Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Life

It's been awhile. This goes on record as the longest amount of time in my 5+ years blogging that I haven't posted! Yet, I'm back! Baby is napping and though I'm surrounded in clothes to fold and a billion stuffed animals that need to be picked up, I said to myself, "Nope. Let's sit down and write something." So I am. Thank you for reading! 

It's been a busy few months. So much has transpired that I truly don't even feel like the same person. Maybe a little older, wiser, tireder, more thankful, responsible.... etc. It's been almost one year since Josh got out of the marines and we moved home. We lived with my parents for 10 months and enjoyed the time to be together. However, we longed for our own home and own space. The process of building and getting into our home was unbelievably stressful. I won't lie and say that I wish I could go back through those months, but my dad was our angel from Heaven and did so much to make the experience less burdensome. We moved in the last week of May. In March, we found out we were expecting baby #2. I was and am amazed at God's mercy as I have learned each baby is a miracle whether in or out of the womb. I experienced weeks of intense morning sickness which made watching an active toddler almost impossible, but my family was there to help, blessedly.  Last week we found out that this baby is another girl! Two November sisters! Charlotte is in for a surprise!! Life has settled down some and we are enjoying our new home on the hill. We take many walks across the yard to Nana and Papa's weekly though and would have it no other way. 

It's surreal to me that I'm finally where I always wanted to be. I'm married with a child (soon to be children) of my very own in a house that I can call mine. The blessings are uncountable. My life isn't fancy. I don't get to go and do all the things I used to, but somehow, that's okay. It's not always easy staying at home and living on a single person income, but it's worth every moment with my daughter. Occasionally, I mourned the loss of doing "big" things and being free to do what I wanted basically when I wanted and how I wanted. So I encourage single young people to live and do and let God lead you to do all the things that you're free to do for now while you can actually do them.

But see, for today my big thing was kissing Charlotte's toes when she stubbed them and giving her all of the Teriyaki chicken from my Japanese takeout my sisters picked up for me. (The latter was harder. Haha!) My big thing is looking over the side of her crib last night thanking God that He has given her to us to raise for Him. It is working on one small task at a time to equal something huge. It's the little bits and pieces that make a full, beautiful life. 

I guess this post sums up to this....Wherever you are and whatever you do, "work as unto the Lord." Today is where the journey lies, so live it while it's here. 

Okay, I really need to throw away that stinky diaper beside of me that I forgot to throw away 30 minutes ago. Till next time.....

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

I Had A Choice

Every once in a while I have someone come to me and ask this question:

"Did you have a choice? Ya know, did your parents arrange your marriage? Did they tell you that you weren't allowed to go to a college campus at 18-years-old? Did you have a choice as to what you did with your life?"

That question doesn't make me angry, in fact, I'm glad people ask. I see how it must look. I just want to set the record straight for anyone who has wondered. 

As a young teenager my parents looked me in the eye and said, "What we want what is best for you, but in the end, it's your choice what you do with your life and your heart. If you want to have "turn-style" dating relationships, we won't stop you. We just want you to be protected from getting hurt." There, I had my choice. People have always joked that I was sheltered. Someone offered me an energy drink at 13 years old and I turned it down, as I was not entirely sure it wasn't alcoholic. Now I laugh. Better safe than sorry, right? :) 

My dad stood in front of the church he pastors for years encouraging young people to live a biblical lifestyle regarding purity. And though it's shocking, I actually wanted to strive for not just what he taught, but more simply... what the Bible teaches. I wasn't perfect, but I decided to try - with God's help - to be pure until marriage. I married someone who my daddy certainly didn't choose for me. Josh was all my idea (God's idea really, but you know what I mean). I married very young because at the time, I knew if I didn't get married I was going to be a very lonely and hurting young woman. I knew without a doubt that Josh was the man for me and to put off marriage for four years until he was out of the military and I was through college just to please the social norms was preposterous. We discussed many times back in 2011 and 2012 whether we should wait to get married in the fall of 2015 when he got out of the Marines. It didn't take long to realize we might easily compromise our standards and boundaries if we waited that long. We were both ready to start our lives together and I'm SO thankful we did in 2012. 

I chose this path and I'm glad I did. I don't look down on others who do differently than I did. For some ladies, four years on a college campus (maybe more) is good. Some God allows to stay single till they are in their thirties or older (maybe not marrying at all). Some never have children and others have many. Some make a lot of money at a white collar job, while others make minimum wage. It's all okay. Because God's Word is ultimately what I encourage anyone to follow; it is absolute truth. No one forced me to marry young and be a stay-at-home mom. I realize it is unusual for a teenage daughter to actually agree with her parents on things, but regarding many many things, I did and still do. Just because I married young, had a baby young and chose to take my college education at a slower pace while choosing to teach music and write doesn't mean I was lead around by the nose without any say in the matters. The path I chose is the one God told me to walk. I was faced with very real and scary challenges early on and I am thankful that I had chosen the path myself or I likely would have become very bitter toward my parents. Yet, I knew that challenges come in all areas of life and that it was normal to have hard times even when you follow God's plan. 

I'm in no way perfect nor think that I am. The way I did things, while I believe closely followed Scripture, was still flawed. There were things I wish I had done better... differently. Yet, all in all I'm thankful I was guided. Yes, guided not forced to do as I did. 

Like I said in my book, there is nothing wrong with having an "unbroken" heart on your wedding day.  There is NO shame in being pure. These days young people seem to push that the more scars the better. It shows you're tough and resilient and you know what? Stories like that are amazing and God uses them and He heals their wounds and puts hearts broken back together. However, the story of the person who doesn't have the scars is also a beautiful testimony. It too is of redemption... from what could have been... from what God protected you from. 

I encourage you to rejoice in all testimonies. In the end, as long as they end at the feet of Jesus, that's all that matters. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Moment By Moment

Back and forth. Back and forth.

One day I want time to move. Just speed up and move so that all the things I want... will happen. I see a big muddy hole out the window. That's my basement. Meanwhile, cold rain blows and I know there isn't any work happening on it today. My dreams to once again live in my own home hang in the balance. I just want time to hurry up... spring to come and to finally put my daughter to sleep in her own room. 

Then, I don't want time to move. My baby is already 14 months of and I really thought babies didn't grow this fast. They do. She brings me what I ask for and and laughs and plays and doesn't need all the milk she did and I just want to cry when she wiggles out of my arms and runs away. 

I want to cry, "Baby, come back! Back to laying in a tiny ball against my chest with the sweet smell of newborn drifting to my nose. Come back!"

And Josh and I. I love him more everyday. Looking back, I was such a child when I married him at 18 years old, but when asked if I would do it again through all the struggle of being so young, "Yes, a million times, yes." Has it really been pushing three and a half years, though? Time, PLEASE slow down! 

We all know it won't. Since Adam and Eve, people have prayed for time to speed up. The wife longing for her husband away at war. The child aching to be a grown up. The mother in the eighth month of pregnancy. And then they have prayed for time to slow. The elderly watching their grandchildren play at their feet. The cancer patient. The college student studying for exams. 

Push and pull, back and forth. Yet, it moves all the same. Second by second, minute by minute.... year by year. I'm learning that God, in His mercy, is gracious. I learn to accept that the days gone by are days gone by and that my chance to treasure them has come and gone as my head lies on my pillow.  The past is unchangeable and the future is untouchable. Ah, but the present, there is something we can do about that. 

Let not the past become our regret, nor the future our fear, but the present our priority. If we can't find joy right here, we will likely not find joy somewhere out there. 

Let the hole fill with mud and let little Miss grow day by day. I'm learning to be undaunted by it. When the day is over I pray I say, "I didn't miss a moment. I was all there and present to witness each miracle." Moments, be they sweet or bitter. Soon, "time" as we know it will be nothing, but for now I'm resting in the omnipresent hand of God.