stuck in the secondary

The past few months I have been at home. Letting the Lord grow this baby inside me and taking on a more proactive role in running our household.

Just like anything this off time has it’s pros and cons. I have plenty of time  which has been used either to feel sorry for myself that I am not out living some grand adventure or to really DIG IN to scripture and learn to live in awe of this grand adventure as a daughter of the King that I actually am on…thankfully the days filled with the latter outweigh the former.

The word has come ALIVE to me in this season. Why now? Why do I suddenly hunger and thirst for more of it? Because I’m reading it.

Ironic? The more I GET by really studying and meditating and taking TIME, the more I WANT. It’s such a no brainer, and yet so profound. God really does know me and want me to know more of Him and He WILL reveal Himself through His word. The catch is I have to BE IN IT! duh.

A girlfriend I met at church here in Valdez and I would go on regular coffee dates almost since we moved here last January. We’d mostly vent to each other and then offer some encouragement for whatever crisis what currently taking over most of our brain capacity that week. We both longer for great fellowship and to get back into studying the Word. So we started meeting at her house on Tuesday mornings and decided to read through 1 Corinthians together instead of just venting:) Whoa. What a difference.

Not one week later we had grown from the two of us to 5 of us women. With each new addition our individual eagerness to glean something from these Tuesday mornings really grew. Now every Tuesday at 10, we all come on time, we all ask for prayer, we remember what the others had asked for last week and genuinely want to know how God is working in each other’s lives. We all do outside reading and studying of the agreed on chapters so our discussion can be more than just speculation and opinion based. It’s so refreshing.

And it’s hilarious that I’m so surprised by this development in my life- By this group of young women who really don’t have much in common besides the primary thing. I have had this before. I have LIVED this before. But it’s been about 5 years and it’s a much different context than a dorm full of best friends who not only read together but eat, sleep, dream, study, laugh and cry together too. I spent the first 2 years of our marriage really mourning the loss of community I had with my besties and roommates who really are my sisters in Christ. It had a lot to do with the fact that I transferred colleges to finish up at the University of Alaska and get married in the meantime. My husband was now my live in community and whoa was that a change. But it was so purposeful. Leave and cleave. It was harder for me, but now we both see the immeasurable value of literally moving away from all of our friends and family to a small Alaskan village to learn how to be married. That was such a tumultuous season, but so necessary.

Now, in our 4th year of our still imperfect but now solid (PRAISE THE LORD) marriage I have been blessed with female community again. Not the live in kind (gosh I still miss them) that knows immediately if I get a zit, that shares groceries but makes me buy my own jar of peanut butter, and knows first hand my guilty pleasure of sleeping 10 hours a night. But the adult kind that knows what I mean when I say meal planning on Monday morning has changed my life. It’s a new season and the Lord has brought along new friends for a new time.

But the POINT IS whether it is for a grade in Exodus/Deuteronomy class sitting beside my roommate in front of Dr. Yarchin, or whether it is to have something to share around the coffee table with the ladies on Tuesday morning- studying the word in community is the kind of accountability that I need.

It’s given me a renewed excitement for the text, a renewed surprise for the constant application it has for my life, a renewed JOY at the guidelines for living God’s way.

I WANT MORE.

And it literally brings me to tears what the Holy Spirit has revealed to me about that desire. That THIS is what this time off was about all along. THIS is the preparation I need before becoming a mother. The do-to lists before baby comes on Pinterest are NOTHING compared to the preparation of the heart that the Lord is working in me through this time of study.

Because more than being the mom who has all the answers, who has it all together, I want to be the mom on her knees before the living God day after day after day running the race for an imperishable crown (1 Cor. 9:25)

Because even this profound new role of mother is SECONDARY.

I am first, and foremost a child of God set on this earth to bring glory to HIM by becoming a partaker in HIS gospel (1 Cor. 23).

As Paul answers the Corinthians urgent questions of circumcision (1 Cor. 7:19), of the eating of idol meat (1 Cor. 8), and marriage (1 Cor. 7), he does have answers that helped guide them in the direction of God’s will but the overall theme is clear- these aspects of life are ALL secondary.

The SECONDARY question should be- should I get married?

The PRIMARY questions should be- how can I honor God in my earthly relationships?

The SECONDARY question- Do I buy the Chicco key fit carseat or the Graco snug ride?

The PRIMARY– Am I living as an obedient daughter of the Lord so that even from an infant my child will learn from my example?

And so my prayer in this season of life is that I would be no longer STUCK in the SECONDARY.

That I might be so in tune with the Holy Spirit in me through the spending of TIME in His Word, that I might start to live with the PRIMARY in mind. That I might care more about the spiritual growth of my child than his or her worldly performance, and on and on.

God reveal to me the areas in my life where I put primary what you put secondary so that I might live in greater communion with you…

That I might “run in such a way, as not without aim; box in such a way, as not beating the air; but (that I might) discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others (after I have lived out my life in this secondary realm with YOUR primary focus), I myself will not be disqualified.” 1 Cor. 9:26-27

There is SO much more. Take me deeper in. 

knit me together

i’m pregnant. again! going on 13 weeks. I’ve heard that little dribbling basketball heartbeat and have been promised there is now less than a 1% chance of miscarriage since we found that fluttering little organ’s beat. what a relief. 

my husband was at work, but my sister was with me to hear that amazing sound. That was at 11 weeks. But it’s really only hitting me today. this whole thing is just starting to feel real today.

i’ve been incredibly sick. throwing up sometimes more than 6 times a day. not just morning sickness but all-day-long-barely-hold-it-together-to-leave-the-house nausea. i’ve already used a lot of my sick leave from work. i think the previous miscarriage and then the non-stop puking both contributed to the lack of head/heart connection so far in my pregnancy. somedays i could only just pray “help God.” He hasn’t even really been on my radar. it really made me wonder how people in extreme and constant physical pain even have room for God in their struggle. it’s kind of a catch-22. i desperately need God in those days of severe discomfort and yet i can’t make my mind focus on a prayer longer than those two desperate words. and i guess maybe that’s the point. maybe those in severe conditions like poverty and life long physical disabilities are closest to Him in their prayers of “help God.” maybe there is MORE room for Him in that short desperate prayer than in my hour long “devotional session” where i journal pages of thoughts and read chapters of the bible and then close them and move on with my day.

i was doing the dishes just now and making lunch for my hardworking honey who works on Saturdays, and the tears just started ROLLING down my face. i’m so incredibly humbled to say that i think i’m starting to GET it. I’ve felt disconnected with what is happening to my body and disconnected from God lately, but

He met me this morning at the spot where my sponge met the pan.

Confirmation and love and confidence and a job well done is what I received. immediately praying against pride that it has anything to do with my own efforts (because I REALLY struggle with thinking i can do everything on my own), i thought about where i’m at today and where I’ve been and how i’ve gotten here and i’m just so humbled by what God has done and is doing in my life and in my heart.

they always say that you know you really know something when you can teach it well. you know you really know something when you can explain it to someone else. i got to do that this past week. my sister is dating the one. the one she met on the mission field with the same passion for life and adventure and service and the Lord. they were going to get engaged this summer but she’s panicking and saying she’s not ready for a variety of reasons (that seem to change depending on the day). as the one who she really listens to i knew i had a serious responsibility in how and what i would share with her as my opinion on the matter. I also got a talking to from my wise husband reminding me that this was my chance to really point her to God or not.

it’s almost funny what i ended up driving home; funny because it’s SO not of this world. it’s LAUGHABLE to this world. I said, “Sar, getting married is not that big of a deal.” She knows I don’t mean that if she doesn’t end up liking it they can get a divorce…no. We both come from the worldview that marriage is a sacred covenant between a man, woman, and God where the two become one flesh under the power of the one who created them both. So in that sense it is a VERY big deal. What I meant is that it doesn’t really matter what you do with you life. We’re simply called to wake up everyday and make the conscious decision whether we are going to live for ourselves or whether we are going to live that day for God. She could do that married or single. Living in a third world country or in the U.S. And what God brought forth in my mind this morning over that soapy pan is that the same is true for me and he’s allowing me to live that out day by day.

there was a time not long ago, at all, that i was motivated to live by what I could be, what I could accomplish, what mark I would make on this world, what I would be recognized for.  but today at the dish sink i saw that my heart cares now more about who HE is, what HE has already accomplished, what marks HE makes on this world, and what HE should be recognized for.

I see this lived out this week in a few maybe seemingly insignificant ways: by my willingness to let go of my job earlier than I expected (i’ll probably quit in 6 weeks instead of 6 months and just focus on being a wife before becoming a mama) and by giving up the grad classes I was going to use my tuition waiver form work to start my graduate transcript (a personal and selfish dream). What i want to highlight here is that this did NOT come from me. If it were left up to the me without the Lord I would maybe give up those things but not without much kicking and screaming and probably bitterness.

so PRAISE the Lord for what He is doing in me. and PRAISE Him that I am learning to find my identity in Him alone and not from my role as a sister, daughter, student, employee, wife, or now mom. That’s something that my own mother has struggled with and has always been on my radar to try and avoid. I won’t put it far from my mind, but it’s so encouraging to know the presence of the Lord in my kitchen and the comfort of his praise of me that I am learning what it means to be his daughter. Besides the choice to live for Him and not for myself today, the effort to do so isn’t something I can muster up on my own with enough caffeine and self-determination. It is simply the work of the Holy Spirit and today I got to see myself through His eyes. Thank you Jesus.

and thank you for this new life growing inside me. I now feel the weight of Glory in the phrase from Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful I know that full well.” 

POSITIVE+

POSITIVE+

church church church

We live in Hoonah, Alaska. A Tlingit village of about 800 people. In this tiny village are 7 churches.

a catholic church

a presbyterian church

a russian orthodox chapel

a baptist house church

an assembly’s of God church

a Salvation Army church

and a Christian farming community called “The Move” that lives about 10 miles out of town.

The Russian Orthodox is really just a historical landmark these days, but that one aside the six remaining are all very much striving to stay alive while dividing the Christian population in Hoonah up into even smaller sub-groups.

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I just read an article in R.C. Sprouls June 2014 edition of Tabletalk (his monthly magazine that you definitely should subscribe to here) that was so applicable to my towns situation it startled me!

It was about separation in Christian relationships, and specifically churches relationships with each other. We need to get back to the fundamentals. The core beliefs of the Christian faith such as the Trinity, Jesus’ death and resurrection, salvation by grace through faith and not works, and so on. Besides “The Move” (which may not admit to this today, but the doctrinal roots from which they came would not necessarily agree with all of the previous statements), the three primary Christian churches here in Hoonah- Hoonah Presbyterian, Assemblies of God, and the baptist house church- would all agree on these foundational truths. What the article from “Tabletalk” explained is that the secondary issues like when to be baptized, the role of women in the church, and the stylistic elements of the service, etc., etc., should not divide churches to the point of no contact or connection. I think this is especially true in a town like Hoonah where the Christian population is lacking. We don’t have to agree on all doctrine. We don’t have to all combine into one Church of Hoonah. But I think we would all benefit from mutual encouragement and acknowledgment of what the others are doing for the Lord in our village.

I think we’re all missing out.

So here is my idea: an evening worship/prayer meeting

Maybe in one of the churches, maybe in someone’s home, maybe in our trailer.

But I think it should be a time of worship and a place of prayer and it should be targeted at the young people. Youth is stretched here in Hoonah so it might be a 17 year old coming with their 35 year old bff. Who knows. That is if anyone would even come.

What I long for in my new community is for God to work. I want people to care, I want them to meet God and see that there is more to life than their government aided problems. I want authenticity without cheesiness. I want profound encounters with the Lord without fake emotional hype. I want to spread the gospel and the joy I have in Jesus. And I want the awkwardness of which church we choose to go to to fade away with a new united focus on what God is doing HERE in Hoonah despite our separateness.

God bless this dream. Lead it.

Commonly Significant

I just spontaneously decided I would give the context of my authorship on this little blog. I’m currently sitting at my built-in-table right underneath the biggest window in our tiny home. I can see the ocean, I can see snow covered mountains, and a sunny cloudless sky. I’m looking out at a small port in the Alexander Archipelago of Alaska’s Southeast. The village is Hoonah. The population less than 800. And Tyler and I are 2 of them. I’m also semi-covered in paint. I primed a section of new sheetrock my husband put up the other day to fill in a strange hole in one of our interior walls. While I wait for the primer to dry, so I can add the top coat- a lovely greige (the new beige), I’ll write.

This morning I woke up and decided I was ready. Ready to write about something deep and personal, something sad and happy, something so common yet so significant.

Pregnancy. 

We don’t have kids, yet:) But I have had the strange and AWEsome experience of being pregnant. Instead of thinking of it as a miscarriage in my mind I tend to simply think of it as ‘that one time when I was pregnant.’ Because honestly that’s what it was to me.

Here is the background: Tyler and I had been married for a year and a month.

It was JUNE 2013.

Location: Hoonah, AK

Tyler and I were living the DREAM. We were finally getting used to being married, we had our own little rental right on the water in downtown Hoonah. We had the BEST summer job you can imagine. Hoonah is a cruise ship destination from May-September and Tyler and I worked for the only stream fishing outfit on the island. The waters here provide an INCREDIBLE place for Alaska salmon stream fishing. We were the co-guides for every stream fishing trip that was booked through the cruise ships that came to Hoonah. This meant we picked up our groups of 5-8 guests, outfitted them in fishing waders, poles, and shoes, loaded them up in a 15 passenger van, drove out dirt logging roads to a highly active creek full of fish- and you guessed it- brown bears. We then taught them to fish, took loads of pictures, and brought them back after around 3 hours. And then we did it all again multiple times a day. We got to work together everyday. We got to tell our story frequently and even witness to some of our fascinated guests. Our office was the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness and to top it all off we had a RECORD summer for sunny hot weather. The dress code was chest waders and tank tops. It was a DREAM.

Just as we were getting used to the fast pace, go go go routine of seasonal tourism I realized my period was late. Of course I attributed it to the recent move, job change, etc. But we were both slightly freaked out so I bought a test. It was a Tuesday morning in June. It was 6 something am. We had three fishing trips that day, the first scheduled to start in an hour. And that’s when I peed on the stick. I couldn’t wait, I couldn’t not know before the long day ahead. I sat in the bathroom until that fateful red line appeared and then brought it out to show my young husband.

We just STARED at each other.

Before we got married we decided together that we would not use the pill as our birth control method. Neither one of us is 100% morally against certain versions of the pill, but given my previous history of chemical imbalances, PMS related depression, and a mutual conviction about not wanting to be dependent on pills, we chose to use natural methods instead and ended up following a version of the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). Looking back now it is almost comical how ignorant we were. We tracked my ovulation based on the calendar method of counting days and abstaining or using condoms during the most fertile time of the month. We knew it wasn’t fool proof whatsoever, but we trusted that God was in control of when our family would start to grow. Since the pregnancy I laugh at our ignorance of the FAM but I admire our resolve to let God lead. We just didn’t know what that would really mean.

In the time it took you to read that interlude, back in the tiny water front rental Tyler and I were still staring at each other. SHOCKED. Not that it could happen, but that it DID happen. We were pregnant. And we had NO IDEA what to do next. 22 years old, living in a random Alaskan village, working seasonal jobs with no clue about our future, we were going to have a KID?!

Needless to say the next few weeks were life changing for both of us. It’s funny- once I got over the initial shock, frustration, anger and self-pity that my life was over and finally settled into the idea that God allowed this to happen therefor he must think we can handle it (which took about 2 weeks)- I loved being pregnant. I wasn’t very sick, I was tired a lot more, but I loved having such a huge secret that only Tyler and I knew about and I loved my body. I loved how different it felt, how big my boobs got, how excited I was for a bump to start showing, and how all of a sudden my physical insecurities vanished because my body was now something vital to a little life and was somehow (in my own mind) no longer subject to the criticisms of the world.

Tyler and I grew so close that summer. It solidified so many things that were still fragmented in our marriage. We had to trust each other. So we did. We had to figure everything out together. So we did. We had to trust God. So we did.

And then I started to bleed. The midwife we had visited in Juneau said sometimes it’s normal. I went up to Anchorage for a best friends bridal shower the last week in July. I went alone without Tyler for 2 days. And that’s when it happened. I was about eleven weeks along. Almost to the second trimester. And all of a sudden after one painful night, it was over. It was gone. She was gone. We thought of her as a girl with a name already. We had bonded somehow with a tiny fetus we never even heard the heartbeat of. And then God took her home. And left me empty and confused, but mostly just tired and sad.

Unexplained miscarriages in the first trimester happen in around 1 in 4 pregnancies, according to the midwife. So common. Yet so significant. I woke up this morning ready to write it down. Ready to even share it on the internet for anyone to see. Just as I was sitting down to write at my beautiful built in table in my paint covered clothes, I realized that she would have come next week. Actually any day now. The midwife gave us not a due date, but a due week in her wisdom, which was the first week of March 2014. Today is the last day of February.

Since last summer, our life changing significant summer, I haven’t very often been sad about my miscarriage. But one good friend who also experienced a miscarriage explained that I might get sad at random times and feel the loss especially when the predicted due date came and went. And she was right.

And Tyler and I were right too. God is in control. Whether you use the birth control pill or not, He alone is the giver of life. And sometimes he gives and sometimes he takes away. And that’s good. Because He is good.

Today I’m trusting in his goodness. And I’m thankful for my pregnancy. And I’m excited for the chance to experience it again one day when He decides it’s time.

summer 2013

Since last summer my husband and I have done extensive research on the FAM and continue to use the ovulation tracking method based on an awesome smartphone app from a company called Kindara. It is THIS reliable. We highly recommend it. When I began writing this post I expected to focus mainly on the idea of natural methods for avoiding pregnancy, but that will have to come in a follow up post. Today was just my story. Thanks for reading.

Time Is Love

My husband is obsessed with TIME.

I’m the type that is consistently 5 mins late. Totally acceptable and even expected by today’s standards right?

Well not by Tyler’s standards. But that’s typical given he’s hilariously type A. He grew up with the idea that being late is rude and personally offensive to the person/event you’re meeting/attending. I admire that in our young American social culture in which being the first one there means you must have no life.

I think this a lot- my husband belongs in another era. Maybe the 1980’s for his taste in music.

His first truck he named Suzanne. after the Journey song.

Maybe he belongs sometime in the 1800’s moving West America scene for his fearless love of the wilderness.

Or maybe he belongs back in 1519 as Martin Luther‘s sidekick sticking it to the corrupt Catholic Church and showing the world what the Bible was really about.

He at least belongs in a time when they cared about being on time.

Tyler’s been a good influence on me in the time department. So it made me laugh out loud today when he held me close at my lunch break and wouldn’t let me go even when I became dangerously close to being late for work.

Just sit down next to me – he pulled me in close – I want to play you a song.

“Time is love, gotta run. Love to hang longer but I got someone who waits, waits for me and right now She’s where I need to be.”

We cuddled and kissed and laughed and decided Tyler sounds more like Toby Keith than Josh Turner. I remembered the clock: 5 mins late already. I ran out the door and then it just HIT me. Time is love. duh.

So I ran back in and kissed him one more time real slowww. Then ran back out.

You know, our world is so fast paced. And we’re always complaining about it. Even living in a village of 800 people (Hoonah, AK more on that later…) I still feel like life goes by too fast. So we claimed that moment today at lunch. We claimed it for ourselves- because still being wedlynews we can’t (usually) get enough of each other. But I hope and pray this can be practice for the days we have had ENOUGH of each other. For the days when we’re worn down by living and worn out from life.

Mr. C married us on May 19, 2012. He was Tyler’s high school mentor whose influence literally shaped who my husband is today.

This was a piece of his advice during our premarital counseling: Sit down and TALK with your spouse for at least 10 mins everyday.

(Not about finances, kids, or the daily schedule) Talk with each other about each other for a consistent amount of time everyday and don’t skip one day ever. -He never claimed this was the magic potion for keeping a marriage together, but it still sounds like a pretty good idea to me.

We haven’t even come close to needing this reminder- yet. But I’ll save that bit of advice here for the years to come.

Today Tyler’s little act of pulling up Josh Turner’s song and making me late for work, despite his usual insistence that I be on time, showed me something. Intentional moments, when someone specifically makes you their top priority, makes one feel valued, loved, cherished.

Today that one was me.

So whatever era Tyler should have been born into, today I’m just thankful that we were born into the same one. Our time.

and heck I’m thankful for this song. What a catchy reminder.

Time is love– thanks Josh Turner.

Who will you prioritize this Valentine’s Day? Whether you like it or not it’s the day people celebrate love- but don’t worry the best gift (just like most of the ones that count) is free. Your time is love.

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Created to be His Help Meet

back in JANUARYISH 2012

I was about to be a new bride. I was about to become the wife of the most passionate person I had ever met and I was

FREAKING OUT.

He had a past. We all do, but he had an unfair disadvantage to life even before he came into the world. His parent’s marriage was built on the lies of his father. And after he was born things went from bad to worse as they say.

He was damaged. I was innocent.

He wasn’t satisfied with shallow. I wasn’t inclined to work for deep.

His life was hard. Mine was easy. Life with him would be hard. Was I ready to give up my easy?

I love my parents and I admire their 25+ years of faithful marriage, but Tyler added a whole new dimension to my world- his take on the Christian life matched his intensity as a person. He couldn’t/can’t be luke warm. EVER. He’s hot or cold, one or the other, ALL THE TIME. And I was scared to jump in as his wife- for good reason…

(at least I was taking the idea of a marital vow before God seriously)

Enter Mr. & Mrs. B. Newly weds, a few years older than us, just as committed to living out a biblical marriage as “We” were. (We weren’t we yet and it was mostly Tyler who knew what “we” wanted in a marriage. I was actually pretty clueless.) Tyler knew them previously, but now they were married and super stoked to pass on everything they were learning about living a biblical marriage today.

Mrs. B was awesome. I really had never met anyone like her. She was totally open about intimate marriage issues like sex, addictions, physical intimacy before marriage, and past relationship problems affecting the marriage relationship. She was a wealth of needed information.

Thank you Mrs. B. I want to be a friend like you.

All that to say- Mrs. B gave me this book. And it helped me IMMENSELY as I tried to figure out who this guy was I was marrying and HOW to be HIS wife according to the standards presented in the bible.

Created to be His Help Meet by Debi Pearl

https://nogreaterjoy.org/articles/created-to-be-his-help-meet/

I am so thankful that my friend shared this book with me even before I was married because it acknowledges HUGE points of misconception we women have today about what it means to be a wife. Words like HELP MEET, SUBMISSIVENESS, RESPECT, SOBRIETY, DISCREET, CHASTE, KEEPERS AT HOME, AND OBEDIENT are biblical and yet for so many Christian women they sound the alarm to “stand up for our rights” “be independent” and “answer to no one but ourselves” as the feminists of previous generations have drilled into our brains. This book gives an unapologetic and straightforward answer to how to be a biblical wife in today’s world by getting back to what it means to be a HELP MEET and consequently how to have a joyful and satisfying marriage. What Christian wife wouldn’t want those things?

READ IT. 

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wedlynews

After being married for a year and 8 months there are days I feel like we’ve been together

FOREVER

and yet I know we’re still just wedlynews. New to the wedded business. There are so many women blogging about being wives, being Christians, keeping a home, starting a family…and on and on. I don’t pretend like I have anything particularly NEW to offer.

But what I do have is a story all my own, somehow God keeps on creating unique people one after the other and no two are exactly alike- snowflake people. Being married to my particular husband inevitably creates story after story after story- some of them worth repeating.

May 2013 Juneau, AK

May 2013
Juneau, AK

This blog is dedicated to our- only God knows them so far- children. So they can know what it was like being married to their father back in the olden days and some of the issues we faced in our day. But even more importantly (and hopefully) these thoughts and stories shared will show the eventual kiddies, or someone totally random, God’s work in our lives and in our corner of the world.

May HE be glorified in the telling.