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Thursday, February 28, 2013

women

today at bible study we discussed women and the battle between careers and homemaking. such a touchy topic, but such a vital one. i can't speak for anyone else, i can only speak for myself, and call on the truth from god's word.

when i got pregnant with avery, the only thing i kept thinking over and over was "my life is over. i'll never be able to do what i want to do. now it's all about her and not about me." i was resentful and bitter for a while. but becoming a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me, i can say that and mean it with my whole heart. it has allowed me to forget the dreams i had for myself and realize the plans that god has for me (which, by the way, are so much better and more fulfilling). now that i have my two girls, there is nothing in this world that i would rather do than be a wife and a mother. that is my job, my calling, my life, at least for this season. i know without a doubt that this is the place god has for me. and i am completely content and happy with that. i feel fulfilled. i have no college degree, i bring in no paycheck, and yet i feel such peace and joy just being home, taking care of my kids, nurturing them, looking after our home, serving my husband. i love it.

but it has taken god changing my heart for me to see the value of this lifestyle. our culture tells women that we have to look perfect, cook amazing meals, be super crafty, decorate our homes with perfect style, be great in the sack (yes, i said it), be a mom, work a career... i mean, it's all too much. how can we ever live up to all of that? well, we can't. because we weren't created to. i love a quote from our current bible study book lies women believe that goes like this:

"women have been liberated right out of the genuine freedom they enjoyed for centuries to oversee the home, rear the children, and pursue personal creativity; they have been brainwashed to believe that the absence of a titled, payroll occupation enslaves a woman to failure, boredom, and imprisonment within the confines of home." -nancy leigh demoss, lies women believe

as i said before, i can't speak for every woman. i can only speak for myself and for what i believe to be true. god created women to be nurturers, caregivers, helpers to our husbands. that is my job. that is my joy. i may not see earthly reward, will never receive a paycheck or bonus, or a paid vacation. but i am storing up my treasures in heaven, i am raising up the next generation. that's something i am proud of, and something you should be proud of, too.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

faithful god


i've come to the conclusion that no matter how long justin is gone, 6 days, 6 weeks, or 6 months, it is going to be hard. and sad. of course, i realize there is a huge difference between 6 days and 6 months. but they all stink. they all register on the sucky scale.

and why wouldn't it be hard? he's my husband. he's half of me.


Matthew 19:4-6

"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,'  and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh' ?  So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate."

when a man and woman marry, they are joined together to become one person, with the same mission and goals. that is not to say that the husband and wife will always agree. because they won't. they are both still sinners after all. but i believe god gives them the same desires, the same drive to reach those goals. i think when you marry god joins your souls.

and so, why wouldn't i miss my husband? he's my best friend in the entire universe. he makes me laugh and understands me, like no one else can. he sees me at my best, he sees me at my worst, and he loves me anyway. when he's not here, something is missing. there's just an emptiness. and that's where god comes in...

i am learning to fill that emptiness with my father. he is to be placed first in my life after all, even above justin and my kids. if i place him first, everything else will follow. if i fill the emptiness that i feel in my husband's absence with tv, magazines, food, alcohol, even friends (which can sometimes be a good thing), i am going to still feel just as empty. if i turn to my god to fill me up, then he will. i will still miss my precious husband, but i will now have the tools, the hope and strength, to get through it.

one thing that i'm seeing: through all of the separations from justin, i am going to be a much better person, mother, wife, and friend if i just go straight to god and ask for his help. if i ask him to fill that empty spot in my heart, i will be so much happier! all i have to do is ask. then trust. i've been trying to get better at that. some days the only prayer i can muster up the energy to mutter is "help me! i can't get through this day without you." and he does. he always, always gives me what i need for that day. whether it is energy, a break from being a mom, new attitudes for the girls or for myself, some time with friends, sunshine so we can get outside. he has provided it all, and will continue to do so. because he is faithful. and i am so glad :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

life these days...

we had a lovely four day weekend with justin that involved lots of sunshine, the pool, a trip to the beach, and a valentine's day 10k on sunday...our first race as a family of four. we ran a 5k when avery was two, she still talks about it. i think we have ourselves a family tradition...a race every year!

tuesday it was back to the grind. the lazy bug has bitten me and ave this week. well i say lazy, but really we have been rather busy...it just hasn't involved leaving the house. we have done lots of homeschooling and coloring this week; put together puzzles, played board games, and we have been really into our dress up clothes. so much fun having little girls :)

justin leaves again in a few days, only for about a week this time. i am just feeling so burnt out... tired. irritable. i need a vacation. by myself... really looking forward to visiting my family this summer for a while and getting a break from life!

and then i'm not looking forward to it...because that means justin will be gone. ick. i am a big cry baby these days. anything related to daddies with their kids, or military, or deployment makes me cry. we had some books from the library about a military family whose dad was deployed...yeah, i almost started crying while i read it to avery. i hate it.

and in running news, marathon training is going well and despite my sleep deprivation (thanks to a teething baby) and horrific cold that lasted forever, i am able to stay on track so far! i feel really motivated; having a partner for those long runs really helps to keep me motivated and accountable! my goal is to run two full marathons this year. we'll see how it goes :)

so that's life these days. enjoying the time we have with justin, trying not to wish away the time while he's gone. it's a hard life, but somebody's got to do it...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

redeemed

my life has not been an easy one. but then, whose has?

i think most of you know that i got pregnant with avery when i was 19. 19 years old, working a minimum wage job, freshman in college. and crazy in love. it was a turning point in my life. i was starting to feel the call of god on my life, the call to serve and go on mission trips. one half of me was ready to pursue this but the other half was clearly not doing what it was supposed to. ha. justin and i had been together off and on for about two years at the time. my dad had just moved out, spurring the separation of my parents. it was a hard time. a sad time. i remember just feeling lost. i had no idea what i was supposed to do with my life. i had no one really giving me direction. i was a selfish 19 year-old. i was looking for love; acceptance. i worked, shopped, partied. that was my life then. my how things have changed..

sometimes i can't even believe the person that i used to be. i can't believe the person i am now. i can't believe how far god has brought my marriage. our first two years of marriage were pretty terrible. they were hell, really. it was definitely not all justin's fault. he made his mistakes, but so did i. i didn't know how to be a wife. the only example i saw of a wife was in a dysfunctional marriage while i was growing up. i was hormonal, stressed out, scared. an excerpt from one of my old journals:

tuesday, april 15, 2008

my attitude towards having a baby and getting married change daily. sometimes i feel nearly depressed; others i feel almost excited. but one feeling that never goes away is being overwhelmed. i've stepped into so much all at once, i wonder if i can do it. in a matter of months i've gone from a fun, carefree teenager who liked to party and shop to a wife and expectant mother who has to work and plan for a new life. overwhelming.

i was not ready to get married. i didn't even really want to at that time; i felt like i had to. i loved justin, of course. i knew that i wanted to be with him forever. i just wasn't ready for forever to start right then. too young, immature, selfish, unprepared. and i definitely was not ready for a child. are you kidding me?! i was still a child!  i was doing what i wanted to do, when i wanted to do it. that freedom, i wasn't ready to give it up. but i did. because i had to. and now here we are... almost five years of marriage later.

i am sharing this because i want you to know, no matter how difficult your life may feel, no matter how unhappy you are in your marriage...it is not hopeless. my marriage is a miracle; truly. god has restored my relationship with justin. he has given me a heart that loves and accepts justin for who he is; i am able to see him with new eyes, as firstly a brother in christ, the man that god has set apart just for me. god has softened my heart towards my husband. he has renewed my love for him. he has given me hope for the future. i love justin so much. he is my best friend in the entire world, the person i know i can turn to no matter what. i never thought we would be here, but we are. and it's all because of my father. my life is better now than it has ever been; that's a funny side effect of throwing your hands up in the air and saying "ok, god, i give in. i give up all control. please, take over now." ;)

Sunday, February 10, 2013

deployment: a poem for my girls

The poem below is one I've been trying not to write. I've been trying so hard not to think about deployment. But the words to this poem just kept tossing themselves around my brain, like waves crashing on the shore. I had to get them out before I lost them. The beginning of this poem just poured out of my heart; the second half was harder to write, as I began thinking about deployment and all the things that we will miss about Justin being home. I cried as I wrote, I tear up when I read it and allow myself to think about how difficult all of this is going to be.. This is a poem I wrote for my sweet girls, particularly Avery, and for all of the military kids out there. The family serves too, never forget that.

deployment

stop your playing and come here
i've got something to say, my dear

daddy will be gone a while
i know you'll miss him and his smile

and he'll be sure to miss us, too
i know he'll be thinking of you

and wishing he could kiss your face
and wrap you in a warm embrace

when daddy leaves i know you're sad
please know, that is not wrong or bad

of course you miss him, that's okay
i know you wish that he could stay

now the time's here for him to go
but there's something he wants you to know

he doesn't want to leave you
he's going because he has to

you're his very favorite girl
he loves you more than the whole world

we'll miss his manly voice
but know, he has no choice

he's going so we will stay safe
your daddy is so very brave

so you should be proud of him
and his brothers, too, be proud of them

you'll miss daddy tucking you in bed
you'll miss the stories his voice has read

you'll miss wrestling and playing rough
please tell me when you've had enough

and we'll stop and say a prayer
for god to be here, and to be with daddy there

i'm here for you, i love you, too
and i'll be missing dad with you

but it's alright, we'll be okay i know
because, you see, god told me so

we'll have our own adventures and fun
lots of girls nights and play in the sun

and we'll send daddy gifts and notes
he'll be excited to see all you wrote

although daddy won't be here
you do not have a thing to fear

god will be with our daddy, you know
he's always with us, wherever we go


we'll miss him at the table
when we sit down to eat
and so we'll say a little prayer 
over daddy's empty seat

we'll miss him coming home each day
to give us kisses and hugs
we'll miss him taking us to dinner
and squishing all the bugs

i know you'll miss going on dates
with your one and only dad
i know he is the best friend
that you ever had

i know you'll miss him helping you
practice on your bike
and taking you for ice cream
you are so much alike


and when you miss him an extra lot
just look up at the moon
know he sees the same one too
and that he'll be home soon










strength

for almost three years i have been dreading deployment...and now we're only a few months away from beginning our first one. i can't believe it. the last several months i have been in sort of denial, telling myself that justin is just going on a really long camping trip; that all he will be doing is working out like crazy and playing video games. i almost had myself believing it. but as the day nears, i just know it's not true. he could possibly be in real danger, and it's scary. our community has suffered  a lot of loss over the last couple of years. that doesn't make  a wife feel very confident...

i know that i have to give up control of justin, of our circumstances. i know that i have to hand him over to God. i know that i have to start praying now, for his safety and wisdom. i know that i have to trust that my Father knows best; that he will take care of us. it's just so hard. why is it so hard?

six or seven months is a long time. it's a long time to be a single parent; it's a long time to sleep in a cold and empty bed. it's a long time to live as half  a person. it's a long time to miss your best friend, soul mate, and life partner. it's a long time to soothe little fears and answer questions like "where is daddy?" and "when is he coming home?" it's a long time. i know the girls will change so much while justin is away, especially brooklynn. when he leaves she will be barely one. when he returns she'll be well on her way to two.

i feel sad when i think about this major event that we'll be forced to go through. i feel worry when i think about how it could affect our kids, our marriage. we have never been apart for this long before. i sometimes wonder how i will ever make it through this. i know i will, because i have to. and i know that it won't be because of my own strength..

Friday, February 8, 2013

head cold

you know, all too often i forget how blessed i am in life. i have been trying to fight off a terrible head cold for three weeks and counting; it has made me feel terrible and exhausted, which is no good when you're trying to take care of two kids alone and train for a marathon. i have felt frustrated and mad, because i just want to feel better already!

then a few mornings ago i found myself praying a prayer out of my frustration: "God, why haven't you made me better yet?! i know you can, so why haven't you? don't you care how much i have to do? don't you know that i am taking care of these girls all by myself, and they need their mom to feel good? i need to feel better, now!"

spoiled brat.

who am i, to expect to be healthy all the time? who am i to demand that God make me feel better right away, because i'm too good or too busy to be sick? i stopped myself and realized that i was having a terrible attitude. i asked God to change it, then i started thanking him that it was only a cold i was suffering from. i started thinking about those who have a chronic illness and i felt so thankful. God graciously gave me an entirely new perspective, and although i am still battling this annoying cold, i am able to do so with grace and thankfulness.

a head cold certainly is annoying. but i'm thankful that it's not the end of the world. i think i'll live ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

trials

this is one of the first trips justin has been on where i actually feel ok. i can feel all of the prayers everyone has mentioned my name in. i feel...calm. peaceful. content. and a little amazed that i feel this way.

the last several months i have just been having such a hard time. justin's here, then he's gone, then he's here, then he's gone again...it's just never-ending and so exhausting. mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically exhausting. my heart has just been torn apart so many times. but this trip is different. i don't feel that usual lonely, depressed feeling that hangs over me like a heavy cloud. i think it's the prayers; it's the fact that maybe i am starting to get used to this; and it's the training i have been receiving at focus on base. the training has been awesome.

that's not to say that all of this is easy, because it's not. being a single parent is hard, even when it is only a few weeks or months at a time. it is so exhausting! sometimes my patience starts to run thin. just because i am feeling content doesn't mean that i don't still have my moments. it doesn't mean that i didn't almost cry today thinking about deployment and how it will affect our family. it's still tough. i still miss justin. i miss his hugs, his help with the girls, his stuff laying around. i miss his presence. but it's bearable this time. i feel hopeful, for the first time in a long time. everything is going to be ok. justin is working hard and i am proud of him. i'm working hard and i'm proud of me, too.

i feel like i'm finally in a place where i can start to reach out to other people now. for the last four months or so i have just been focused on me and my family. i have had to try and take care of myself. i've been trying to just make it through all of this. now i feel ready to offer the shoulder to cry on, instead of always being the one to cry. i'm ready to offer the knowledge that i have earned.

isn't that what life is about? doesn't God put us through trials so that we will 1) lean on him and 2) be able to use our experiences to help others? i think so.

Friday, February 1, 2013

date night

justin and i went on a date tonight. i needed it, needed it so much. i needed to dress up and feel pretty. i needed to wear something other than flip flops or tennis shoes. i needed to be anna, the woman, the wife...i needed a break from being mom. i needed a night out without having to worry about nursing covers, high chairs, or begging avery to eat her dinner. i needed to connect with my husband. i needed to look into his eyes and have an adult conversation without little voices interrupting. i needed quality time with the man i love.

i love being a mom, don't get me wrong. there is nothing else i'd rather do. but i need a break from time to time. and that's normal, that's ok. it's good to take breaks, it's great to spend time alone with your husband. it's necessary.

so tonight we tucked the girls in, said sayonara to the babysitter, and took off. we took a water taxi across the bay to downtown san diego for dinner at a fancy steak house where we would never take the kids. we enjoyed a few drinks, a delicious meal, and spectacular creme brulee for desert. it was wonderful. i felt like i got to connect with my husband, and i needed that. i think sometimes it's good to reminisce about the days before you knew one another, about the beginning of your relationship. it reminds you why you love each other so much and how blessed you are to have found one another. brings a little spark back into your relationship. we talked about all things past, present, and future. i didn't get bored for one second. my husband still makes me laugh as much as he ever did. i enjoy his company above anyone else's. i love him. i just love him, more all the time.

the only thing that wasn't perfect about the night is the fact that i know when i wake up tomorrow morning, he will be long gone for his next training trip. this makes me sad. i miss him already and he hasn't even left yet. when you love someone so much, being apart from them almost causes you physical pain..