10.04.2017

hands + feet

it's the topic of almost every discussion, facebook thread, instagram post, news story this week...what happened in vegas. i wanted to keep my mouth shut for fear of man. i wanted to leave the opinions to facebook repostings and brief instagram captions...but i cannot.

i cannot continue to sit back and watch each passing 'pray for vegas' picture and pretend like it's ok.

i cannot continue to watch government officials all around the states tweet out 'thoughts and prayers' and pretend like it's ok.

i cannot continue to watch fellow claimed followers of christ bring up abortion while we're talking about combat weapon laws and pretend like it's ok, that one life is more important than another.

i am crippled with thoughts. i am flooded with prayers for this country, the city of vegas, the president, everyone involved in the mandalay bay shooting. 

i am praying and thinking. and it's not wrong. prayers, thoughts, they're not bad. we should be thinking about this. we should be talking about it. we should be praying.

but i am convinced that it's not enough.

i am convicted by the words of jesus, by their fruits you will know them in matthew and the words of james, prove yourself doers of the word.

and this gold nugget in first john: by this we know what love is: jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. if anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of god abide in him? little children, let us love not in word and speech but in action and truth. 

if we have no deeds, all of our talk is meaningless. 

my friends, we are the body. christ is in you. we pray for blessing, we pray for mercy, we pray for compassion and action, yet we have the eyes to see compassionately. we have the feet to go, the hands to bless and do good. we pray for miracles and surely enough jesus himself says, whoever believes in me will do the works i am doing, he will do even greater things.

he has no body now, but yours. we are his hands, his feet.

we are called to action.

if you are overwhelmed with what to do or where to start:
  • contact your member of congress to demand action and prevent the next shooting
  • likewise, click the link above once more to contact a congress member to demand action to increase and improve access to mental healthcare
  • get serious about your self-care routine and encourage others to do the same
  • focus on acts of kindness--work at the nearest homeless shelter or food bank, donate to puerto rico or mexico city, rake the leaves in your neighbors yard
  • as a parent, show your children what kindness and loving everyone looks like

lastly, don't give up. be outraged. be devastated. but this is not the end. 

in trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. in this world you will continue to experience difficulties. but take heart! i have overcome the world! -john 16:33

9.21.2017

three times over


it's been three years. september 21, 2014 my best friend, soulmate, the love of my life asked me to marry him.

and here we are married, with two daughters now happy as clams, simple as that! the end.

not exactly.

it's so easy for me to say that david is the best thing to ever happen to me. because it's true. i don't know where i'd be if he hadn't pursued me faithfully, unconditionally. he stood by me in my darkest moments. god truly knew (ha, obviously) what he was doing, when he created david.

as a little girl, you can't help but at least wonder. who will it be? when will it be? will it be like the movies? a fairy tale?

even as a 20-something girl, i still had expectations (unspoken and spoken might I add, but more on that in a later post).

i woke up a three years ago today feeling a bit queasy, took some vitamins, put on my black dress, tights and boots (all black errything) to go to church. david drove over to pick me up to take me to moscow. while lacing up my doc martens, i said i felt like i might throw up.

we began walking out the door and i turned into the bathroom and started to vomit.

morning sickness.

every time i get sick, tears stream down my face. every. single. time.

not 'crying tears', but just tears, you know?

i really started crying, though, when i saw my reflection in the mirror, traces of mascara running down my cheeks.

i just did my makeup! i quickly  wiped off the trails of freckled-skin and black tears, reapplied some foundation and ran out the door.

i hate being late.

and yet we were. we walked into the service at trinity reformed and i felt like everyone was watching us, scolding us with their looks (have i mentioned that before we announced i was pregnant, i was more insecure than i ever had been?).

after church we drove straight to spokane -- we were planning to see andrew belle at the bartlett that evening.

we needed to make a quick costco run, so we borrowed david's parents' card (hashtag broke college kids).

when we went to their house however we ended up in a deep conversation about family and david wound up in tears (and obviously i began to cry again as well, because when your man cries, you can't help it, right?)

our quick stop turned into almost two hours of working through some very hard things.

finally we were on our way. we stopped at costco for our three things (yeah we were those people), and headed out to coeur d'alene for a picnic in the park.

we laid out a blanket and had some cheese, crackers and meats. i was depleated--of energy, of emotions--so laying down in the grass in cool shade was marvelous. however right after laying down david took off to the restroom, and i started realizing how hot it was --remember i was in all black.

david came back after ten minutes and told me we had to leave in five because he made dinner reservations and we needed to get his parents' costco card back to them first.

the anger boiled up within me.

are you kidding? we just got here! you've been gone this whole time. i thought this was supposed to be relaxing?!

he apologized telling me he didn't think we would have been at his parents' that long.

at this point i was hot, tired (very bothered) and i just did not feel good.

fine. we put everything back in the car and i was sliding into my seat, when david said we should walk over to this bridge that goes over part of the lake.

but you just said we had to leave...?

frustrated was an understatement. i rolled my eyes and walked out on to the dock up the twirly stairs and out on the middle of the bridge.

i turned around and said alright, it's a lake, can we go now?(goodness, miss sassypants)

i then noticed he was down on one knee.

my heart raced.

tears welled up in my eyes (again!) and a lump formed in my throat.

melissa.. he started and i interrupted him:

is this a joke!?

he informed me that it was not and that he indeed was asking me to marry him.

this moment was one i imagined my whole life.

would there be fireworks? was there going to be a party with our families and friends afterwards? this was the moment where the guy did a whole monologue at least three minutes long about how much he loved her and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.

none of it happened.

in fact when he asked, i quickly said yes and told him to get up and started walking down onto the dock once more.

people were coming, they would see.

i didn't want to make a scene...because, we didn't deserve it.

i tried so so hard to hold back tears.

tears full of years and years of guilt, shame, deception, hurt and failure.

we were pregnant.

this isn't a choice. he feels like he has to marry me, I thought.

instead of sharing my heart and how i was having a hard time we got back in the car in silence and i handed him the ring back.

here. i don't want it.

now the tension was so incredibly thick and i felt like i was going to throw up again from all of these lies that this voice was telling me inside my head.

we drove and drove and drove in silence. until i couldn't take it anymore.

i was a mess, snot and salty tears rolling down my cheeks and lips. i was hysterical.

abruptly, david pulled over to the side of the freeway. silence.

he grabbed his phone, turned on to whom it may concern by the civil wars and began to read:

eagerly anticipating the arrival of someone very dear. missing someone you haven’t met yet. someone you want to share all your inner most thoughts with. this can look very different for different people. for simeon it was waiting to see the promised child. for the disciples and all the saints who have known jesus intimately it was to be reunited with their friend and savior. for me, it is the eager anticipation to meet my wife. i believe this sense of longing comes from a desire that god has placed in us to be deeply known.
that being said, love is patient and long suffering, which at its deepest resembles christ’s desire to draw us all near to him. but he waits patiently until we answer the call of his still small voice with our whole hearts.
genesis 2:18
then the lord god said, “it is not good that the man should be alone; i will make him a helper fit for him.”
what god has created in the dichotomy of male and female is utterly beautiful. one the pursuer the other the pursued. and i mean pursue in the most beautiful sense of the word. to passionately, thoughtfully, selflessly and lovingly chase after something that is beautiful beyond compare. frustration naturally ensues. how is a man to pursue? how is a woman to wait? these questions are difficult and rely on a whole hearted pursuit of God to be answered.
so for now, waiting patiently and having an ear that eagerly waits to hear from god is all one can do. i could say more, but i think that the words that i long to express are meant for my god and my wife, and it is my prayer that they honor and deeply bless both one day and everyday that i draw breath on this beautiful planet that god has created.

i wrote this about you melissa. before i knew you. two years ago.

he began to cry. i cried more. he asked me once again, and I said yes.

the details of the rest of the night are fuzzy to me.

i said some truly hurtful things-- he took the ring back.

we cancelled reservations to dinner and drove in silence--again-- to the concert.

we sat in the parking lot of the bartlett for the entire opener--I don't even know who opened for andrew that night.

prayers. more tears. more heart sharing. and more prayer.

right before we got out of the car. he asked one more time.

three times he asked. and I said yes.

we walked in on Andrew's set. he had already started.

we stood at the back of the room, knowing that god had intended for all of this to happen. that he did indeed create david and i for each other. knowing that life is hard and messy and so so beautiful.

and there we were, david was holding me in the back of the room at the bartlett on september 21 singing into my ear i love you, i love you, and all of your pieces. and it was perfect.

9.17.2017

37/52

[a portrait of my children, once a week, every week in 2017]

hadley: i have been an emotional wreck this week as i have realized just how much sweet hadley grace has grown. we scrolled through videos from this past year the other day and my heart wrenched. a tear rolled down my cheek and my breath quickened as hadley asked, what's wrong mommy, are you crying? yes, i answered. you miss daddy? it's such a conundrum, a paradox, motherhood. missing someone even as they sit just in front of you--or behind you, playing with your hair. i told her it was her that i missed. she didn't understand. she is thoughtful and sweet. she signs as we sing jesus loves me. when she helps put her sister down for naps or when she's playing mommy with her dolls, she tucks them in whispering, sweet dreams, sleep well!

amelia: i feel that we are slowly but surely gaining a rhythm with our little one. for a while it felt that we were sporadically feeding, and sleeping whenever she just decided to pass out. but it truly feels like we are sinking into a cadence and boy is it lovely. being that she is the second child we don't have much one-on-one time as i did with her older sister. so when i can spare a moment or two i stare into her big blue-grey eyes, stroke her cheek and smile. we are really starting to get to know each other over here and i am falling more deeply in love with her by the day.