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when deployment is coming to an end and the light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter daily, it tends to feel like every minute is a lifetime and every day is an eternity. every skype date and phone call with hubby becomes so bittersweet and rarely does a conversation pass without words of discontentment being spoken. “would you PLEASE just come home?!” i say in exasperation; as if he has any control over the situation. “i’m so ready to be done” he replies when i ask him what’s wrong.
i find that sleep is a sweet escape because, in sleep, the hours just seem to disappear and when i wake the number on my countdown has been reduced by one. i wake and think; “one day closer.” and while the excitement builds as his return nears, so does the discontentment in the reality that it is not here yet.
yet, when Paul speaks on the subject of contentment, he doesn’t speak about being discontent and struggling through each day until the circumstance changes. quite the opposite actually.
Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am. Philippians 4:12-13 (MSG)
in my discontentment i lose sight of Jesus, “the one who makes me who I am”. and when i lose sight of Jesus, i lose sight of reality; i lose sight of the fact that “This is the day that the Lord has made… Psalm 118:24″ and rather than rejoicing in it i bitterly survive it.
but not any more. i am daily realizing that where i am is exactly where He wants me to be, and where He wants me to be, is exactly where i want to be.
i’m not saying it’s easy. quite the opposite, actually. it’s a battle every day. and every day i have to constantly remind myself of who i am, who He has made me to be and Who has made this very day. but when i do, i not only survive, i thrive. and i know that I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me!
sometimes i wish i would take my own advice, listen to my own words and do what i say i’m going to do. it seemed that the moment i wrote about not planning, but simply trusting God, i immediately started planning. would we buy a house in Washington? if so, where? and when? do we want kiddos right away? if so, when is “right away”? and how many? when do we want to move to NYC?
when talking is all you can do, sometimes talking turns into planning and bevore we knew it we were trying to plan out our entire lives. it was refreshing, i have to admit, to occupy my mind with thoughts of the future. the future meant him being home and us being together. but that refreshing feeling soon grew to an overwhelming feeling that we HAVE to get everything planned and together. the thing was, the more we talked about it the more confusing it got. if we went this route then how would that fit into the picture? and if we went that direction what would we do about this?
the feeling to let it go and let God work it out kept popping up, and i kept pushing it aside. it was getting in the way and i wanted to be in control, have it all figured out, have some sense of security in having a “plan”. during a certain conversation one morning, my mom spoke the words that i had been ignoring for so long. “wait. wait til Chris gets home and you get settled into doing life together. then you can think about making these decisions.” having him gone had given me a sense of insecurity that i didn’t even recognize but her words called it out into the open. it seems like there are so many unknowns and to be honest, i don’t do good with unknowns. i wanted to get mad at her for not giving me the answer that i wanted but i knew that it was the answer that i needed. so instead i took a deep breath, stopped planning and started trusting. it hasn’t been easy though.
it’s a daily battle to give up the control that i so badly want in order to let God have the control He so badly needs. but when i do, i find the security i need, knowing He’s got it all under control.
she came into my life 4 years ago, as we set out together, along with 9 other amazing young people, to pursue Jesus by setting aside a year of our lives and diving into LIT. her story resonated with me. her testimony seemed to mirror mine and she immediately had a special place in my heart. i could relate to every single word she spoke as she shared with us who Jesus was in her life. we shared many laughs and many cries together that year and it’s a year i know that none of us will ever forget.
when i found out Chantielle was pregnant with her first child, my heart was so over joyed for her. Chantielle has such a loving and generous heart and i know she will be an amazing mother. having the opportunity to capture this incredibly special moment in her life was a dream come true for me. i can’t even put into words how much i loved spending the evening with her and Stevie. Chantielle & Stevie decided to do their photos at her parents home and it was beyond perfect. i love it when my clients choose locations that are perfectly them. and this shoot, this shoot was perfectly Chantielle. especially when we ventured out into her parents field just as the sun was setting:)
Chantielle, i love you! thank you so much for letting me be a part of these special moments in your life!
it’s said that the first & the last month of deployment is always the hardest. in the first month you are still trying to accept the fact that your loved one is gone and desperately trying to adjust to this new life and schedule with out him. and in the last month the days can seem to drag on at a snails pace. you can see the light at the end of the tunnel but still have a few weeks to actually get there. and it’s hard. this proved very true for me last deployment. it was hard, and then smooth sailing for a bit, and then very very hard again.
this time, however, has been different. deployment was very quickly followed by a family 4th of July, a move to Seattle, and my brothers wedding. it was busy and it was great. the first month seemed to fly by and i was optimistic. and then… everything stopped. i found myself in Seattle, settled, and alone. and the reality of Chris being gone seemed to flood our empty apartment. i could fill my days till mid afternoon but then the minutes began to crawl. and i felt myself slipping. i knew this feeling. it was the same feeling i felt most of last deployment. a darkness, a feeling of hopelessness. the reality of being alone was consuming me. my heart was heavy and the worst part was i felt like i was doing it all on my own. i tried to stick it out, thinking i just needed to suck it up and endure this season. but i’m not alone, and i’m not meant to endure, i’m meant to embrace.
so in an effort to embrace this season, i have taken myself out of the daily routine of life, hopped in the car, and headed south, where i can surround myself with family and keep busy while Chris is away.
when i originally set out to write this i had every intention of it being a “10 things you might not know about me” post. but i got to 5 and i was stuck! so, today i bring you 5 fun facts you might not know about me. and as seems to always be the trend, i’m sure i will have a million more pop into my head the minute i press the “publish” button. so don’t be surprised if you see another post similar to this one again:)
1. i am an introvert, 100%. and when i googled “introvert” the other day, just to make sure, i stumbled across this website. as i sat reading it, i thought this guy somehow snuck into my life and was writing specifically about me! my husband says #6 is his favorite introvert attribute about me. he is my number one pick when it comes to “sharing my discoveries” and it’s good to know it doesn’t annoy him:)
2. i start every day with a work out followed by some quality time reading and writing at my local Starbucks. i love that i can be around people yet not have to interact with any of them. did i mention i’m an introvert?
3. i can’t go to target with out browsing EVERY clearance section i can find! those little red stickers have the power to make me purchase things i would never otherwise consider buying. it’s all the little red stickers fault!
4. i could spend HOURS & 100’s of dollars at any given stationary/office supply store. i told me husband i was going to Paper Source the other day and he begged me to walk away. he knows me so well. i’m always on the look out for new and exciting places to get my stationary fix so feel free to share your favorite in the comments below! (just don’t tell my husband ;)
5. i LOVE pancakes, with peanut butter, and chocolate chips. it’s like dessert for breakfast. i found this delicious recipe a while back and it’s been my go to! while i don’t do the chocolate chips in my pancakes anymore (in hopes of not totally wasting my workout) i do slather them in peanut butter. it just wouldn’t be the same without peanut butter.
i would have included a photo of my delicious plate of pancakes from today had i not eaten them so fast. sorry:/
july 24th, 2012
tonight i am reminded of Your goodness in my life. i am reminded that You have a plan and a purpose greater than i could ever imagine and that You are for me. i am reminded that You have my best interest at heart when You close doors that seem to lead to great opportunities. Your ways are higher and i choose to put my trust and my hope in You because i know that You do not disappoint. thank You
as a business owner striving to wholly pursue my dreams is hard. it comes with great excitements coupled with great disappointments. and when the disappointments come they seem to hit hard. and on july 24th, 2012, a certain disappointment hit especially hard. i questioned my ability and value to those around me. i questioned my direction and decision to build this business. i questioned everything. but i held onto the promise that God gave me, that God gave all of us, that He has a plan and a purpose for every single detail of our lives and that His plans are greater than we could ever hope or dream. i held onto those promises and was determined to not give up, not give in, to whatever disappointment may come.
the very next morning, while at the gym, i received a text that almost sent me into a pile of tears. my heart screamed and i couldn’t believe what i was reading. for months chris and i had been praying, brainstorming, and praying some more. God had placed a burning desire within me to attend the Pursuit 31 Conference but we had no idea how we were going to make it work. but God did. that morning, God rocked our world. in ways only He can orchestrate, the text brought about the news that i was going to the conference! i couldn’t believe what i was reading and actually had to read it again. it was true. it was really happening.
when God closes doors He is always faithful to open others, constantly pushing us in the direction He is wanting us to go. sometimes the hardest part for us is accepting that the door has closed, that He has something different, something bigger, something better.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! Ephesians 3:20 MSG
when it comes to love, everyone has a language; a way they express and receive love. for some it’s words of affirmation, where every compliment means the world to them. for others it’s quality time; having full and undivided attention melts their heart. some feel loved through the receiving of gifts while acts of service make others feel beyond appreciated. and for some they feel most loved when physical touch is involved. walking hand in hand, a hug, arms wrapped around their waist, all scream love!
chris & i took the 5 love languages test before our first deployment together… and were not surprised by our findings. my love language was quality time with a dash of physical touch mixed in. his was physical touch with quality time sprinkled here and there. we took the 5 love languages test again before this deployment, just to see if anything had changed. mine, not surprisingly, stayed the same. i love, and crave, quality time spent with my husband. his changed from physical touch being first to words of affirmation with physical touch being the runner up. he holds on to my every word and every compliment makes his heart smile.
“why does mine have to be quality time when you have to leave me for so long?!” i said jokingly, as i tried to cover up the seriousness of the question. “why can’t mine be receiving gifts? then you could just send me a gift a week and i would be perfectly happy.” then maybe the distance wouldn’t feel so… distant.
but, my love language is not gifts; it’s quality time mixed with physical touch. both of which are not possible in this season. and both of which i crave more than anything. what i wouldn’t give to have a night curled up in my husbands arms, TV off, computer shut down, phones put away, with our full and undivided attention focused on one another. talking, dreaming, and being.
and while this is anything but possible right now, i hold on to hope. hope of our future. the hope that we will soon be reunited. the hope that this journey will soon come to an end. and the hope that while in the midst of it all His grace is sufficient.
“My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
we sat at Starbucks, catching up over soul warming lattes, with the ground bean aroma swirling in the air and the buzz of the early risers humming away. we chatted about life, marriage, and our plans for the future. and without missing a beat he spoke words that struck my heart and put a pit in my stomach. “one thing i have learned time and time again is that planning is pointless….. because God always changes them. the best thing you can do is not plan.”
WHAT?! not plan?! but you don’t understand, Pastor, i’m a planner, through in through. i plan EVERYTHING! and anytime there is a hope that something might happen, i start planning for it to happen, making it happen. i plan, as if my life is my own and i have complete control and that the final decision as to the direction that it will go lies solely in my hands.
it was time for our nightly Skype chat and i couldn’t wait to chat with my husband about our future, how things would play out and in what order we wanted things to go. and we chatted about what we would do if the sequence didn’t go the way we were planning it to and whether it would work if the order of events were mixed up. and i began to get stressed. would it work if the sequence was changed, if things didn’t go as planned? how would we make it work? could we do it? and i heard our pastors words speak softly to my heart, “the best thing you can do is not plan.” and the pit in my stomach returned. every part of me wanted to plan, plan, plan, yet my heart knew that all the planning in the world would do me no good. that what i really needed to do was sit back, relax, and trust.
all that planning ties you up in knots and distracts you from Me… vast quantities of of time and energy are wasted in obsessive planning. when you let Me direct your steps, you are set free to enjoy Me and find what I prepared for you this day. -Jesus Calling
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Psalm 32.8
it’s august already and i am so grateful! one step closer to deployment being over is a dream for this lady:)
and believe it or not the Christmas season is right around the corner! and before the craziness of the school season and holidays set in why not plan a family portrait session which can be used for your own personal Christmas cards! i will be in Eugene at the beginning of September and would LOVE to book your family session:)