Monday, April 25, 2011

Different Paths of Grace

I'm home. You didn't know I was gone did you? :) Well, Levi and I were, but now we're home. I could cry, in fact I did. I missed my husband soooooooooooo much. For many reasons, of which I will expound. There are lots of stories to tell of the past few weeks and our trip, but right now, I want to talk about us, and missing him.

In case you haven't gathered, it's been a hard couple of years since my pregnancy with Levi, even before as we've struggled financially. Our main struggles have been financial, physical with Levi and our given-over baby, spiritually with church and people and emotionally with all of this and especially the loss of the baby, and that about covers it. We will celebrate our 5-year wedding anniversary in less than 2 months. It's hard to believe it's been that long, but the last 2 years feel the longest. God has brought us through many storms, and I've cried many tears. We've experienced lots of pain along the way, and I think at the time I would have gladly traded all of it in. But not now. We're not even out of the storms and I can say I thank God for them. Our lives are filled with unknowns and chaos, we're praying and trusting God for what is to come while trying not to live in fear.

But here's the thing, in all of this, God has given us grace and brought us closer to Him and each other. There have been horrible even downright awful days. Days when we wondered if our marriage and faith could withstand the winds. I would never wish what we have experienced on anyone, but I do find myself thankful for it. People usually come through hardship either stronger, or just harder. Stronger means you've let God use it, harder means you've hardened your heart and life so much that you don't trust God or people anymore. Strength means you let pain happen and live in spite of it or because of it. Hardness means you forever will live in pain, because you don't let God use it to mold you.

I'm rambling, but what I'm saying is this, you often hear people when they come through a storm speaking of the glory of God and the greatness of God that got them through it. AFTER THE FACT. And if you too sit there and say to yourself "But I'm in pain RIGHT NOW!" I'm here to tell you that it's okay. God sees your pain and is still faithful. I don't have magic answers, because get this, I'm still there. There are days I still wonder what in the world is God doing. But I can say this, I'm in the storm and it's okay. I'm beginning to think that when you are actually living a missional life for God and others, that the storm IS your life. And that it is okay.

God is a God of grace and He is faithful. Those things will never change.

Everyone's path in life looks different. For Andrew and I, it's sticking it out in this town for the moment, because God has chosen us to be in this church, and we intend to stand with it as long as possible. God has chosen us to be together, to have Levi, and we intend to celebrate our family. It's been 5 years, and I would never go back to that first year, because God has protected us and it just gets better. We have become a team, we are not you and me, we are US. We are well, WE. So we're developing new strategies for our team. Our path may not correspond with anyone else's ideas of what it should look like, but we see God in our storms, and He is calling us to Himself in this direction.

So, I missed my husband. It's sort of like missing half yourself, because he is just that. Oh, it's good to get away and "absence makes the heart grow fonder" and all that. But at the end of this day, I'm so thankful to be together again.

UPDATE: I don't mean to sound like we've got it all together. We don't. In fact, we've been having "discussions" since I posted this. But that's okay. Because no matter what, we do love each other and need to learn and grow. Life will never get easier, but we know who our trust is in. God holds us together.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Beans and Baking

No, I'm not making Baked Beans. Gross...
Here, a little visual for you:

I made a carrot cake from scratch yesterday, cream cheese frosting and everything. Yumm!!
Also, to keep Levi busy while Andrew was walking the dog, I gave him two containers and a bunch of dried beans to play with. After the initial "I'm gonna eat 'em!!" He settled down and had great fun pouring them back and forth. By the time he was done, they were all on the floor, none in the containers. But seriously, kept him busy for over 20 minutes! That just doesn't happen in our house so I was pretty excited!!
Other keeping busy news: Sara, Levi adores all the things you sent! The magnets on our fridge in these pictures are amazing! They are wood like puzzle pieces but they are magnetic. Super cool!

This is my 250th post so you would think I'd have something monumental to say. I don't! :) So here are a few random thoughts for you:
Levi got his second haircut today, I did it by myself! Super Mom! :)
Tropical, I'm dreaming of someplace tropical. For the first time in my life I can say that I'd love to go on vacation to someplace with sandy beaches, 80 degrees and clear blue water. Weird I know. Perhaps these winters are finally catching up to me...
Traveling brings us to June, which will be Andrew's and mine 5th anniversary. Where has the time gone? We are actually going to have a few days alone for the first time since I was pregnant with Levi. (Shout out to Christi, my heroine!) We hardly know what to do with ourselves. If you know of any undiscovered gems in this state for us to visit, let me know!
So, life continues. We're looking forward to visits in the next 10 days from 2 of my best friends and their girls. And Andrew and I will be taking care of 4 girls ages 3-6 for 2 days. Yep, we're crazy. And crazy excited! :)

Enjoy the warmer weather and we'll share more pictures soon!