Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Celebration of 32 Years

Today is my parents’ thirty second wedding anniversary. To honor them but hopefully to honor you as well, I’ve listed seven things I have learned from watching my parents’ marriage. They will never bless you as much as they have blessed me, I promise you. But I hope they bless you a little, whether you know them or not.

Seven Things I’ve Learned from My Parents’ Marriage

1.     Marriage can only be done as a covenant with God.
  You used to have a picture in our home. I don’t know if it’s in your home now but it was a lovely poem about how marriage takes three—two sinful humans and a loving God. Maybe those weren’t the words but those were the sentiments. No one likes the word sin on their wall.  Nevertheless, the point was that we can’t do marriage on our own. We have to have Christ—as an example, as a partner, as a hope. You’ve always made sure I know that. And my marriage and my life have been better for it.

2.     Your marriage should always be put above your children.
   Children are a blessing.  I don’t say that only because I am, in fact, your blessingJ. You have taught me what a wonderful thing it is to support and train up a life.  But you’ve shown me that children aren’t solely a blessing.  They are also a challenge.  And they can be a challenge in your marriage.  You both always made sure I knew that I couldn’t form a wedge in between you.  You loved us, to be sure, but I saw that if a marriage is to work, kids come third. After Christ. And each other. I know that example will become more prominent and more important as I eventually have little ones of my own.

3.     Marriage means sometimes going to bed angry.
  Because I can’t fight when I’m exhausted. I learned this from my mom (who I think knows firsthand). Reason doesn’t come with late nights. It comes with a fresh mind and a good night’s sleep. I don’t feel bad when things aren’t resolved as my head hits the pillow. After all, his joy comes with the morning.  And sometimes, so does a little perspective.  Thanks for reminding me of this when I was little and now that I’m mostly grown up.

4.     Marriage is a portrait of forgiveness.
  Yeah, that whole, “love means never having to say you’re sorry” bit is as much of a lie as most of what the world tells us.  You made it known throughout my formative years that no marriage is perfect. You never hid your disagreements but you did try to “fight fair” with us around. You made sure we knew that the marriage is the exact place to live out Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other as Christ God forgave you.”  I didn’t go into my marriage expecting to always be right or always be happy but I did know what true commitment was, because I have seen it in both of you.  You always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere (1 Cor 13:7). Not because you are perfect. But because you have Christ in the center.

5.     You don’t have to know each other a long time to commit for a long time.
   I know why I wasn’t worried at all when I married E after 9 months of knowing each other. I saw a loving example of the same thing in my parents. You married after nine months and realized that wasn’t the end. It was the beginning.  You knew commitment was real.  In HIM. And in each other. And you’ve never taken that lightly, for as long as I’ve known you.  So even though people balk at short courtship, I’ve seen it’s not the length of the courtship but the depth of the commitment that counts.

6.     Love means more, not less, over time.
  After 32 years, I can tell marriage means something completely different to you than it did when I was born 28 years ago. Or than it did when I went to college 5 years ago. Or than it did ten minutes ago. You are great examples of love evolving, changing, and growing.  It’s almost comical to me to think about people thinking they love each other after nine months (see #5). Even after five years, I can’t image 32 years. I look at the trials you’ve endured together. The amazing victories. The loss. The beauty.  The pain. The joys of new life. The goodbyes. The everything. You’ve never ever done it alone. And now I’m crying. Because I know your love is something that only you and the Father even understand. That’s how intimate 32 years together are.  Not perfect. But incredibly intimate. Like our relationship is supposed to be with our creator.

7.     Marriage is fun. And funny.
   You both are fun people. And you are funny. Both of you. Despite what we tell you, MomJ.  Sometimes I look at couples and think they think marriage is so very serious. But it’s also making fun of each other. And having conversations about living in a town called Sane. And jumping up and down in your kitchen.  And singing in harmony with all three of your kids to James Taylor in the car.  And clapping to the Mizzou fight song as hard as your hands will press together.  And drinking wine.

Speaking of wine, at the conference this weekend a friend and I were talking about wine. Communion wine, specifically.  We were discussing why we like to take wine with our communion instead of just grape juice. My friend mentioned that she loves it because wine is delicious and beautiful and sweet to your lips. But it’s also a little bitter.  And to taste it reminds her that Jesus’ sacrifice for us was so beautiful but it’s also bitter and painful.  I’ve learned so much from you over the years and the best I can sum up is to say you’ve taught me that marriage is like wine.  It’s an acquired taste—it takes some getting used to. But it’s a great delight. It’s sweet. And it gets better with time. And it’s bitter—and sometimes hard and painful. But mostly, it’s a great, great treat. And the bitter doesn’t make it worse—it actually makes it better because it mingles with the fruits to make it more complex and more satisfying.

Your marriage is a fine, aged wine.  And I am blessed to have had a front row to the process.

“I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all (both) of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:3-5

I love you. Happy 32.

Your daughter.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Little Man Monday

Hi Sweet Pea,

Oh how I have thought of you lately!! I just got back from a conference with 3600 women. That's a lot of women!! Many of the women were pushing their babies in strollers or holding them in carriers. Lots of mamas also showed their beautiful pregnant bellies as they worshipped our God. I don't have a pregnant belly to proclaim to the world the preparations we're making for your arrival. Even so, each time I saw one of those mamas, I thought of you. I wondered how old those babies would be when you finally join our family. I wondered how old YOU would be. I thought it would be interesting if these babies were your age and if you were in your birth mamas belly right now. Only God knows.

I did get to meet another adoptive mama while there. Her little man is coming from Ethiopia, too. We hope to be forever friends and we might even meet up at another conference to share in our experiences waiting for you little guys.

At this point, we've been waiting for you for about seven months officially (don't be fooled--we've been waiting for you longer).  When I look at our list and do a little math, it looks like somewhere between three and six years from now you will join our family. It's pretty hard to even have any idea what that means. We're not going to get bogged down in that, though, son. We are resting in God's sovereignty. That's a big word. It means his ability to get it right even when we don't understand or think so.  Please trust me in this, IC. If it took even longer than this, years and years, we would wait for you. You are such a part of us and our family.

I'd love to say so much more but I think I'll wait til next week. I do love you and think of you so very often. And I pray for you. Specifically that we'd have you home soon and that you would be protected in the meantime. So much love to you, baby.


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chain Link Catch Up

Well, after two month of slacking, I put two more links to our DTE (dossier to Ethiopia) chain today.

May link... (six months)

Verse: Heb 12:1-2a (the verse from Kids Club this year)
"Thererfore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Yes, that is a Kids Club shirt in the background to remind us where our time was spent in the weeks before and after our six months of DTE.

Here's the thing: I love this verse because while we wait, wait, wait we know that's the race God has marked out for us right now. We can't grumble or complain or lament it because it's exactly the race He has for us i am not saying I like it. I am just saying it is what He knew it would be.

DTE 7 Months (but it says six because I am not with it today) 6.18.12
Verse John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me."
Yes, that is our thermostat in the background. Our air broke this week so we are living in the heat of the moment. Pun intended. But really, what a great verse yeah?

The pic I took was blurry so please forgive. I am prepping for a trip so the fact that I have this up at all is a happy day. Plus, who wants to do anything productive in an 85 degree house? Not I said the hot girl.

Yes, our chain sure is lengthening. He knew. He knew all along.

At least it's cute right?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Recovery Mode

You know those times when you just feel like you have too much free time? You wish you had more to do and so you just don't write because you are sitting at home, basking in sunshine, lazily enjoying your days?

Me neither.

The past month has been a whirlwind for me. I mean, seriously. My new job is lovely. I've been doing it officially (read: not in training) by myself for almost exactly a week.  I love doing it. There's also just a lot of it to do.  Especially since last week was our busiest week of the year. I mean, any time you are in charge of making sure 900 people are safe, fed, and having fun, it's bound to be a little busy. Luckily, I would say we mostly accomplished all three of those things and I am a happy, tired girl. I would love to show you pictures of my favorite week of the year but here's the thing: I only took pictures of other people's kids. And I have a rule that unless I have explicit verbal permission to do so, those kiddos won't end up on my personal blog. So, if you want to see the lovely stuff that last week was made of, you can go to Facebook and friend Crossing Kids. This link will take you there.  There are tons of pictures. And they're done by pros so you know they're better than my photos of blurry, smiling kiddos.

So now, yes, I am in recovery mode. There are chains on the adoption link to create, letters to IC to write, and normal life to get back to. There's also lots and lots more work.

Because, as it turns out, Sunday happens once a week.

As soon as I think, ok, I am close to caught up, I remember the next Sunday is just around the corner and I have plenty to do. It's so amazing the works the Lord is working in me already. And I'd love to type them out for you. Except I haven't really had time to digest them yet. It's mostly moment-by-moment grace getting me through at this point.

I will say this: if you don't pray for the leaders of your church, will you do that please? I mean, they so need it. And by they, I mean me.  The grace needed to accomplish ministry is astounding. And regardless of your beliefs I will also put this out there: there are forces that just don't want ministry to happen. And they're at work y'all.  So, please pray against that for the people in your own church. And for your own lives.

I will write more soon. Promise.  Just wanted to let you know I'm alive. And well. Very well.