Monday, July 28, 2014

What if My Faithfulness Seems Greater?

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be. 

I don't want to write this to rail on the Christians who seem to talk out of both sides of their mouths. I've heard "the Lord provides" and "how much do you have in reserves?" all in one conversation. 

“Great is Thy faithfulness! Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—

Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

We live in an affluent community, where people have spent their lives depending on their own ability to accumulate wealth. But we are young, and we long to learn the lesson of the ages: to live dependent on God like the George Muellers of the past. We want to be in a place where we trust that God will meet our needs, just enough for each day. We daily wait in anticipation for our manna in the wilderness.

"Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Fifteen months into this marriage thing, and we have been utterly blown away by the way the Lord constantly reminds us of his nearness. From the silliest thing like a well-timed free cell phone to a one way ticket to a life we are still dreaming up, he is close and always brings peace. We are grateful for the things we have, but we choose not to depend on things. 

"Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!"

People always say God loves to bless his children. I think it's true, but we have to trust that God knows what blessing we need more than we do. It may be dangerous to pray, "God's will be done," when Lord knows we don't need the American dream. Being dependent, and seeing him come through for us time and time again, may be the greatest blessing of all.

"Great is Thy Faithfulness" © 1923. Ren. 1951 Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188 Source
All photos taken by me. Please do not use without permission. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Makes a House a Home?

Brown and orange Home Depot boxes are strewn about our living room, and we keep misplacing the Sharpie and packaging tape: our trusty weapons in this battle to fit our lives into cardboard.  

Where in the world will I find the right paint color to cover these holes in my avocado walls (and ceilings)?  

What took months to decide where to hang, find nails, and adorn the walls, took minutes to remove. What was my home just moments ago, quickly returned to a house. It proved how fast walls lose their meaning without art and photos. 

I feel like I did this not long ago, when my four suitcases joined me on this side of the country. Those four suitcases are nothing compared to the things we've accumulated in our year and almost three months of marriage.

Everything feels like it should be significant, or someday will be when I recall to my grandchildren. "This is the couch we bought with wedding money, and your grandfather built me that table when we were engaged," I'll tell them. 

But it's not just the furniture shouting to be remembered, it's the salt shakers and wedding leftovers and long-distance letters. I know they're just things. If we lose it all in a tragic fire and still have each other, all will be well.

He reminds me we don't have to sell it and pare down to four suitcases like last time. These are the dishes our kids will remember from their childhoods. These are the things of our marriage that make up our life together, even if they go to live in boxes for the time being. It will be like Christmas morning when we unpack them into the next place we call home.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

24 Hours in Santa Monica

My dear friend Laurin has been teaching English in Thailand for over a year, and I hadn't seen her since she took me to the Branson airport last April so I could fly to Oregon and marry my love. 

She was flying back to the States for the first time in two birthdays, and we had the crazy idea to meet up during one of her long layovers. While I would love to visit her in Thailand, it would be much easier (and cheaper) to fly anywhere on the West Coast instead.

This past week was our reunion! We spent every hour together from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday and it was THE BEST! We bonded over our eerily similar experiences dealing with isolation and difficulty finding community living in new places.

I found out that there is a bus for $1 from LAX to Santa Monica, so we decided to spend the layover there rather than hang out at the airport. This choice was magnificent. The views, the pier, the shopping, the food, and the culture. My cup runneth over.

One of my favorite moments was walking into Chipotle, where I watched Laurin's eyes light up. I think she might have even jumped up and down. It was hilarious and there was so much joy in such a small, normal experience (though not-so-normal if you've been out of the country for over a year).

We got pampered at the drybar, which was a brilliant idea considering we were recently in airplanes (me for two hours; her for about twelve, but who is counting?). 

After she hopped back on the Big Blue Bus, I spent the night at a hostel. The next morning I rented a bike and rode the beach bike path down to Venice Beach, which I have dubbed the Eugene of Los Angeles. Both can be described in words: drum circles.

Walking toward my bus stop to ride back to LAX, I almost made it out of Santa Monica without buying anything at all the fancy stores. That is, until I happened upon the storefront of my favorite designer and personal weakness: Kate Spade. There I found some beautiful earrings on clearance. Happy almost birthday to me!