Posts tagged #Marriage

Last One Standing

The boxes were packed, most of the house was clean, and it was the last photo hanging on the wall. 

It has always been a favorite of mine. It was taken right before our wedding, right after our first look. 

I remember it like it was yesterday. 

I stood outside those big sanctuary doors, knowing that Ben was waiting inside made me so nervous that I had to run into the bathroom to collect myself. I looked at myself in the mirror, grabbed some paper towels and dabbed my forehead & armpits all super star style (keepin’ it real folks). After giving myself a pep talk, I gathered myself and walked back towards the sanctuary. The doors were opened for my entrance and when I saw him, my stomach dropped. His back was facing me as I walked down the aisle, hands shakily gripping a huge bouquet of flowers. I tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around and embraced me. I cried. This candid kiss was captured a few moments after he first laid eyes on me, his new bride. 

We LOVED so many of our wedding photos (shout out to our favs Braun Photography), but this one strikes a different chord. You see, we know what it feels like for us both to break different aspects of our vows, forgive each other, and still stay true to the promise of “til death do us part.”

Those young 25 year olds didn’t have a clue what was in store for their love story, but God knew. And I love that. It wasn’t easy and life wasn’t always fair, but regardless of the bumps and bruises we obtained along the way, we have learned to trust that He is good and all things are for our good and His glory.

This photo is such a good reminder of that.

It was always the first one I’d hang up whenever we moved into a new home. It was also the first one I took down during a hard season in our marriage. I couldn’t look at it; it felt like a cruel joke. So it went up in the attic for a few months. But eventually, by God's grace it found its way back to its rightful place on the wall. 

And a few years later, it was the last one standing. 

I love that.

I love that it wasn’t intentional. 

I love that when I walked into our bedroom to finish cleaning, that photo took my breath away. 

Last. One. Standing. 

Because when I walked down that aisle to Ben the first time, before all the pews were filled and the vows were said, my heart was already there. I was his bride. He was my groom. And together, we were promising to never leave nor forsake the other. Only death would determine who would be the last one standing

Years later, now that we fully understand what those vows mean our photo means so much more.

That photo is a picture of a covenant made between two sinners determined to keep their vows despite the sin that plagues this world and our hearts. It’s a picture of a promise that life is going to be hard, wounds will accrue, and hard seasons will come, but that young bride and groom are going to grow old doing their damnedest to forgive, hand out grace like it’s going out of style, and walk with each other through so many seasons of life. It’s a portrait of an imperfect love that is an earthly, broken picture of a PERFECT, eternal love that will never wound or fail. It is evidence that God loves to redeem broken stories for our good and His glory.

And so I snapped a picture of that photo on the wall and I wept, because God has sustained so much and at the end of it all, we know that He is the one who is truly the last one standing. 

I don’t know your story. I don’t know where God has moved big things for you and what all He has restored. I don’t know what areas of your life He’s said “No” in and left some prayers unanswered. I don’t know the hard parts of your story, but if you’re a believer, I do know your God. 

I know that...

...He is sustainer and provider.

..He is close to the brokenhearted and that His specialty is redeeming broken things.

...He is the perfect groom, and not in some creepy hyper-Christian romantic lingo, but in the most legitimate sense of the word. He has made a covenant with His people that can never be broken.

...His promises will never fail and His mercies are new every morning. 

...He is both the first and the last. He will forever be our Last. One. Standing. 

And when I saw that photo, the last one hanging on our wall, I was reminded of all that the Lord has done in our lives and I’m sharing because I know He can do it in yours too. Nothing is beyond His care or repair. May our story point you to that greater story, and our prayer is that through every season, you'll look to the Last One Standing to guide you through it all. 

Much love to you all,

2 Years = 2 babies

Two years ago... this was going down...

and then after we got ready... this happened.

And then after this happened... we broke it down...

and then two years, two job changes (one for each of us), a total of 3 masters degrees, two homes, and two babies later...

...I'm still the happiest woman alive.

Happy Anniversary to my best friend, The Mister.  It's been a whirlwind of a start, but I can't wait to see what the next year holds.

All my love,

Posted on September 18, 2012 and filed under Family, Marriage, Twinsies.

Staying Salty

Well friends, it's not even 9am and I've thrown up 3 x's so needless to say I'm taking the day off from school. Over the weekend I thought that maybe I was to a point where I could ween myself off of Zofran (anti-nausea meds) and evidently my body isn't ready to function fully by itself yet. Oh well... maybe next week. Anyways, I've had this blogpost in my head for a while now but just haven't had the time to bust it out. Thanks to the girls making me vomit all morning and not letting me sleep, I figured now is a good time. Why not right?

If you've been a blog reader for a while, you'll know that one of the things that I'm really passionate about in the Christian realm is women being good theologians. Here's my beef - I see women all across our churches serving selflessly. They're serving in a variety of ministries, serving their families, other families, their small groups, etc. We are definitely a busy group (definitely not LAZY) that is juggling multiple tasks - and when I look around I see a lot of tired women from serving! But here's my question: how many of us are discipling other women? How many of us are thinking deeply on Scripture and teaching other women to do so as well.

Don't get me wrong, we women know how to teach other women how to behave, how to dress, what is morally appropriate for our church's cultural norms... but that is all oriented around behavior modification... not the Gospel. As I enter this new phase of life - motherhood - one of my fears is that I won't stay "salty." I was talking about this to a sweet friend of mine who always is encouraging me to go further in my walk with the Lord. I confessed to her that in these past few months of grad. school, teaching full-time, and being sick... my time with the Lord has been minimal. I can already see how easy it would be to become wrapped up in "survival" or even just the joys of being a wife and mother and to lose the discipline of thinking rightly on Scripture. And  I cannot judge the women who fall into that trap because my babies aren't even here yet and my time has been limited - I can't even imagine what it'll be like in the Fall! All that to say, my friend was encouraging me to not lose my "saltiness" by giving examples of other women we know who have remained salty.

Yet still... I ask the question of how do we do it? Not just as mothers and wives, but as women (both single and married)? How do we stay salty? How do our lives remain fragrant of the goodness of the Gospel? I just keep thinking back about this old blogpost and really think that if we believe that the good news found in the life, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ isn't gender specific (which I full heartedly do not), then its implications must implore us to action. It should ignite a passion in us to consistently be growing and knowing more about our Savior.

Yes, I do think our Christian culture has created an environment where the female voice in theological/academic/ecclesiological debates has to fight to be heard... but we cannot use this as an excuse any longer. The mandate for women to make disciples (which implies ongoing discipleship) must be heard, understood, and then obeyed. Otherwise, ladies, I hate to admit it but we're living in sin. And if I was reallllllly honest with myself and I don't really want to be on this issue... when I look around at our churches - many of the women in it (although good intentioned, hard working, servants of the church) are living in sin in this area - MYSELF INCLUDED.

One thing is for sure... I've come to the conclusion that staying salty definitely doesn't happen by oneself - it's done in community with other believers. We need... I need... older women in life to walk beside me and show me how to balance family, friends, church, and theology. And I know a lot of younger women who are longing for someone to take them under their wings and study Scripture deeply. This process isn't meant to be journeyed alone! And its implications are significant - we either stay salty and bless our churches, families, and communities or we lose our saltiness and unintentionally ascribe to a moralistic deism that ultimately leads to a works-oriented emptiness that negatively impacts our spheres of influence.

Ok... that's what's been on my heart lately. I am fearful of becoming "one of those moms" who gets so obsessed with her family that she forgets her ultimate purpose. But I'm sifting through it right now and trying to figure out what changes need to be made and safeguards put in place. Although I don't have all the answers to my questions... I did want to share my heart on the issue and just give you a peek at where I'm at spiritually these days since I've been relatively silent on that front these past few months.

On a much lighter note - today is a doctor day! So we get to see the girls again. :) Lord-willing I'll be able to keep some food down and start functioning better so I can enjoy this visit!

Much love to you all...