Saturday, August 13, 2016

Provider, Protector, and Our Anniversary

August for us has been nice. July was marked by travel, heavier family involvement in VBS, and for me, preparing for and teaching a two-part Sunday School class for women/moms. August, on the other hand, screams out that summer is passing. I sense an urgency to do all the summer things remaining on our annual "Summer List" which is compiled and maintained by Olivia. I sense an urgency to just be with my kids-- doing fun things, yes, but mostly just being together. We've especially enjoyed the beaches and sleepovers with friends, amidst all my preparations for a new school year. The boys are all gearing up for another season of flag football as well. Over all, we hesitate to think much about fall. We are thoroughly enjoying the present.

Jon was out of town last night, so the kids and I slept out under the stars. Camping, or anything that resembles camping, is not Jon's thing. The rest of us, however, have slept in the open air for at least one night for 6 straight summers. We chose the roof-top this year (an almost-flat portion of our roof) and I'd say it was the best year yet. There were few mosquitoes, we stayed relatively dry, and comfortably cool. In addition, there was a predicted meteor shower, the marine layer was minimal, and the moon was bright. Once settled in, we listened to about two hours of The Hiding Place (Corrie ten Boom) on audio as we enjoyed some of Olivia's fresh chocolate biscotti with milk, and kept an eye out for meteors. We only spotted one before our eyes felt too heavy to care, but I imagined that the stars danced through the sky as I slept all cozied up with my very favorite kids. If anything, the stars twinkled as they normally do and the presence of God enveloped us. Of this I am sure.


August also marks another year of marriage for Jon and me. We think it's pretty amazing, not because we've actually stayed married this far, but simply because it has been 18 years. How is that even possible? Our 10 year anniversary wasn't too long ago, so how could we be at 18 already?! The ring he gave me for our tenth still seems new on my finger!

I don't question if we'll "make it." I really never have. Long before we were married, there seemed to be a right-ness to us being together, like it was so obvious that we'd spend our lives together. From the very beginning, just after I had turned 16, I felt safe with him, cared for, and loved. It wasn't like any other relationship I had ever experienced. At times I feared that he would realize I wasn't what he thought me to be, that he'd realize I didn't measure up in any area whatsoever. And there have been many times since that I have been crushed by the reality that I can't live up to what I'd like to be for him. And yet, he has loved me still. His determination to love me well from the very beginning-- and then through the years-- has been remarkable to me.

The first chapters of my life story are perhaps unusual. Few people have any idea, and most people close to me would likely be surprised. For the first time in any friendship, I shared a bit with a good friend this summer. She marveled that I've turned out "normal!" It's a complicated story to unpack, and of course difficult to retell because I am not the only character. Simply, it is a history marked by both beauty and suffering. When I am asked about my childhood, or when I want to recount my experiences, I have chosen to remember and to convey the beauty only.

Jon obviously knows more of my story, but still only as much as he can observe and imagine. It isn't possible to comprehend fully; only to gather information, to attempt to understand circumstances, relationships, and events, and to listen to me as my heart bleeds out stories and recounts pain. Likely, too, he has felt the effects of it come out in ways I am not even aware of. After all, the first chapters of one's life sets a stage, and the foundation of our stories play out our entire lives.

Jon has been my rescuer. He has been a provider and a leader in ways most can't understand.

But I haven't always seen it this way. In fact, I've resented it and felt guilty for it. I had wanted to be rescued from a difficult situation but felt responsible to stay in... and to not leave and cleave like I should. I've felt guilty and have been made to feel guilty for leaving, and I've struggled with this for years. Jon has been right in it all, strong for me even when I was resistant. I am only now beginning to see the extent of what he has done for me.

It wasn't until recently that I even considered the fact that ALL of my story is God's story for me. Ironic, eh? The theme of this blog-- of most of my life-- is that all of my days are ordained by God. This summer God used someone to help me see that every part of my story is lovingly purposed by God. I hadn't realized that I'd been denying this is some respects. But nothing is/was outside of His will. It's the path that led me to Him, that continues to lead me closer. His story for me has always been purposeful. All of it was intentional and I praise Him for it.

I am now beginning to see some of how God has faithfully protected and provided for me in ways I had not understood previously. And some of this came through Jon.

"My mouth will tell of your righteous acts,
of your deeds of salvation all the day, 
for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come;
I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone.

"O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.

"You who have made me see many troubles and calamities 
will revive me up again."

Ps. 71

Our stories are meant to point to God. He intends for us to see His handiwork in ALL the parts of our life, and it ought to be our delight to proclaim His mighty and righteous acts. Otherwise, we live and suffer and rejoice in vain. I pray that my life would not be in vain...


Jon and I enjoyed a short and sweet night away for our 18th. It was absolutely beautiful!

This was our best attempt at a selfie with my bulky camera and zoom lens! It's the best of the bunch: the others looked like my hand belonged to someone else coming from down below, or else I looked like I am going bald!

My favorite person ever


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