in less than 24 hours they say ” i do ” and in less than a month they will say goodbye as he leaves for Afghanistan. when Cortney moved up to Washington from Arizona I couldn’t wait to get them in front of my camera for their pre-deployment shoot. and when Doug proposed soon after i KNEW i couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture their overflowing love for one another.
most days the thought doesn’t even cross my mind. i enjoy all that we are and all that we have and think nothing of the looming future. but there are other days; often brought on by a specific event, something someone says, or a movie we watch, that the thought is painfully present. and it’s in those moments that i can’t help it. i try to hold back the tears but they just begin to flow.
as we lay on the couch, watching PS I Love You, the thought of having to do life with out him, even if only for a short while, was overwhelming. and i cried. i tried to tell myself that his 3.5 month absence is less than most have to endure but the reality of being away from the one you love, no matter the length of time, hurts.
it’s in these moments, when i feel so weak and vulnerable, that Jesus reminds me yet again that He is sufficient for all that i need, and it’s in these moments that i know i’m going to be ok
each time He said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” so now i am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
every sunday we drive to seattle to go to church. and every sunday we have over two hours round trip of uninterrupted “us-time”. when we tell people we live that far away they give us that look. it’s a look that questions our insanity, but we just laugh it off, knowing that, though it might seem crazy to most, we know we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
every sunday we have over two hours round trip of uninterrupted “us-time” and i look forward to it every single week. two hours to simply chat about life, our thoughts, what God is doing in our lives, our dreams, and even what areas we are struggling in. we listen to each other and encourage each other to look beyond our current circumstance and go after what God is putting on our hearts.
every sunday we have over two hours round trip of uninterrupted “us-time” and every other Tuesday we have over two more hours of uninterrupted “us-time” as we venture up to Seattle again for our City Group. as we left our group last night we shared the topics discussed and shared our hearts. i admitted that the fear of becoming trapped in another job that i hated held me back, while at the same time i found myself feeling trapped by my own expectations to find a job and be a financial contributor to our family; that i have always been held to the standard that holding a full time job was the “right” and “responsible” thing to do. he graciously listened to me and when i was done unloading every thought he simply said “your past has made you who you are today, but you can’t let it make you who you are to become.” those few simple words spoke directly to my heart and i melted. his unceasing encouragement is truly a God send.
so here is to living for today, and not letting our past make us who we are to become.
i would spend our recess time reading, writing, and doing what ever homework i could. i was the class book-worm who would often times be encouraged by my teacher to put down my work and go enjoy myself, but to me, learning was enjoyable, and in the midst of the books is exactly where i wanted to be.
and now, 15 years later, i am still that girl. any chance i get i read, and any chance i get i write. but it can never seem to be just one book at a time. my philosophy has become “the more the merrier” and often, when i pick up a book to read it, 2 or 3 others spark my interest at the same time and i find myself juggling my reading time between them. some may think this to be a chaotic mess of books streaming together to be one big confusing book their heads, but to me, this is normal. and had i the rule of one book at a time my mind would get chaotic and i would loss focus quickly.
currently, my reading is limited to 3 books, and i love each one of them independently for the encouragement they bring me daily. while i’m at the beginning of all 3 i thought i would share with you some keep points from each that have really spoken into my life.
The Power of a Praying Wife
Stormie Omartian- “prayer is the ultimate love language. It communicates in ways we can’t.” “Talking to God about your husband is an act of love. Prayer gives rise to love, love begets more prayer, which in turn gives rise to more love.” “Prayer brings unity even if you aren’t praying together.” “There are times when we are just to listen and not offer advice, to support and not offer constructive criticism.” (reference: Proverbs 29:11 & Ecclesiastes 5:2) “Part of making a house a home is allowing your husband to be the head so you can be the heart.” “Your greatest expectations must be from God, not your husband.” “Love is diminished if we dwell on the negatives. Love grows if we focus on the positive.”
48 Days to the Work You Love: Preparing for the New Normal
Dan Miller- my dad suggested this book to me the other night when we were chatting on the phone and Chris immediately hopped on Amazon to order it. the next morning Zach and Jody Gray wrote about it on their blog and i knew it was going to be a good read. “Work is not a curse of God but one of the benefits of walking in His will. Finding the work you love is not a self-serving goal; it is a required component of fulfilling our true calling.” “The fruits of a fulfilling life-happiness, confidence, enthusiasm, purpose, and money-are mainly by-products of doing something we enjoy, with excellence, rather than things we can seek directly.” If you love, absolutely love what you are doing, chances are excellent that you will succeed.” –Dr Thomas J Stanley “The work of our hands and of our minds is acted out prayer, a love offering to the living God.” – Richard Foster “To work is to pray.” -St. Augustine “When you get to heaven, God is not going to ask you why you weren’t more like Mother Teresa. He’s likely to ask you why you weren’t more like you. Your responsibility and source of real freedom and success is to discover who you are.”
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship, and Life Together
Mark & Grace Driscoll- chris and i have been reading this book together at night since we were married. it has become and special part of our day that we both look forward to. “Friendship is an integral part of a truly Christian marriage and a safeguard against emotional adultery.” “Perhaps the only major Christian theologian to speak much about friendship was Augustine (AD 354-430) ‘To make conversation, to share a joke, to perform mutual acts of kindness, to read together well-written books, to share in trifling and in serious matters, to disagree though without animosity-just as a person debates with himself-and in the very rarity of disagreement to find the salt of normal harmony, to teach each other something or to learn from one another, to long with impatience for those absent, to welcome them with gladness on arrival.'”
she sat there waiting patiently as her husband walked on the treadmill in front of her. had her eyes worked she would have been watching him the entire time, step after step, cheering him on as he walked. but her eyes didn’t work. and so she waited patiently, in darkness, most likely listening to his footsteps and undoubtedly silently cheering him on as he walked. when he finished he slowly and carefully made his way to her. she stood and handed him his white cane and it was then that i realized that not only was she blind but he was as well. they began their journey to the door and i couldn’t help but watch their every step. his cane moved back and forth in front of him as he led with her following closely behind, making sure to keep her hand on his back so as to be sure she stay on the path he led. he weaved through the weight machines, at times rather hesitantly, making what seemed to be a rather confusing path toward the entrance as well as a near collision with another gym member and even so, she continued to follow him, trusting to lead her to their next destination.
i couldn’t help but to look at my life, my marriage. am i trusting him to lead me to our next destination? am i following where he is going even if i know that he can’t see the next step in front of him? i promised to submit myself to his leadership in my life and stated that i would trust him, knowing that he would never lead me astray. but how am i walking this out? how does this look in our everyday or more importantly IS it evident in our everyday? i watched that couple, and i examined my own life and i realized that more often than not i tried to take the lead and i tried to direct our path, putting my trust, not in my husband, but in myself and my own selfish desires. i watched that couple, and i examined my own life and i realized that i have come up short.
i am a firm believer that God uses anything and anyone to speak to us what He wants to say and i’m so grateful for the beautiful depiction of trust He showed me that day. that couple challenged me and convicted me to put my complete trust in my husband and his leading knowing, that because of Jesus in him, he will never lead me astray.
you came home unexpectantly with a potted orchid and a card; you know how much i hate spending money on flowers that will die.
we went to the store and then came home to eat dinner.
we watched a documentary while i worked on a craft project.
you fell asleep on the couch and then we retired to our bed.
you said it perfectly in your prayer over our dinner; we celebrate each other every day, every day feels like Valentines day for us.
to most, our first valentine day would have looked like a failure, but to me it was perfectly us. we did life together and that is more than i could ever ask for. so thank you, chris, for being the best valentine a girl could ask for.
it’s been a month. a month since i promised to be patient, kind and encouraging. a month since i told him i would put him first, above myself, not insisting on my own rights or ways but rather his, and always looking to find the very best in him, at all times. i promised to never forget these promises but it seems that in this past month i have. i have let my patience wear thin, my kind words turn to harsh words and have insisted on my own rights and ways rather than his. i have allowed myself to turn into the selfish person i vowed to never be. and while i may feel that i come up short more often than not he never fails to be patient, kind and encouraging toward me. he never fails to put me first, above himself, not insisting on his own rights or ways but rather mine. he never fails to always find the good in me, even when i can’t find it in myself. and he never fails to demonstrate Jesus to me in all that he does. and in doing so he leads me by example, to be the woman i vowed to him to be, the woman he deserves to have. his silent example of loving kindness, gentle patience and unending encouragement pushes me more than any demand he could place on me or command he could state. and because of his silent example, he compels me to be the patient, kind, encouraging, and selfless wife i promised him to be.
chris, i can’t begin to put into words how incredibly grateful i am to have you in my life. you are more than i could ever hope or dream for and for that i thank God everyday. you are my exceedingly abundantly more.
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think…
120 days ago you asked me to be your girlfriend, to stand by your side as we grow in our relationship with Jesus and with each other.
111 days ago you told me you loved me. You promised to stand by my side as we grow in our relationship with Jesus and with each other.
12 days ago you asked me to be your wife, to stand by your side as we grow in our relationship with Jesus and with each other.
And in 96 days you will tell me you will love me “from this day forward, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.” You will promise to stand by my side as we grow in our relationship with Jesus and with each other.
These past 4 months have far beyond exceeded my expectations and to be honest, you blow my mind daily. I can’t wait for the next lifetime to come, standing by your side, through all that will come our way.
I have been so proud to call myself your girl for the past 4 months and I can’t wait to call myself your wife for the rest of my life.
I love you with all of my heart. You make me so proud.
Love, your proud fiance