MY BEST YES

Seven years ago today my life changed forever.

I woke up like any other day, to the sound of “Amazed” by Lonestar on the radio alarm. I went to work at my first job, planning to work at my second job right after. It was a regular Friday, or so I thought.

After talking with my sister-in- law that afternoon I knew my second job wasn’t an option.

“I’m preaching!” She said. “I really want you to be there, I’m really excited about this message.” She added. “And besides that, it’s Reuben’s first night playing the drums. I’m sure he would love for you to be there.”

Later I got a call from my best friend, “What are you doing tonight? I want to come to church with you.” The story was; her and her boyfriend were fighting and she wanted to get away. I still don’t know if that was even remotely true, but in the moment I thought “SURE. I would love for you to come with me!!”

My parents and brother wanted to join us as well; they wanted to see Reuben play the drums for the first time. How could I say no? This would be a family affair and a night to remember..

Just like that, I swapped shifts and I was getting ready for Friday night youth service. I didn’t go to many of these, being a waitress meant I worked Friday and Saturday nights, after working my regular office job during the weekdays. But tonight seemed different, so I went for it.

The service ended and the Pastor called us up “Reuben and Lori will be traveling this weekend, let’s pray for traveling graces.” With every head bowed and every eye closed (or so I thought) we prayed. Then, as I opened my eyes there he was; on one knee, box opened, ring shinning.

“Will you marry me?” He said.

“YES!” I exclaimed.

Camera flashes going off all over the sanctuary, clapping, cheering; a roar of excitement irrupted in the sanctuary. We had been high school sweet hearts and had the spent the last 5 years together. We had loved each other, hated each other, laughed, cried, grew and matured and now we stood there, as adults ready to make the biggest decision of our lives.

He hugged me as tight as he could, and as he held me as close as I could get, and then he whispered; “The real question is, will you marry me tomorrow?”

“WHAT?!” I said abruptly.

I think he could see the panic in my face and the concern in my voice. Before I could utter another word he said “Just trust me. I promise, everything will be ok.”

And just like that, I said yes. Again.

Less than 24 hours later I was ready to walk down an aisle I did not lay down, in a sanctuary I did not decorate, surrounded by people I did not invite, in a wedding dress I did not buy, to meet my soon to be husband at the end of an aisle where we would begin the rest of our lives together.

Now, if you know me you know I’m a planner and never in my wildest dreams would I expect to get married, with a less than 24 hour engagement and a ceremony and reception I had nothing to do with planning, and yet, here I was. Standing in a church where the sanctuary was decorated, the room was packed; I had a wedding cake, flower girls, food, a dress, a bouquet. I had everything we needed for a wedding and I didn’t have a single thing to do with it.

I walked down the aisle with my father where I met my husband, brother, mother and soon to be brother- in- law (who married us, his FIRST wedding ever!!) We said our I Do’s and that was it!

We were married.

I thought that day getting married was my best yes, my craziest yes, my scariest yes and the most important yes of my life.

Yet 7 years later, marriage has taught me that it’s not about the first yes, or the second yes or even the third, fourth and fifth yes. It’s all about the daily yes you commit to saying for life.

The commitment to say YES when life doesn’t go the way you planned.

The commitment to say YES when the job is gone.

The commitment to say YES when the house falls through.

The commitment to say YES when the dreams are shattered.

The commitment to say YES when the house is a mess.

The commitment to say YES when marriage isn’t the solution to loneliness as you expected.

The commitment to say YES when the picture you see doesn’t look like the “box” you picked up.

The commitment to say YES when money is low and bills are due.

The commitment to say YES when stress is high.

The commitment to say YES when the grass looks greener on the other side.

 

The daily yes.

Yes, I will honor you.

Yes, I will love you.

Yes, I will cherish you.

Yes, I will pray for you.

Yes, I will support you.

Yes, I will be there for you unconditionally.

Yes, I will be by your side when no one else is.

If you spend your relationship waiting for the next milestone, you’ll always be disappointed. You’ll always feel like something is missing. But if you learn to love intentionally and without reservation, you’ll find that the journey is better than the destination and the daily yes is your best yes.

Today I celebrate that marrying my husband was my first yes, is my last yes and will forever be my best daily yes.

YOU TOO ARE LOVED

It’s amazing how quickly time passes us by. To think just one short week ago I was sitting in the hospital with my little one, staring intently at her, in awe and wonder of her beauty.

Reuben had left for church, the room was quiet and I just sat on my hospital bed staring at Savannah, admiring every last detail of her.

“Savannah, I love you so much!” I said with tears welded up in my eyes.

“You are amazing. You are gorgeous in every way! Savannah you came OUT OF ME! You are a special piece of me. I hope you get everything that is good from me, and bypass all the bad. Savannah, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you! To keep you safe. To keep you happy and healthy. I promise you baby, no harm will come your way as long as I can help it! You are a treasure, straight from heaven& I will always hold you close and dear to my heart. There is nothing you could ever do that would make me love you any more or any less. My love for you is limitless and unconditional. You have my heart baby girl and that will never, ever change.

Tears running down my face it suddenly made sense.

God loves me.

He really, really loves ME. It felt as if during that time I spoke over my daughter, God began to speak the same words of affirmation over me. In that moment, as close as she felt to me, I felt to God. I knew that He held me close, and sustained me in every way necessary.

Years of church, loving God and knowing He loved me suddenly made more sense than it ever had before.

GOD LOVES ME!!! Not because of what I have or haven’t done, not because I love Him or because He has to, He loves me just because I am His. I am a piece of HIM!

As I looked at my daughter, I felt such an overwhelming feeling, I literally felt swaddled in love. The new found love for my daughter as well as this revelation of God’s love for me rushed through me, over taking and filling every last empty part of me.

It’s hard to understand this love.. Even as I look at her, I think of my husband and how many years it took for us to truly, love each other the “right way”, I think of all the people I’ve encountered whom I wanted to love, or should love, but just couldn’t. Love hasn’t always come easy for me. It was something I knew but at times, the reality escaped me. And now, suddenly, in a split second, it made more sense then it ever had before!!

It’s amazing how one moment, one touch, one look, one encounter could change all of that. In one single instant, it all made sense.

I feel like with this revelation, another piece of heaven has opened up over my life. I am now not only aware, but convinced that God’s love for me is like no other love I will ever know. It is real, tangible, unearnable and irrevocable.

I am His. And He is mine.

It is my hope and prayer that in someway, God’s love for you will be exposed in a real, tangible way as well. Maybe you have children, and you can relate to this, maybe you don’t. Either way, I know that God is big enough to meet you in this moment, in the exact way you need Him to and speak to your heart in a way that will make sense to you, just to show you that you too are loved. You too are cherished. You too hold a piece of God’s heart within you that He will always love and hold dear.

You too are loved.

SURELY

Most days I wake up and literally can’t believe this is my life.. I feel so thankful and blessed for everything around me. Grateful for how God has transformed my life and grateful that He has made the little I had into something more beautiful than I could have ever hoped for or imaged.

I look at my growing belly, past the itchy stretch marks, heaviness and discomfort I see the most precious gift I could ever be given. The gift of life. I wonder how God could have found me fit or suitable enough to place this miracle within me. I wonder how I could be so lucky to have such an amazing husband. He is so talented, supportive, caring and considerate. He’s given me a sense of stability and structure that my heart has always longed for, knowing that he is always in my corner, rooting me on has given me such confidence to pursue my dreams, words can not even describe how thankful I am for him. I wake up every day in such a beautiful home, a wonderful job, fabulous friends and family. Most times, I don’t understand how I can be SO blessed.
 
I know that it’s not because of anything I’ve done. I know that I could never do enough to make myself worthy of all that God has blessed me with. I realize that it’s by His grace alone I’m able to have more than I deserve.
 
When I stop and think about grace, a very simple picture comes to mind.. (if you know me, you know I need an illustration for everything!) I envision myself, standing, looking towards the heavens at all of God’s goodness and glory, His love and mercy, and it just seems so far from me, close enough to see it and yearn for it but too far to touch it! And then I see grace. I believe grace is the substance that bridges the gap from where I am to where God is. Grace fills in everything that I can’t. It makes a way to a destination that would otherwise be impossible to reach. It makes the impossible, possible.
 
With all that I have, I still wake up every morning knowing that there is so much more to come. I turn over and see the most amazing man I know laying by my side (in case you didn’t know, I think my husband is absolutely wonderful and I’ll never stop saying it), my daughter flipping in my belly and I think “wow, could it get any better?”..
 
Something inside of me always whispers, “Yes. It can and it will”.
 
Now, I don’t say this to brag, or because I’m arrogant or conceited. I don’t even say it because my life is perfect or because I have no lack or struggle, that’s not the truth either. I say this because I can look across the balance of my life, the good and the bad, and still know that each portion is a blessing, not a burden. I’m a woman who chooses to talk about my joys and not my struggles, my hope and not my fears, my future and not my failures. If that is offensive, that’s unfortunate.
 
As my pregnancy comes to an end I’m filled with excitement and anticipation about the newest addition to our family. Filled with awe and wonder, I think what will it be like? Will I be a good mother? Will my husband and I provide for our daughter? Will we lead and direct her in the ways that she should go? Will I be a good example of a Christian women? Will my relationship with God be something she is attracted to or will she try to deflect God because of my example? Will my marriage remain stable and strong? Will my house stay in order? Will I still be able to write? Can I possibly be as active in ministry as I believe I’m called to be WHILE raising a child? Will I be the mother my daughter deserves?

 

As all these questions run through my mind, I can honestly say, I don’t have much of an answer for any of them. I really don’t know what things will be like, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t know where this road will take me. I can see where I am, I can see where I’m going, but the road to get there is still a blur.. In the midst of all the confusion, there is one thing that rings in my heart, loud and clear, the one thing that keeps me confident, the still, small voice that whispers:
 
“Surely there is enough grace.”
 
I realize that before I was a wife, a leader, a teacher, a writer, a mother, a friend, a sister, an aunt, an employee before I was any of these things, I was simply: Daughter
 
Realizing that being a Daughter to the Father is what I was first called to do, and being His Daughter will be my only eternal title, brings me peace that no matter what other “titles” I hold in between, Daughter came first and Daughter will be last. I may not know exactly what this journey will look like but I know that grace will bridge the gap of where I am, and where I need to go.
 
Maybe this life is impossible, maybe I do have unrealistic expectations OR maybe, just MAYBE I have come to the realization that with man it may be impossible, but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
 
As I enter into this new chapter of life I’m convinced I will find success and balance, peace and joy. My prayer each day is “Not by my strength, but by YOUR grace.” and surely, there is enough grace……….