Monday, August 12, 2013

Childlike Faith

This week, Brian and I have escaped to Charlotte, NC to spend some time together and visit with a few Phatmass friends.

The Papists, as I'll call them, are a wonderfully devout couple with a young, growing family. There are four children from 8 years old to 5 months old, and it amazed me just how much I've learned so far...

Naturally, I hope to raise my own children with love for God and for their fellow man, but I've never really thought about what that would look like in daily life. With Papist and his wife, I've gotten to see how one family does it.

We went out together tonight, just the four of us, to drink and talk and learn from each other. The conversation turned to starting our own family, and a thick lump of fear hardened in my throat.

The two of them are so open to life and to God. It humbles me, sometimes to the point of conviction, where I am brought low by my hidden selfishness and lack of trust.

Part of me feels like I need to live like that. Assuming I have 25 years of fertility left, I should prepare my heart at least for the possibility of more children than I want today.

As the discussion unfolded around me and I caught sight of the joy in Brian's eyes, a storm of grief brewed inside of me.

God, please open my heart. Please help me to want to give of myself.

We got back to their house just in time for the little ones to go to bed. As soon as we walked in, the kids screamed our names and ran for us with an accompanying shower of hugs and kisses.

All of us went upstairs for prayer time.

In those few minutes together, we were allowed to witness something both very intimate and so special. We got to listen to the honest prayers of the children.

You have never lived until you've heard a 2-year-old pray. Brian and I were both moved to quiet tears.

We let the Papists retire then, offering to read bedtime stories to the four of them. The entire day was full of wrestling and giggles, and this moment was no different. We were spent by the time they were in bed, but our hearts were full.

In these simple, ordinary moments, God is continuing to stretch my heart and help me embrace His call to marriage ... He is casting out my fear with His love.

I love my new little friends. But more than that, I love what He has done through their love.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Storing Up Treasure

“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, 'Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!'”  
But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”  
—Luke 12:16-21

There is nothing I crave or love more in this world than my sense of security.

I am a creature of comfort. In this world full of uncertainty and change, I long for something to cling to, somewhere I can set down my roots and know that I am safe.

So for me, there really is no place like home.

After graduation two years ago, I found that adjusting to my new life and new job didn't come easily. Anxiety settled in like a smothering blanket. It was up to me to earn my living. The safety net so conveniently placed beneath me through my school years was gone. No pressure, right?

It took time and some bumps and bruises, but adjustment did come in time. I found Brian, we fell in love, and I settled into the comfort of our dating relationship and the years I thought we had before taking the next step together.

Then, he popped the question. In an instant, our lives changed. The watertight, perfect plans I'd so carefully laid were suddenly up in the air.

Not knowing what else to do, I sat in the bagel shop the next morning and cried.

Don't misunderstand. I was thrilled to be embarking on a lifelong journey with the man who had quickly become my best friend. But our engagement introduced a whole new set of questions and anxieties I had told myself were still years away.

We spent a lot of time in prayer over the next few weeks as we considered our options. Do we wait until Brian's graduation to marry to build a stronger financial future, or marry sooner and end our long-distance relationship?

I could tell he wanted to marry. He told me that while it would be difficult, we could make it work.

My brain stopped at "difficult" and didn't want to hear anything else. I told him we'd be so much happier and more stable if we waited. We set a potential date for 3 years out.

But we were both unhappy. It was the new unspoken elephant in the room.

The truth is that I was afraid to leave home. The transition into adulthood has been less than kind to me, and the thought of leaving my job and my family to begin a new life with Brian in New York was terrifying.

Fear ruled me. And it left me with a hole in my heart for something more.

I was that rich man, hoarding my money and my comfort and my control-freak ways inside the little barn of my life. Too scared to venture out, I shut the door on my vocation in the name of security.

Unsurprisingly, I grew to resent it. I was running away from the beautiful life that God is calling us toward all for the influence of a few "what if"s.

Finally, I cracked and told him of my change of heart. We spent a weekend together praying and talking with our parents and couples we trust.

We emerged at the end of it with a new wedding date that is not too far away. It means I will leave home, my job, my friends, everything I've ever known.

You'd think I'd be melting. But actually, I have more peace and joy in my soul than I have in a very long time.

Together, we made a decision to step out of that barn and give freely to each other what God has given to us.

It's time to take that light once hidden under a basket and let the whole world see its radiance.

I can't wait.