its trail.

The slug is gone, but the trial remains and what is left is an intricately beautiful history web.

Like a flash of lighting caught on a dew canvas, with bolts that lead to the morning sun…

I want my life to leave an imprint such as this.

If I could only see it all the time,

How every moment and every choice,
like finger prints on a glass door, are leaving their mark.

And sometimes we… or maybe just I… feel like I am a mess, like I am all over the place.

Because like my little camera, I can’t seem to focus on the beauty in the picture.

I fail to capture the beautiful web that only God can see.

And sometimes our lives can feel so small, so worthless, so terribly finite, like a morning mist and the dew that is here and then gone.

And yet the truth is, our lives and the tracks we leave can be infinite…

Can lead others to the Son.

So here our my pictures of kitchen windows, slug tracks and finger prints on doors.

I pray this morning they might inspire someone else as well to consider how every touch leaves its mark, every word leaves its trail.

And we will leave our imprint.

May we see that and see it well.

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“Can We Start Over?”

This week started with me in a nasty mood, subtle and yet constant attitudes toward my husband. I am not proud of that or saying it is ok… It wasn’t. But I wanted to share this because I wanted to share a decision that my husband and I made that greatly blessed our marriage: We decided to start over.

We didn’t hash out every offense and mistake. I didn’t even say “I’m sorry” again. Why? Because it was more than that. Yes, I was sorry and I needed forgiveness but there was more. I needed a “re-do,” a slate wiped clean, a chance to try again.

Ever need one of those?

So I asked my hubby if we could start over and incredibly he said yes and just like that- all was so well again. And it still is.

And I share all this because I realized just how much we all at times need a “start over” pass. And that is in fact what God did through us through Christ Jesus. He wiped the slate clean and gave us the freedom to start over, fully restored in the eyes of God- as if we had never sinned at all. With open arms and a smile, our Lord said, and continues to say “Yes, let’s start over.”

And so it is that we, too, also desperately need to be able to say that to each other- to offer that mercy, that love and grace.

Who might you need to start over with today? Maybe your spouse, your child, a friend, a family member, a co-worker, maybe even God?

May the same power that raised Jesus from the dead rise up in our marred hearts and relationships. Because all can be made wonderfully new.

 

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How to Live for the God Things

So the kids and I were standing there, toes sifting through the sand… No, not on a beach- but on a volleyball court at a park in the middle of town. And it really started to dawn on me, how young children are experts at being able to dig in and enjoy what is right there in front of them. They don’t worry about what they look like. They aren’t filled with phobias that are sure to quench fun. They aren’t bothered by getting more than a little dirty. And more than anything else they are enthralled, deeply fascinated, and wonderfully provoked by everything around them… Sand begs to be sifted. Their hands long to dig, to hold, to mold- to make the unseen seen… Castles out of trampled ground… Words echoing in a heart, carved out in the sand.

Why do we adults forget? Why do we lose that sense of wonder, of desire, of purpose? Why do we so often forget that the trampled ground around us can still be built up? Why do we allow fear to stop us from truly living, and from really getting deep into the good things… The God things? What does that even look like anyway? What does it look like to live for the God things?

Perhaps it looks like our 18 month old son looked on the changing table in the Mexican restaurant bathroom last week. He laid there, in the middle of a public restroom, and his ears tuned into the music on the speakers above. We couldn’t even hear it in the restaurant, but there in the quiet of the empty bathroom we could. And our little boy started to smile and wiggle and dance… And dance and dance. It didn’t matter that we were in a public bathroom. He could hear the music and he allowed the music to move him to joy. His joy changed the atmosphere.

Just like when our young children made a beach out of that patch of sand that was etched out under a volley ball net in the center of town and then turned it into a canvas. All on their own, letter by letter, they wrote out their messages in hope that the next people who came by may read them and leave feeling as they felt there in the sand… Free.

We can live like that… Not seeing things for what everyone else says they are but instead seeing them for everything they can be.

We can dig deep and start building where ground has been trampled.

We can leave our messages in the sand.

We can tune our ears to the sound of God’s song being played out all around us and chose to dance.

I pray this week for anyone who may read this that a fresh wonder for life rises up in you. May you start to stop more often to do the seemingly ridiculous… Build those castles… Leaves those marks and dance when God leads you to dance.

– Charity

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