Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Miraculous

My sister got married almost a week ago, and this occasion brought our whole family together for the first time in quite a while.  There were many blessings in this...having the privilege in sharing my sisters' wedding day with her being the largest, of course.  She was absolutely stunning and happier than I have ever seen her.  She doesn't like to be the center of attention, (which of course she was), but handled all the unwanted attention with a great deal of poise and strength and confidence.  I think she could see the prize at the end of the finish line and decided it would all be worth it.

I got to spend some one-on-one time with my brother-in-law, Billy, a few days later.  He lives in Southern California and has had a very hard year.  He battled testicular cancer and came through this sickness with a clean bill of health - thank God.  In addition to this, he is in the middle of dealing with some very painful issues in his personal life.  I wasn't sure how our time together would pan out, but knew it was important that we talked.  I tried to pray on my walk to meet him, but had a hard time with my words.  Turns out, sometimes you don't need words to pray.  He knows your heart.  

Billy and I wanted different things for the evening.  I wanted to be encouraging - to say just the "right thing."  I should know by now that saying the "right thing" is neither here nor there and rarely encouraging.  After all, what does that even mean?    Billy wanted to be guarded and careful with his words.  I think we both decided separately to throw out our misconstrued notions of how the night "should" go down and instead, decided to simply be honest with each other.  And more freedom and encouragement and enlightenment came from that for both of us than any "right thing" bullshit.

Our conversation made me reflect on a lot of things.  The most substantial of these was how little I understand and believe in my heart of God's greatness - both what He is capable of, and what He has done and is doing in my life and in the lives of people I love.  I could tell you all day long that "miracles happen every day" and "God can do anything."  While I do believe these things in my head, I don't really believe them in my heart of hearts.  I know this because I do not expect Him to move in a powerful way in my life outside of what my humanness allows me to suppose.  Does this make sense?

For instance, lets say I have chronic neck pain.  I would know in my head that God could take this pain away if He so desired, but I don't think I would ever ask Him to take this pain from me because I would never think that I was "important" enough.  Same thing about praying for a miracle...I never think to ask for one because I think somewhere deep down I believe that these are reserved for people other than myself - "good Christians."  The truth is, there is no such thing as a "good Christian."  But bigger than this, I am very much "important enough" simply by loving Him and involving Him in my life.

Billy very much believes that in this horribly painful situation of his, God will work something out that is beautiful and profound and miraculous.  He asked me to pray with him in this and I told him that I would.  And since our talk, my belief in the miraculous has expanded and filled my heart with hope.  It does not matter how we come to Him; the most important thing is that we come...come just as we are.  Ask for the miraculous.  Expect the miraculous.  He is bigger.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rose-Colored Contacts

I scratched my cornea a couple months back and this was an issue for me.  I couldn't wear contacts for a couple weeks and was restricted to wearing glasses only.  Understand that I hate wearing my glasses - since I was "that little kid in glasses" everyone felt sorry for when I was small, wearing them now holds a negative connotation for me.  I still feel awkward and ugly in them present day, despite the fact that numerous people have told me that I look good in them; sexy even (thank you, Emi and Laura.)  It's a complex.

In the last couple weeks, my eyes have gone awry again.  I have been to the eye doctor three times in these weeks and every time they have given me strict orders not to wear contacts.  With my sisters' wedding right around the corner, big work visits from corporate executives, an extensive travel schedule, a new hair color I am still getting used to, and my overall feeling of unattractiveness underneath this restriction from my eye's been rough.

Minimize it all you want, but when I went to the doctor this morning and he cleared me to start wearing contacts again - I was overjoyed.  I think I told him I loved him, I'm not sure.  Crazy?  Ridiculous?  Probably.  But let me tell you that I left that office feeling better than I have in six weeks.  One piece of good news spurred me to think about other good things in my life right now.  Little things like coffee with Jill this morning.  Breakfast with Kyle yesterday.  An overdue counseling appointment this afternoon.  My plans to go tubing down the river with Emi Friday.  Sometimes the little things make all the difference in the world.

Life can be hard.  Life can be extremely painful.  My heart has been so heavy lately that the slightest encouraging thing can make me smile.  Maybe this is good.  Maybe I can learn to appreciate the little things in this.  Maybe I need to spend more time meditating on the things I have to be thankful for versus the latter - for there is, indeed, much to be thankful for.  I spend a lot of time looking deep inside my heart and trying to ensure I am operating out of a healthy perspective, and I believe this is the right thing to do.  But it is very emotionally exhausting.  I told Jill this morning that if I were sexually active right now I would think I was pregnant.  I'm so tired all the time.  She said it's ok; that I'm doing the right thing by giving the painful attention to my heart and all that lies within.  The payoff will be life changing.  She is right.  It will be.

I have never been the girl able to look at my world through rose-colored glasses.  I've seen and experienced too much to do this from an honest place.  But perhaps, for today - even if only for a few hours - I could get behind looking at my world through rose-colored contacts.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

For My Future Husband

You have travelled a long road to get here - a road possibly marked not so much by time but by process; a long road, nonetheless.  I am fully aware of who I am - my attributes and my flaws.  Being the intelligent man that you are, you have weighed both and decided I am worth it.  You have committed to me for the rest of our lives wholeheartedly with your eyes wide open.  I have hidden nothing from you, and am exactly as you see me - nothing more, nothing less.

You love God and desire to be the best, most complete man you can be.  You are strong.  You are confident.  You are smart.  You are self-aware and know exactly what you are signing up for (me.)  You are compassionate and patient.  You are not afraid to speak your mind.  You challenge me in the midst of my passionate tirades and speak Truth to me in love.  You are a leader.  You are honest with me even when it's hard.  You tell me I am wrong when I am wrong.  You make me feel like the most beautiful woman in the world.  You love me for where I am at.  You desire growth in me.  You desire to see me live out my dreams and my goals.  You listen to me and care about what I think and how I am feeling.  You ask me questions - both easy and hard.  You love people.  You love my family.  You love my girls (Emi, Laura and Jill.)  You are not afraid of emotion.  You are not afraid of me and all that I am - all that I bring to our relationship, good and bad.

Don't think for a second that I don't recognize all that you have had to endure to get here.  I know that I am not easy.  We fight hard and love hard.  I love this about us.  I love that we are honest with each other and talk about the hard things.  I love that we don't agree all the time.  I love that you love how excited I get about the little things.  When you touch me, I get chills.  When you smile at me, it warms my heart.  I don't doubt for a second that you will be an excellent father, and I love that you can't wait to see me be a mom.  I love that you are proud of me; proud to be with me.  I love that after all I have put you through, you never gave up on me; never walked out on me.

When we first started dating, I was skeptical and gun shy.  You were quietly confident and curious.  We didn't rush things.  We spent time getting to know each other.  Commitment was a big deal to both of us and we talked about this extensively before we took the plunge to being exclusive.  You were patient with me and the time it took for me to share my heart with you - more importantly, you understood why I was careful and encouraged me to guard my heart in a healthy way.  You were understanding of my past and cried with me about my fears and my hurts.  You were not daunted by the many men of my past and never held this against me.  You allow me the freedom to grow and to change.  You make me a priority and always make time for me.  I never wonder how you feel about me - you are very clear.  The things you say to me are specific to me and me alone; you do not talk this way or say these things to any other women but me.  I am the most important person in your life, but your identity does not lie in me but in God.  While you would be devastated to lose me, it would not be the end of your world; for your hope lies in Someone outside of me.

I love you endlessly and am so proud of you.  I will always support you and encourage you.  I will always be your biggest fan.  I promise to listen.  I promise to compromise.  I promise to acknowledge and correct poor behavior.  I promise to apologize when I hurt you or wrong you.  Thank you for being patient with me while you stood in your firm belief that I am the one for you and waited for me to know the same.  I know that I have been scared and afraid and slow to agree to this most important union, but need you to know that I am no longer holding onto these things.  I am choosing you, as you are choosing me.  It will be rocky and hard and it's important we know this.

Finally, my love, please know that I did not choose you lightly.  As I write this, I do not even know if I have/have not met you yet.  I prayed that you would not come into my life until I was ready, healthy and healed and this has been a very long process.  But - I would not change this for the world.  I had to endure very painful things to get here and acknowledge some very dark places hiding in my heart before I was ready for you.  You were worth the wait.  I am so excited to be your partner.  I wouldn't want to walk down this road with anyone but you.  You are the most amazing man I have ever met.  No one has understood me as you do.  We were made for each other and I will be thankful for you my whole life.  I love you.