What if we weren’t meant to “have it all” (part 1)

When we lived (happily, most of the time) on a food stamp income, money matters were more simple in some ways because there was just food/shelter/car/somehow make it till the next paycheck.  We watched God provide for our needs in amazing ways and we never were without basic needs.  Those around us observed and saw the needs, simply helped meet them if they were able.  It was beautiful.

We have always made giving a priority whether we had little or a lot.  We’ve seen it modeled in people we love and respect (and not to mention in Acts as we read about the early church) and believe it’s part of life.

It isn’t us the giver, that are so awesome for giving.  I truly believe that we are simply intended to be the conduit for what doesn’t belong to us anyway. Which when you look at it that way, it shouldn’t be hard to pass it on to a place where the need is great. There is profound joy to be had in giving your time to someone in need, your hands to help with work, your cooking skills to someone who is ill, your clothes to someone who needs them, your food to fill someone else’s pantry.   If we didn’t choose to give, to share, WE would be missing out as well as the ones we are able to bless.

Last year as I pondered what extra activities to add on to our weekly schedule, I was so tempted to do the music classes that we’d done in previous years (on a full scholarship).  I knew I could make it work in the activity budget.  I emailed, I got all the info.  We could do it, so we should do it was my train of thought.  But as it came time to actually write the (large) check, for four kids to do these (stellar) classes, I had this overwhelming sense that just because we could do it actually didn’t mean we should.

I felt a little lame writing to say we wouldn’t be registering the kids after all.  But something in my heart told me that although the classes would be fun and delightful for our kids, that perhaps there was something far more meaningful that money was intended for.  So instead of music classes we added to our brood of Compassion children

To try and communicate how this investment is such a treasure to our family or how richly blessed we feel to get to write back and forth with these five sweet children in Kenya, Guatemala and India and get letters back from them that say things like “I send you and your children a kiss and a big hug”.  Sponsorship is a bigger deal to these children than I’m sure I can even imagine.  They are steps away from crisis and hunger.  Closer than I’ll probably be all my life.

There is no judgement intended here, only a heart that wanted to share a little piece of our story.  This perspective continues to permeate my thinking and is part of the way God is showing me, showing all of us, how the gospel can be lived out in our life in this land of plenty.

My rainbows

I just glanced outside and saw this mystical hue filling our front yard, dark black clouds sitting behind my brightly lit trees brimming with fall color.  I commented to Caleb as he worked on his writing,  “Look out the window – it looks magical out there doesn’t it?”.  He agreed and I wondered out loud if there might be a rainbow out there because it had just started to rain in the midst of such bright light.  Kyler headed out on the porch to check and indeed, there was one.  We ran to check it out. It was stunning.

We stood and soaked it all in.  Pretty soon there were two rainbows, the second one fainter than the first.  Kyler said “Oh how I wish I could climb the tree where it meets the ground! It would be so amazing!”  I asked him what he’d do if he could and he said “Well, I’d touch it.  I’d climb on it and it would be beautiful!”.  Though he’s heard me explain it before, knows its just light reflecting and the result of the perfect God-designed weather conditions (and the age-old promise He gave to Noah)….when its right there in front of you and its just so unreal how lovely it is.  It’s hard to believe its really even there.

What I couldn’t stop thinking about was if it wasn’t raining right now, there wouldn’t be a rainbow.  I know I can’t be the first person to think that but I couldn’t shake the parallels to my own life.  There is some rain, serious, flash-flood type “are-we-going-to-be-washed-away?” sort of rain.  But even in the midst of it, I have glimpses of the miracles at hand, the sheer beauty of God doing something beautiful in my mess, and it takes my breath away.  Makes me want to grab my (mental) camera and freeze frame my life that very second.

The rain is key to the beauty of the rainbow.  It is key to my rainbows.  I couldn’t possibly “cultivate the land, the life, He’s given me” if I didn’t have a drop of it.  If I only have the sunshine then nothing would be growing here.  The planting of little seeds of life and truth and love all around me, the pruning and clipping back of my vines that can’t bear fruit and the rain….the sometimes despised, often complained about but veritably LIFE GIVING rain in my yard and in my life.

Honest truth is I’m learning to love it, to say welcome to it every day.  Because the learning to keep walking, to keep believing in the midst of rain – this is what I long for.  The fertile life that is soaked and drenched in wet mess but green and sprouting all over?  That’s what I wake up asking for every day.  Looking for rainbows and the promise of miracles, small ones and big, all over the landscape that is my life.

 

 

When church hurts

My sister is nearing the home stretch in her third pregnancy, I guess I could certainly count on her to give me a good description of uncomfortable.  But I’ve been mulling over a different sort of uncomfortable.

It has been close to four years (gasp, really?  is that possible?) since our decade long stint serving and working full time in the church setting came to a close.  Our family and friends, our whole life truly was wrapped up in a place that we loved.  We were known.  We belonged and it felt good.

Dealing with the grief and loss in and after that season was very onion-like, we would deal with one thing only to realize there was still more.  Some of it I hated because my heart hurt so bad I couldn’t see straight and some was so sacred, so holy that I relished it for what it was.  After a hiatus from church altogether, we visited a dozen church one summer anticipating ‘fun’ and ‘variety’.  Hmmmm, there would be many words to describe it but fun it was not.  We were strangers, visitors, unknown nobodies.  Sometimes we were welcomed and directed and sometimes we were chastised for sitting in the wrong spot.

When we left our long time church home, our place of comfort and community, one of the whispers that God kept speaking to my heart was this:

You will never again be as comfortable as you were here.

I was tempted to be bitter and angry.  But I had done bitter and angry plenty already and the fruit was sour.  I refused to sign up for more on purpose.  I let the words sit in my heart and simply waited.  As the months passed and the fog of sadness lifted a bit I began to see the down side of being comfortable…

  • it was special and felt good to walk into a place and know that everyone knew who I was but somehow I forgot that not everyone felt that way
  • it was hard to find the courage to try new things or dream different dreams because the draw of stability when you have kids in your life is a very strong draw
  • staying put is (often) easier than stepping out
  • living in a nest-like cocoon of community can be a bubble that leaves you out of touch with the world around you

I began to understand that my comfort had often brought along with it complacency.  In order for me to realize that a change was imperative, my world needed to fall apart.

And it did.  What first felt like I-can’t-breathe gave way to maybe-I-can-get-dressed-today which later led to we-all-might-survive-this-just-possibly.  But the sense that we were headed for a different walk, a different sort of path was something I could not shake as we moved forward.

In the past two years we’ve been part of a new place of fellowship.  It has felt like home.  It’s been precious and encouraging and has built us up.  We know we are supposed to be there.  But like any place where a bunch of imperfect people get together, there is hard stuff.  There are challenges that are uncomfortable.

This time however, I am determined to do better at living in that middle place where I can “take my shoes off” but I’m not so at ease that I don’t see the needs all around me.  I have been gifted with children who don’t all perfectly fit in with their peers and this is indeed a monumental gift.  It forces me to be sensitive and aware in ways I would not normally be.  I am learning to welcome the feeling that things aren’t quite right because that means there is room for improvement and that means that I get to watch things happen that are beyond my ability.  I love that.

A girl called Tina

There are many ways my life has been shaped and changed by loss.  One of the most

tangible is my constant awareness that things around me can change at any moment.  Because one time they did and I’ll never be the same.  Hence my passion for writing letters (on real paper with a pen) to people to tell them how special they are to me and for doing crazy things like using my birthday money to take my friends out for dinner just because I want nothing more than time with their precious faces and my tendency to remember mundane little details about people because I don’t want to forget.  It could also explain why I like to step back sometimes and marvel at the big picture.

The beginning of the (very) big picture of my friendship with Tina began when we were 16.  She blew onto the youth group scene out of no where and seemed to have priorities that matched mine in many ways.  Boys and Jesus and adventure.  We were fast friends.  Her blond haired, blue eyed sparkle brought with it intoxicating energy.  I briefly entertained the notion that there really wasn’t room for the both of us in the group but quickly decided there must be.

We shared stories and laughter and trouble and boys (sometimes at the same time, that never went well).  We woke early before heading to our high schools to ‘pray’ together.  Oh what I wouldn’t give to hear one of those early morning talks!  I’m not sure but its likely there was more talk than prayer, maybe occasional gossip but two hearts who wanted so badly to follow Jesus in a way that meant something.

We raised some hell while we were trying to find our way to heaven on church retreats and camp-outs….spied on boys at night in the dark, listened to them outside their showers at the campground and did our best to rock climb, beach hike and backpack for days without a complaint.  We may or may not have attempted to join the local Search and Rescue team.  In the middle of our training weekend in the pouring cold Seattle rain, I may have feigned a terrible knee injury just so we could call it quits without looking like idiots.

After high school we went different paths and then promptly got engaged and married the same year AND started into our very young married lives in ministry at the church we’d attended for years together.  When she and her new husband were lacking proper housing we “graciously” opened our tiny condo to them for “as long as they wanted to stay”.

Good heavens, I still shudder when I think of what a miserable hostess I was for those weeks, maybe months, I’ve blocked the whole season out of my memory – honest.  I made a fuss about EXACTLY what corner shelf she could put her dishes on.  I’m pretty sure I made fusses about just about everything.  It is amazing to me she ever talked to me again after they moved out.

Ministry life seasoned us both, in different ways but we both shouldered a generous share of disappointment and disillusionment.  Motherhood seasoned us even more.  I don’t know what I expected her to be like as a mom but I do know something, the sort of mom she turned out to be was more amazing and more beautiful than I’d imagined.  The privilege of watching someone go through not one but many metamorphic changes is, I believe, one of the great things of life.

Raising babies and serving God in the ministries we’d given our all to brought deeper connections and much more genuine, grown up relationship.  We knew each others’ garbage and still stuck around.  We were so very different but so very drawn to one another in friendship.

Then in one day, everything we’d known for the past ten years came to a screeching halt.  We came to an impasse.  There were words and there was silence and there was the deepest kind of heartache.

It would be a true impossibility to explain the nuances of it all or to do any justice to how broken both of our hearts were.  Never in my life before or since have I felt exactly like that.  And I didn’t talk with her then or for the almost two years after, but I think she probably felt something similar. We walked opposite directions but in the same circles, to say it was awkward is an understatement.

I yelled (quite literally) at God.  I told Him I could not see how His gracious hand who had never been anything but faithful to me could allow such a thing.  And I told Him that He would never, could never heal this wound or restore that relationship – no matter how hard He might try.

This might be getting long and its okay if no one is still reading…I have to tell the rest because, well, it’s the best part.

Tina became more “Tina” and I became more “me “and I hope we both became more Jesus.  We lived and loved and learned how to walk out our unique and distinct calling.

Months, then years went by.  Slowly, in whisper quiet ways that only God is great at, pieces of the wall we’d both helped build were taken down.  Some didn’t hurt and some hurt a lot.  There was grace, beautiful and broken, given on both sides.  There were wise and tender husbands who had wiped so many tears whose ears had listened so faithfully to our bleeding hearts.

I don’t know why it surprised me so.  But it did.  He did just what I said He could not and in the most incredible way.  And I think He delighted in every moment of it.

Now, when we’ve just come into the lovely new space of friendship again, she is leaving. Not just any leaving but moving-to-Chile-leaving.  Which is why I did what I do and spent a great amount of time over the past couple weeks thinking about all our shared history and memories and being insanely grateful that God fixed what was broken before thousands of miles stood between us.

At that last possible moment to say goodbye yesterday before she got on a plane headed south, I whispered these words as we hugged one last time:

I’m so glad this hurts this much.  It would have been so sad if it didn’t.”

That is one of the most mystifying and complicated aspects of love.  Real, genuine, sacrificial kind of love opens up the heart to unspeakable pain and joy beyond measure.  I cried all the way home just replaying the impossible things God had done to bring my heart and hers to this sort of goodbye instead of hearing she’d left in an email from my mom or something like that.

Deeply grateful to serve a God who is all about the impossible and all about redemption.

The best question asker

Rylee.  She is uniquely wired to ask more than the average amount of questions.  While this does pose a patience-challenge sometimes, it is a wonderful quality and I do my best to affirm it.  Every now and then I do ask for a ten minute question-asking timeout.  To which she usually asks “Why?” and I have to laugh.

This morning while we had breakfast together before church we got to talking about Finn and she was saying how he was too cute and we were gushing over him as we tend to.  We talked about how glad we were that he’d been given to our family. The lingo we use whenever we talk about children is always intentional and always positive.  So it was natural for her to frame her question the way she did, but it still surprised me:

If God gives a baby to someone and they didn’t really want to have kids, then what happens?

Um, wow.  She is only 8 and though we’ve talked abortion in broad terms I didn’t really want to go there in our short time at the breakfast table.  She actually asked the question in regards to someone we know that recently got married.  And they do want kids, I made sure she knew that.

But still, the question loomed and was such a big one.  I stumbled for words as I ate my pancakes and told her that maybe people might not think they did but once they’d been given a new life to love, they might change their minds.  This prompted a whole new thread of thought for her, and more questions. I told her:

Well, just like animals get surgery (like our cat and dog did) so that they don’t have babies, people can do the same thing.  And to be honest, after Kyler was born we thought our family was full and perfect.  We really did.  But God spoke deeply to my heart and to daddy’s.  We listened.  He told us that His plans for our family were different than ours.  If we had said ‘no thank you’ to what He was asking of us, you wouldn’t have the sister you prayed for.  And we wouldn’t have squishy, smiling Finny here today.  Can you even imagine?

She said no way!  And I agreed, I can’t imagine.  Though there are chaotic moments, the bottom line is we are abundantly grateful for the path we’re on and the way God has shaped our family.

What I wish I’d said but thought about later was the way that God grows and opens our hearts if we let Him.  I really didn’t think there was room for more little people for me to love in my very early years of mothering.  But the most amazing things happen when Love abides in an open heart.  Though I run out of love regularly, the Love Giver Himself is always overflowing with more than I could ever need.

That love is amazing, unwavering and extravagant.  And it is always, always enough.

 

 

Mornings…again

It has been a dreadful long time since I’ve written about mornings.  I’m not about to write anything on here that isn’t true and real.  And thus, I’ve had nothing productive or wonderful to say about morning time for…about 7 months.  Phineas has been a character-growing-tool in the hands of a gracious God.  Of course all children are, this is one of a multitude of reasons they are given to us.  But sleep has been extra elusive and patience a minute-by-minute need these past months.  And for some reason I put on myself the unnecessary burden of not wanting to complain lest I give someone the room to say “See, that’s why I don’t have five kids” or “You did this to yourself you know!”.  Yes, people do say and think those things.  All the time.

Life slowed – we did survival.  And my blissful mornings up early before anyone woke up were a distant memory.

But fall is here.  School is underway.   New routines are in place.  And my heart is in desperate need of deep portions of God and truth and grace.  There is no substitute for a vibrant, authentic, organic relationship with Jesus.  I cannot catch it by being around people who exude His love.  But in being around those ones, my appetite is whet again for more.  More than whispered half prayers in the night.  More than Sunday sermons. More than frustrated weariness that comes from depending on flesh.

Week before last at church, as soon as I saw the title on the bulletin Discipline I thought “Ugh, really?  I so don’t want to hear about this today.”  Only because I’ve been hashing out with God why I don’t see certain fruit in my life (read: patience, gentleness, joy, etc) and I’ve kept hearing the same thing from Him,

“There is NO substitution for time spent with me.  You cannot manufacture what you are longing for.  No matter how capable you are you still need ME.”

So I’ve known I needed some changes (namely, the will to get up every day before my kids come pouncing onto my bed to wake me up!).  But have lacked the guts to try, I just don’t want to fail.  Its just been a L-O-N-G seven months (did I already say that?).  I’m tired.  Like bone tired, super exhausted.

But He still beckons me.  He knows I’m tired.  He offers me all that I need and still I choose sleep over all else.

So last week Monday morning, for the first time since last year I set my alarm and woke up at 6 AM.  I thought the losing sleep was the “pain now” and the time to get my heart in order the “reward later”.  Wrong.  Literally at the sound of my alarm for 2 seconds on the lowest volume, Finn woke up.  So I got ready while he played then juggled him in the front pack while I bounced on the yoga ball to keep him quiet and tried to hold and read my prayer book and have some semblance of a ‘quiet’ time.  Not exactly what I’d envisioned, me curled up alone in my cozy chair with hot tea and a blanket and my Bible while the rest of the house sleeps.

But He met me anyway.  And I confessed my undiscipline and asked for a new beginning.  And I trust He can do that…again 🙂

We have today

Its an early Friday morning and I wish I could press fast forward and skip the emotions that I know are coming my way.  I feel like the day is going to take me and probably kicking and screaming (inside).

I’ve planned every detail, lined up a new babysitter to help us, said yes to my mom’s offer to help and packed snacks and lunch.  I wake them up early and we get on the road.  It’s not like we haven’t done the drive before, the one to Grammy and Grampy’s.

But we haven’t done it enough.  And that’s the reality that grinding into my heart.  Though it isn’t really sudden, more like a year in the making since Grampy didn’t come home from hunting last January, it feels like it came out of no where.

As we make the hour-long drive, Rylee asks out of the blue “Why didn’t we ever walk on the trail with Grammy and Grampy?  You know, the one that goes behind their house?”.  I can almost hear my own heart break and wait to speak until I can trust that my voice will work.

“We didn’t ever find a time – it never worked out.  We figured we’d do it eventually but then…”  My words trail off and choke out because I can’t find the right ones and there are no words just tears.  Silent ones as I hold it together while the babysitter sits next to me in the van and probably wonders what on earth I’m talking about.

Grammy moved across the country last week.  The house is bare and empty when I walk in alone to feed baby Finn.  Its a shell that used to hold our family.  Our memories.  I sit on the carpet and snuggle the only baby we’ve had that he never met, never kissed, never held.

And now all I see is how the walls are white and I never noticed that before.  A view of the mountain that I swear I hadn’t fully taken in until today.  More trees for boy climbing than I remember.

We sort through the last loads of belongings and put them all where they need to go.  Kids find treasures, climb trees and go for a walk.  I just keep breathing.  Until I find something that takes my breath away, which happens more than once.  Is he really gone?  Do we really not get another chance to talk, to laugh, to eat, to love?

We don’t.  And the sting of death, of loss and of I-wish-we-would-have________, presses hard on my heart and I literally feel like I’m gasping for air.  I was sure we had dozens more Christmas Eve’s to spend there drinking endless sparkling cider and sharing gifts.  But this December someone else will live there and make those memories with their own family.  And ours will be spread out over a couple thousand miles.

Pat phrases and empty lines don’t seem to really cut it.  Chin up, press on, don’t waste your time looking back.  Can’t change the past.  Only thing you can change is the future.  Make the most of today. While they may be true, they don’t fill in the empty places.

I know its not lovely to say, but sometimes I think we’re supposed to hurt.  We’re supposed to look back and grieve that we didn’t do something just right.  That we missed a chance to love.  It’s the hurt that changes our today. We get another chance today to do life just a bit different even if we can’t go back and make yesterday better.

It truly is utterly beautiful the way it works.  God is so good, inherently, completely good in the way he orchestrates all of life.  But there are days like my Friday that force me to look hard for that truth.  And I think that’s okay.

It’s been hard to keep counting.  But even if the list is small, I’m still trying…

#473 – beautiful berries

#474 – the privilege of carrying someone else’s burden

#475 – rain and water and green everywhere…even though its supposed to be summer

#476 – today

Maybe we’re getting old…

It is a monumental task to get five kids cared for and arrange for a date night.  I know all the books say that you really need to do it every other week but for us, every other month is doing pretty good!  A few months ago we bought tickets to see our favorite musician.  It wasn’t till a month later that we figured out he was opening for another artist and wasn’t the main attraction.

That was okay with us.  His music came into our life at a critical juncture and will probably forever and always be tied in our minds with the rebuilding of our marriage and renewing of our love for one another.  So, we figured any other music that night would just be a bonus.

Last night was date night, finally.  I spent the drive there worrying about details.  Had I gone over everything, prepared it all well, forgotten any instructions?  We sat down in the theater downtown in the big city and I worried about it being earthquake safe.  I calculated how Phineas would survive without me to feed him.  I smiled nervous smiles and tried to be ‘all there’.

Then there was music.  There were words that expressed my very own heart.  My whole body could feel the sound, my whole heart could hear the words and all the worry vanished for those 45 minutes.  It was clear a large part of the crowd was there for the very young pop artist who was the ‘main event’.  We felt a bit old.  A bit over dressed.  And we were.

It’s fairly likely I was the only was with tears streaming down their face in the crowd of a couple thousand people as he sang these words:

Breathe in, breathe out,
Move on and break down,
If everyone goes away i will stay.

We push and pull,
& I fall down sometimes,
I’m not letting go,
You hold the other line.

Cause there is a light in your eyes, in your eyes.

Hold on hold tight,
From out of your sight,
If everything keeps moving on, moving on,
Hold on hold tight,
Make it through another night,
& everyday there comes a song with the dawn,
We push and pull and I fall down sometimes,
I’m not letting go,
You hold the other line.

 

Somehow (by Grace, really, only Grace) we’ve learned to breathe and how to hold on and how to get up.  How not to let go when one more night seems like a lot to ask.  How to love quiet and strong.  We’ve said it loud with our choices and actions, I’m not letting go.

I rested my head on his shoulder and took a deep breath.  So thankful for something to love and enjoy together.  So incredulous at the power of music and words and God to sew hearts back into one piece.

As Mat Kearney wrapped it up for the night and the next musician stepped up we were caught up in giggles watching him dance and prance and sing about butterflies and flowers and sunshine and snowflakes.  Really, snowflakes while dancing on tiptoes?  Kids around us squealed in absolute glee while we shook our heads.  After almost two songs and a whole lot of laughing, we whispered to eachother that we should go and use our time away wisely.  We found a place to sit and talk and laugh and relish the gift of time we’d been given.

And we’re learning…its the best gift.

Little hands

Its not every Sunday we make it to church together.  Saturday night emergency room trips that last till 2 AM, sick ones who are still sound asleep when its time to go, pride-filled mama who chooses to hold a grudge and opts for a pity party alone at home instead of communion with others….these are all recent Sunday morning happenings around here.

And even when we do make it, I’ve been known to utter under my breath “this has got to be more trouble than its worth” while kids run down church halls, a baby cries out when all is silent, one more person says something less than kind about our large family.  Though I probably don’t really mean it, it is undoubtedly hard getting 5 children out the door without major crisis or marital conflict.  Perhaps its just me but we’ve just not got it quite down yet.

Yesterday as I stood next to our oldest son and Audrey twirled around on my other side, I happened to feel her brush against me so I opened my eyes during worship and looked down.  Her little hands were lifted up just like her mama’s were.  She had clapped when I’d clapped, sat when I’d sat and then she figured she’d raise up her tiny arms when I did the same.  Made my eyes well up and was instantly a powerful reminder of the gravity of my actions, attitudes and words on the lives of my children.  Oh that it was always something beautiful that she was learning from me but the truth is it isn’t.

Though she doesn’t understand just what it means, I get the chance to tell her later.  But really, she doesn’t care much – she just looks up and sees me and its as simple as that for her little three year old self.  I am growing into a belief that children should not be sequestered to fancy kids programs and left completely, purposefully out of the corporate worship service.  I believe there is something powerful and crucial when families can worship and experience God together.  Of course this can happen in homes but that doesn’t have to be the only place.

So come next weekend, we’ll do it again.  We may not have the perfectly dressed kids or the best mannered ones or even be on time.  But we’re learning how to be a part of a church family in the midst of our total imperfectness.  And it feels good.

Testify

Twelve years ago today we walked down the aisle to these words:

For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
I’ll be a witness in the silences when words are not enough
With every breath I take I will give thanks to God above
For as long as I shall live
I will testify to love
(Avalon “Testify”)

We didn’t give it much thought, love was easy and simple.  We’d waited 4 years to marry, dated through our last two years of high school, been through lots of ups and downs and at the time our very union was testimony to God’s faithfulness.  It really was.

We were idealistic and hope-filled 21 year olds.  All of life spanned before us and it seemed so very grand.  We made plans, dreamed dreams and forged ahead together.  We paid $427 a month to rent a tiny campus apartment that overlooked a lake while we finished college.  I think I threatened once or twice to go back to my parents.  Oh how young I was.   I made coffee and he made disciples as he led the youth group at our church.  He thrived and I watched his passion explode.  We studied hard and graduated together.

While on a missions trip to El Salvador using pit toilets and doing manual labor every day, a pink line rocked our world and we grinned all week as we kept our little secret.  We bought a tiny pair of brown sandals there and flew home on our own cloud as we pondered the parenthood journey we were about to embark on.

Years passed, more babies entered our world and the thriving, passion-filled man faced a lot of challenges and work became something different.  I filled my heart and my life with a job that I loved.  Church life wasn’t all sunshine and roses.  People weren’t perfect, we weren’t perfect.

We walked out our days and our lives in the best ways we could.  But we hurt each other.  A lot.  At the bottom of a spiral that seemed to last forever, we realized a choice had to be made and we chose each other.

Hard work.  So much of it.  So many words and tears.  We found little things to love together.  Like music.  And somehow these words came to be true…

And I don’t care if everyone knows what we’re going through
‘Cause all the roads lead back to you

On and on and on we pray, we can break into a brighter day
Nothing worth anything ever goes down easy
On and on and on we go, I don’t understand this windy road
Nothing worth anything ever goes down easy

And we’ll keep on, keep on climbing on down this narrow line
So we can see the other side, the other side
(Mat Kearney “On and On”)

Weeks, months passed and the ‘other side’ ever so slowly found its way onto the horizon.  We vowed without words really, that what we had was worth it.  And we walked the hard road of healing.

Now we testify to something different.  Not just to an ideal we call love.  Not just to a dreamy something that is nice to sing about.  To the ultimate, radical power of God to change lives and the most stubborn, broken hearts into something beautiful.  To the unchanging, unceasing grace that He gives when we can’t even muster up the ability to ask for it.  To the reality of restoration and the gift of forgiveness.

We testify to love.  But not to our own imperfect, never-enough kind of love.  To the Love Giver Himself and the way He makes all things new.