Distance

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Twenty First Birthday

The distance between me and myself one year ago is staggering.
Last year, on the cusp of twenty one,
more to be done,
the unknown yawned before me,
fear adorned me.

Now, almost twenty two
God has won.
He has taken my life and done remarkable things.

Often those things that bring Him the most glory are the things we dread the most to talk about.

What does it make me when I admit I struggle?
Small, not at all, undone and broken down before the God of the universe… who loves.

One year – battles and victories
Distance from the starting line and the battle line

Last year – struggle –
Bitterness, baggage, hurt and sadness bottled up for years-
Ache for lost family,
Bitter for not admitting my weakness,
Fear of being like the woman who gave birth to me.

553 Eric Kate-

Newly Engaged

I looked forward into my relationships and saw myself cowering, afraid to feel, distancing myself from the pain of loving.

Victory – Loving him, but the victory was not in loving him, but trusting that no matter the hurt God had a reason to guide me through the continuing struggle of my relationship.

I was ashamed of tears and now they are a release to me, a gift that cleanses.
Weeping heals sorrow.

From that moment of victory God took me through storms and fears, testing me. Then one afternoon I sat on a log and the man I loved said he loved me and the journey continued.

Three months – to finish school, finish childhood, and prepare myself for a life long vow.
I made that vow in my heart months before trusting that I was following God’s leading. (To be clear – there was the blessing of parents, pastors, friends, and family – All seeing the blessing God had poured on our lives. It just took both of us longer too)

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Six Months Ago

In February, I became a wife.

In sickness and in health was tested right away as I struggled with a kidney infection that had me bed ridden. I was resistant to all antibiotics except for one and my recovery was stilted at best.

In May, I was trying to work on a farm, run a business, be a wife. My husband was on crazy shifts – two weeks on nights and two on days, not enough days to adjust to one or another. I was still sick. We decided to try something new. It was radical.

A diet. At this point I was so gluten intolerant that if my husband ate something and kissed me, I would get sick

So we both started with only eating meat and vegetables for a couple weeks. No newlywed flab for us.
We worked at it – I cooked everything from scratch and E helped until I had enough energy to do it myself.

The purging process dragged through June, but finally in July I started to drastically improve. During this time E quit his job to help me expand my business and go to school this fall.

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Just Found Out We’re Pregnant

Then on July 19, I got a call. My brother, the person I had ached over, found me.
And by God’s grace I was ready. We’ve been able to talk and become family. A victory again over the fear and bitterness I struggled with. This story is another year long miracle. 

On July 21, I found out I was pregnant. We were so excited. The feeling of being a mom welled up inside me and I could hardly contain myself. We wanted to wait to tell anyone for a while.

During the first part of August we drove up to Washington and tied up loose ends before E started school last week. We have been married six months.

Last week, August 27 our latest struggle began.

I lost our baby.

Our first child is in heaven.

So, here I am one year later.

Twenty one seems an eternity away.

From college student to wife and mother…

Who knows where the next year will take me?
Or even the next six months of marriage.

-M

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4

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Our Day

Once upon a time, there was a girl….

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She was blessed by friends

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And surrounded by family

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And there was this man

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A stunning, godly man who loved her very much…

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And she loved him so much…

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So, with all of these witnesses…

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.04.02And a ridiculously cute flower girl…

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They got married

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And they made a vow before God – for better or worse

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.10.14In sickness and in healthto love, honor, and obey…

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Until death do us part…

Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.10.53 And in that moment, we were standing on sacred ground,

consecrated in the blood of Christ and complete,

pledging our lives to God and each other.

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Then they celebrated,

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Screenshot 2014-04-10 10.32.09And they danced

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And then as the lights burned low, they left as husband and wife

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And they lived…

happily

ever

after

-M

Walking Into Change

Looking back I can’t believe that day happened.

I can’t believe I got poked and prodded for hours,  wore a white dress, took pictures, said vows, and married my husband a month ago. I am remembering more and more details, family’s faces, hugs, smiles, prayers, and soaring.

I don’t think I stopped smiling for days

My best friends were there – W and B – right beside me as I pledged my life to the best man in the world, while the best man became my father in law. I gained a sister and my sisters, a brother.

This day was full of bests – another best of friends came up and told me she came all the way from Qatar for this day. I cried and she cried (I also freaked out because she was supposed to be in Japan, not the Middle East)

So much love and never letting go of my husband’s hand. He was everywhere in every moment with me, never leaving my side, most of my spare moments I remember looking at him because he seemed to take up all the space in my world and my heart. I couldn’t stop sending prayers of thanks up to God, praying that the Spirit could express in groanings too deep for words the depths of fullness and happiness I felt.

Thinking back, the day blurred by, but I remember our vows and the moment his eyes met mine saying, “By the grace of God, I will.”

Yesterday, a little girl came up to me  asked, “Did you marry someone? Because I saw the movie.”

A family friend made a video that has made the loop around many circles, including both of our parents’ Facebooks. I can’t go anywhere in town right now without being told my wedding was so beautiful and the video made them cry.

It’s great and I mean it.

And here, for the first time (on my blog), is my debut in my own wedding.

Kate & Eric Wedding from IMAGERY DESIGN | Heidi Stone on Vimeo.

Why Do We Clap?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  – Phillipians 4:8

Some people dance, some sing, some are really good at stand up comedy.

The musicians, the actors, the people who can talk their way out of a paper bag, the thinkers, the listeners, the chefs and writers. Their are so many different gifts and talents.

Athletes from linebackers to figure skaters.

Medical Personal from pediatrists to emergency responders

Manual Laborers from the kid who chops your wood for the winter to masons and contractors

Soldiers, Scientists, Researchers, Teachers, Pastors, the behind the scenes Atlas who shoulders the brunt of the weight, but never asks for the credit.

We all know them and are them. It may be an occupation, a talent, or an interest. Every individual has something that makes them unique. It may not be something that people notice, but the ability to be excellent in any area is something that makes people so beautiful .

And when you are in the presence of excellence, it is rewarding.

Why do we cry when someone unexpected sings the most beautiful aria or a “Jock” plays the most incredible piano piece? Why do you hold your breath when a figure skating pair completes a synchronized triple salchow or  a film director reveals a carefully scripted theme? Why do we never recover when a writer takes our minds on an adventure?

Why do we love the moment of resolution when a hero finally gets recognized or rewarded?

McLaughlin_Brubaker_Death_SpiralIt is the realization that we are in the presence of a greatness that transcends the person involved. There is a work being done through that person they may not recognize and in that moment a little bit of the nature of the glory and perfection of God is revealed in the unveiling of his image in an individual.

We only see what we expect and excellence draws a response out of us that is beyond expectation.It is a natural response to worship. Many worship the people, the sport, the activity, or the say, but the only fullness and the only continuation of seeing that excellence is to worship and pursue the source of it.

Being excellent is a risk because failure is terrifying, but it is that goal and mission that brings us closer to Christ.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

– Marianne Williamson

-W

You Never Let Go

Nineteen years and three days ago I was adopted, my parents made themselves my parents. They had no obligation, but they reached out and took in a little girl who needed a family. After that, they took in two more.

There are days when I sit and watch my mom and dad wondering why they picked me. I have realized that Providence that brought me here is more than just blind luck. That Providence guided my childhood until five years later I was adopted a second time into God’s family.

The spirit of adoption is the spirit of grace given to the least.

-W

 

Inspiration, Changes, and Surprises

I always find inspiration in the strangest things, flecks of dust floating onto my newly cleaned floor, weeds, or even goose trails in my thoughts. Lately, I have been making some changes on my blog and I wanted to announce, with nervous excitement, that on January 1, 2013 there will be something new and exciting added to To Live, Not Exist. I have been working on it for the last couple days and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I will.

Now with a deadline and something to look forward to, I must will myself away to get some sleep before I start back up with this new project tomorrow.

– W

Cause For Joy

Graphics Design by Marli Renee

Graphics Design by Marli Renee

Might I add my sense of humor as well?
My obsession with tea, Dickens, and trench coats can probably be blamed on the vast amounts of British Lit I read and the many British narrators for audio books.

Fortunately I found someone who has a similar penchant for tea, books, and thought. Her website is bright and cheery and her blog is simply brilliant. I wish I had come up with it first.

At Cause For Joy, Miss Marli Renee presents herself beautifully, as a graphics designer and illustrator should. Currently she is illustrating a few children’s books for Dr William Lane Craig. Her gift shows in everything you find on her websites

On top of all of this she has a wonderful mind. She talks to younger women, giving them ideas and advice in her posts on babysitting, devotions, and organization.

Her heart for God glows through each post and her whole blog reflects the verse  which inspired the name,

“May all who fear You, O Lord, find in me a cause for joy, for I have put my hopein your Word.”

-Psalm 119:74

-W