A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘I am loved

I nearly burned our house down on Friday.

You might think that is a slight overstatement, but it’s not. I put a pot of stew on the stove, walked outside to play with the girls and that was the end. I had no concept of the time passed. I had no clue what was taking place, literally, feet from me. No alarms. No smell of smoke. Nothing triggered me, but Jack’s barking.

Jack {who was outside as well} started barking and barking. At first I dismissed him, then when he persisted, I went to the back door to find my kitchen/living room filled with smoke. Black, nasty smoke. In the moment, I calmly removed the pot, opened the windows and began to air out the house. Thankfully, nothing was damaged beyond the charred pot, though the smell of fire still lingering this morning.

Saturday morning, I flooded the girls’ bathroom. The toilet got clogged while I was cleaning and water started flowing everywhere.

I panicked. 

My first instint was “Don’t tell Jonathan.” You see, I’d already failed miserably the day before and we were still paying for it {by way of spending all Saturday morning cleaning and washing our smoke filled home}. I didn’t want him to see my failure again. I was ashamed. Embarrassed. Guilty. I wanted to run. Hide. Escape.

Finally, I called out for Jonathan. Even though I knew he was frustrated, he still loved me through it. He stayed calm. Fixed the situation.

And that’s when I lost it.

I ran.

I hid.

I sat in our bathroom and wept.

I calculated all the ways I failed. All the things I’d done wrong. Again. All the ways I didn’t deserve love. Didn’t deserve a second change.

Then there was a knock at the door. It was Julia.

“Mama, why are you sad?”

More tears.

Then another knock. It was Hannah.

“Mama, sad?”

More tears.

Then another knock. It was Jonathan.

“Babe, come out, please. You have two adorable daughters and a husband that loves you. Come out.”

Then a final knock. It was God.

“Sarah you are loved. By Me.”

I opened the door. Both to my family and to my God.

When I am in pain, I run. When I have failed, I run. When my trials are too big, too overwhelming, I run. I hide from the pain, from the failure, from the trial. I run and hide because I am afraid that maybe this time – this time – I’ve gone to far. I’ve messed up too much. This time I can’t be forgiven. This time I can’t make it right.

But that isn’t true.

Through Christ’s blood, I will always be forgiven.

Through Christ’s death, I will always be made right.

This weekend, through my failures, my family’s love spoke to me. My husband’s kind direction and warm embrace. My daughters’ gentleness and sweet innocence. Through them, God reminded me that I can run, I can hide, but He will always find me. He will always knock at my door. He will always pursue me. Because, in my failures, He loves me most of all.

Folks, I’m turning 29 today. It’s the closing year of my fabulous 20’s. It’s been a grand journey and I’m looking forward to finishing the decade off with a bang.

{photo credit}

Today I’ll be celebrating with a pancake breakfast, my favorite birthday dinner {poppy seed chicken}, spending gobbles of time with my wonderful family, enjoying a free dinner at Applebee’s and getting my much needed haircut.

I hope you all have a wonderful Friday.

Jonathan and I went on our first real “grown up” date Tuesday night. By “grown up” I mean, our sitters {lifelong friend Melinda and her husband Preston} were in control over evening activities and bedtime. Aside from our anniversary trip, we’ve never had someone else put the girls down for bed {read: we’ve never had anyone put super-clinging-Mama’s-girl Hannah to bed}. They did splendid and woke up talking about how much fun they had {Thanks Mel and Preston!}.

Now on to the real adventure. For our date, Jonathan took me to Alamo Drafthouse – a super fun restaurant/theatre.

You have a waiter that serves you food/drinks before and during the show. You write down what you want on a slip of paper and they pick it up as they come by. Despite living in Austin before, I had never been to the Alamo Drafthouse and was super excited. In fact, I was so excited, I wore this:

{Finally, after a year, I post a picture of me in “the dress”.}

We watched The King’s Speech, which was really quite good. But what made the date so much fun {besides just being with Jon} was all the excitement leading up to it. In fact, I blushed just a little when Jon emailed me this: “I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can’t wait to be with you…. ALONE!!!!! OMG!!!!! I feel like a teenager!!!!!” Shameless flirting may, or may not, have taken place through the course of the day via email and text. 😉

When we came home, we received great reports on the girls {Hannah cried for a bit right in the beginning but then calmed straight down} that it was the cherry on top of a fabulous night.

Here’s to more “grown up” dates!

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

Visit Jill at Diaper Diaries for more Things I Love Thursday.

Top Ten {Tuesday} Usually Jonathan and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, since neither of us are big fan on the holiday. However, this year we decided to “celebrate”. I say celebrate loosely, because we didn’t go out last night, we didn’t even really acknowledge the day beyond a nice family dinner. But, there were some unexpected surprises that happened:

1. Flowers – Can I brag a minute? Jonathan does a wonderful job of bringing me flowers on a regular basis. However, typically speaking, he doesn’t bring me flowers on days that you’d expect – such as Valentine’s. So it was a complete surprise when he walked in with these:

2. Cupcakes – There is a fun little cupcake shop here in Austin – Hey Cupcake! Yesterday I splurged on their Luvcake for dessert. I’m fairly certain is fulfilled my caloric intake for a week, but it was worth every bite.

3. Balloons – In addition to my flowers, Jonathan brought home pink and white balloons for the girls. They loved them.

4. Dinner – I experimented with a rice and chicken dish for Valentine’s Day. We were all impressed with how great it tasted. Looks like we found a new favorite recipe {score!}.

5. Date – While we didn’t go out last night, we are going out tonight. Which means….

6. Dressing up – I get to wear this:

7. Clean house – Let’s face it, once kids are involved Valentine’s Day changes {along with everything else}. To have a clean house made my Valentine’s.

8. Spurs Game – Our family are big Spurs fans. They played the Nets last night and won. Needless to say, my husband was quite excited. Happy Valentine’s Jonathan!

9. Valentine’s Hater  No More – As I mentioned, I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. But as the girls are getting older, I’m starting to enjoy it. Aside from the balloons and cupcakes, the girls didn’t really celebrate – but I’m kind of looking forward to next year {and the years after} when we can really do something fun with them.

10. My Valentine – Jonathan is an amazing husband and father. He makes my life brighter, filled with laughter and joy. I can’t express just how grateful I am to be his wife {Love you babe!}.

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

I’m leaving today for Blissdom. And much like when I left for New York last fall, I have taken some steps to help Jonathan out while I’m away. Because, while some days I’d like to think my full time job is my blog, it isn’t. My full time job is taking care of my family. I take a lot of delight in my work and want to make sure that I can still fulfill my wife/mother roles while away. So here are some ways I’m helping Jonathan cope with me being away:

1. Organize the girls clothes –

Each day is bundled together, with the girl’s name on it. Unwrap, dress and you’re ready to go! {I did provide layers, in case the weather goes all crazy on me.}

2. Organize meals –

I have the freezer stocked with dinners and the pantry loaded with quick and easy snacks. I’ve also made a list of side options to go with each meal.

3. Organize activities – While Jonathan is super active in the girls’ lives, he doesn’t quite know what activities there are to do around town like I do. So I made a list for each day to let him choose.

4. Sticky notes –

I did this when I traveled to New York. Jonathan said it was helpful {for other things – like coffee}, but the dog never did get fed…

5. Movies – While I tend not to want the girls to watch much television during the week, I know it’s an easy pass time. I’ve made sure there are several episodes of their favorite show recorded so they can watch a set amount as needed.

6. Diapers/Wipes/Pull ups – Jonathan isn’t as into cloth diapering as I am {read Jonathan doesn’t cloth diaper}. To prepare for the week, I stocked up on disposables. Because there is nothing worse than having to run to the store just for diapers.

7. Back up help – We were very blessed to live right by three close families while in Iowa. At the drop of the hat we could ask for help and they could be there in no time. Now, as we are still meeting people, I’ve had to do a little more planning. Still, we’ve been really blessed with people willing to help Jonathan {even if it is just inviting him to playdates} so that he doesn’t feel alone in the process.

8. Answering my phone – I’m notorious for not answering my phone. And it drives Jonathan bonkers. Because of that, for the next few days, my phone will be attached to my hip {not literally – not a big fan of those hip holders}.

9. Sweet loving – I’m making sure Jonathan gets some sweet loving before I leave. And… It’s not what you think. I made him a batch of cookies {as bribery for girls} and am currently baking some blueberry muffins – which are his favorite.

10. Grace – Taking care of the girls and being a homemaker isn’t Jonathan’s full time job, it’s mine. I need to loosen up any expectations I might have for how things should go – or honestly, how the house should look when I get back. I need to be overwhelmed by the fact that my husband is showing me this grand gesture of love and respond in kind, with grace and love.

What do you do to help your husband prepare for you being away?

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

The other night Jonathan and I were working on my website {have I ever mentioned how wonderful it is to have a web analysis for a hubby?? Well, it is!}. Our jaws dropped when we saw this:

Site Stats for A Wife Loved Like the Church

Since I started actively {and intentionally} blogging last February, my numbers have literally tripled. Each month I am blown away. Each month I think how amazing all of you, my readers, are. You. guys. rock. Really. You do. Your comments, your encouragement, your support, it brightens my day. Thank you so much for supporting me over the last year! I love y’all!

Just a little Friday joy to share with all of you… What’s your Friday joy?

Top Ten {Tuesday} I’m still in shock that Christmas is over. Every year, after the food has been consumed, presents opened, friends or family have left, and the stillness of post-Christmas life set in, I’m always a little sad and shocked that things happened so quickly. This year was no exceptions. It was a busy, fun {with some drama} filled weekend. Here are my holiday highlights:

1. No sleep – I knew going into the weekend none of us would sleep. And I was all too correct. Between family arriving late at night, festivities being delayed, and general funness to be had, there wasn’t much time for sleep. Thankfully, the girls made up for it by sleeping in the first day we were home.

2. Food – So. Much. Food. And someone brought cake balls, which I had never had, which were so incredibly amazing. I stepped on the scale yesterday. Hmmm… let’s just say I started back running this morning.

3. The presents – Or lack thereof. We didn’t give the girls, or anyone, anything for Christmas. The girls did, unexpectedly, get some gifts from other people, but there was such a peace at not feeling obligated to purchase anything for anyone.

4. Food – Did I mention there was a lot of food? Well there was. Cake balls and reindeer cupcakes. Tamales and sweet bread. Turkey and my mom’s dressing. Poached eggs with Bearnaise sauce. Hmmm….

5. Movie watching – Our family loves A Christmas Story and has to watch it at least once during the holidays. I watched it with my two younger {cause I can no longer say little} brothers. An absolute favorite.

6. Cousins galore – My girls have been on a cousin high for days. All Julia can talk about is “My cousins this”, “My cousins that”. It’s sweet as can be.

7. Grandparents are the better version of parents – Julia thinks her Grandpa hung the moon. In the weeks leading up to seeing my parents, Julia talked non stop about them. “My Dampa got this for me”, “My Omi lives in Tennessee and wants to see me”. I could quote her for days. This girls loves her some Dampa and Omi.

8. Drama – Ok, every holiday has to have some drama, right? Or is that just me? Literally, it was me. Sad to say, I had a few not-so-great moments this weekend. I even have a post to tell you all about it.

9. Far off friends – I got to visit with Emily, my friend who I met once in Iowa, before she moved back to Texas and then on to Scotland. We’ve formed a friendship over our blogs and we had the best time spending an afternoon with her and her two kiddos.

10. Food – Ok, now I know I’ve mentioned the bounty of food we had. But did I mention I skipped making dinner on Christmas {because we had so many leftovers} and ate Nutella on French bread instead? Yeah, well I did. And it was awesome.

How was your Christmas? What are some of your favorite highlights?

Visit Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Six years ago today, Jonathan proposed. And it was beautiful, wonderful and worthy of little girl daydreams.

 

Our proposal site

As my college graduation celebration, Jonathan and I took a 5 week trip to Europe. On December 26th, we spent the day visiting the Louvre. When we left I was famished. So when Jonathan drug me down to the river, I was less than happy. He kept trying to look around, but I started getting pretty short with him. Finally he consented, told me to warm up at a local book shop while he found a place for us to eat. After dinner at a doner shop, walking through the Parisian culture of crepe stands, wine vendors and flowers shops, we headed back to the river. We got to Pont Neuf, meaning “New Bridge”, which divides the center of Paris. We walked down to the park area under the bridge and Jonathan asked me to sit down at the tip of park, to get the best view of the city. And this is where my true light shined. I complained about bird poop being all over the ground and refused to sit. Then, like some scene from a movie, Jonathan pulled out a bag full of rose petals and sprinkled them everywhere covering the ground. With a smile, he asked me if I’d sit now. Studded {because who carries around a bag of rose petals?!} I sat down. We took in the beautiful, city night lights, and talked about our lives, our love and what the future might look like. The entire time I kept thinking “Is he going to propose?! Don’t get your hopes up Sarah.” Then, abruptly, Jonathan says we should leave to find some place warm. As we stood up, Jonathan asked me what I wanted more than anything else in the world. And, like all good women, I said “Chocolate”. Ok, that was a weird answer. I was so nervous, because I wanted to say “You to propose!”, but didn’t want to look like a fool if he didn’t {because I was still convinced it wasn’t happening}. He laughed, got down on one knee and said “Sarah, will you marry me?”.

And you know the rest.

What’s amazing, is that Jonathan isn’t what you would classify as “romantic”. But let me tell you, when he does it, he knocks it out of the park!

 

Our family will no longer be celebrating Christmas.

That seems hard to grasp, since without question, Christmas is my favorite holiday. But it’s true. Our family will no longer be celebrating Christmas in the American style. Our daughters will not open Christmas presents, there will be no exchange. We will not be checking our gift list and wondering who we missed. Instead, we will be turning our focus towards Christ.

{photo credit}

I have to admit, we are still navigating what we think “no gifts at Christmas” needs to look like. How to be sensitive to others while following {and better understanding} our own convictions. It’s awkward, because I love giving gifts. Just little things, but something that shows my love for another. Jonathan suggested that we start focusing on gift-giving throughout the year. Spread the love to not just give in December, but feel free to give year round as we have people on our hearts.

So far, giving up gifts has been amazing. I’m not focused on myself or stressed about making sure Aunt Carol’s babysitter’s neighbor has her gift. I’m able to talk with the girls about Jesus, telling them how exciting it is to be leading up to His birthday. We are taking the money we normally spend on our family gifts and meeting the true needs of others with it. I have had a renewed love of traditional Christmas carols, singing of the coming of Christ, the longing for our Savior. Time after time, I have stood in awe of God’s amazing love for us. And that’s what Christmas is: celebrating Christ’s arrival and the end of our  separation from God.

Our apartment is mostly unpacked, our Christmas decorations are up and life is moving forward. Yet all I can think is “I want to go home now.”

{photo credit}

The last three weeks have been a whirlwind to say the least. And now, now things are slowing down and reality has hit. Reality that I am a thousand miles from “home”. Reality that I can’t go down the street to visit friends.  Reality that my daughter keeps asking to play with her friends and she just can’t. Reality that this move is harder than I thought it would be.

I don’t doubt that our family is exactly where God wants us to be. God has shown us time and time again that He is leading us in this new direction. But I can’t help but miss the life we left behind – the friends, the family, we had to say goodbye to. That, that is the hardest part.

Yet, like every lesson, every trial, God proves His faithfulness. God proves that His family isn’t limited to one state or one community. He is bigger than that. Last night we had a chance to meet with a group of families within our new church, Austin Stone. And it was good. So very, very good. I left telling Jonathan that God really met me where I was, in need of feeling His presence in a community, and my heart was full.

I dearly miss our “family” in Iowa, but I am overwhelmed by God’s goodness to show me that wherever He is, wherever His heart is, there my family is also.

 

 


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