steady i am not
but sure of this
He holds me in His hands
and i am His
ready maybe so
to kiss my face
or whisper words He has
and bestow grace
favored yes i am
and so are you
chosen we are called
and get to choose
Love in all it’s splendor
only presents itself
wanting to be yours
Maker of the stars
Son of man
Saviour of the world
Great I am
what choice does my heart have
but to Love
the one who formed my soul
and raised me up
Our one month anniversary? Gosh, yes it is. Some of my favorite days ever have fallen in the last month, many of them actually- about twenty-nine of them (: And in two days we will have known each other for exactly five months. How crazy is that? Sigh. Anyway- My totally-phenomenal–off-the-charts-amazing–hilarious-incredible husband is taking over today. Life is good. God is great. Catch you on the flip side. Love and love, Amber.
Joseph: If you had told me 6 months ago I’d be married, have 4 more kids, be living in the suburbs and back at Gateway- I would have laughed in your face. Really. I would have gone and eaten Italian food with extra garlic and come back and- Laughed. In. Yo. Face. Because that- this- is crazy. And yet- I couldn’t imagine any other life.
You already know this girl, my wife- Amber. She makes it sound like she fell for me, but truth be told- I fell for her much harder. I was sucker for her from the moment I saw her. Ask me to tell you that story the next time I see you.
For now- She wrote me a love letter a while back and I wanted to return the favor, so here’s my response, (well some of it because she edited me:)
I love you. Truly I do.
I have known of you through mutual friends since December 31, 2010, yet it was only around the second week of April 2011 that I read one of your blog posts here and was like, “Oh, she’s divorced like me. Oh, she’s a single parent just like me. How cool is it that she attends my old church and loves and adores people that I love and adore?” And then after reading about your life, and a little about Griff, Gabe, Emma and Grace, I had to read about your experience through divorce and the transition into being single. I started off reading one post and stopped halfway through. I wishfully thought, “If I am so lucky as to actually meet her one day, I want to hear her tell this story, to see her tell this story”. I read another post and had to stop in the middle again: “Okay, this is freakin’ ridiculous. I have to meet her”. (And I have said this a million times- I had no romantic intentions in meeting you. I just wanted to hear your story.) Funny how a nanosecond within a Thursday 5 o’clock coffee meeting changed all that. I got there about 5 minutes early and so happened to look up as you were walking in– Wow. And then you waved at me. When your hand finished that wave, I knew right then I was done with all the other girls on this planet and you were the one for me. I was through. I wanted you.
And guess what? Every single moment I’ve been with you has been frickin’ awesome and quite simply, the best time of my life, (Dirty Dancing reference? Maybe). But in my life with you, all the clichés apply. Every day- better than the day before. Every moment- all the more wonderful. The more I know you, the more I love you. The more time I spent with you, the closer I wanted to be. The times I got to spend with your kids, all the more precious. Everything I did and said I hope was a true reflection of my heart and this truth: I want to be your husband. I want to be yours forever.
Just knowing you for exactly five months, I have a wealth of stories to share that would let the world know how much you love me, how much you care for me, how much you are for me. But quite honestly, it all boils down to this- you are the best wife ever.
Let me tell the world (a few of the many;) reasons why I love you:
Your cooking- You have this fantastic ability to make anything delicious. Take anything in the kitchen and make it sublime. I love your laugh. I love making you laugh- to hear it. Oh- And you’re the best kisser ever. And I love, LOVE the way you serve me. You don’t ask if you can serve me, you tell me. “Babe- let me do this or that.” And then you do it- blows my mind. I love your hair, the way it smells and feels and falls. And the way you stop what you’re doing and come to me when I get home from work and kiss me, and it makes me forget about whatever shitty things happened at work. And without question one of my favorite things- our theological discussions, you engage and you debate and you teach me and you learn from me and I think you like it just as much as I do, I love that. Now- are you an amazing mom? The best, I could write pages about how you mother, but for now I just want to focus on you.
And you know what? You don’t give yourself enough credit, at all, not even close. Because- you can do all these things you don’t think you can do. You’re brilliant, baby. You’re so brilliant. God has made you brilliant and that’s a fact.
And babe, no matter how jacked up my thoughts and words and actions are, you are forever patient, kind and thoughtful with me. Every single time I mess up and make the wrong decision, your grace abounds for me.
When my world goes cold, you are pure warmth.
And when everything fails, you point me to God..
You are sexy.
You are brilliant.
You are wise.
You are gorgeous.
You are hilarious.
You are altogether lovely.
Yet, those are not the reasons why I love you the most.
I freakin’ love you because you love God more than you love me.
And because you love God above all, I know that you have an endless amount of love for me, for all of your Loves.
I know this to be true because the love you have shown me has left me breathless.
This thing? What we are doing? Doesn’t make sense. With all of my intellect, logic and reasoning, I have long since stopped trying to make sense of our love.
My only response- to love you all the more.
I love you. I love you. And I love you. For life.
Wholly and completely inspired by Ann Voskamp’s exquisite book One Thousand Gifts, and okay maybe a little bit inspired by one of my new favorite discoveries A list of little things we should appreciate, I am instituting Random Acts of Gratefulness around here. Because gratefulness is life-giving. Because thankfulness, simple though it may sound, is a key to so many hearts, hands and smiles- and I do love hearts, hands and smiles. Because if I am not careful, the simplicity of gratitude will slip right through my mind and my focus will land on things less helpful, less worthy. Mostly because the Love He has that shines in every single moment, (I promise you it’s there, just look), is far too great, too important, too amazing, too extravagant, too intricate, too personal and too immense to be overlooked. Anyway, here I go, honestly details are not my thing, well, big picture stuff isn’t either, not sure what my thing is exactly, but I shall try my best.
1. Her face, my freckles, and her fathers lashes.
2. Backyard breakfast, blueberries, cheddar and rye.
3. Racing to the sky on a cool afternoon.
4. These boys falling into brotherhood just as fast as we fell in love.
5. Eleven years of learning and laughing with the boy who made me a mom.
a little perspective goes a long way
there was not
a day without Love
He never left me
in every hard heartbreaking moment
there He is
in every victory too
the quiet days
untouched by chaos or crisis
there He sat
and still He does
because here i am now
fallen in Love
with my whole life
and each step i’ve taken has led me here
call it predestination if you want
i call it Him working all things together for good
I am a ball of wonder and incomplete thoughts. Still. I am head over heels in love with… my life. Truly.
Ha- if you had asked me, oh let’s say- ever, if I wanted to live in a perfectly nice house in the suburbs with a really brilliant, solid, strong and kind theologian who worked m-f, 9-5… if you had asked if I pictured myself packing lunches every morning and having dinner on the table at the same time every night… if you’d asked if I wanted a normal life… I would’ve laughed. And said no thank you. Because I thought it would be boring. Because I think I thought being a rebel, being unconventional, living a crazy life was part of my identity, and you can’t be a rebel if you live in a cookie cutter house. A crazy life though? Not for me (anymore). And my identity- surely does not lie in my circumstances.
Goodness, you guys- This life? It is freaking bliss. It is steady and calm and peaceful even when it is not. It is make me cry wonderful. It is amazing. To have this husband… this man, who supports me in every sense of the word… to send him off in the morning with a kiss (or five) and lay my head on his chest when he gets home… to listen to him read to my kids… our kids… and love them.
This life? I would not have dreamed it up ever. But I adore it. I adore our weekends, five kids, craziness, laziness, all of it. I just… can’t even explain how good it is. Because there are at least a thousand things a day that I love about my life. And that is the truth. I love walking to the park with my babygirl. I love folding towels in a quiet house. I love having a glass of wine on the patio with my husband at night. I love the way my Bonus Boy smiles bigger every time I hug him. I love arguing over little things, and I love brushing my teeth with someone else. I love Emmy sitting and reading on any and every surface, and Gabe right beside her always. I love Griff upside down on the couch, or anywhere, diligently thinking and building. I love the sprinklers coming on at six in the morning. I love the light, oh do I love the light. I love satisfied stomachs after a hearty meal. I love each days own noise and silence. I love friends, just down the street, so close in every direction. I love coffee, made for me. I love bike rides, “all the way to the stop sign”. I love neighborhood games of hide and seek that land brand new friends under my bed. I love his hands… well, I do. I love falling asleep so easy. I love waking up. I love. All of it. It is grace. All of it.
So I am married. We are. Yes already. And I… I will write about it soon. And there will be pictures. But it’s still… so ridiculously fresh and wonderful words fail me. And so, for now, this:
So there’s a Guy. And he loves me. And I love him. His name is Joseph. And he’s amazing and we’re excited. And God is at work for sheezy. And our story is very much in the works. Most girls would probably give you a formal introduction, but I’m not most girls, so you get a love letter from me to him…
Remember that day when we went to lunch? Date number… four was it? When I walked in and saw you at the very first table, and you popped up, all six feet eight inches of you. Your face, like you were seeing a very pretty ghost, so excited and kinda scared. You hugged me way too tight and you talked way too loud. And it was wonderful. And then we walked around that stupid shopping center, found the only little nook there was and I surprised you. With a kiss. And apparently you were not suspecting it at all, but it was pretty flippin’ awesome. Remember that? That was fun aye?
Almost as fun as date number one. Remember that? You asked me to coffee, and one glowing recommendation from a friend later, I obliged. It was a good coffee, if a little hot. Yeah- a little hot and we were both hungry, and so date number one was immediately born. And over some Latin fusion cuisine we discovered how passionate we both were about the Bible and Wu-Tang and rough beats and Freedom and Jesus and sex (and not having it before marriage) and raising our children and reading and writing and people and food. And the whole silly thing was laughably magical.
To hear you tell it, I had you that first day, when I first walked in. You saw me and knew, that’s what you say. Know when you had me? That Thursday. When I was a mess, a very cute, ready for a date mess, but a little shaky nonetheless. You walked in, eager as ever, ready for sushi and a movie. And I sat a ball of nerves, confused to be feeling so good, unsure if happy was right. And then- you asked me what was going on, and because He told me I could, I told you everything. And you- held me, carefully, like a brother I guess. You held me and I cried a little. And we sat silent. And peace rushed in where all the nerves had been. And then I knew.
But also, you had me the first time you played with my kids. You had me when my boys ran one Lego masterpiece after another to your side and you patiently admired every one. You had me when Emmy fell in love with you and you fell just as hard for her (isn’t she the most lovable girl in the world?). You had me when you had that first firm discussion with Gracie and she liked you even more than before.
You have me. And you keep honoring that. Every time we are together. And it is so good, so easy to be loved by you.
Baby, also- you are the most eager greeter I have ever met in my life and I love it. Almost like you don’t even expect me to show up at all, and then when I do you are so awash in happy you don’t even know what to do but smile a big dopey smile for the first five minutes I’m there. Gosh you excel at making me feel loved.
Know what else? I love arguing with you, debating I guess is a better term. I love that I can. I love that I learn, and you do too. I love that you fix my car, and mow the grass, and take naps on the couch while I make dinner. I love that you help with the dishes after dinner, (even if helping is a sly kiss on the neck with your arms around my waist).
I love that boy of yours. Gosh I love him. One day he’ll really let me, I’m sure of it.
I love that you miss me, and you help me, and you show me things, and you give me breaks, and hugs, and you make me laugh, and you get things for me off of the top shelf, and you love John Coltrane and Adele and Nas, and you’re learning to dance. I love that you make me feel tiny and I love your protests that I am anything but tiny. I love your nerdiness, adore it. I love your bookworm ways, and your willingness to wear boot-cut jeans. I love the way you lead, me and you and our kids, our family. I love that your height means my head falls on your chest every time you hold me, and I love the contrast of our skin. I love your never-ending, never quiet, never slight talk of the Gospel… I love all of it, all of you. Forever. No matter what. Okay? You know? I do.
Love and love,
(Much more to come. Promise)
Here’s something silly I do: beat myself up about beating myself up. I’m terrible at cutting myself slack. And I totally get that having a little grace is pretty crucial, and still, I call myself an idiot when I don’t do it. And then I waste time feeling like an idiot and then I feel dumb for making myself feel like an idiot. It’s a super fun cycle. Also, it’s incredibly distracting.
If I’m wasting time in this cycle, there’s no way I’m going to have the energy to get to the root of the actual problem. An issue has come up in the last few months that has totally thrown me for a loop- This Amazing Guy, my Amazing Friend’s hubs, he has become my friend. And for some reason that made me want to curl up in a ball and stare at the ground. And he is truly one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known, so curling up in a ball and staring at the ground made me feel- you guessed it- like an idiot.
In an effort to break out of the cycle I decided to try and explore the reason behind the freaking out. At first I only got as far as figuring out what I didn’t believe, even that was helpful though, working through the list of lies that I thought I might be thinking and checking off the ones that didn’t apply. I gave myself a little pat on the back and a break. And then I talked to Jesus about it, and before He helped me figure out the lie, He offered me a little grace. And I took it.
I’m not awesome at receiving grace (or love, really). (Working on it.) Fancy Nancy used to applaud me for being normal and it annoyed the crud out of me. “Please don’t congratulate my normalcy.” She was pretty insistent though, “Honey, you should not be normal. Your childhood, your marriage, should not have produced a normal person- and look at you! You’re doing so good!” Like my own personal grace dealer, she pushed kindness, affirmation and mercy on me every time I saw her, there was no refusing. She taught me how to swallow the pill. And I learned to like it. It still isn’t my default though. (I really am working on it.)
Last week though, I went to Jesus and He offered me grace because I didn’t have any for myself, and I took it, stopped beating myself up for long enough to get to the root of the lie. And it. was. awesome. Maybe someday I’ll write about that whole process, but it’s way too dear to me right now.
I will say this- So much time was spent being anxious about being around this Amazing Guy and his Amazing Wife, and hunched over studying the floor when he was around, and then punishing myself for acting like a fool when I got home. So much energy was spent pushing through that anxiety and guilt to figure out what was wrong. And then so much grace, the best medicine I’ve ever swallowed, remedied the whole thing. And we had dinner last week, and grace gulped, and that lie disbelieved- I sat across from one of the best men I know, saw him and was seen, laughed, talked and sighed, and received buckets of knowledge, a hug, and loads of healing.
You guys- grace: Really good stuff. The best.
“We can shape but can’t control these possibilities to grow
Weeds amongst the push and pull waiting on the wind to take us
We can write with ink and pen but we will sow with seeds instead
Starting with words we’ve said and we will all be changed”