30

Today, I enter a new decade. My thirties.

Thirty sounded old a long time ago. Now, at 30, I feel like I’m just getting started with my life.

There are a lot of things I could reflect upon, deep thoughts I could write about as I leave my twenties. But at this point, there are just a few random, somehow related thoughts that are stringing together in my brain.

So, in honor of turning 30, here is a list of 30 things that are an honest reflection of who I am and what I’m thinking about in this moment.

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Birthday Questions

 

It was the spring of 2007, when I met her.  We were both high school seniors, eagerly anticipating the new season of life that would be college, adulthood, and freedom.  We were the only two declaring education as our major in our cohort of 40 students who had been invited to the university for a chance to interview for five full-tuition scholarships.  I didn’t land that scholarship.  But I gained something much more valuable.  We decided to be roommates after spending that week together, never realizing we would become lifelong friends.

This year will be nine years of celebrating birthdays together.  She created a tradition early on that would stick with us through all of our birthdays, whether we were physically together or not to celebrate them.  Each birthday, she would ask the first two questions to the birthday girl and the last question to our group of close friendsRead more…

Silence

When my parents visited us in Kansas City this past November, one of the things they kept saying over and over again was that they felt like they had come to a quiet cabin in the woods.  Everything was so peaceful and still.  Now, mind you, our house is like any other home in the suburban sprawl across America; we just happen to have real, green grass and three giant trees in our yard instead of the usual cacti and rocks my parents are used to (a.k.a. Phoenix).

But there is some truth to their statement.  Ever since I’ve moved to the Midwest, I’ve felt like my soul has done some unwinding.  It’s the first time in my young adult life that I’ve experienced something of a Sabbath lifestyle.  Sure, there is still the daily routine, working, keeping up a home, meeting friends, etc.  But something about the pace is different.  Or perhaps I’ve given myself the permission to breathe.  Or maybe I’ve realized that I erroneously placed so much value on hyperventilating through my “ultra-stressful, ultra-productive” day as if that equated to my life having real meaning and purpose.

I recently heard a speaker and teacher share about his journey with the Lord and how early on in his Christian walk, God taught him the importance of starting or ending his day with silence.  He did not “empty his mind” in that hour; rather, he would focus his thoughts on an attribute of God (e.g. His faithfulness, His mercy, etc.) or gaze upon a painting of Jesus on the cross.  And as the traffic of his soul died down, he experienced some of the sweetest moments he has ever had with the Lord.

Around that same time, I came across this article on Relevant magazine written by Jayson D. Bradley.  It’s a provoking read, but some of his closing statements resounded with clarity in the dusty caverns of my soul…

“The silence we need is more than an absence of sound; it’s a break from constant stimulus and activity. It’s about allowing the tangled cords in our spirit and mind to unravel and be stilled. It’s about stopping the constant need to control our surroundings with our actions and words in a never-ending quest to drown out the unrest in our hearts. It’s about facing the dragon of emptiness, loneliness, frustration, anger, hurt and need head on—and doing the soul-wrenching work of letting Jesus deal with it.”

Yes.  All of that, yes.  So that’s when I decided I needed to learn how to be still and silent before His presence. Read more…

Waiting

Abba Father…

Here I am, again.  I look around and feel an overwhelming sense of déjà vu.  Haven’t I been here before?  Haven’t I spent enough nights, tossing questions and doubts through the caverns of my mind?  I thought I had done my time on this island, looking out at the vastness of the unknown.  Sure, the circumstances are different, but the whirlwind of emotions feel oh-so-familiar.

Yet, here I am.  Again.  Waiting.

As I sit here with my candid thoughts and fervent emotions spilling forth from within, You’re reminding me so gently of this – but, dear one, we have a history together.

And then I remember.  How those many quiet moments of desperation led me back into Your presence.  How stubbornness got the best of me and brought me low, lower and deeper into raw conversation with You.

The fog begins to clear and I can see glimpses of truth.

How waiting turns into relationship when my fears are melted in the vastness of Your love.  How waiting turns into joy when I experience the breaking in of Your light onto my darkened soul.  How waiting seasons my heart, refining my character and burning away the too many unnecessary things.

See, there’s a history of waiting between You and me.

And so, I declare what I know to be impossible to say by my own strength.  I will remember You.  I will sing of Your great love and mercy.  I will declare Your faithfulness, goodness, and kindness to me, one so undeserving.

So I wait…with hope and expectation.

Because You are Immanuel God.  And that’s all I need to remember.

Amen.

 

“You Had Me At a Cup of Honey Lemon Tea…” // The Story of How We Met & Fell in Love {Part Three}

For my friends who haven’t read part one and/or part two of the story of how we met and fell in love, click on the links to get caught up on the story.  The rest of this post won’t make as much sense without the context, and for me, what’s coming up next in this post is the most important part of the story.

I was originally going to leave it with just part one and part two (got what I did there?  Yup, go and read it if you haven’t 😉 ), because in essence, that’s where the narrative part of the story “ends” (I mean, our stories never end, but you get what I’m saying).

But it didn’t feel fair to end it there.  Because see, there was a lot of heart messiness and thought processing that went on behind the warm, fluttery feeling within my stomach whenever I saw “cute guy.”  There was a lot that happened in my walk with the Lord before “cute guy” even showed up on my radar.  And if I thought I was “done” in this process of growing and wrestling with the hard stuff of my heart because my status had changed from “single” to “married,” boy was I wrong about that, too.

I want to share with you some of the honest, not so social media picture perfect parts of this journey and what I’ve learned from it.  At the same time, I’m also acknowledging that by no means is everyone’s story the same.  I remember watching my friends fall in love, reading other people’s love stories on their blogs, and flipping through article after article about “how to wait for the one” when I was single.  But in a lot of ways, my story unfolded unlike anyone else’s that I could compare it to.  So I say this to tell you that I don’t have all the answers.  I don’t always know what I’m doing.  But this is what I’ve learned and if anything, I pray that it will somehow encourage you and shed light on your own journey, wherever you may be. Read more…

“You Had Me At a Cup of Honey Lemon Tea…” // The Story of How We Met & Fell in Love {Part One}

About a week ago, we were out with my cousins for a post-dinner snack (okay, more like a second dinner) when one of my cousins ordered a cup of hot water, lemons, and honey.  She started chuckling as she put her drink together, saying, “Every time I make a cup of honey lemon tea I think of you guys…”  My husband and I looked at each other with a little sparkle in our eyes, remembering the simple cup of sweet and citrusy hot water that brought us together.

Some of you may already know the story of how two unlikely-to-meet-each-other people met and fell in love, but I know there are also many who I am meeting through this blog who have not heard of our story.  And everyone loves a good love story, right?  So here is ours… Read more…