12 hours of grace

i want to write about the recent 12 hours i’ve experience, in which God FEELS near, though of course He always is. but there’s been that thick blanket of grace, and those little signs that He’s listening, sees, cares.

it began with a good, ugly cry last night. i haven’t cried that way in so long. it was the sort of cry that, in its honesty, seemed to break some things open between me and God, and between me and tim. nothing is resolved per se, yet there’s an odd but certain hope that came in the wake of that cry. and that hope was an answer to a heart cry.

we listend to God together after that cry, tim and i. what i heard was reinforced by what tim heard. and there are now a few solid things to lay hold of with confidence: a few sentences of loving affirmation, an insight into a place where i feel stuck, and a gentle nudge toward a difficult obedience.

and to be listened to, held, not shut down… that was good, too. i’m grateful to have a husband so sensitive, so open to hear without defensiveness.

then i slept really, really well. perhaps i was exhausted by all the crying. and the miracle is that Hazel also slept really, really well. like 12 hours, straight through. this after nearly a week of night waking and/or waking at the butt-crack fo dawn, always in screaming tears, so much so that it got to the point where i felt as though every tim i woke, it was to her crying. i cannot begin to explain to you how immensely grateful i am for a night like that after so many rough night in a row (damn you, 18-month sleep regression.)

while i slept, i dreamed. i dreamed a variation on an old and familiar dream that features me in a familiar house, discovering new rooms and passageways and openings and features to this familiar home that i never knew were there before. this time it was about the home we’re planning to move into next year. as this beloved house unfolded before me with so many surprising features, i kept thinking, “i had no idea they [the friends selling the house to us] were so wealthy! there is more room here than we could ever need! we need to share this place with people! how will we find enough furniture to fill it?!”. i was overwhelmed by the expansiveness of that territory being given to us to call our own, for a price that was obviously a tiny fraction of it’s real value.

this dream in the past has meant that i’m on the brink of significant growth or healing. that makes sense, after that ugly cry.

this dream this time might also meant that what we’re being given in 2013 — the literal house and the work of the boiler room, both of which come down to us from the same dear and in-it-for-the-long-haul friends — may hold far more value and legacy than we can now comprehend. and there will be room there to expand, to imagine, to share, to discover, to celebrate, to be close.

either interpretation works for me. 🙂

this morning at our wee little church service, ryan delivered a good teaching, complete with a reminder that when God has told you which way to go, you mustn’t ever stop unless He tells you so. circumstances may get as rough and disheartening as they will, but you fix your face in the direction He’s told you to walk and you press on, sister! you press on.

all these things compile to a sweet sense of His nearness, a knowing that He is speaking and stands poised to teach, to rescue, to renew.

i just wanted to make note of all of that. He’s good.

dancing in hard places

Image

several years ago Jesus showed me that the way it was going to be with He and i was something like dancing in a wide-open field of wild flowers, joyful and free. and that’s the way that it was, just on the other side of a long season of suffering and then being healed by Him. He gave me respite and new life.

several months ago, one morning in the prayer garage, He gave me another picture of us dancing, only this time we were dancing on a massive expanse of rock, cracked here and there, an occassional flower bravely blooming in those cracks. “we’re still dancing together, but this time we are dancing in harder places,” He whispered to my heart. my Jesus, how i love you. for continuing to dance with me. and for giving me a forewarning.

right now, this word feels like it’s being proved true. this season feels very much like it’s about dancing on rocky ground.

it’s not circumstantial so much. we’re settled comfortably in our home, we adore our hazel girl, we have good work to do, we have strong relationships and good health. but in a much deeper place, a place a watching world doesn’t see, He is turning up soil of our marriage and the soil of our calling, and pulling things up for us to have a look at. that has not felt pleasant.

as i whined to Him about it a couple of weeks ago, He reminded me of that picture of us dancing on harder ground, and He reminded me that it isn’t without purpose. that the reason it feel so unrelentingly difficult is precisely because it is deep, transformational, and foundational.  it is important work, and work that He has not for one second lost control of, lest we despair. no, He’s directing it. and the resistance is in my weariness, my weary heart that says “really, do i have to do this sort of hard work again, God? didn’t we already spend years in therapy and prayer rooms working through all my junk? didn’t we get it all taken care of?”

nope.

because after a honeymoon season wears off, there’s stuff that gets exposed: about intimacy and hiding, about reacting to the other based less on who they actually are and more on soul impressions you’re falsely putting on them, about honoring and loving one another even when you’re angry or disappointed, and about judgements, with-holding, and selfish motivation.

and because once you start stepping into your life work and calling, which happens to be ministry, there’s stuff that gets dragged up there, too: about unworthiness and fear, about abdicating responsibility and wanting to hide, about functioning under the pressure of living a life that is watched, about feeling like a phoney, about feeling like you have to prove yourself, about lacking self-discipline and vision.

none of this goes away easy. none of it is a quick fix, and if we tried to make it so, it would come out sideways somewhere else, i am sure.

so i’m giving Him permission — as i call to mind how gentle and true His scalpel has been in the past — to go ahead and keep uprooting, keep applying pressure, keep pursuing my heart until He accomplishes His will in me. i will go there. i might cry about it from time to time, but i will go there with the One who has never released me from His gentle lead, no matter what sort of terrain we’re dancing on.

and the best part is knowing that on the other side of this, we’ll be standing on SOLID GROUND that you find only after you’ve struggled through the swamp land. what will be left standing will be enduring and we will be able to trust it confidently. that’s worth it.

1 (usual mornings)

in the mornings she plays by herself for 30 minutes or more. after a diaper change, we set her down on the rug in the living room with a basket of toys nearby and watch her dive into the hard work of play. she scoots around now, in a peculiar fashion that i can’t describe. she can move herself many feet across the floor, grabbing at things as she goes, until she’s left a trail of scattered toys, papers, clean laundry, and whatever else she can get her hands on. and sometimes she pauses and looks for our faces in the nearby kitchen, to exchange a smile and sometimes a word or a little laugh. she’s so delighted and content in the mornings.

which is good because i really need that time during which she is independently playing to finish waking up, to make coffee, to eat some oats or eggs, to get my head around the day.

tim and i get to eat breakfast together most days, you know. i think this might be a rather unusual thing for many couples. many mornings it is actually he who cooks the oats or the eggs (we always have one of those two things) and puts on the french press. i make hazel’s breakfast. then we all sit down at the dining table and eat together. it’s often quiet, or most of the “talking” is hazel’s incoherent but cheerful babble. even though not much is happening, i think that this togetherness at the start of each day counts for something, and matters in subtle ways. the ministry of presence. it cannot be underestimated.

and then we’re off. one of us to morning prayer, the other to getting hazel ready for her morning nap.

that’s a bit of our mornings.

marriage, motherhood, & ministry

 

walking hand in hand (by http://www.rejoyphotography.com)

i have the house to myself. entirely. and at least three hours before our 11 year-old neighbor matthew will come knocking the door wanting help with his geometry homework, and then to borrow the long board. and because tomorrow has a couple of non-sabbath-y commitments, i’m taking my sabbath solo today. i’m reading and writing.

i stumbled upon a blog this morning, through another blog that i read, and i’ve been going through it for the last 30 minutes at least. the writer is a mother of seven and a photographer and HOT. her life appears picture perfect* in aesthetics and joy. i had to fight feeling of inferiority and envy as i read; to try to believe that her true and beautiful words about being a wife and a mother are a genuine part of her. but she slammed me with the bits about putting her husband first. she writes that the family started with 2 — he and she — and will be 2 again, once the kids have gone, so put due weight on that relationship.

even without kiddos (yet), i don’t do this well. i do not love tim well. so often i just don’t even see him, let alone let my thoughts and prayers linger over him, asking questions like what would make him feel loved, or communicate to him that i respect and appreciate him? do i brag him up in the presence of others? do i surprise him with extravagant affection? can i even hold eye contact with him in a way that is open and vulnerable? i’m startled sometimes by all the walls i find in myself, erected between my heart and his. this is not what i want. but i sense in myself an intense struggle of resistance, pride, stubbornness, and independence. lots of times the wrong side wins.  it’s uglies. oh, so many uglies.

sometimes i just want to cry at the sort of wife i am. if i am honest, i thought being a wife would be easy and natural, because i had so much confidence in the rightness of my choice to marry him (and the clear and abundant direction of God in leading us together). but that was a lie, i see now. sure, it’s still easy and natural in the sense that i rarely tire of his presence, and i am generally pleased with who he is and this life we’re creating together. but oh, the uglies!: they don’t get eradicated from my personality simply because i’ve married the right man.

walk it out, work it out. that’s what we do in our salvation (phil 2:12), how much the same in marriage, i presume. i’ve received in faith a thing complete, a marriage given by God and received in the taking of vows — but i still have to work it out. walk it out.

in six months we’ll be parents. i think about the urgency, then, of building out of our marriage something solid, hanging on the scaffolding of real relationship with Jesus and one another, a pattern of obeying the direction of the Spirit, and a rightly ordered habit of life-giving disciplines. i’m looking at my life and my marriage, and seeing lack in these places. naturally i want to study parenting and homemaking. i want to make lovely, holistic, “crunchy” choices for this babe and for this household**. i can get real ambitious about the task that lies ahead, and doing it beautifully. but the first things. the first things are that scaffolding.

i think i can feel the delicate maneuvering of His surgeon’s knife entering my heart as i read and reflect this morning. come, Jesus, and have your way. i trust Your knife.

you know what else i can get hung up on? as if it is not enough to be called into holy, surrendered, and sacrificial wifehood and motherhood, we are also called into incarnational and transformational presence in a neighborhood ruled by darkness, plus committed to intentional and deep family-like relationship with the community God has given us to do the work with. truthfully, i’m not sure i can do all of that — and do it well — simultaneously! there will always be someone who loses out — my struggling neighbor, a friend in this community, or my husband and family. i think someone will always be getting less of me than they deserve, and less than i what i expect from myself. and i don’t know how to prioritize it well.

i am often plagued by guilt about missing chances to grow in friendship with the intern family, or forgetting to follow up with a hurting neighbor… and i get zealous about doing those things better, because it’s in my heart to do them. and i think it ends up being tim who gets the short end of the stick a lot of the time. why? because he’s a guarantee? because he has to love me no matter what? because somehow it doesn’t seem as glamorous or significant to love a wonderful, healthy man (who doesn’t “need” me) in my own home as to minister to a person who’s sleeping under a bridge or an intern who is feeling lonely and sad?

paul wrote about this: the division of priorities that occurs when you marry. he knew that being married makes you a bit less able to be devoted to the Lord in lots of practical ways. and that’s why he said, “it might be better if you were to stay single!” (i corinthians 7:34-35). sometimes, i feel the ache of those divided interests. because it is true that i could enter more single-mindedly into some of this other kingdom work before i was married. it is also true that my intimacy with Jesus was different in those days — more spouse-like and all the sweeter for being the Only Love. and i miss it.

yet here is another thing that i know: our marriage is to be like a great, spreading tree, with a trunk of intimacy and worship, and plenty of space for birds to make nests in its branches and animals to rest in its shade. this is a picture He gave to us in the earliest days, before we were even married. so, he has purposes for this union, i know. i believe it. and i believe that over time, as we yield to Him, we’ll get to see it worked out in us. and it will be gorgeous. and He will be pleased (indeed, He already is).

it always comforts me to recall:

  1. that he is never shocked or dismayed by the uglies in my heart, nor by the particulars of my circumstances
  2. that he is committed — to a greater extent than i — to the holiness of my marriage, my motherhood, and my ministry.

meantime, i’m fumbling along here.

i’m want to be real, so i’m writing these oft unspoken things. (thanks to megan, whose blog i “found” today, for risking real-ness, which invited out my own).

——————————-

footnotes:

*her life appears perfect, but her stated position on that matter is this: “There is nothing lasting that is going to come out of anything I can do to try to ‘perfect’anything in or with my children except me being in right relationship, true relationship, with Jesus Christ. Don’t fall in love with those things you think will make your family a better family. Don’t fall in love with the image. Don’t fall in love with those people who seem to have all the right answers. Fall in love with Jesus.”

**the holistic, “crunchy” choices i want to make include, but are not limited to:  bake my own bread, roast my own coffee, plant a garden that will feed us, sew my own linens, wear our baby, read to him/her daily, incorporate many caring adults into our childrens’ daily lives, make baby food, co-sleep, breast-feed, discipline with the wisest methods, give birth without drugs, and give the baby only carefully crafted toys.

9 of 101: date night at sardine

i like food. i like getting just a tad bit dressed up and sitting down to eat food that someone else made; someone who is a better cook than i. and so, of course, i put it on my list of 101 in 1001 to go to one of madison’s finer restaurants. i didn’t realize when i wrote that list, how soon afterward we’d be moving away from madison. so this one almost didn’t happen.

BUT, a few days before our move, we were given some gift money from two different wonderful people (you know who you are), for the sole purpose of going out to eat. we went to Sardine, which is funky and fresh and right by lake monona. oh, how wonderful to be allowed to go out to eat without counting up the total bill in your head while ordering. we could simply order what we liked, guilt-free. we still didn’t do appetizers or a salad course, but it wasn’t because we didn’t have money, it was because we simply don’t have room in our bellies for all that food!

here is a little photographic journey through our date.

and, how good to have this special evening with t in the midst of all our packing, loading, moving, and hosting friends….because for two weeks we are apart… until we can settle in together in Grand Rapids together for the long haul. hooray and amen!

strong enough to handle me

for a long time before i met t, i hoped to be found by a man strong enough to take me on. born out of a belief that i was “too much,” a fear of unacceptably being too dominant in my relationship (that would be unbiblical, wouldn’t it?), combined with the conviction that it would require a very certain sort of man to sufficiently subdue me, i was, in effect, waiting for a prince charming. and prince charmings are saviours. in this case, as an Independent Woman, it wasn’t financial woes, social insecurity, or the clutches of some clinging parentals i needed rescue from; i needed to be rescued from my own intensity.

i can see now that there were two very faulty premises to my stance. first, i mistakenly believed that the desired change in me could be wrought only by an external force known as The Right Sort of Man. secondly, i had a fear of my strength that led me to see it as unacceptable, at least unfit for the scenario of happy marriage.

i believe that i am in need of softening: of making less of myself, of learning to receive help and strength from others, of becoming a teachable teammate rather than a bull-dozing individualist. it is not untrue that sinful attitudes of pride and self-sufficiency are overdue to be sanctified right out of me. what was untrue, however, was that i must wait for a man whose tough ability to hold his own again Fiercely Independent Woman came along before i could adopt a new way of being in intimate relationships. in fact, that’s its own sort of sin– a refusal to take ownership of and responsibility for the places where i needed to grow. slowly,  jesus started to teach me repentance in these places so that by the time t came around, i was ready for him. and now, with t, whose humility and gentleness combined with his slow and deliberating decision-making style could make him an easy target for my strong-willed decisiveness and independent action, i’m learning that submission must start with me. it must be my choise to lay down my ways and my preferences in order to wait on him, to trust him, to allow him opportunity to lead us and care for me. that’s my work, not his.

simultaneously, i’m learning in my marriage to t not to fear my strength so much, as a handicap to be eliminated, but to celebrate and enhance it… in the service of My Love. it isn’t now, nor has it ever been, my intelligence, competence or vocalized opinions that are the problems. those have become problems only when they are put to service of only myself, or have trampled the intelligence, opinions, or competence of others. but when these are offered up, humbly, for the life work we’ve put our hands to or the family we are building, they are treasures. t values these qualities in me, honors them, invites them, and never makes me to feel as though i am Too Much.

this morning the Lord laid Philippians 2:1-7 on my mind as i was praying about some recent distortions in of those God-given qualities and their bearings on my marriage. the passage is the one about jesus making Himself nothing and becoming a servant even though He was in essence God. He carried His strength to lowly positions. and that is what our attitude is to be like, too. notice: “he. made. himself. nothing.” no one (no Big-Enough-to-Handle-Him entity) did it to Him. He did it freely.

so, to my strong and independent women friends (of which i have many): learn now, if you are still single, the art of jesus and you’ll be able later to beautifully yield to a good man (maybe even one who doesn’t at first glance seem tough enough to handle you). you don’t need to be handled, afterall; you need to handle yourself (with God’s help). nor do you need to shrink, to disown your qualities of strength. you need only to offer the best of yourself to the ones given you to love.

it is the life of Christ lived through us that does this thing. delicately. and mightily.

church is everywhere (and other small thoughts)

birdmug-saucer-2

my coffee was particularly good today, i must say. i spiked it with cinnamon and allspice and drank it with soy milk and agave. i ate a grapefruit, peeling away the membranes to eat those sweet little juice pods in their purest form. and also two fried eggs and gluten-free toast. consumed more slowly than my usual, whilst listening to some teaching from my home church.

t was at “dude church” this morning, eating breakfast with his guys and praying with them, as they do every sunday morning at 8 am in jake’s apartment. i enjoyed the stillness of the morning hour alone. i have been considering inviting a few women here who are becoming friends to start a “chick church” at the same time on sunday mornings, at my place.

i’m falling in love fast with “hobo church.” kiersty went with me today. pastor bill (who, as it turns out, has a day job as an art critic for a local television station and a long career as a journalist) preached about comforting the afflicted and reflected on the fact that in the church were he’s been put down to preach for 33 years, there aren’t a lot of comfortable folks needing afflicting, but rather lots of afflicted ones needing some comfort. in the basement afterwards, with our plates full of instant mashed potatoes, baked chicken, and over-cooked veggies, we found some seats , and we gathered some stories from the people seated at our table (this morning we ate with jean and george and kim and shirley and robert). if there’s one thing a person who is homeless and/or an alcoholic has a lot of, it is stories, and usually if you can pull on one thread of story, a whole spool will come tumbling out. this openness is so beautiful to me. on the way out, i saw our neighbors from the “chiropractic office” and introduced myself. they remembered t from the time a couple of weeks ago when he helped them carry some things upstairs. their names are dave and dorothy. i  want to bake muffins for them. i want to help them find a car, since theirs was totaled this week in a hit-and-run.

maybe we’ll go to africa one day sooner than we thought. not in an ultimate sense, as in picking up our life and moving it across an ocean, but in a shorter-term sense. there’s an invitation on the table to perhaps lead a team on a trip to algeria and/or uganda next year. though we’ve lots yet to find out about it before we can make a decision, i think our hearts are inclined toward yes.

this week t and i have been co-leading our first attempt at daily, corporate evening prayer in the boiler room community here. we’ve been trying just to have our ears open to the holy spirit and then to gently nudge the course of the hour in the direction we sense He’s taking us. i feel a synchronicity we have not worked at, but which is naturally present when we lead together in almost any context. i have also felt it when we’ve co-lead book discussions with the Transit students from last year, or when we spontaneously have opportunity to love on someone who is hurting. together, we find our way through and something rich and meaningful is given. so, the idea of also co-leading a trip to africa with him feels like a marvelous adventure, another opportunity to grow in our ability to partner in leadership, as well as to experience together a continent that we individually have concern for and history with. i need t. i’m better with him beside me.

evening prayer has been so very good. it’s like something broke and there is this release and this joy in seeking His face together. i am deeply certain of His presence with us and anointing over it. prayer this week has been the book end of each day. corporate prayer builds intimacy at rapid-fire rates, and i’m finding that my heart is opening up in deeper love for each person who shares that space with me each night. i feel this might be part of how He makes us into family.we are praying about whether or how to continue with this after the initially set two weeks. the Shepherd will direct us sheep into rhythms that are life-giving, but i have to admit that i hope He’ll lead us to continue on in much the same manner, only perhaps with one or two days of rest from it each week.

i get to go to Michigan this week. i get to hold claire and support her mom and dad. i’m a little scared to go. because i know it’ll rip the still-fresh scab off the wound of my homesickness. just when it starts to heal…

some smaller things:

  • the way the light comes through the south-east windows of our apartment on clear-skied mornings makes me feel beautifully melancholic.
  • i’m going to create a cookbook. it’s going to be gorgeous. wait and see.
  • a woman named Momma Ginger, whom i found on etsy.com, is making slippers for me out of orange corduroy and ivory-plaid flannel. they are so stinkin’ adorable.
  • i got a new cookbook for the day care, which means that this week the kiddos get to eat some new things like a risotto with greens and buckwheat crepes and carrot-parsnip soup with rye toast. yes, they eat this stuff!
  • t got an award from REM Wisconsin for his “spirit of support” with the developmentally disabled adults he works with every day. afterward, his supervisors went on and on to me about what a gift he is to them. i’m a proud wife.
  • still doing my morning photos quite faithfully (though today i missed my window of opportunity)
  • we got a trial membership to Netflix because we wanted to watch The Business of Being Born through it’s streaming option, but now i fear we may become hooked because we realized how many great documentaries and unique films we can get access to through it.
  • t scored a great hard-case guitar case through craigslist this week for pretty cheap, which we were able to pay for with an unexpected and late-coming wedding gift check. he’s thrilled with it and keeps saying so.

growing in orlando

leaves-on-fencemy husband is gone to orlando, with that unlikely extended family we call 24-7 Prayer USA. he called me from the beach just now. i could hear the waves and the wind in my ear while i sat at my desk in madison.

“i miss you. i wish you were here with me,” he said, like he always does when we are apart. and then he added, “but i have a sense that it was important that i came alone.”

because there are things he’s on the brink of (i’ve sensed weightiness to this life season for him), and there’s been warfare opposing him (which means he’s about to leap forward), and in florida there is one man who has been sitting on prophetic words for him for the last nine months (which t received tonight).

i think that perhaps he had to go alone because it seems like a lot of times jesus pulls his sheep aside to whisper in their ears. even away from their mates? yes, i think so. had i been there, t would be distracted by considering my every need, and might have missed the gift that was there for him.

tomorrow night he will come home and i’ll be waiting with a warm embrace and a hot meal. i suspect that some things will have shifted inside of him. i’ll hear it all, and try to absorb the newness of him.

this gets me thinking about the risk of personal change inside of a marriage. see, when t changes, i have got to change, too. and vice versa. in marriage i not only having to deal with the growing pains of my own self, but also the self of this person who is mysteriously, spiritually One with me. personal transformation — via the facing of past pain, the setting of new goals, or the deeper understanding of identity — is uncomfortable. and now we’ve each got two sets of change contend with.

when we marry someone, we marry their potential, even the parts that we don’t have foreknowledge of. that’s a bit anxiety-provoking for me, every bit as much as it is exciting. knowing that t is in orlando, without me, being rearranged by the Holy Spirit makes me just a bit uncomfortable. i don’t want to be left behind.

a long time ago i wrote a journal entry about a man who would be my greenhouse. it was one of those things that seemed to write itself, with neither premeditation nor complete understanding of what it was about on my part. it was about being in a relationship with a man who would call forth growth in me, with wildness and freedom. and t has been that for me. together we have committed to being greenhouses for the other.

i will bring you out into the full sun and i will not stand in your way. you will not be constrained by posts or string, you are invited to grow wildly and untidily into a shape of your choosing.

shame on me if i don’t fight for that sort of growth in him. i am jealous for him to be fully alive, fully the man who God has given me glimpses of him becoming.

and the fact is that because of this covenant we’ve placed ourselves in, our Father is concerned now with growing us in the same direction. i’m banking on there being special grace for me, as a wife, to accomodate my husband’s personal and spiritual transformations. and he mine.

so… grow, t, grow.

and i’ll rearrange myself to hold you, still.

meandering update

curtain-and-frame

there are few things that i like more these days than an afternoon at home, free to get lost in the myriad projects that fill my head space these days. like:

  • to get in the kitchen and make a big batch of something lovely from our CSA share to tuck into the freezer so it can be pulled out on a much colder day and remind our mouths of summer time.
  • to catch up on the post-processing of all the gorgeous images my camera has been accumulating since april.
  • to work on my new photo project and its accompanying blog.
  • to clean, rearrange, put away, and decorate this small space that we now call home.
  • to document this new life and relationship in journals, blogs, and letters.
  • to pack t’s lunch, make the coffee, plan the menus that will fill our bellies with nutrients.

and all of it is very domestic and cozy. these activities have value because they are for t, they are for us.

we have been quiet in this space. sorry for the lack of words. i haven’t known quite what to say.

t, it seems, was made for marriage. he’s like a fish in water. it has elevated him somehow, this being a husband thing. he’s steady and sure, he’s inspired and focused. he is also more tender than ever before. he carries my weight with him wherever he goes, so that i know that each decision he makes — whether about commitments, tasks, time, or conversations — he is considering me as heavily as himself. he washes me with his words, drops everything to hold me in his arms when i come home, listens to me cry (and doesn’t take it personally).

in many ways, i’m quite sure that my husband is a far better human being than i am. the same humility, patience, restful confidence, resilient joy, and kingdom heart orientation that drew me to him continue to be what holds me to him. whenever i get too haughty on my high horse about my character or talents, i need only to slow down and see him again for who he is: a rabbi to me, if i’ll have him.

we’re working through things, none of it noteworthy in content. we’re negotiating time, balancing relationships, developing sustainable schedules, and working toward unity on our intimacy. sometimes it feels very hard indeed. but we knew these things would come, and that same sense of being somehow carried by Papa, which has been present from the moment we laid eyes on one another, continues to keep us. we’re safe inside these kind ties of covenant with one another and with jesus.

i have a husband who mops floors, cleans toilets, takes care of my cooking messes, and does the laundry. he also fills the cars with gas, remembers about oil changes, deposits checks, sets up insurance policies, and makes me have conversations about finances when i’m practicing avoidance.

i want to see t play music more often. with those three guitars, that bi-tonal voice of his, and all the dreams tucked in his pocket for Someday, i hope that he’ll take hold of that life-giving pursuit once more. i hope that he’ll read more theology books and find forums to teach and discuss it. again, because it’s something God’s put in him to bring him to life and he’d be better off for it.

our house is filled with wonderful things. we’ve been pleased with how we were gifted by our friends and family surrounding our marriage. the gifts from our registries have all proved to be good choices, and those off the registries were creative and artful. it feels like everything has a purpose and a home and there is no extraneous clutter to tend with. in fact, we’ve been simplifying; we’re shedding all those things that aren’t being regularly used and redefining what we’ll choose to be sentimental about. there’s part of me that feels like people shouldn’t have storage spaces because whatever is in storage is probably unnecessary about 90% of the year. i have wanted to travel lightly through this world, and to be mobile should the Lord ever call us outward again. so there it is.

i love my pots and pans. they are so sexy. they are probably my favorite wedding gift (thanks Dad and Vicki)!.the other day i had a dream in which they were damaged/lost in a senseless act of destruction and my emotional reaction in the dream seemed a little disproportionate. perhaps i am TOO fond of them! 😉

t has a co-leader for campus wisconsin now. his name is dayne. they two of them are hosting a big state-wide gathering here in october for students who are already planting or are interested in planting prayer rooms on their campuses. he also has an intercessor committed to praying for the students and leaders involved in this “simple call to prayer” that is campus america.

i’ve started mentoring four amazing younger women who are here to do Transit this year. and, along with joe and jake, am helping to shape and direct their year-long program here. danielle, larissa, maria, and corinna are already challenging and delighting me. and i’m remember again that i was built for this sort of intensive relational work. i know it because though i may feel burdened by the thought of spending an afternoon engaged in that work, it never fails to energize and excite me once i’m into it. i’m grateful to be doing something life-giving.

mentoring others has got be thinking afresh about the one who invested herself in me all of last year. jenn always saw right into my sophisticated facades and eloquent words… right to the heart of the matter, where she could always boldly call things as they were and redirect me with discerning sharpness back to the truth of a thing. she was wise and kind in how she discipled me. i carry so much of the life she imparted to me with me now. now i begin to see what might perhaps have been her side of our discipleship sessions, and i have a deepened respect for her. and i am hungry to have someone invest in me like that again, especially as i am turning around to invest in four other lives (in fact, i think it’s necessary). so, i asked anell, who is also the intercessor for campus wisconsin, if she’d consider filling that gap in my relational landscape… and she said yes. already i feel lighter because of it, though we’ve not yet set up a meeting schedule.

well, i’ve rambled on enough for now, i think. i’ll try not to let it go so long between posts next time.

now it’s time to make a roasted sweet pepper puree and edit some senior portraits.

a photo project

the first photo of the series

the first photo of the series

thought it might be a nice idea to use the camera to show some glimpses of small slivers of our first year together. with varying degrees of explanation accompanying the images.

inspired by the lovely women who published the blog/book “a year of mornings“, i’ve decided to take one photo each morning between now and september 15, 2010 and post them to a set on my Flickr page.

so, here it is, a baby still:

a year of mornings (newlywed edition) or the blog version.

for those interested, check in frequently.