Desert Seasons

“There are many marks of a desert season.
I want to draw your attention to three characteristics: loneliness, longing, and lament.”

I’m currently walking through a Bible Study and today’s session just hit me square in the heart. Thole study is based off of Psalm 107 and today I started out reading through the whole section and I saw a beautiful theme. People were hurting, hungry, lost, fearful, etc and they cried out to the Lord and He delivered them. I’m making it sound a lot more simple than it’s listed. Sometimes they were facing hardship from their own choices and other times it was a way to sharpen them and weed out the sin and struggle to where God was their hope and joy and comfort – yet God always came through.

Desert periods were the topic for todays study and we walked through what does it look like to be in a spiritual desert, what are the marks that we can identify with; and y’all my heart was beating so wildly.
It was like finally I was able to take a deep breath and exhale.

I’ve been saying for the longest time to some of my close friends how I feel like I’ve been walking in a spiritual desert for YEARS, years. I can’t put my finger on the why, the how, or the reason, but it’s like I’m choking on dust, getting a few drops of water to quench the thirst, and then still left thirsty. I struggle with the head knowledge and even with the heart knowledge from knowing Jesus for so long – but getting them to connect, OOPHF, it’s like ramming two bricks together. One of my recent conversations with a friend in regards to that head knowledge made me feel so good just finally verbalizing those thoughts. We chatted about how going to school for Biblical Studies leaves you with A LOT of knowledge. After 4 years of theology, hermeneutics, round table discussions, in-depth books of the Bible studies, etc I’m full of a lot of knowledge and conviction on how to Study God’s Word. I put myself on this standard that If I’m not studying/worshiping/praying like XYZ then I’m not really caring. When the truth is, that’s straight legalism and not a true heart of worship.

The author gives a story as an example from the movie “Three Amigos” when people are longing in the desert and I really want to share that story as well as her question and my thoughts with you today so if you feel like reading on, please do!

“A scene in the movie “Three Amigos aptly depicts the longing in the desert. Lucky, Ned, and Dusty wilt under the head of the blazing sun. The barren landscape drops behind them as they stop to quench their thirst. The camera pans to Lucky first. He lifts his canteen high above his eager mouth, but only two splashes of water barely wet is tongue. Ned tries next. He isn’t as fortunate as Lucky. Something pours from his canteen’s spout, but all Ned gets is a mouthful of sand. Last, it’s Dusty’s turn. Surely his experience will match his amigos’. He longingly raises his canteen and, to the bewilderment of his buddies, water gushes forth. Dusty drinks to his heart’s content, gargles and swishes the excess, and drops the  canteen to the ground. The remnant soaks into the cracked earth. Once Dusty feels Lucky’s and Ned’s incredulous stares, he generally offers, “Lip Balm?”

Q – Have you felt like you’re the only Lucky or Ned in a world full of Dustys?

YES!
Can I get an AMEN.
I sat there and found myself filled with SO MANY thoughts that I finished my study, grabbed my laptop and started typing this out (which is probably why it sounds like a stream of consciousness). We live in a society where social media is king. We check in where we’re going, post pictures of our fun times, love photos of other people posting their best looking lives, and at the end of the day we often find ourselves feeling less than or that we are lacking. Our fitness routine isn’t as good as that persons, we don’t get to go on as many vacations as them, our relationships don’t look as fun/strong/happy as theirs do, our children don’t behave so well, our job doesn’t give us those kinds of perks, etc etc etc. I actually just wrote a post on how comparison SUCKS and how we often twist ourselves up into this ball that is just ridiculous.

I’m guilty of this myself.
I post a lot of pretty curated images that took me time and effort onto my pages. It’s part of my business to produce quality content which includes pretty pictures and capturing words and I go through my social media and sprinkle it with “the best” picture from that content. I’m often curious of the opinion people have of me based off of my social media presence. Do they think I live a fun and exciting and adventurous life? Yes, I do, but that’s about like 10% of the time. The other 90% is dealing with building a strong marriage to a military spouse who is gone all the time, living across the country from my support system, moving all the time when I have an adventurous spirit but a settled heart, drama from navy wife life that rivals high school days, and A LOT of alone time. That’s just the tip of the ice burg around here y’all.

I scroll through my instagram feed and see all of these amazing women.
Women who look like Dusty from the story. Women who have it together, who are healthy and fit, who have stunning houses that look so organized, who talk about Jesus as their best friend and pour out just this on-fire spirit that I covet. AND YES I COVET IT, which is totally a sin. Yet when I stop and clear out the cobwebs I remind myself of something: They struggle too.

No one is perfect on this earth.
We all have pain, sorrow, sin struggles, anger, sadness, loneliness, etc. It isn’t always rainbows and unicorns and sunshine, even if that’s what instagram is showing. So maybe this is my way of pulling the curtains back to show you the mess of my heart so that you know you are NOT alone in your struggle either.

Transparency is key.
Authenticity is key.
Even if sometimes it’s paired with pretty pictures. 🙂

God’s Faithfulness Through Singleness

FYI: The following post has been a long time coming and may not be for everyone, so if it’s not your cup of tea I’ll see you on the next post! 🙂 I also feel like this post is a throw back to the old blogging days where I’m writing as a stream of consciousness and jumping all over the place with hopes of tying it up in a nice bow at the end; you’ve been warned.

. . .

The more I walk through the progression of my life and all the seasons, stories, heart breaks, confusion and joy the more I see God’s hand in it all.
I recently posted this photo and then quickly typed out the caption only to be flooded with so many emotions and memories. I really do have a binder full of letters written “to my future husband” sitting in the office with an introductory note to Eddie given to him as an engagement gift. I have some of these letters scribbled throughout one of journals that I keep next to my bed for night time thoughts that dates back to 2010 and the other night I poured through a few of them and laughed, cried, and was awed by where I currently stand in the wake of all of that struggle.


2.15.2011
My husband and my love,
One day you will get all of these letters. I’m very humbled right now in the area of love and romance. I’m humbled because I have been stupid in the past (and present) with how I treat my heart. I’ve given it away so many times that now it is truly cracked. I believe that is one of the many reasons God has not brought us together, I’m not ready.


Singleness really was a hard season for me.
I won’t get into the mess of it all, but trust me when I say it was full of lots of pain, tears, and frustration. I went through two serious relationships and definitely gave my heart away more than I ever should have. The loves I had before I met Eddie were fresh, deep, unmoveable, and unshakeable, or so I thought. The truth is they had their beautiful moments but for the most part were confusing, damaging, toxic, or just painful. I once explained it to one of my girlfriends many years ago that we understand love by the season we are in and the challenges we have grown though. When I dated J & S I was in two different seasons of life and as my relationships with each of them twisted and turned for years and we wove in and out of each others lives my understanding of love had changed and grew and sometimes was twisted with bitterness and anger. I truly loved them, as deeply as I could, for at those times it was the only measure of love I could compare it to, now I know much differently.

I had this idea engrained deep within my spirit that my worth was tied up in who I was with.
So I chased after the two “loves of my life” with all that was within me.
I chased out J for security, I had known him since 2003 and we had walked through so much of life together, he truly was my best friend on and off for years; I thought he would be my husband.
I chased S for affirmation. He made me feel wanted, needed, sexy, and valuable, mostly in all the wrong ways. I thought he would be my husband.
I chased, and chased, and chased, and was left alone, bruised, and angry at God for not letting me get married.
I read countless singleness books (most sucked, but my favorite was sacred singleness), cried myself to sleep, felt the heaviness in my heart when cooking dinner for one in an empty house, and wondered if I would ever even have someone to love and to love me the way I dreamed of.


9.23.2014
Husband,
It is in the small moments I think of our future together. When I’m home alone, the house is quiet, and the windows are open in the fall. I pause my show and take the water off the stove to make some sleepy time tea – a cool breeze surrounds me and I think of you. Who you are, where you are, what you’re up to – if you would want a mug of sleepy time tea too. In these moments I miss you. It’s weird because I don’t know you. But it’s like I miss the promise of what is to come. I miss you – especially on the quiet nights.


I would start “talking” to a guy and then something would inevitably happen to drown it all out and I would be left either ghosted by him not responded or just realizing it wasn’t a good fit. I remember clearly sitting on my couch one evening getting a text that yet another one of my best friends was engaged and I just sat there thinking “seriously, her and not me”…talk about a bitter heart…and then just crying. I doubted God would ever answer this particular desire I had rooted deep within my soul, that I had been forgotten.

As the years went on I would have people comment on how I was “such a great catch” and that they were “so surprised I hadn’t been snatched up yet” or that they “had a friend they wanted me to meet” but would never actually set me up. I found that I had slipped into this comfortable place where I was taking care of myself without the expectation of another person. I was my own woman and had my independence with having a job, paying bills, living on my own, and just doing life. I took care of my own house, paid health insurance and house insurance, mowed my own grass in the humid Charleston heat, and took myself to the movies. I had a great group of friends and girlfriends who brought such laughter and fun to my life and the time seemed to just creep on by and the memories could be written about for years. Yet throughout it all I was battling this lie that I wasn’t worthy enough to be loved. That I would never find my person, and I was angry, frustrated, sad, and just confused. Yet through those many dark nights I found myself holding on to this small sliver of hope that I would meet the right person, and we would fall deeply in love, and everything would turn out perfectly.


7.3.2016
Hello Eddie, 

You sneaky fox, I love you. 


Well as you know, it did end up happening, I met Eddie and we are now married; but the story wasn’t this smooth sailing fairy tale, in fact Eddie would tell you it was the hardest season of his life to pursue me. I’m such a catch. 😉 Even our engagement season was full of hard thoughts.

So…after writing all of that I should probably get to the point of the title of this post; God’s faithfulness through singleness, my singleness.

I learned a lot about who I was as a woman in my singleness.
I found out what I stood for, had to make hard decisions by myself, be put in uncomfortable situations alone, how to entertain myself, how to cook meals I enjoyed, picked up hobbies, etc. I forced myself to do things I didn’t want to do in order to still live a beautiful and whole life without a mate.
Now that I’m married I still have to do all of those things.
If you would have told me 5 years ago I would have married a man in the military, left my home town of 28 years where ALL of my family & friends lived and I would live in 4 different place in the first year of marriage settling in on the absolute opposite side of the country I would have laughed straight in your face. Yet here I am.
My husband is gone all. the. time. and I’ve had to make new friends and figure out how to fill my time in a city where I knew no one and knew nothing. I have to deal with tough situations without having my spouse to talk to about it and make decisions that I believe we would both agree on. I still have to be independent a lot because the only other option would be to hide in our place until he comes back home and that’s not realistic.

I needed to grow into the woman I needed to be and the woman Eddie needed as a wife.
I had to learn how to stop spitting venom and word vomiting my anger in situations and begin to pause, listen, process and work through my problems. I believe those lessons were learned a lot from living with Maria for 7 years. We were the absolute OPPOSITE personalities and it was a struggle to learn to soften my verbal blows and shave off my razor sharp edges. I learned about balance, communication, and patience dealing with so many different people over the years that it prepared me to have a better understanding of healthy communication. This isn’t to say Eddie and I don’t argue, we have some disagreements, but we have literally never raised our voices to one another and I think that comes from growth and expectations.

I had to face my baggage.
My huge storage room of hurt, pain, abuse, and loss was overflowing and bleeding into my life. Most days I was just barely making it, let alone being able to pour joy and love into another person. I worked with a counselor for many years unwinding that coiled up pain and facing the problems to cleanse my heart and heal those wounds. Without facing that baggage I would have brought it unresolved and mostly untouched into a marriage and it would have wrecked havoc.

In the season of singleness I knew there was an end, or at least I hoped for one, but I couldn’t see God’s faithfulness in it. I only saw my heart being hurt, abandoned, or played with, I didn’t see God’s protection. Looking back with fresh and understanding eyes I see that when I felt that rise of hope it was God giving me a taste of something beautiful, when those doors shut it was God telling me to wait, and when I felt marriage would never come it was God leaning into me and pulling me closer to Himself.


I recently read “We can wear our hope or wear our hurt” and I just want to give you that challenge today.
If you’re hurting know that you have infinite value and that your pain needs to be felt, but that you can choose to wear your hope instead.
I wish someone would have told me that sooner.
I think it would have influenced me to be more joyful and hopeful through my singleness and now it will help me to choose my hope over my hurt as I carry on through life.


How Are You?

“Hey, how are you?”
I sent this text out to a few people this morning and it kind of made me stop and pause for a minute.
Why was I texting this simple, overused and often undervalued question? Did I TRULY want to know how these people were doing? Did I care to hear about the troubles, the joys, the triumphs, the hardships that they are walking through at 8:30 in the morning? Honestly, I did.

One of my monthly goals was to do a check-in post; to pull back the layers and say here I am, this is what’s going on, this is how I’m doing.
So today is that day, aren’t you luck you decided to hop on over here 😉 hah.


How Am I?

Overall decent. I’ve had my share of good days and bad days to kind of balance everything out. Lately I’ve found myself beginning to enter that “separation” mode with the upcoming move(s), adjustments, and overall changes that are coming our way. I’m slowly learning how hard to hit that place of beginning to plant roots and then have to rip the tree up to start over somewhere else; I’ll have done it three times in the last year. Needless to say I’ve had a lot of thoughts/emotions/concerns/joys happening and I guess it’s time to just word vomit all over the place.

Let’s break it down into categories, I think sometimes it’s easier to “check-in” that way.

// SPIRITUALLY //

I’ve been in a really, really numb place. For months, (probably a year or so honestly) I’ve just been kind of going with the flow. If I go to church great, if I don’t, well that’s ok too. I haven’t been reading my Bible, doing a devotional, praying, or even feeling like connecting. I KNOW that it was all me preventing any type of growth or communication between God and I but man, it’s been an incredibly rough couple of months. I will say that the last few days I have been challenging myself to just read Scripture; I don’t have to do a devotional, I don’t have to make it this long drawn out thing – I just need to fill my eyes, mind, and heart with the Word of God. I started and read Ruth one morning (it’s super short) and since then have been reading 3 chapters a day of 1 Samuel. It’s been amazing to me how just reading the Bible has begun to soften my edges. It’s sweeping out the cobwebs and warming the ice that I’ve let build up….I actually find myself looking at the scripture with my old college mind. Wanting to figure out more of the context, the history, the “why” behind it all…it’s been incredibly encouraging.

// MARRIAGE //

It’s been wonderful and also an incredibly interesting learning season.
We haven’t even been married a year yet but things have just kind of come at us full force and we’re learning how to adjust and walk through it. In the first year of Marriage I will have moved 3(ish) times, re-started my photography business multiple times, gone through Eddie’s moms battle with cancer and calling hospice in, Eddies sister being diagnosed with the same lung cancer, multiple weeks spent away from each other with eddie being gone and me in a city I hardly know. High stress from his job, me feeling worthless from my businesses…all while learning how to love/serve/live with/lean on/challenge/encourage/have fun with/relax with another person. I literally cringe at the phrase “marriage is hard” because when I was single all I would hear from my married friends is “you just wait until you’re married, it’s really hard.” Well yes, yes it is hard. However something our premarital counselor said has stuck with me; “It doesn’t have to be what you see”. Meaning, we don’t have to scream at each other, which was HUGE eyeopener for both of us – I grew up where yelling was just normal and Eddie grew up seeing zero communication. So we just assumed all married couples yell at each other here and there; well it doesn’t have to be that way. We can resolve conflict as it arrises, talk respectfully to each other, and never hit that button. I also find it meaning: It doesn’t mean I have to be bitter that he is gone all the time, that he is bitter I’m chasing my dreams, that if our life doesn’t look like XYZ then something is wrong. Our marriage is our marriage and it should only be reflecting one example – the example of how Christ loved the Church. That’s what we are striving for, very very slowly. 😉

// FRIENDSHIPS //

This has been a sore spot for me.
I’ve mentioned a few times just how much my friendships have changed since I got engaged/married/moved away. It’s been a really hard pill for me to swallow and if I’m 100% honest I’ve felt let down, neglected, and just hurt. I still have a handful of friends who have been there through all the crazy, but things just change. People, life circumstances, location…change makes things incredibly hard to stay the same….it makes it impossible. So you either adjust and adapt or you don’t. That’s been a hard pill for me to swallow, the “you don’t” part. I’m a fighter by nature; I don’t let things go easy and I always put forth effort into anything until I realize it’s past the point of working. Ahhh, it’s just hard ya know?

// MOVING //

Ooophf. Y’all this makes me cross my eyes.
As mentioned multiple times I’ll have moved a lot in a year. From South Carolina to Maine, Maine to Connecticut, Connecticut back to Charleston for a bit, then off to California. I think Tobi (my cat) is extremely traumatized haha. In all seriousness I’m actually pretty impressed with myself and how “easy” I’ve embraced the change. Listen I LOATHE change, hate it, and have for years (this all comes from loosing my parents) but I’ve actually enjoyed the newness of everything we’ve experienced. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had my bitter moments (or weeks haha), I’ve been frustrated at having to pack/unpack/get rid of all the things, and my heart yearns to settle in a place longer than a few months. Yet I’m still really excited for all of the adventures that await and all of the new places I get to not only see but live in for a little bit. I never thought I would have this strong of a spirit of adventure with all the anxiety I’ve had, but God has done some big stuff in my life.

// HEALTH //

I’m so frustrated with this area.
I have actually gained like hmm 15lbs in the last 9/10 months. I am sure it’s from all of the stress and change but my gosh it’s sucked. I’ve started working out more and trying to be more mindful of what I eat, but it’s just hard. I’m not comfortable in my own body, I loath the way my clothes fit, and overall I’m just a little angry with myself. Yup, there’s that.

// BUSINESS //

This is another area I’ve seen growth and loss in.
Photography – I feel like I’ve really grown into my own niche in my photography since moving out of Charleston. I’ve been able to explore and capture what I truly enjoy and it’s been great to see the creativity back in my work. That being said it’s been super hard to re-start my business twice and actually make money from it. Marketing yourself to your new area, to new clients, getting your name out there – it’s freaking hard.

Blog – This has also been a whirlwind. I’m trying to figure out my why behind it all and also attempting to make this into something that generates some income has been an interesting transition and learning curve. Seriously, HUGE LEARNING CURVE. I’ve also thought of completely re-branding. Getting rid of “Taking Steps Home” and coming up with a new name; I’m not fully sold on that idea, but it’s definitely a possibility. What do you think?

Etsy – So needless to say I’m shutting this down. Currently EVERYTHING is only $10 (+ shipping an not including stickers because those are less than $10) because I’m trying to get rid of all the stock I have before moving. I just didn’t really invest in this area like I could have and at the time I’m just not passionate about it anymore. So if you’re looking for some stocking stuffers head on over and help me have less stuff to move!!! <3 <3 <3


So there is a real check-in for you.
Which now leads me to ask….HOW ARE YOU?
Really, how are you doing, I truly want to know!

Monday Thoughts

As I sat on my couch last week I felt myself going stir crazy.
It happens from time to time, the hair on my skin stands up, my heart races, and I feel like I’m getting boxed in.
My workout was finished, I had house cleaning I could do but didn’t feel like it, I had blog stuff I could work on but had no motivation and I had hours upon hours to kill. This was one of those situations where the few friends I’ve made here were busy or their husbands were home (and we all know how important that time is) so I was faced with either just binge watching something on netflix or just going to explore.

There is a place up here that has the most beautiful sunflower fields once a year, Buttonwood Farms, and I had not had the chance to go see the flowers. At the end of the season they let the cows roam through the fields eating up each flower to their hearts content, so my window was closing. As I walked through the towering rows of yellow I found myself incredibly overwhelmed with emotions. I was this mixture of thankfulness and sadness; a ball of joy and a bundle of numbness. It was a weird feeling. You see, I was surrounded by these beautiful flowers – people drive hundreds of miles to come see these fields – and I was able to drive a short distance to catch a glimpse. I was alone, missing my husband and missing my friends; I was missing the connection of experiencing that joy with another person. It was jarring because I have been independent for so long that this feeling of dependency is taking some getting used to.  I’ve told Eddie a few times that it’s still so new for me, this whole connection the two of us have, to where even though I love doing things by myself – I now have this deep yearning to experience them with him.

I started to realize that this season I’m in, where I’m forced to be alone a lot, is a season that the Lord has obviously put me in.
I truly, truly believe it’s a growing season. I’ve seen so many things stripped from my life before I got married and definitely since I’ve moved that I’m kind of left with just small basics. I’ve had to re-learn how to make friends, how to go out and explore, to put myself out there, to have deep conversations with new people, to share the love of Jesus in practical ways, to love someone selflessly, and to actually want to grow in a relationship with my Lord.


“Here is the thing. The enemy promises water, but every time we go to the wells, they are empty. He gives us a sip of water, enough that we keep believing him. We have believed the lie that our cravings will be satisfied if we are enough and if we have enough. So we chase image, answers, things, people – and we wonder all the while, Why am I still thirsty?

– Nothing To Prove, By: Jennie Allen


But the truth is…I’m not really growing in my relationship with Christ.
It’s been hard, and it’s been something I’ve been avoiding. Thankfully I’m not running away from it anymore, like actively running away from the Lords promptings; but now I’m kind of like that student who is getting by simply by listening during class and not putting in the work outside of the classroom. I soak things in, I retain some information and I’m learning and making slow progress, but it isn’t near to the level I should be at. This is an incredibly hard pill for me to swallow for many reasons. Many of you probably don’t know but I was a youth pastor for a handful of years (I actually have my BA in Youth Ministry with a minor in psychology) and I have always been the type of person who loves to spend hours with my Bible, notebooks, and study aids (commentaries, theological studies, articles, etc) sprawled out and soaking in the information like a sponge. I haven’t had that type of passion in many, many, years and it has always chipped against my heart and rocked my soul. I can’t put my finger on the exact reason why I haven’t dug into the Word of God like I used to. I think it started when the church I was the youth pastor at went through a heart-breaking ending and it shattered something within; people hurt us and we often correlate that with the Lord hurting us – it’s not the same and it’s taken me many years to learn that.

Honestly friends, I didn’t think I would write all of this out.
I just sat down with a completely different thought process and here I am typing all of this and finding my palms a little sweaty thinking of hitting publish. Opening up about where you are in your spiritual journey is always vulnerable and leaves you feeling encouraged to push forward or left feeling less than. I’ve been feeling so less than lately that my heart has felt like a heavy stone being dragged through the mud. I talk super negatively to myself, I beat myself down, and I haven’t been believing the truths whispered to me by Jesus and repeated by my loving husband.

So as I walked through Hobby Lobby (that store is so dangerous by the way) and my eyes wandered to the book “Nothing To Prove” by Jennie Allen while waiting to check out I knew it was the Lord. The tagline of the book is “Why we can stop trying so hard”.  I didn’t need to read anything more, I just bought it and went home that night and cried as I read the introduction. It was like a soothing balm to my injured heart; it breathed some hope back into my frustrated heart and left me feeling like a weight was lifted.

Y’all.
All of this rambling is simply to say: You’re not alone.
Your struggles, your pain, your joys, your hopes, your sorrows – we’re all meant to walk through this together.
So, thanks for listening to my ramblings; and if you’re looking for a new book, go pick up “Nothing To Prove” and you can thank me later.

Let’s not be thirsty anymore.

 

 

Old Journal Entries

The other day I cracked open one of my old journals I brought with me; it’s a journal that I’ve periodically written in since 2010.
The spine is falling apart, my handwriting has changed at least 15 times, and it’s full of hilarious moments balanced with heart-wrenching struggle. I love writing in a journal because it gives me something really tangible to look back on and see not only how I’ve changed but how mountains have been moved, how i’ve grown, and how the Lord has completely answered prayers. I’ve been journaling since I was in middle school, and while I haven’t been journaling as much lately as I want to I just felt this pull to thumb through this tattered black book.
I was (and am still) doing this thing where I list out my thoughts by categories; every time it was different categories but they were all pretty much the same themes (life, job, desires, hurts, joys, relationships, thanksgiving, etc).
I truly, truly believe we all walk some similar paths sometimes and we’re meant to talk about them.
We experience good and bad things in such a way so that we can celebrate, morn, encourage, and walk-alongside other people.
Looking back at this entry I can feel my pain. I can feel the raw emotion floating off the page and slapping me like a tidal wave.
Maybe these words will resonate with you, and maybe they won’t, but I felt compelled to pull back a layer and share today.


I flipped to the date August, 24, 2014….

// Desires…
I was cooking tonight when a wave of sadness hit me.
Deep within my soul I want to be taken care of. I don’t really admit that to other people but I do. I desire that bond, that intimacy. I want someone to come home to, wrap their arms around me and ask me what’s wrong. I want to be looked out for, provided for, thought of, surprised even. I feel like I haven’t been taken care of in so long, since my parents died. I know, appreciate, and recognize all that my family has done, given and sacrificed in their absence – but sometimes I just need and miss my dad and mom. With them being gone I’ve had to grow up fast. 10+ years of that and I’m tired. I’m tired of figuring it all out, of being strong, making wise choices, having it all ‘together’. I’m just tired, and yet I push on. I don’t want to be weak or lazy – so I keep pushing. But man, sometimes, I just want to be hugged and taken care of and not having to worry about bills, savings, health, my future, etc for once. 
When I boil it all down, i’m scared, scared of being alone…because besides Lando I already feel alone. 
I think that is one of the reasons the desire and dream for marriage plagues me. 
I don’t want to continue to do this life alone or with all this weight on my shoulders. I know a relationship won’t fix my problems – so God help me! Take this desire away; I don’t want marriage if it isn’t meant for me. I want to put my fears, anxieties, and cares on You and You alone. When I’m feeling alone I want to always remember that You are near. 
I may be only twenty-five but a lot of the time I still feel like that orphaned sixteen year old looking into the mirror realizing the adult life hit me early. 
Help me rest in you God. I need rest. 


 

Ooophf.
If you had told me 3 years ago that God was listening to the meltdown of my heart; that He intently and earnestly listened and held my pain in His hands I would have scoffed it off because I was so bitter. Like I said, I was so tired – tired of feeling not good enough and tired of feeling so utterly alone. A few months after this entry God started to do a HUGE re-haul in my heart; He broke down a lot of the barriers I placed up and pushed me to start to make some much needed changes.

As I sit here and read out this post I wrote just under three years ago I kind of get teary eyed. God has done some big, big stuff in my life. 
This is one of those moments I just want to publicly tell him Thank You.
Thank you for hearing the cries of my heart and giving me the strength to rise above the pain.
Thank you for challenging me to be my best self and to seek out fulfillment and joy and happiness in my singleness.
Thank you for making me wait, because If I hadn’t of waited I would have never had the joy in my life that is Eddie.
Thank you for bringing Eddie into my life and letting me know what that rest I was craving felt like.
Thank you for providing for us, for building our marriage even when it’s tough and we’re not together.
Thank you for taken a broken, single, bitter, angry, and hurt young lady and continually growing her into someone who struggles a lot but knows that God always has her back. Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord. Thank you Lord.

Praying With Intent

When I was single there were many nights I would lay awake at night thinking about my future marriage. What struggles would we face, what joys would we share, what adventures would we embrace together? I read articles, some books, and talked to a lot of friends about what marriage was to them or for them and how they strengthened it and continued to pursue each other.

Two words were continually harped to me: be intentional.

Being a newly wed means figuring out a lot of things for the first time.
How to put someone else’s needs before your own, meal planning for two, learning when to let go of a conflict or when to pursue it,

During our engagement season I was scrolling through The Daily Grace Co website and stumbled across these cards. I bought them on a whim because I thought they would be something I could use when we first got married. They sat on my bedside table for a week or so before those two words kept replaying in my heart, be intentional. I picked them up one night when I was writing Eddie a letter (I kept a journal that I’ve written letters to my husband since 2006) one night when I decided to use one of the cards and instead write a letter of prayer for him.

Some of my most favorite letters to Eddie are the ones where I intentionally prayed for him.
For his heart, for his spiritual life, for his family relationships, for a strong work ethic.
During our long-distance season it helped me to feel closer to him and strengthen our relationship in small quiet moments.
Now that we’re married these cards sit on my bedside table as a reminder.
I’ll be honest and say that I don’t touch them every day, and I am still learning how to pray for Eddie every day – it’s all such an adjustment period.
Prayer is powerful.
I truly believe that there is this incredible connection and trust and faith-building that comes from sitting down and talking to the Lord.
ESPECIALLY when we intercede on behalf of another person.
I also want to say that you don’t have to be married to pray for your future spouse.
Heck, as I said above, I wrote letters to my future husband since my senior year of high school.
I often prayed for him and about him while single and if I had found these prayer cards in that season I probably would have still bought them and used them to pray for my future spouse. I also think these are great no matter what season of marriage you’re in. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful – praying for each other never goes out of style.

So there is a small look in how I’m attempting to be intentional in our marriage.
I want to try my hardest to really grow a strong foundation as husband and wife in the first few years or marriage together.
I want to set healthy habits and create safe and strong places for us to find rest and rejuvenation.
What are some of the foundation forming habits you’ve developed in your relationship?