Thursday, April 24, 2014

What are three memories that you never want to forget?

"What are three memories that you never want to forget?"

This was the question that was asked in my house yesterday.
A question that is still lingering today.

Only three?

That's not only difficult, but it's impossible.

In my 33 years there have been more than just three memories that have changed me, challenged me and have been the catalyst to bigger and better things.
There has been more than one memory per eleven years that has resurfaced in my mind and refilled my heart with emotions.

And even though I'd rather say, "to heck with the rules," this time, I will comply.

After much thought, here are my three:

1. Playing lawn darts in the front yard of my childhood home, with my mom, my dad and my brothers.

2. September 19, 2010 in Cartersville under the waters of the James River & March 17, 2012 under the stars of Blackstone. Don't call me a cheater! Yes these are two separate events, but together they connect what I knew in my head to what I knew in my heart. Life changing!

3. Music was coming from the office. We were sitting in the bed room, talking and filling each other in on our past and life stories, the good times and bad. There was a lull in conversation and you must have heard the words of the song playing in the background. Your eyes filled with tears, as you closed them, a smile spread across your face and your hand went up high in praise as you sang the words "Hold on don't you ever let go, let me Jesus lead, I guarantee you He knows. When the road is rough, the going gets tough, the hills are hard to climb, looking for peace of mind, Hold on don't you ever let go . . ."


Those are three I never want to forget!

What are your three?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Let's Sail on, my love.

It's been two years since we have set sail on this great adventure. I often wonder about “that” night--the one that now marks the embarking of this journey together. You know, for two love scared sailors, in the captain seats of their own patched up, wave crashed vessels it probably would have been easier to part ways that night. It would have been easier to go in opposite directions, than to risk failing. It would have been easier to sail our separate ways, then to be out in the open waters where vulnerability is inevitable and you are wide open to being hurt or disappointed. But you know what happens when you stay put? You know what passes us by when we look out the portholes from the safety of our lonely cabins?

Life. Exquisite, beautiful, delicate, heartbreaking and mind-blowing life.

There are no words to express my gratitude that I am able to share this gorgeous life with you. I am thankful that you stepped out of your scruffy boat that night, and for taking my hand as I stepped out of mine. I know we both felt completely ill-equipped for the adventure at hand two years ago and perhaps if we were able to see out past the horizons things may have been different. But we weren’t looking at the horizons, we were focused only on that first step—the one that got us out of the boat. And we trusted. Trusted that no matter what challenges we would face ahead, He would give us whatever grace and strength we would need to sail forward.

We have faced some incredible waves, and at times we have even made our own. We have unexpectedly watched friends bail ship and have been surprised by freebooters trying to pillage what we have. We have had leaks, torn sails, and rip tides along the way. And yet, His grace has been abundant and His strength has been sufficient to bring us out on the other side, stronger, closer, and deeper.

He has been faithful.

We have seen impeccable sunrises, observed breathtaking sunsets, and have spent spectacular nights under starry skies. We have explored magnificent coral reefs, and have met faithful sea dogs along the way. We have laughed until our sides ached and have poured out our hearts over stunning blue waters. We have seen His generosity. We have tasted His blessings. And we have been lavished in His love.  

He has been good.

As we continue this voyage on these uncharted waters, may we never stop being intentional, may we never stop growing with one another,  may we never stop laughing and having fun, and may we never stop living this exquisite, beautiful, delicate, heartbreaking and mind-blowing life together.

And on those days (that will come) were the journey is less than perfect, the sailing is less than smooth, and our boat is less than beautiful remember the One who has called us is with us, and is for us and He is faithful.

So, let’s hold His hand tight, lift those sails high and sail on for many many more, my love.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Everything Matters

Not too long ago I was asked to do a job. A job that I did not want. A job that I thought was fairly meaningless, and one that made me feel "less than."  At first, I internally protested, I cried my way home, cried myself through conversations, and cried out to God. Eventually the tears stopped, and with hesitation and most likely a hint of internal protest lingering, I began doing what I needed to do in order to get the job done. I had only a few days to prepare for my "first day," and everything that I planned, failed miserably. And I am pretty sure there were several more hissy fits before I finally relinquished my hold on it all.

Through the prayers of those who knew I was struggling, and the weak prayers of my own, God softened my heart to the point that I was able to come to grips with what I was being asked--to be used by Him despite my fears, my doubts and my insecurities. I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't say that along the way, there were still moments where I wrestled with all of my preconceived notions, but somehow the faith was there to trust that God knew better than I.

In case any of you were wondering, He definitely did!

He used this unwanted job to open my eyes and to awaken a part of my soul I did not know existed.  He used this obstacle I could not see past, to reveal that there was purpose and a meaning in what I foolishly thought was useless and less than. He used my fears of being removed to strengthen me and to take me deeper. Nothing was wasted.

Recently, my office has been going through minor remodeling projects. New paint now clothes the walls, new tiles cover the copy room floor, and we even gained a new and improved break room. Yesterday, as I returned from my lunch break I noticed that "quotes" had been put on various walls around the office. And this morning I walked by the words: "Everything Matters."

That failed marriage mattered.
That diagnosis of cancer mattered.
That attempt of suicide mattered.
That wall built to hide mattered.
That affair mattered.
That addiction mattered.
That betrayal mattered.
That useless job mattered.

Everything Matters.

Just like I struggled with understanding the purpose of my unwanted job, we all have walked areas of life where we have wrestled to see why it all mattered. Through some of my personal valleys, I have come to wonder if it has to more with having faith and trust in Him and His promises, than it does with our own understanding.

He continues to teach me, that the things I don't think matter, in the end do!

Forgiveness was learned . . that matters.
Compassion was gained . . . that matters.
Words of Love were spoken . . . that matters.
Vulnerably was tried . . .that matters.
Relationships were reconciled . . . that matters.
Victory was understood . . .that matters.
Grace upon grace upon grace sunk in . . .that matters.
Nothing, absolutely nothing was useless . . . that matters.

Everything Matters.