Happy Anniversary: 7 Years

Today marks 7 wonderful years of  marriage together! 

Grant, It has been so much fun being married to you! You inspire me to be better, dream bigger, and go farther. I love what we have, the interests we share, the memories we’ve made, and the unwritten future before us. You are my best friend and favorite person and I can’t wait to see what God has for us next! 

Our story is my favorite love story. 

Back in 2006, we met in October, started dating in November, graduated in December, confessed our love on New Year’s Eve. Grant got his first job in Atlanta in April, I moved to Jackson Hole in May. I moved to Tuscaloosa and started grad school in August. We got engaged two days after Christmas and were married five months later, on May 31, 2008. We fell in love with the city of Atlanta for three years, then moved abroad for a year in London – and spent a summer in Shanghai. And now, we’ve been back in Atlanta for two years! 

It has been an amazing adventure and I couldn’t ask for more. Happy Anniversary, love! 

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Longing

“… Blessed are those who earnestly wait for Him, who expect and look and long for Him, for His victory, His favor, His love, His peace, His joy, and His matchless, unbroken companionship.” (Isaiah 30: 18)

Do you ever have those moments that take to you back to a better time, when times were sweeter and days were longer, the pace was slower and life was easy?

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Every summer for a couple of weeks me and my brother and cousins would get to ride horses at camp. We’d catch them in the morning and groom them, saddle them up and bridle them, learn how to post or jump or canter poles; then brush them down and turn them out into pasture each day at twilight. The horses disappearing over the hill into that dusty purple end-of-day light was truly magical. So sometimes when it’s the hazy gray after sunset, or I’m reminded of their soft velvety noses, or when Georgia leans on me like they used to, I have a nostalgia that is nearly tangible.

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The recesses of our memory carry the weightiest things.

Maybe it’s not horses and summer camps, long summer days and family that you crave. Maybe it’s hearing the click of the stadium lights coming on, the buzz of them warming up on a Friday night.

Corn Mase - Fall 2014

Maybe it’s the smell of ballet shoes and marley floors, the hurried zip of capezio bags as the dancers change shoes between class.

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Maybe it’s slipping on an old high school sweatshirt, leaving at daybreak, and watching the sunrise while fishing.

Wooden Bridge, Roswell 2010

 

Maybe it’s chasing a dream down a long dirt road, and you know just around another bend or two you can feel that you’re almost home.

Whatever it is that takes you back to a moment in time – one you wish you could get back to – those moments of remembering how you felt, and longing to feel that again, that is how we are homesick for heaven. Look back to that verse in Isaiah.

Guntersville Lake - Nov 2014

 

We wait. We expect in earnest. We look. We long. We want victory, so sweet – most satisfying. We want someone’s perfect favor, forever love, an easy peace that freely gives and forgives. We want unwavering joy, not touched by circumstance.

 

Mostly, we want eternal, matchless, deep, unbroken companionship. Someone to walk all the days our life with – the good and the not so good – and choose to love us anyway. What if someone could love you like that? God does.

He DOES!

Dogwoods in Spring - 2014

 

“’Fear not; you will no longer live in shame. Don’t be afraid: there is no more disgrace for you. You will no longer remember the shame of your youth and the sorrows of widowhood. For your Creator will be your husband; the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth…. For the mountains may move and the hills disappear, but even then My faithful Love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken,’ says the Lord, who has mercy on you.” (Isaiah 54:4-5,10).

Unbroken. What a strange concept, since “this broken world gives broken stories.” (TerKeurst)

What if we had something that could never be broken?

Memphis - Easter 2014

 

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” (John 3:16-17)

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.” (John 1:14)

Fertility Update – IVF

If you’re new here, we are in the midst of a joyful, hard, chaotic, wonderful season of waiting in terms of fertility. I’ve written of our 5+ year story on this blog, so you can catch up by reading Part 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6, and a quick post on Mother’s Day – or the whole series here.

InVitro Fertilization (IVF) is such an interesting thing. Miraculously, through advances in science and the breath of life that only God can provide, we can now mimic natural conception outside the body, and then place this newly formed embryo (blastocyst, technically) back into the mother’s womb, hoping and praying that it results in a successful pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Wow.

I have had my own journey with the idea of IVF. Ask anyone who’s done it – the reality of IVF is: IT’S A LOT. IVF is a lot to consider, a lot to take in, a lot to wrap your head around, a lot for your body (hormone shots multiple times a day for weeks), a lot to process emotionally, a lot of doctor’s appointments, and a lot of dollars {Forbes}.

After much prayer and a 3 day fast, in November of 2014, we decided to move forward with IVF.

We had *kinda* known that this day was coming, but the idea of facing this invasive and highly-technical procedure, and the reality of it are two different things.

How He sustains us in incredible to me.
We were praying for breakthrough and rest:
     Micah 2:13
     Exodus 14:14

Ultimately, the embryos did not make it to transfer. Our failed IVF attempt ended just  after Thanksgiving.

I’ll include the text we sent to those friends and family who’d been praying for us:
Welp. Our IVF cycle is officially over: the embryos didn’t make it to transfer. I can’t say we’re not heartbroken, but I can say we’ll be ok – not yet but we will be. Psalm 13 is a short 6 verses; it begins with sorrow and anguish, but ends with “But I will trust in Your unfailing love. I will rejoice because You have rescued me. I will sing to the Lord because He is good to me.” We’re living in the “and if He does not” part of Daniel 3:17-18 and claiming that He is still God and He is still good. Grant’s taken the day off and I think we’re just gonna “be” today, you know? Thanks for YOUR prayers quietly guiding us through this journey. xoxo
The day we found out, after having had nothing to eat but our tears, we called in a to-go order at Waffle House. Walking in, I got several sweet text messages from friends that made my eyes well up with different kind of tears: deeply grateful ones. As I was about to hand my card to the girl behind the counter, I realized the irony of the moment:
I am almost a country song: standing here in my pjs, crying, in a Waffle House.
And I wondered what I would say to this bewildered girl if she dared to ask me what’s wrong or if I’m ok. First I thought I’d say:
This is the worst day of my life.
But then I really thought about it – and I know we’ve had some rough days – so was this really the worst? So I quickly revised in my head (thankfully the sweet girl did not ask):
This is one of the worst days of my life. 
But as I pondered it further, this thought truly inhabited me:
If this is one of the worst days of your life, all in all, you have been blessed.
And it hit me softly, that overwhelming thankfulness that allows us to worship in the midst of great sorrow, to praise God in the midst of deep pain, to rejoice despite not knowing why or for what or how long.

I’m not saying it’s been easy, but I can say I have never been more confident in God’s timing.

We have talked and prayed and cried since then. But that still, quiet confidence in God who delights in the details, writing the pages of our story {not on tablets of stone, but on our hearts}, guiding the seasons of our life, has sustained us and we are grateful.

I don’t know what’s next.
I don’t know if or when we’ll do another cycle of IVF.
But I do know one thing:
     God is good
     and can be trusted
     and is worthy of our praise.

There’s a quote from C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia that I love:
-Yes but is He safe?
-Safe? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course He isn’t safe! But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.

Valentine’s Day 2015

Growing up, I associated Valentine’s Day with the carnations we could buy and receive in Middle School – white (just friends), pink (like), red (love) – adding to the pre-teen drama and angst of answering the question: are we “going out” or just “crushing hard.” My current faves are purple tulips, yellow daffodils, and white hydrangeas. My all-time favorite was established in college, as my (Kappa Delta) sorority’s symbol: the white rose – and truly, what is sweeter or more sincere or more pure than that: a lovely white rose? My wedding and reception were dripping with them.

I have since learned that Valentine was a martyr and that “The feast of St. Valentine of February 14 was first established in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who included Valentine among all those ‘… whose names are justly reverenced among men, and whose acts are known only to God.'”

So it’s not just a commercial holiday created by candy and card companies, but this recent campaign by Hallmark Cards is the sweetest I’ve seen in a while.

As I watched many of these “Put Your Heart to Paper” videos (watch them all here), I wanted to quickly do the same to my love, Grant.

If I had to describe us without using the word love…

  • When I first met Grant, I thought he was the coolest guy and funniest person I’d ever met. Still do.
  • He makes me feel safe and gives me strength in a way that allows me to be soft and courageous.
  • Our place feels like a home – and has from our early married days in a great apartment, to our London days in a tiny flat, to making our Shanghai hotel a livable space, to buying our house.
  • When we’re apart, even for a small gap of time, I get butterflies in anticipating his return and am giddy when we reunite. One of my favorite things to do is pick him up from the airport; the love spills out all around and my cup runneth over.
  • He is my favorite travel companion and knows when to explore and when to rest, when to share things and when to quietly savor the moment, when to clip quickly through busy streets and when to walk through the hushed hallows of museums, when to grab our favorite latte to go and when to linger at dinner, relishing the food and company and wine and atmosphere.
  • He makes me laugh – that belly-deep, can’t contain it, unexpected laughter that starts explosively and ends by flicking away happy tears.
  • I respect, admire, cherish, adore, esteem, enjoy, honor, appreciate, treasure, like, and yes, love him – truly, deeply, privately, publicly, sincerely, honestly, zealously, purely.

Never forgetting our firm foundation: “We love because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

Ann Voskamp has begun using this hashtag: #ConsciousCovenantCoupling. Matt Chandler’s current speaking tour and book is called: The Mingling of Souls: God’s Design for Sex, Love, and Redemption. There’s a lot of talk about love – true, authentic, covenantal love – in the Christian community and I love it.

What’s your story and how would you describe love without using the word?

Dealing with Disappointment 

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We’ve all been there:  the deal didn’t come through, the plans had to be cancelled, you didn’t get the job, the relationship ended – hopes and dreams can turn to disappointment and doubt quickly. Things just didn’t turn out the way … Continue reading