Posts Tagged ‘growth’

January 5th, 2014

Thoughts on Turning 30

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Yesterday, was my birthday. I turned 30.

30. That’s a big one for me. Once, it felt like a curse. Now, it feels like a new beginning.

My 20s were full of struggle. I was often dissatisfied, fighting against the things that were, always longing for something else. But I also learned who I am, who God is, and what life is about. I discovered how deeply I feel things, and that such strong emotion can be good for myself and others. I discovered how strongly I love, and how important it is that I be in intentional relationships. I discovered the darkness of my own heart, but also the great light of God’s grace. I know now that my life isn’t about me, that my job is to love God and love others, not myself.

I’ve realized that I am responsible for myself. I often have no control over my circumstances, I’m not meant to; the only thing I have some control over is myself. I am responsible for the state of my heart. I can choose to believe the truth or live from a lie. I can choose to rejoice with others or curse their blessings. I can choose to blame others for what I lack, for the way I am, or I can release the hurts and mistakes, and trust God to redeem, complete and heal the places that are empty and broken.

I would never have planned for my life to look like it does today, but now that I’m here, I wouldn’t trade it. It is all too good, too valuable. As I’ve let go of what I thought my life should be, I’ve been able to glimpse the goodness of what is, the hope of what could be because of what is. The past year has been about recognizing the many gifts I’ve been given, and choosing to be grateful and satisfied, instead of demanding different gifts. I’ve realized that my life is not empty and barren; it if full of love and life. I have an amazing husband, a loving family, heart-friends, and so many beloved students that it overwhelms me. Over the past year, I learned to rejoice in the things I have, rather than gazing at the things I don’t have. In all the things I lost, I gained Christ, who is more valuable than any thing or person I could ever have.

30 feels like a brand new chapter. Not a new book, but the continuation of a beautiful journey. Who knows what the next decade holds? I am the least afraid I have ever been. I am the most excited, the most expectant. I am excited to live in what I know to be true, no longer content with half-truths and false comforts. I am excited to know myself better, and to make myself, faults and all, available to God. 30 once looked tarnished by all of the things I didn’t have, but it now looks bright with promise. God is with me. He is very near. He will never leave me, no matter where I go. He is the most valuable thing. I see that now.

“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. […] You make me know the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
Pslam 16:5-6; 16

I’m glad to be entering my 30s from this place.

February 6th, 2013

Joy and Peace

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Joy and Peace

Joy and peace.
Those are the words that chose me this year.

Joy and peace.
They have been lacking in my life for a long time now. I am weary of being weary.

New Year’s Day marked the five-year anniversary of Israel and I trying to start a family. I cried a lot this holiday season. I felt heavy again with grief. No one really knew but Israel. I didn’t really want anyone to know. I think I’m ashamed of this extended sadness, tired of confessing it to others. Infertility is such a private grief. Perhaps all grief is private?

It was a sad holiday season. We passed half a decade on this leg of our journey. I can’t believe it’s been so long. Christmas always reminds me of the children who live in my heart, but not in my home, of the family and friends who are far away, separated by miles or by brokenness.

I celebrated my 29th birthday. I am almost 30, and my life is not what I thought it would be. There is a quote, from a book I haven’t read, which says, “So this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I’m still trying to figure out how that could be.” Yes, that sums up my birthday quite well.

A few days before Christmas, Israel’s sister told us she was pregnant. This will be the first grandchild. I’m staring at the screen, trying to put into words the jumble of emotions this brings—hard-fought joy and expectation for this new life, deep sadness and confusion.

My heart has long been a dark and barren place. I have walked what seems an endless storm of sorrow and grief. I am so very different from who I was when we started down this path. I am so changed.

Joy. Peace.

These words have sprouted up from the cracked ground of my heart.

I am tired of dwelling in the darkness. I am tired of living in this fog of confusion. I am weary of this thing that has controlled my life for so long.

I desperately want joy.
I desperately want peace.

I would not trade these five years. I would not trade the years of trying, and failing, to conceive. I would not trade the two barely-there babies. I would not trade the tears, the confusion, the despair, even my darkest days.

I would not trade these things, for from them I have seen the goodness of God. I trust God now. I believe this time, these losses, this darkness, have been gifts. Gifts for my sanctification. Gifts for our marriage. Gifts for the good of others. Gifts that not everyone receives.

My heart is roomy now. I have welcomed in many beautiful souls. I am willing to love. I know better now what it means to love. I am comfortable with others’ hurt. I am able to sit with them in their heartbreak, to simply hold them through the confusion and tears. I am comfortable with the conundrum now, with the whys of our loss.

These are graces of God.

But I am ready to leave behind my mourning and turmoil.

I still have no answers. I still have no idea what the future holds, where our path will lead, but I do not need to know.

Joy and peace.

Right where I am
here
today
in this place
with these people
with this heart
and these losses
and these uncertainties.

God is good. God is sovereign.
Joy.               Peace.

This is the year I fight for them.

 

August 9th, 2012

An Active Perseverance

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Last week was exceptionally encouraging in our support raising. In one week, God provided over $500 in new support. This week has been particularly discouraging. A few days ago, we discovered that we needed to raise about $350 more than we’d originally thought. This brought our support from 84% to 77%, which means we’re back to needing $1,200.

Last week, it seemed like new supporters were pouring in. This week, it seems like the world’s gone on vacation. Last week, we were encouraged, motivated and excited. This week we are exhausted, discouraged and just ready to be done.

When we raised support in 2010, there came a point when we’d run out of people to contact. We were stuck at 50% and didn’t know where to find more supporters. We were discouraged, tired, and running out of hope. Then, God brought us a major financial supporter who enabled us to go to Germany. It was unexpected. It was miraculous. It was shocking.

This feels like a very similar place. We’ve been working, working, working all summer to raise new support. We’ve been emailing, calling, meeting, speaking, praying, and God’s brought $1,600 in new support. It’s incredible. But our energy is gone. Our time is short. Black Forest Academy feels all of its 4,924 miles away.

Yet despite the similar situations, I stand on a much more stable foundation. Now, I know that God is in control. I know that He is working on our behalf to bring new supporters. I fully believe that we will get back to Germany, and I am hopeful that we will return in time to prepare for school.

Yet I still feel discouraged; I’m just ready to be done. I want to throw up my hands and say, “God, I’ve done my part. Now it’s your job. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m done.” Part of me wants to throw a temper tantrum and refuse to budge. I don’t want to!

I’ve always thought of perseverance as gritting your teeth and bearing the wind and rain until the storm passes by. My perseverance has been passive. God is challenging me to make my perseverance active. He is not asking me to merely sit through this uncertainty. He is asking me to work through this uncertainty. I cannot lay in bed while he brings support. I must keep working, calling, asking, praying, hoping, and believing. This perseverance is the perseverance of a long-distance runner. I must put one foot in front of the other, until I arrive at the destination.

Prayers Please

We would greatly appreciate your prayers. Pray that God would speedily bring in our remaining support so that we can leave sometime next week. There are also many other BFA staff who are still lacking support. Pray that we would persevere through our weariness. Pray that we would be protected from the attacks and distractions of Satan. Above all, we want to know God better, please him, and glorify him.

January 17th, 2012

Tuesday Night Musings

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About a year ago, I got pregnant for the second time. These days, I find myself thinking about kids a lot. The kids who are mine, but who I can’t hold. The kids I think I want. The kids of other people who I get to talk to every day, but can’t call my own.

I’m often confused, and sad, and overwhelmingly grateful for what God’s done and taught us and brought us through. I am often joyful and content. I don’t know what will happen, and I find myself struggling to learn to live fully in the now, without drifting into what might be, or numbing my heart to the desire, hope, and loss I feel.

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about the value of pain, loss, and sadness. I don’t think God wants hurt and heartbreak for us; I do think he is gracious to us and redeems those things. So I find myself trying to explain why it is better to hurt than to feel nothing, to risk vulnerability than to protect yourself with loneliness, to love and lose than never love at all.

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February 25th, 2010

I Always Want to Use Cliches as My Blog Titles

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Hello Blog. It’s been a while. How have you been? Are you feeling neglected? I’m sorry. Here’s a hug.

Obviously, February was not the best of months for blogging on our part. Good thing it’s so short. We’ve been very busy raising support this month, and I suppose that’s why we haven’t posted much. Because nothing very exciting has happened, and it’s hard to summarize and explain this whole support process. It’s a big mash of fear, excitement, joy, disappointment, expectation and despair. And that’s just one day. But, I’m feeling capable of putting my thoughts into words today, so here I go.

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January 5th, 2010

Goodbye and Hello

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As all of you know, we’ve recently entered a new year. 2009 is gone. 2010 is here. Yesterday was also my birthday. My 26th birthday. For some reason, 26 seems a lot older than 25. Much more adult. And….old. Not that I’m getting shorter or graying (no wait, I am graying), I know I’m still quite young and have a lot to learn, but when people ask me how old I am, I’m going to have to say 26. Twenty-six! That seems much more weighty than 25.

Since we’ve entered a new decade and I just turned Old, I’ve been thinking about the past year. I can’t think of any other year that’s had so much change. 2009 hasn’t been the year with the most significant events, those would probably be 2006, when I married, and 2004, when I found freedom from addiction and finally got salvation, and 1996, when my parents divorced. But 2009 has been a year of huge shifts in life—in direction, in desire, in lifestyle.

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