A Wife Loved Like The Church

Joseph turns 3 years old today. THREE. How did this even happen? How did time go by so quickly? Seriously, we have to stop all this craziness. I just can’t even handle it.

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Joseph, 1 hour old

Joseph, Age 3

Joseph, Age 3

Sweet Joseph {Joe Joe; Joe; Judea},

I will never be able to fully put into words just how much you mean to me. You bring me so much joy. I love your enthusiasm for literally everything, especially anything that is blue or has an engine. Over this past year, you have started talking like crazy. My favorite is when you go into pretend play and act like BatMan or a Kratt Brother. And I can’t help but laugh every time you stick your little index finger in the air and say “Um, I know….” You are such a little man.

For as much as I love you, there are your sisters. I always imagined that you and the girls would be close, but I never realized how fiercely you would love one another. Don’t get me wrong, y’all fight like cats and dogs, but at the end of the day there is a beautiful, tender bond between the three of you that will never be broken.

Then there is you daddy. Your daddy who loves to wrestle you and do all the boy things you love that frankly the girls and I will never do. While you are a mama’s boy through and through, I love to see how your relationship with daddy is growing. Watching you two play t-ball, or sword fighting, or action heroes. It’s blessing to know that you have such an amazing, Godly man leading you.

Joseph, sweet boy, I pray that you would always know that you are so treasured, so loved, and so perfectly matched for our family. My prayer is that you cling to the Lord and follow Him all your days. That you grow in character, faith and leadership. That you are strong, but know that strength is always caring for those weaker than you.

I love you papi.

Mama

 

Y’all… This world. This world has gone straight up crazy with a side of down right awful. It absolutely breaks my heart to listen to the news. Between ISIS, Ferguson, Ebola, and children being abused I’m just done. I get it. This world is a fallen place, filled with sinful people. We can’t actually expect things to get better, we can’t expect this world to be a place we want to stay. Because this isn’t our home, this isn’t what we were meant to live with.

But, it’s where we are. It’s what we have to deal with till Christ returns. And never before have I so felt the desire “come Lord Jesus, come” as I have in the past year. One day He will, and all things will be made new.

Still, bad news sucks. And right now there is a lot of bad news out there.

Yet, if you look just hard enough, there is some good news.

Like this really bizarre ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Sure, I know that people have found the “bad” in the challenge, but y’all, there is a LOT of good here too. Frankly, we just need some good right now. It’s like when your life is crumbling down and you start laughing at the most ridiculous thing ever. It’s not really all that funny, but you laugh and laugh because your mind, body, and soul are just too dang tired from all the hard. And laughter is medicine. Right now, I’m just taking this Ice Bucket Challenge as a bit of medicine to get me through the bad news out there. It’s not perfect. It’s not a fix all. But goodness does it make me laugh. And I need a good laugh.

And if you keep looking, you’ll find more good things.

Like snuggling up to your pup (who by all standards is far from being a pup in both age and size but who are you to tell him that?) ::

JackSleeping

Or finding this gem on the internet early in the morning::  

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Or this video that always makes me laugh (because after taking German for three years in college, I realize it’s one crazy language) ::

Obviously, if that last video didn’t make you laugh as hard as I did, then we clearly don’t have the same sense of humor. And you should watch this one ::

The good doesn’t always outweigh the bad. And we can’t always hide behind good, with fingers crossed that if we don’t look at the bad then it isn’t really there. But, we still need to take a break. We still need to laugh. We still need to hold on to the hope that something better is coming. 

Can we just take a step back real quick? Have Jon and I seriously been married for nine years? I can remember on our first anniversary saying how I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to celebrate 10 years of marriage. And here we are, finishing the last lap before the big 1-0.

By far my favorite wedding photo

By far my favorite wedding photo

Before I launch into what was an amazing anniversary trip, I’ll let you read about my thoughts on being married for nine years.

On to the good stuff….

Jonathan and I got the chance to visit the Pacific Northwest for 5 days.

JonAndSarahSeattleWe spent time in downtown Portland, Seattle and the Olympic National Park.

We ate delicious seafood, played in freezing cold water, and spent hours just dreaming about life.

Seattle Anniversary

My sister, Shelly, suggested we eat at this fantastic Parisian bistro called Le Panier right off the Market in Seattle. French? Coffee? Pastry? Win-win-win. A chocolate croissant with coffee is pretty much my definition of heaven on earth.

We got to see my high school best friend/maid of honor, Carrie, who recently moved to Seattle with her family.

I {heart} this picture so much

I {heart} this picture so much

We traipsed through the forest, and went for trail runs.

JonSarahOlympicPark

ForestPath

If y’all are like me and didn’t know much (or really anything) about Olympic National Park, it is gorgeous. Seriously, the trees alone are worth the visit. Add in the cool breeze, the fact that there’s a rainforest, plus views of the ocean and mountains. Words can’t describe how beautiful this place is.

Our trip was such a good, soulful, rejuvenating time. A time of reflection, a time of planning, a time spent between best friends and ardent loves. Even a week later, I’m walking on cloud nine.

JonAndSarahSeattle2

A special thanks to our family who made this trip possible. Thanks for loving on our kids and hosting Cousin Camp. Thanks for flying us out to the PNW and showing us the ropes. Thanks for the support and encouragement we need to keep making this thing called marriage work.

Jonathan and I have been married for nine years.

Nine years.

Calculated a little differently, that’s 108 months; or 472 weeks; or 3309 days. Or, just a really long(ish) time.

Y’all know I don’t front about things that are hard. I don’t put on a shiny face or pretend like things are blissful, when in fact, they aren’t. I’m honest for a myriad of reasons, especially when it comes to life’s hardships, because I think being dishonest about the hardships of life sets us up for failure. And when it comes to marriage, there are hardships.

Here’s the thing we need to make really, really clear. Hard isn’t bad.

Did you get that?

Hard isn’t bad.

Just because marriage is hard, doesn’t mean it’s bad. Just because it’s hard, doesn’t mean you bail out, give up, move on. It’s just the opposite. You press in, you give more, you hold on.

And when hard happens, it can lead to great.

There was a time when I thought my marriage would never be “great”. Sure, we’d stay married, we’d raise babies together, walk through life together. But I wasn’t sure that in ten years we could look back and say we had a great marriage.

Then all hell broke loose. We spent 8 months wrapping our heads around our new life. Our hard life. We dealt with depression, with anger, with loneliness, with guilt, with all the feelings you can feel. And it was HARD. Like, super hard. Yet, somehow, in that hardness, in that anguish, our marriage came back. We started talking again. Like, really talking. We started opening up, started praying together. It was as though we started fresh, but with this whole beautiful, messy history to look back on.

Slowly, things got better. Sure, we still argued (let me rephrase that, argue), but things are different. Now it’s a whole lot less arguing about each other, and a whole lot more arguing for each other. For the first time ever, I think Jonathan and I are playing for the same team, going after the same things, holding each other up. And it’s beautiful. And it’s wonderful. And it’s still hard.

But, hard it’s bad.

Because when things are hard and you fight even more for it, you realize just how much you want that one thing. Just how valuable that person is to you. It makes the hard not bad. In fact, it turns it into great.

 

One of the things I love most about this little sphere of world I’ve made for myself is how I can so openly share life with all y’all (yep, yep, I did just make y’all a double plural). I’ve told some of my deepest secrets/shames, some of my greatest dreams, some of my hardest struggles, some of my highest victories.

Yet, I’ve realized over the last year or two, it’s hard to have a blog. Especially when you’re willing to be vulnerable and raw. Because now, now people know. They know the bad and the good, the struggles and the pains. And honestly, that can be kinda exhausting.

It’s hard to have a blog. But, like most things that are hard, it’s so, so good too.

And while I’ve tried and failed many times to stay the course, to write more often, I’m trying again. Putting myself out there and opening up once again because all y’all (see I did it again) have just been the best and I can’t quit you.

Folks, I’m teaching Kindergarten this fall. The story of how I came to this new adventure is long and winding, but as has been the story of my life, it was just so perfectly God.

This past spring Jonathan and I began praying about school for this next year. We weren’t sure if we could stay at Veritas or if we would need to homeschool full-time. My prayer started off that I would have peace with either decision and then I started praying that God would make the decision completely, perfectly clear.

Oh, He did.

At the end of May, I applied as a kindergarten teacher at Veritas. At the beginning of June, I interviewed. By the end of June, I was offered the position.

If you had told me ten years ago that I would be teaching kindergarten, I would not have believed you. It’s something I never expected. And yet… and yet, I am absolutely thrilled. Like, butterflies-in-my-stomach excited. Tomorrow I meet the rest of the teachers on the kindergarten team and next week kicks off our week-long Paideia Conference where I get to meet my students.

You know, it’s funny, how life moves and changes. How God stops at nothing to bring you to a point that you never expected. But when you stand still, looking back at what lead you to this spot, you see how perfectly He wove things together. As a dreamer, I like to plan big dreams. Yet, something God has shown me over the past 10 months is that my plans are small. So, so small, compared to His. And while I can dream, it’s so much better if I just let Him move in my life. Because, even when things seem out of control, when hope seems lost, when darkness feels like it’s winning, it’s not. It’s all part of His plan to change, to move, to do something incredible.

This next path, of teaching kindergarten, is His plan. Laid out perfectly by Him and I cannot wait to see where it leads. I have a feeling it’s going to be better than I could ever imagine.

 

 

Funny, how life changes. Just like that. How things go up or down, in a single breath. I suppose that’s what life changing events are. Events that alter the course of everything.

Jonathan got a job.

Did you read that?

Jonathan got a job!

He started working this past week for Cisco. From home. Like, as in, he works in the other room. A-maz-ing. Seriously. And such a huge answer to prayer. Not only did God provide the best job, He provided the best job that allows us to stay connected as a family.

I just can’t get over it.

Not just the job part, really. I mean, that does completely blow me away. But, honestly, deep down, I can’t get over just how much God loves me. The past 9 months have been hard. Seriously, hard. I’ve wept. I’ve been lower than I thought possible. Life has felt like too much, felt too damn hard. I’ve failed repeatedly. I’ve hit rock bottom on many, many levels.

Yet, there, at the end, at the bottom, in the worst possible times, there He was. Whispering “I love you. You, Sarah, are Mine. I will stop at nothing to save you, to sanctify you. I, the God of All, love you, the woman with nothing.

Time and again, He’s shown His crazy love for me. Through my friends (oh, precious friends, you’ll never truly understand how you did more than I could ever repay), through His Word, through the church He gave me. It’s humbling to know that you are so loved, so cherished, so desired.

And part of it is terrifying. Terrifying that I’ll give my heart away to someone (or something) other than my beautiful, wonderful Jesus. But, (and what a strong word that is) BUT, He has sealed my heart. Even when I am prone to wonder, prone to leave the God I love, His love is strong enough to cover and seal me to Himself.

It’s a story worth repeating. And repeating. His love is strong enough. His love is everlasting. His love redeems. His love sets right. His love saves.

Here is by far my favorite hymn (sung by one of my favorite bands). My favorite lyric is ::

O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for thy courts above.

 

Repeat the story. Repeat it over and over again. His love. His love. HIS LOVE.

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