A Look Back at 2013

I remember writing my ‘Look Back at 2012″ blog post, and thinking, ‘man, this was a busy year!’.  Little did I know that 2013 would be even busier, and have even more changes!

The end of December 2012, Kyle and I had started to talk about God leading us to a courtship and eventually marriage.

In early January, Kyle began prolotherapy treatments on his back, to see if they would help with the extreme back pain he was struggling with.  Even though it took several months and the treatments were very painful, they did, in fact, help his back tremendously!  Over those months, however, God took us through times of struggle; not knowing when to enter an ‘official’ courtship, since we didn’t know when his back would be healed and he would be able to work and support a family, and other times of discouragement.

The plan was finally set that, on April 17th (exactly 9 years after we met), we would ‘officially’ start courting (I wasn’t supposed to know this, but had insider information 🙂 ) Things did not go as planned.  My grandpa passed away April 11th, and since dad really wanted Kyle involved in the funeral as a paul-bearer, we ‘went official’ April 12th.

The month of May was filled with wedding plans and yard sales!  The Lord blessed us tremendously with a lot of wonderful deals on furniture and other items we needed 🙂  We also set our wedding date, but did not announce it, since there hadn’t been an official engagement, due to certain reasons.

June was also filled with more wedding plans and yard sales, and on the 28th, an official marriage proposal was made!

July was filled with, you guessed it!, more wedding plans 🙂  And also family gatherings, and anything else we could squeeze into our schedule 🙂  We did a lot of fishing over the summer as well, with some friends of ours, and that was quite fun!

August came, and with it both of our birthdays 🙂  Last minute wedding details were put into place, and we anxiously counted down the days!

Then came the blessed day!  September 7th!  There were SO many people willing to help out with anything that needed done, and that made the day go so much better!  Everything went well (including smashing cake in each other’s face!), and the day went incredibly fast!  We had a very relaxing honeymoon at a cottage on a lake for a whole week!

Then came October, and with it, the news that, the end of June, there would be an addition to our little family!  We were thrilled!

November came flying in before we knew it, and, while still trying to get settled in, there was the hustle and bustle of family get togethers, and Kyle being busy with work 🙂  I was still struggling with pregnancy sickness, and feeling exhausted, but I managed to make it through 🙂

December arrived, and with its arrival, came the departure of the pregnancy sickness!  Just in time for Christmas dinners and lots of good food!!!  It was also our first Christmas together, and that made it even more special and fun! 🙂

So, with today being the last day of 2013,  it amazes me to look back and see all the changes that took place this year!  A year ago tonight, Kyle and I were just starting to pursue that much desired relationship we felt God was leading us to, and now, here we are…married, and with a baby on the way 🙂   God has been SO good to us!  We don’t even deserve half of what He’s done for us!!!

The verse God gave me a year ago tonight was, “You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.”  Psalm 65:11

Praise the Lord for ALL He has done!!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Blog

Changing Seasons

Photo Courtesy of Google Image Search

Photo Courtesy of Google Image Search

If I look out my window, I can see the signs of changing seasons…the grass isn’t as green as it once was, the leaves on the tree across the road are starting to turn orange, and, in the evenings, the air is cool and crisp.  There’s no doubt about it, Fall is on its way.

But, inside our home, there are also season changes.  The spots in my room where a coffee table, desk, and chair once sat, now sit empty; my closet doesn’t have as many clothes in it; my room is practically empty.  For you see, I am changing seasons as well.  I am leaving behind the season of Singleness, and am moving into this new season… Marriage.

You see, Marriage is a lot like those trees outside changing colors.  Those trees look absolutely gorgeous when the leaves turn orange and red, but did you ever stop to think that the only reason they look so amazing, is because they are dying?  There needs to be a similar death in marriage….death to self.

So as I learn to die to my selfish desires, and learn to put Kyle first, our marriage will reflect all the beauty God intended it to.

It will not be an easy road, I know that already, but it’s a road I am willing to travel.  A road that Kyle is willing to travel; knowing that he too will have to die to self.  And with God as our guide, the trip will be the best it ever could be.

test123

It’s All Been Worth the Wait!

Here it is!  The final part of our story!  Instead of doing 2 separate posts, I’m combining it all into one….my side in regular font, and Kyle’s in italics 🙂   It still amazes me just how God worked everything out!  It has DEFINETLY been worth the wait!!  ❤

The talk

The next Tuesday, as I was traveling back to the dentist to get my stitches out, my dad called me and said that I should pick up Sara, take her with me,  and tell her what God was doing in my life; with my back and where my relationship was with her.  I was like totally shocked…and so not ready for a phone call like that. I remember thinking, ‘this will never fly!  There is no way they are going to let her go with me.”   I was a little nervous but I made the call and to my surprise they said she could go.  Needless to say, Sara was even more surprised and nervous than I was, but the trip went well and we had a good talk.

———————————————————-

Lets jump ahead to December 11th, 2012 🙂

It was 3:30 in the afternoon, and I was all cozy in bed, taking a much needed nap, when mom came in, woke me up and said, “Kyle just called. He’s on his way into town and he wants to stop by and talk to you.”…  my response?…  “I was sleeping so good!  Why did you wake me up?!”….but once I was up and getting around, her words suddenly hit me!  My heart started pounding!  My mind raced…what did he want to talk to me about?!  Why was he coming?!

I was such a bundle of nerves, that once I was around, I grabbed my Bible and started reading, trying to get my mind settled down while I waited for his arrival.  I didn’t have to wait long, thankfully, since he was almost to our place when he called.

I prayed real quick, took a deep breath….and headed downstairs…my heart still pounding.  He was standing in the kitchen doorway talking to mom.  When I walked in, mom asked where we wanted to talk at, and he asked if I could just go with him into town.  Mom said that was fine, and off we went.

I was dying to ask him what was going on, but chose to keep my mouth shut and let him start.  He started off with small talk, but about a mile down the road, he began telling me his reason for wanting to talk to me.  He asked me how I would feel about marrying him, and I said “I’m for it”.  He went on to tell me what God did in him on Journey, and how he had heard from God that I was the one he was going to marry, and even had a confirmation verse that the Lord had given him.

Long story short, this led to us starting to text and talk more often…with the approval of our parents of course! 🙂

——————————————————————————————————-

The ‘pieces of the puzzle’ start to fit!

A few weeks went by.  I had been calling around to see what I could find out on my back. I also was doing a lot of praying, and you might say a little bit of crying out to God… I wasn’t sure what to do.  Finally it seemed like everything was pointing to the prolotherapy, so I called and made my first appointment. I had done a lot of research  to see what prolotherapy was all about and it all sounded really good… until I watched a youtube video of what they do… wow!  I remember thinking, ‘that looks like a lot of shots! and I didn’t even know they made needles that big!’  Well anyways, I stared traveling to Lansing every two weeks and getting the treatments.

 It has taken some time, and quite a few treatments, but my back is almost back to the way it should be.  And all this happened because of a bum tooth, and Gods perfect timing.

————————————————————————

December 21st, I was praying and just asking God for a confirmation verse, so I knew that this was truly from Him and what He desired for me.  He gave me the last part of Isaiah 30:21…”This is the way; walk in it.”  Needless to say….I was excited!!

March 12th, Kyle was at our place, and we were talking about our Journey’s and he told me how his leaders had all the guys write out a list of things they needed to surrender to God, kayak across the lake to a certain spot, and burn it.  He said my name was on that list.  As he was describing the place he had burned his note, my jaw about hit the floor….it was that same place I had buried mine…only he had burned his on the ‘lake’ side of the path!!

It amazes me how God used both of us completely surrendering each other to Him, before He started moving us toward courtship!

——————————————————————————————-

The Courtship “officially” begins!!

 I had talked with Sara’s dad and was planning on asking her to start courting me on the 17th of April.  You say ‘why the 17th?’…… well, that day would be the 9 year anniversary of when I first met her back in 2004. But once again things didn’t go as I had planned.  Sara’s grandpa passed away on the 11th and Sara’s dad wanted me to be a pallbearer, and sit with their family,  so I decided to start courting a few days early.  So on the 12th I totally surprised her by showing  up and asking her if she would court me. I don’t know if she just wanted the roses I was holding,  but she said yes!        

It seemed like that day was never going to come but it finally did.  You should have seen Sara’s face when I asked her!  She was so excited she could hardly squeaked out a yes.  I feel so blessed to be getting to know this Godly woman who loves me so much.

———————————————————————

Even though we were pretty much ‘courting’ since the 11th of December, due to Kyle having back problems, and having to do prolotherapy treatments to heal it, we didn’t go ‘official’…we wanted to see how well the prolotherapy would work and if he would be able to work.

We had some VERY discouraging times along the way!

But April 12th 2013…Kyle and I ‘officially’ started courting!  🙂  He is the most amazing man ever, and I am so blessed to have him!!!

I love you Kyle Ray!!!! 🙂

 

945236_4201069843333_1278950444_n

 

Full Surrender…

Full Surrender…

2011 and 2012 were hard years but very good years for my spiritual growth.  I feel like I have learned so much, but yet I know so little, if you know what I mean.  In 2012 I went again to the WIT conference with an eagerness to see what God would have for me!  I have never been to any other conference that has helped me so much.  

Now jumping ahead to Fall of 2012.  My sister had been on a Journey to the Heart the year before and I could see a huge work that God was doing in her life through it, so I really wanted to go on one.  Through a string of circumstances I ended up going on the last one for the guys in October.

Let me back up and tell you what I was going through in the few months before that……I was really wanting to get married or at least know what God was wanting me to be doing with my life. I had been talking with my parents about what I should be doing, with life in general, and about that little woman, Sara.  I was really wanting to know what God was wanting me to do, so I was really feeling like I needed to get away and seek out what God wanted for my life, and the direction He wanted me to go.

So Saturday, October 20th, 2012 I left for journey  I was headed for Chicago, and then the upper peninsula.  The first miracle was that I made it to Chicago without ever making a wrong turn or getting lost…. I really did feel like God was watching out for me – I really hate driving in the city.  Anyways, the journey had begun.  Monday we left for the Northwoods.   The Northwoods was just what I needed.  It was awesome!  Pine trees everywhere,  and a huge lake with a beautiful lodge…by the way, I love water and especially fishing.  It felt like just the place that I needed to be.  We had some great leaders for our group;  I couldn’t have asked for any better ones.

We went through a lot of great material and some awesome sermons.  And then came Thursday…… it was the day of fasting.  We had just gone through a few sessions and taken a break when they said we were all heading up to the lodge.  Once we got to the lodge, our leaders asked us to take a piece of paper and write out a list of things that God was asking us to give up or yield to him. I wrote out a few things, but the main thing that was pressing me was my relationship with Sara. I felt like He was telling me that I should totally die to ever pursuing her in marriage… and that was the last thing that I wanted to do.  But I finally did it; I wrote her name on the list.  After we had our papers filled out, we were suppose to kayak across the lake and burn our list and give it all to God.  It was a big lake and it was a long kayak trip, so I had a lot of time to think and pray.

I can remember trying to reason with God as to why I needed to give up on this relationship that I wanted so bad.  It seemed like God was saying ‘do you really want to know what I have in store for you?’ ……and I felt like I wouldn’t know until I yielded this issue.  It was a long trip across the lake, but I finally made it.  I burned the letter and made my way back to the lodge, still uncertain about Sara, but I knew I had done the right thing.  At the lodge our leaders gave us a clean sheet of paper and some time alone to write out what God was telling us to do, now that we had given up some things that He didn’t want in our lives.  

I remember sitting up in the dining room at the lodge looking out over the lake with my elbows on the window sill.  I had written down some things that I knew I needed to do,  but there was still something that was really troubling me, what was I going to do now that I had given Sara to God?…. what did he want from me know?  I remember praying, “God is Sara the one that I should pursue in marriage?” and then I just sat there… it was so quiet, and I felt like asking God if He even heard me,  but I remained quiet…. and then the answer came.  All I remember was a clear “yes”,  and that’s all that God seemed to say was “yes”…… I was so excited!  But at the same time I was like, “God was that really you? Did you really just say that?”  So my next prayer was, “God give me a portion of scripture to confirm what you are telling me.”  So now I was waiting for confirmation, and it wasn’t till after Journey that I got it.  But one thing I have learned is,  God’s timing is never off and He is doing all things for my good.   

TO BE CONTINUED

I Don’t Wait Anymore….

The following is from the blog Grace for the Road (http://gracefortheroad.com/).  It’s mainly directed towards single young women, but anyone is welcome to read it!

——————————————————

When I was 16, I got a purity ring.

And when I was 25, I took it off.

I didn’t tell anyone I was doing it — it wasn’t a statement or an emotional thing. I just slipped it off my finger that day and, before tucking it away in a box, ran my finger around the words on the familiar gold band.

“True Love Waits.” Waits.

What’s it “waiting” for, anyway?

*****

I had my reasons for deciding not to wear it anymore. Other people might have other reasons. It’s a graveyard of hearts, this place where single church girls crash into their late 20s and early 30s. Churches see the symptoms. They scramble to reach out to the ever-growing young adult singles crowd who feels alienated by family-oriented services.

But there’s something bigger behind it than that.

Much bigger.

There are a lot of girls out there who don’t know who God is anymore – the God of their youth group years just isn’t working out. Back then, that God said to wait for sex until they are married, until He brings the right man along for a husband. They signed a card and put it on the altar and pledged to wait.

And wait they did.

*****

And waited and waited and waited.

Some of them have prayed their whole lives for a husband, and he hasn’t shown up. They’ve heard the advice to “be the woman God made you to be, focus on that, and then the husband will come.” They’ve read “Lady in Waiting,” gotten super involved in church and honed their domestic skills.

And still they wait.

More than a decade ago, a youth leader handed them a photocopied poem in Sunday School written to them from “God” that said, “The reason you don’t have anyone yet is because you’re not fully satisfied in Me. You have to be satisfied with Me and then when you least expect it, I’ll bring you the person I meant for you.”

And the girls see it posted on their bulletin boards from time to time.

“You’re right, God,” they say. “We’re not satisfied in you yet. We will put you first and then you can bring us a husband in your timing.”

But many of them – if they’re honest – will tell you that time has passed, and it’s wrecking their view of God.

If this is who God’s supposed to be, then He’s tragically late.

So some decide to chuck “Lady in Waiting” out the window … and possibly their virginity with it. Church goes next. God might go next, too. If He doesn’t answer these prayers after they’ve held up their end of the bargain, why would He answer any others?

Whether it was the fault of the leaders, the fault of us girls, or both, a tragedy happened back then.

A lot of girls were sold on a deal and not on a Savior.

*****

I had that poem on my bulletin board all through high school – the one where “God” was telling me to fall in love with Him first and then I would be able to fall in love with a husband later.

Who wrote that poem anyway?

Pretty sure it wasn’t God.

When Jesus was here on the earth, the crowds would follow Him because they saw He gave good things. But that’s not what He wanted. He wanted their hearts for Himself. So He would turn to them and say things like, “If you don’t love Me so much that every other relationship in your life looks like hate by comparison, you can’t follow Me.” (Matthew 10:34-39, paraphrase)

That sounds a lot different from the poem.

Christ is the source of everything we need and the giver of all good gifts … but in telling people about Him, it’s possible we’ve sold them on a solution for life’s problems and not life itself.

What if we as girls had learned early on that having Him was everything, not a means to the life we think He would want us to have.

If we had learned we don’t abstain from sex because we’re “waiting.” We abstain because we love Him.

If I’d had on my bulletin board, “Fall in love with Jesus.” That’s it. Bottom line. That’s everything you need to know, to work toward, to put your hope in.

If I’d learned who He is, what He wants, how to give Him everything, not “wait” so that one day I could give my everything to someone else.

If I’d learned that it’s not bad to pray for a husband, but that my greater prayer should be for Him to spend my life as He chooses for His glory.

If we as believers make that our message, things could be drastically different for a lot of girls wondering why the God they think they learned to follow doesn’t compute. It doesn’t necessarily stop the desire for a husband or end all feelings of loneliness, but it does show a God who provides, loves and gives infinite purpose even to our singleness rather than a God who categorically denies some who pray for husbands while seemingly giving freely to others.

It shows that while marriage is good, He is the greater goal.

*****

Don’t think I’ve done this perfectly.

I’d be deceiving you if you thought that. I’ve had relationships where I made major mistakes. I’ve gone through angst-ridden phases where I met with friends to plead together with God to bring us husbands. I’ve planned major life decisions around possibilities.

I lived like I was waiting for something.

And that’s why I slipped off my ring that day. It wasn’t that I wanted to sleep with people – I haven’t. It wasn’t a slap to True Love Waits, or to anyone who wears a purity ring – saving sex for marriage is good and is His design.

I just didn’t want to wait anymore – didn’t want to live like I was waiting on anyone to get here.

I already have Him … and He is everything.

“Follow Christ for His own sake, if you follow Him at all.” – J.C. Ryle

Our Practice Field

I was going to post this in my last blog post, but I didn’t want to make it any longer than it already was!  This is the last little bit that I wanted to share from “When God Writes Your Love Story”    Once again I’ve underlined what really stuck out to me.

——————————————————————-

Our Practice Field

When I was nineteen, God got ahold of my life.  All the excitement I had for the Denver Broncos went directly into my love relationship with Jesus Christ.  Everywhere I went, I would tell people about Jesus, and everyone who knew me before “the change” thought I had just taken a dip in the loony pond.  I was a new Eric!  I was loving people, serving people, and even hugging people.  I was a changed man, throwing a great big love party!  I was a great big bundle of angelic compassion everywhere I went, except when it came time for me to go…home.  The problem was my family never received the invitation.

I’ll never forget the day the tall, lanky stranger muttered the words.  I have heard many words in my life.  Most of them have traveled down my ear canal at the speed of light, never even slowing down for as much as an hors d’oeuvre before exiting out the other side.  But these words stuck.  They sat their gigantic derriere down, made themselves comfortable in my cranium, and let it be known that they were there to stay.  “Did you know that you are only as holy,” the skinny man said, “as you are in your home?”

I was a good Christian.  I had given Jesus Christ my entire ship.  I was learning to love, to guard the treasure of my purity, and to be faithful to my future spouse.  I didn’t know anyone else who was doing that!  But God was showing me, Eric, if you’re not able to act like Jesus now with those most close and familiar, then what makes you think when you get married that you are going to be an example of Jesus to your wife?  Eric, you are only as Christlike as you are Christlike around your family.  If you start there, where it is most difficult to love, then it will be easy to display Christ everywhere else!

Family is our practice field.  We take into our future marriage what we learn in our life with “them” in the here and now.  If we learn to snub and disown those closest to us now, we’re setting habit patterns for broken trust and emotional heartache in the future.  If we train ourselves in the here and now to verbally abuse our family members, we will be conditioning ourselves to bite rather than bless in the future.

When I was eight, my mom signed me up for piano lessons.  I loved to tinker but I hated the practice.  Practice is the most grueling aspect of success.  But when the day of the recital came, I was always very glad my mom had forced me to practice.  Because I was prepared, I was a whole lot less likely to make a fool of myself in front of the crowd.