hindsight


High school was rough for me. The majority of my memories there are wrapped up around a boy. A boy named Lucas. He was the new boy in school, the athlete, the intellect.

And I whatever he was selling, I was wholeheartedly buying.

I'd like to say it wasn't much of a relationship, but it was. So much of who I would become was shaped during that time. I learned that smart girls are sexy. That thinking for yourself does matter, and that writing isn't for diaries anymore. That writing helped me feel more like ... me.

But what I wanted most was Lucas. I wanted commitment. But he wanted Carlos Santana's daughter. (Literally. I was passed over for a famous musician's daughter who would take Lucas on world class trips while I just took him to the house for dinner. I shake my head at myself then, sweetly thinking that I actually had a chance. That my personality beat out an all expense paid trip to Hawaii.)

But he told me something. Something I would never forget. He said, "I cant be with you. I would ruin you."

He was right.
He would have.

Because I knew what I wanted most out of life, but I wasn't strong enough to fight for it. Because Lucas was shopping for girls who had everything up for grabs and deep down, everything wasn't something I truly wanted to give.

When I sleep, I dream occasionally, but my dreams are almost always my deepest fears brought to life. Lately it's been finding out I'm pregnant, (We want to wait a few years before we have kids ... I hope that doesn't make me sound ridiculous) but before we got married, my fear dreams always centered around loosing my virginity. Sometimes I would dream that I couldn't even remember how I lost it- I just did. Sometimes it would be more conscious, or involve alcohol, or even worse, rape. But the central theme was always the same: I had lost something precious.

Lucas sensed something in me that I wasn't even fully aware of. And I don't have him to thank- the favor all goes to God. My amazing wonderful savior, who saw my deepest desires and responded accordingly on
my behalf, even when I couldn't.

Because college? College was good to me. And the last bit of my memories there are all wrapped up in a boy. The boy. Tyler.

And because God protected me when I couldn't protect myself, I was able to give my everything to my husband, and he to me, when the time was right. When we both became one, dressed in our best and standing under a bright blue sky.

moments from the weekend

1. Enjoying happy hour drinks before the crowd arrived.

2. Waking up to the sun on Saturday morning.

3. My husband surprising me at the grocery story. (And rewarding himself with a Dr. Pepper)

4. Getting dressed up to attend a fancy dinner at work.

5. Free ribs and steak.

6. An emotional baptism at church.

7. A perfect home-cooked meal with my sister.

8. Watching my quilt come together.

9. Winning at Settlers.

10. Sitting around a table full of soul friends.

more thoughts on manna


Throughout my life, God has always taken on different forms, different names. One of the things I love about God is that he relates to each of his children differently, based on how HE created them. So when my life changes, when my heart changes, when my needs change - my favorite aspect of God changes. He's that big. That powerful.

Right now God is my Provider. I keep repeating it over and over. I keep seeing it in the lives of my friends. It is the theme that keeps popping up again and again. Provider. Provider.

I've also been thinking a lot about manna.

Through no coincidence, I've been reading through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers the past couple of months. And the Israelites - they get under my skin. They are quick to leave their Provider. Quick to question and even quicker to complain. They asked for food. God gave them manna. Then the manna wasn't enough anymore.

God has blessed Tyler and I with some incredible manna. We will be able to live rent free as dorm parents for the next two years while Tyler is in school. And right now I am so thankful.

I want to keep it that way.

Eventually, that natural thankfulness will begin to fade. I'll start to forget our urgent need and God's perfect plan. There will be sacrifices. Late nights. Small quarters. No yard.

Then the time will come to make a choice: to continue to be thankful for the manna, or complain about the manna. I want to learn from Israel. I want to take notice that I am full and nourished. And provided for.

one year later

One year ago I was preparing for my wedding. Getting ready to be a wife.

One year ago I was writing thank you cards to people who showered us with gifts and sweet praise, with hospitality and food. 

One year ago I was packing for our honeymoon, mentally preparing myself to become a bride in every sense of the word.

One year ago I was hurried, making lists on corners of napkins, to-do’s piling up.

One year ago I was sleeping alone, brushing my teeth alone, greeting the day alone.

But last night I made dinner for my husband. Nothing fancy – just leftovers from our Easter dinner. We talked about our upcoming move, loose plans we have for the future. I did the dishes while he studied for his next test. I tidied, put away laundry, picked up shoes and random mail. 

This morning I woke up, my arms draped around Tyler. I snoozed. Several times.
I made coffee for two. I spent time praying for his day, for our future. I perked up on the couch when his bedhead came into view. We got ready for the day together. He started my car. I kissed him goodbye. 

Tonight, we’ll do it all over again. This routine can feel daunting, almost machine-like. But that’s when I miss the magic of it. The sweetness of it. We are a team and we are doing this thing called life. One day at a time. I like where I am, one year later. 

Post inspired by Heather at Tickled Yellow.

dear future self


Dear Future Self,

Don't worry so much about what's going to happen. It will happen and you will deal with it.

Do be mindful about the things you bring into your home. Cheap is cheap and more stuff doesn't equal more happiness.

Do enjoy the process of cooking. Of providing a meal for your husband and the everyday routine it brings.

Don't make excuses ( $, time, tiny house ) for why you shouldn't entertain others. The best times are around a table.

Don't spend any time obsessing about your thigh size. Your husband loves them. His opinion is the only one that matters.

Do take the time to dress nice for work each day.

Dress up for date night too.

Do keep making projects, just for the sake of making

Don't fight for control of the budget. It's just money. And it's our money. Make it a joint venture.

Get outside. Get outside often.

Do enjoy the pool. You only have one summer left with your own pool.

Don't take the silence for granted. Rest in it. Revel in it.

Do keep going to bed early. Your morning self will thank you.

Do let your husband pick out the movie from time to time. Olympus Has Fallen wasn't so bad...

Do allow yourself some slack. You can't make dinner every night of the week? You accidentally fall asleep after a long day when you should be working out? S L A C K. You need it.

Don't stop laughing.

Don't stop dancing in the kitchen.

Don't stop encouraging.

Love,
Your Current Self.

manna


"Your future includes manna. It will come. There is no sense in devising future scenarios now because God will do more than you anticipate. When you understand God's plan to give future grace, you have access to what is arguable God's most potent salve against worry and fear." Ed Welch

I saw this posted on Carissa Graham's Instagram a few weeks ago and took a snapshot of it. I've been reading through Exodus and Leviticus and this quote spoke deeply to my heart.

I've been so worried about our manna. About digging ourselves a debt trench.

Tyler and I both feel so much peace about him going back to pursue his masters, but I struggled each day with the thought of taking out loans.

Then last Wednesday I posted this. Looking over our future budget scared the daylight out of me. But I was determined to give this issue to God. I went home that night and Tyler and I spent some time walking and talking, then ultimately praying. We lifted our budget up to God. We asked him to give us wisdom and bless our finances. We decided that no matter how broke we were, we would never stop tithing.

And then I said, half joking, "Wouldn't it be awesome if we could live somewhere free in exchange for our services?" It was such a wish, not even a realistic goal. Where would we find something like that?

Oh how I underestimate my God. 

On Thursday afternoon, God planted a thought in my head and I raced home to share it with Tyler. (Btw, that was the longest workout I've ever had. I was so anxious to just leave my Insanity class right then!)

I wasn't sure if Tyler would go for it, but he handled the suggestion with such maturity and grace. So we prayed some more and asked a few questions and applied to be dorm parents at our alma mater - the university at which I currently work. Tyler would still be able to attend school full time and I'd keep my on-campus job. We knew there would be sacrifices, but we left the entire thing up to God. If this was his doing, he'd see it through.

On Monday, we had an interview. On Wednesday, we were offered the job.

Literally, one week later, God completely blew our wildest dreams out of the water. He didn't just provide, he gave us more than we asked for. We'll be able to not just live for free, but save! We get to work with college students, an age Tyler and I both love. I get to redecorate again, this time with more ideas about what works and what doesn't work for us. Tyler gets free cable. (He is thrilled. Rangers FTW!)

God brought us manna. I couldn't have planned this for us. I couldn't have anticipated it.

And we are so, so thankful