Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Project 52 | Week 7: Overwhelmed


This week I read Numbers 3-17. And boy am I put off by the people of Israel. Each chapter, I am completely in awe of Moses and how he stood firm and didn't throw his hands up at all of the complaining and griping the people were doing when they fell on hard times. Even God was getting irritated at their fickleness and threatened to wipe them all out a couple times. But Moses trusted God, interceded on the behalf of the people, and kept it moving.

In Numbers 11, the people found yet something else to complain about...this time about not having enough food to eat. And wishing they were back in Egypt where, by the way, they were enslaved, before God led Moses there to free them.

Now that the rabble that was among them had a strong craving. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, "Oh that we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at." - Numbers 11:4-6

After enduring the whining and complaining for so long, Moses becomes overwhelmed and plain sick of their ungratefulness. He cries out to the Lord.

"...Where am I to get meat to give to all this people? For they weep before me and say, 'Give us meat, that we may eat.' I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness." - Numbers 11:13-15

I feel for Moses. And can completely relate. Sometimes people are draining. Life is overwhelming. And we feel a heavy burden to stay afloat and keep those around us above water, as well. 

I love what God does in the next few verses, though. He answers Moses' cry for help by appointing elders to help him oversee the people. And by giving the people so much meat to eat that it will come out of their ears.

How's that for an answered prayer?

I'm trying to let all of that sink in. To recognize that when life rears its ugly head and relationships become hard to manage...the best thing to do sometimes is just cry out to the Lord. Confess your shortcomings. And wait on Him to do what only He can do.


Wanna know more about my Project 52 challenge?
Read more about it herehere here.


xo,

Friday, February 15, 2013

Our Love Story


On this day on the heels of Valentine's Day.
4 years ago.
Sunday, February 15, 2009.
The love of my life asked me to be his wife.
Before our entire church, family, our closest friends & God.

This is our love story.

In March 2008, the Lord led me to an amazing body of believers. It was a small community at the time...about 50 people...in the process of planting a church. After attending 1 service, I knew God led me there for a reason and immediately joined forces with this dynamic group of church planters on a mission to make God known in the community.

2 weeks after attending that first service, I met him. My husband.
We ended up serving in the same ministry.
From the very beginning, there was just something about him.
His gentle spirit. His sense of humor. His willingness to serve.
His love for the Lord. 

We played cat & mouse for about 4 months.
I had a feeling he was interested in me.
But I did my best to keep my distance. To guard my heart.
Because, after all, I wasn't positive that he was interested.

One day in July, I received a text from him.
He wanted to play a little game of 20 questions. ;)
The rules were as follows:
He got to text the first question.
I answer & follow with a question.
The first few questions were pretty light.
What's your favorite color? Favorite song? Favorite food? Etc.
And that continued until 11 that night.
The last question (from him): Are you attracted to me?
So the cat was finally out of the bag.

And our whirlwind courtship began.


{August 2008 | Our first official date}
An engagement dinner for one of his childhood friends.


{February 2009 | A Valentine's event at our church}
The night before he proposed.
He acted SUPER awkward that night. Now I know why.
But I was just glad to be in his presence, so I mostly ignored the awkwardness.

SIDE NOTE: What in the WORLD was going on with my hair?
Not sure if we were in 2009 or 1989. Geez. :|

I digress.

On the day he proposed, I served & attended the first service.
He didn't have to serve that day, so he showed up toward the end of the first service.
And convinced me to stay for the second service.
I obliged because, again, I loved being in his presence.

My parents decided to visit our church that day.
Which wasn't out of the ordinary.
I also noticed a few of his friends and his mom showed up for service.
Which again wasn't out of the ordinary.

Do you see a trend here?
Me = Clueless.

So service starts.
He gets up to "use the bathroom".
Again, I knew the flow of service because I'd already been to the first service.
So imagine my shock when he gets up on stage. And starts talking about love.
 

Suddenly, it dawned on me.
All of those people...my friends, family, his friends, family...
Were there for us
Duh. He was about to PROPOSE!

You see, we had only been dating for 7 months. 
And we'd talked about marriage, but I wasn't expecting a ring anytime soon.
Certainly not after only 7 months.


This was probably the point where I finally figured out what was going on.
I was also completely oblivious to the fact that I was being photographed.

Clearly, everybody else was in on the little secret.
Including my BFF, Jaclyn.
Who conveniently decided to come into town for a visit that weekend.


He showed this video chronicling our love story.
Starring two adorable little actors.
Kendall (my stepdaughter) as me.
And my nephew, Dominick, as him.


I was invited to come on stage.
And was so glad that table was there because I seriously felt like I couldn't stand up on my own.

Honestly, the rest is a blur.
He said a few words.
Then got down on one knee.



And asked me to be his wife.


Of course, I said YES!


Hugs & congratulations all around.



I didn't break out into the ugly cry until I saw my other BFF, Veronica.
She drove down from Houston that morning to be there for us.
For whatever reason, it all became very real at that moment.
I was so overwhelmed. A good overwhelmed.

We were engaged for 8 months.
And wedding planning was stressful.
Mostly because I'm a controlling, perfectionist, freak of nature.
But we did have a few happy moments.
Like this one at a friend's wedding.


{A few engagement photos)




{October 4, 2009 | Our wedding day}


Our marriage hasn't been perfect. We've definitely had our share of challenges. Lots of them. Matter of fact, we've recently hit a bump along the marriage path. And those bumps are definitely not fun. But they stretch us. And force us to see our brokenness in light of a hope to come that is so much bigger than our past baggage and relational challenges. But I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that we love each other deeply. And reliving the memories of how we met, our courtship & engagement reminds me why I love him so much. 


Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

This passage is often used to describe the way we are called to love one another. But you know what...it's not easy to love someone like this. Because when we feel hurt or sad or moody...are we really still patient and kind and humble? I don't know about you but I fail miserably at exhibiting this kind of love consistently. Especially to my husband at times. But I'm truly thankful that God saw fit for me to have a husband to practice this kind of love. When it's easy AND when it's hard. Because this is the kind of love He shows me in spite of my mistakes and shortcomings. 

I'm so looking forward to continuing our journey together.

Thanks for letting me share my love story.

xo,

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The OOTD Pics that Almost Didn't Happen


I think I shared here before that I serve in the Pre-K class at my church a couple Sundays a month. I've been serving there for about a year and a half now. Needless to say that it's been challenging. In a good way, of course. Besides the fact that our children's ministry is always in need of volunteers, the reason I decided to serve that particular age group was to better understand my stepdaughter in her unique age and tendencies. She is 6 now and has since moved on to the Kindergarten class, but I've stuck around to try to further decode the mind of 4 and 5 year olds. I have yet to solve the mystery. 

Pretty sure that's how men feel about us women.
A mystery that will remain confusing forever.

On the Sundays that I work with the kiddos, it takes A LOT for me to put on anything decent. I have to be up early and, frankly, kids don't care about what you're wearing when they decide to wipe their little noses on you. But I compromise and usually come up with something that involves jeans.

When I get home from church, the only thing I want to do is get into something comfy and take a nap. I usually grab my tripod and camera before I head out the door but this particular Sunday I didn't. Which meant that I would have to go home first. When I walked in the door and caught a glimpse of my very comfortable couch, I became really weak. And lost all motivation to go back out and find a nice spot to snap a few pics. I sat down for a second to gather my thoughts. And I decided to compromise...by taking a few pics inside. I don't have a fancy camera so indoor pics are always a challenge. They're always dark and no amount of editing helps. But this day...it didn't matter. 

As my camera is snapping pics, I happened to glance over at the bathroom mirror and decided I needed to smooth out all the frumpy-ness that was going on.


And pull up my britches, for crying out loud.


So here you go. A little dark, but it'll do. ;) 


.:: details ::.
top: J.Crew (thrifted)
blazer: Dillard's
skinnies: Target
boots: Nine West Outlet
jewels: GAP Outlet, Kohl's, Charming Charlie, Michael Kors


Do you ever lose the motivation to take OOTD pics? Or is it just me?


xo,


Linking up with:
Thrifters Anonymous @ Color Blind
WIWW @ The Pleated Poppy
Wardrobe Wednesday @ Create Hope Inspire
Random Wednesday @ Because Shanna Said So
Whatever Whenever Wednesday @ Rolled Up Pretty
I Feel Pretty @ Get Your Pretty On

Project 52 | Week 5 & 6 + Link-Up!


Hey there! I can't believe it's been almost 2 weeks since I last posted. Things have been really hectic around here. I was in Nashville for work last week and had every intention to post while I was there, but with the early mornings coupled with late nights, I had zero motivation to do anything besides sleep during my down time. The little break was nice but I'm back! Did you miss me? :)

Soooo...Project 52. I'm just going to be honest and admit that my reading has been really sporadic the past few weeks. BUT...I'm caught up. And really want to recommit myself to daily reading. 

Week 5 I read Exodus 33 - Leviticus 13 and this past week I read Leviticus 14 - Numbers 2. There were a few nuggets I got from those chapters, but I want to focus this post on something that's been really heavy on my heart lately. 

Relationships.

Family relationships. Friendships. Work acquaintances.They're wonderful. But sometimes, they're difficult. And sometimes it seems that the easy option is to give up. When you feel hurt. Or betrayed. Or just simply exhausted from the effort it takes to keep some relationships moving in the right direction. So it's easier to just give up and move on.

But then, there's God.

A God who uses His Holy Spirit and, sometimes, His people to point you to His promises. He never promised that we would live a life unscathed or void of hurt. But He did promise these things:

He's always near.
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:17-19

His love is firm and unwavering; it's better than life itself.
Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you. Psalm 63:3

He grants us new mercies every single morning.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3:22-23

There is hope. And a reason to hold on when we feel hopeless.
So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17-18

So here's what I know. When your plans fail. When people fail you. When things just don't seem to be going your way. There is God. And He is near, his love is unwavering, He gives us grace and grants us new mercies every morning, and He gives us a hope, a peace and a zest for life that surpasses all understanding. And for that, I'm grateful. And I'm encouraged to keep moving forward, even when it seems easier to just give up. 

I'll leave you with this. A beautiful & timely song by Kari Jobe. A great reminder that God is for me. He's for you. He's for those who love Him.



Thinking about joining my Project 52 challenge?
Read more about it herehere here.

xo,

Now it's time to link-up!

{Link-Up Rules}
1. I ask that you follow me via GFC or Bloglovin'! Or both. ;)
2. Link a specific post relevant to this link-up (not your blog's main URL).
3. Be courteous & include a link back to me. Feel free to use the button below!
4. Spread the love! Invite your friends to join the challenge!
5. Visit a blog or two for some extra encouragement! 
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