Monday, August 30, 2010

The feeling of love

Yesterday in church, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

I am guilty of acting on the wrong definition of love. I constantly need love, and in response to that nagging need I feel inside me, I became a needy wife. Before that, a needy girlfriend (in whatever way that can manifest). I've been a needy daughter, a needy friend, a needy sister.... always feeling like I wished people would "love me better". After I read The Five Love Languages, I felt needy of that type of affection from Bryan every day every moment all the time. (And I'm not knocking that book, it just had a negative effect on me and my thought process about what love should FEEL like.) For a while there, if he wasn't loving me in the way I wanted, bitter feelings against him would rise up in me (Thanks Satan). Thoughts like: "He knows my love languages... doesn't he care?" and "Is he too lazy or distracted to pay attention?" and "If he loved me enough, his affection would be natural outpourings. So I guess he doesn't love me the way I want to be loved? Maybe he doesn't love me enough?" I made the mistakes of nagging, withdrawing, being sarcastic, being disrespectful, and even just feeling like I wanted to give up and ignore the feeling inside me for the sake of harmony in my relationships. But I knew that meant I was letting something inside me die, that was supposed to live. I just didn't have it figured it out yet.

2 months after we were married, we had to go back to our pre-marital counselor. I wanted to know why my husband wasn't being affectionate in the ways I expected him to be. He wanted to know why I was feeling like this and in turn, hurting him. We wanted to know how to fix this seemingly large looming problem already in our relationship.

The answer: My definition of love was wrong. Not the Sunday School answer, but the one really internalized in my heart.

Since that one meeting, we had been a lot better. I would try to meet with God in quiet time, pray and read my Bible because my mind knew that is what I should do. But sometimes still, I would get to feeling like I just wanted more love. I didn't know how else to describe it. Like grasping at the wind. More love. What does that even mean?

So when I was sitting in church yesterday, the Holy Spirit said to me when I was thinking about needing love, "You need Me." And I thought, "Yeah I know, but -" and He said, "No. You're not listening. You need Me." And I paused. And He sent his Word into my heart - "God is love." I stopped. God IS love. GOD IS LOVE. Something I've heard all my life. Something I KNEW to be true, but had I ever FELT it? God, You are my love!!!!

This means that when I'm sitting around feeling like I need love, what I'm really needing is God. I'm constantly desiring more love... more of God. I need love. Because I need God. God is love. Have you ever truly internalized that?

Staying in our house - how that came to be

God IS faithful.

Right when we emotionally let go of our house and felt desperate for someone to come along and want to rent it... started to consider putting it up for sale... my husband got a phone call.

A few months ago we went to a going away party for one of my good friend's husbands as he was about to ship out to military boot camp. We ended up sitting at table with her parents and chatting with them most of the time. By the end of the evening, her father had really taken a liking to my husband. So, he told him to send him his resume, but to not hold his breath because even though he wants to put his resume on the top of his stack, he has no idea when an opening will come, or if one will.

That phone call was my friend's father offering Bryan the job that we didn't ever expect to come through. Oh, we hoped. And we PRAYED! But we didn't expect it.

Bryan is in his 3rd week at the job and he loves it. He's bringing home more income, steady paychecks and the benefits are great. The schedule is great too because Bryan can still do his passion which is teach CrossFit. Once he gets through his job training he will work 10 days on and 4 days off. Now, during those 10 days he is on-call 24 hours a day but be called out shouldn't be a regular occurrence.

So we can keep our house. He'll be getting his first full paycheck tomorrow and then we'll be able to map out a budget. God is so faithful. He is so good. His timing is perfect.

Here's another part to the story. Before this new job, Bryan was working for himself doing construction and remodeling jobs. We always hoped and sometimes prayed for the next job to meet the next bill and God always provided work. However because of trial and error and some mistakes that were made, there were always set backs, stresses, and more month then money. This was the time God was saying to us - "Rely on me only. I am your Provider. Mindi, your husband is not your provider. Bryan, your work is not your provider. I am." So we kept trusting. I'm not saying we never felt like throwing childish fits over how life was going sometimes, but in the end, we knew God wanted us to trust Him - and we fought for that victory in our hearts against Satan's attacks to bring us down.

It helped too that my dad assisted us financially pretty often. I know God instilled a generous heart in him and we have been so grateful for that as us youngins that have been learning how to make money and marriage and priorities and jobs and all of it work.

Yesterday we got a call from a friend that took over one of Bryan's construction jobs, informing him that tools of Bryan's got stolen out of the house they were working on in the middle of the night. My first reaction was anger. Anger at Satan for another attack on our finances and emotions and wills. Anger at the thieves especially since that wasn't the first time tools have gotten stolen from us. Then worse than both of those, anger at our friends who were working at the site because I figured they must have left tools out in sight of passersby. But worse then all those combined, I then felt anger at my husband thinking, "Why is he letting people use his tools?" and "Why didn't he bring those home?" and "Why doesn't he take care of his stuff?" and the negative thoughts kept coming. But Bryan calmed me down ... and so did the Holy Spirit's whisperings in my soul. They assured me, "It's just things." "It's just money." "A police report is being filed, we'll try to find the receipt with the serial numbers of the tools and the thieves won't be able to pawn them." "We'll try to get them back." But nothing comforted me more then when Bryan said to me, "Baby, I'm just grateful that I don't have to rely on those tools every day anymore." It made me pause and thank God. He provided this new job just in time. He protected us from the fallout of another huge loss and inconvenience to the source of our income.

Now we are steady. We hope that we'll be able to pay all of our bills with our money and not need my dad's assistance anymore (I know he'll be happy about that too). :) God sure has been refining us. It's wonderful to get to the light at the end of the tunnel that you're trusting God has lit for you. He only lights one of our steps at a time as we carry our lamp on our journeys. I pray this is a testimony to you of God's faithfulness. And that we don't forget it when God allows another trial into our lives to test and refine us again.

And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Phillipians 4:19

I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

God is good, God is good, God is good.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The good news is...

1. We don't have to move out of our house anymore. Yay! Bryan got a new job that he's been with for 2 weeks now and it's gone really great so far. This means a steady paycheck so we will be able to budget better. We still have to play some catch up, but I think we'll be ok! Very excited about that.

2. The season when I get serious about fund raising and training for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer 3-Day is here! Cissa helped me prepare 130 letters Wednesday to be mailed to friends and family. I got my first donation today from my grandma for $10 answering a "please help!" status I wrote on Facebook. :) I am so excited to get this into full swing. We're going to talk to a couple restaurants about fundraisers, we might car hop at Sonic, Bryan and I are thinking about preparing a set list to perform some music somewhere, and we have a couple other ideas up our sleeves. I need $2,300 to be able to walk - so here goes nothin'!

Also, I did my first training walk last night. I took Wesley with me on a 6 mile trek around Edmond and it felt GREAT! My joints held up and I feel really good about it. Hooray!

Check out my personal 3-Day page!

3. The weekend is almost here!

Love y'all

Friday, August 20, 2010

Mushy-pie

I have had the hardest time concentrating at work since Lauren's been out of town. Which has been 2 days so far. She gets back Wednesday. I'll be glad when she is. You'd think that having a good friend around in your work environment would distract you, but weirdly I've found myself to be less motivated to work since she's been on vacation. Ergh. Guess she took my brain on vacation with her! Ha!
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Yesterday I posted a note to Facebook, tweeted a little thing, and sent a specific email to some friends and family about wanting us all to proclaim something awesome that God has done for us lately. I'm pretty sure over 500 people (that includes people that don't believe in God, so therefore I wouldn't expect that many responses) saw my call to action, but only a handful replied. I wasn't joking around but I think people might have read that, and thought I wasn't really talking to them. But I was! I wanted us to shine a light to people that we come in contact with via Internet and show how amazing God is. Just flood the Internet with amazing story after story. Show that He cares. Show He listens to our prayers. Show His hand is in our lives. It was a disappointing turn out to my call. And that makes me wonder why.

And after a day of thinking about it, I still don't really know. But my main suspicion is that maybe, just maybe, we don't have the relationships with God we wished we did. We don't invest the time and energy it takes to have a level of intimacy with God that would be needed to even recognize His hand in our daily lives. Maybe we're too blinded by our self-centered-ness to see His Glory in the small things. Maybe we're too bogged down with negativity and worldy-ness. Maybe we've given in. Maybe we've given up. Maybe we're dull and dried out.

Well friends, I know that I personally have felt that way for far too long. And I can't let it go on any longer. I feel a fire burning within me that I want to keep feeding. And that fire burns with embers of deep longing for more of God. More intimacy. More relationship. More of His love. More of Him and less of me.

I am praying for us. I am praying that we repent of what ever is in our lives that have been putting a wedge between us and God. I am praying that we would step up and rebuke Satan of his attacks on our hearts and well beings and potential to be the best of God's craftsmanship that we can possibly be. I pray that we will burn with desire for more of God.
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Last night I finished reading a book that a friend of a friend wrote called American Midnight. It was a great read that I had to force myself to put down. It made tears roll down my cheeks and it brewed more passion within me. It really caused me to think. Mostly about politics and people. And that's just too much to try to write about. But you should read the book. You can get it on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble and it's probably at other places too. I give it two thumbs up.
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Tomorrow morning I am going to a dear friend's wedding shower. She's not just a friend, she's a sister. A mother figure. She's someone who helped raise me and greatly, greatly influenced my life. She and her family taught me a lot of the core values that are instilled in me today. I'm extremely honored that she's asked me to come to her bridal room the day of her wedding to make sure I can see her and talk to her before the whirlwind of the day scoops her up. I am so fortunate to have had her all my life even though for a season I distanced myself from her, she always remained there, waiting for me. I wouldn't be who I am today without her. I feel so blessed to have a friendship with her again and I would hate to go on in life without her ever again. I can't wait to witness her marriage to the man she loves. It's going to be such a glorious day!

I feel like such a mushy-pie right now.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Been a while...

Hi Readers (all 2 of you)... it's been a while since I've written. It's not that I haven't had anything going on in life to write about... it's not that I've been too busy to write (unless you consider the fact that I haven't had internet at home in while)... it's really been mostly that I haven't known how to formulate my thoughts onto a public forum. There's been certain topics I would have loved to write entries about but they're either inappropriate to write about here or they're too complex for me to begin chipping away at. This has been my brain lately. Kind of messy and erratic but not in a bad way. I count it all as a bit of character building that I haven't wanted to write about certain things... maybe maturing a bit.

You probably do want an update to read though. I'm sick of looking at my bland outdated page too. So here you go.

My acne? -- oh, it's still there. But it's coming and going in waves with my hormones depending on where we are in the month. I'm at peace with that. Couple weeks I have fairly clear skin, one week is awfully broken out, and the next week is spent healing. That's ok. And why? Because I'm doing all I can to take care of myself. My sweet friend Carolyn and sweet sister Kelly gifted me with a facial and face washes and face lotion - all not cheap - in order to take care of me. And I am so utterly grateful for it. I have noticed a big difference in what it's doing for my skin. The best part though? My husband doesn't even notice my break outs until I point them out (oh, silly me). Because he looks at my eyes and sees my heart when he looks at me. That's the best feeling any girl could ever ask for. Sincerity of my beauty in the eyes of my Biggest Beholder no matter what.

Trip to CA? -- Amazing! We visited Redlands, LA, Hollywood Blvd., Venice Beach, Newport Beach, Carlsbad, Long Beach, Six Flags... We slept at the generous Heppenstalls' house, Fik's house, Tidwell's house, and Massive Matt's house. We shopped, ate, shopped and ate some more. I ate way too much vegan food that gloriously messed with my belly. We had good conversation and even better laughs. I got to see inside High Voltage - the tattoo studio on the show LA Ink. (Thanks for humoring me guys.) We got to hang out with friends and family! We hiked up Forest Falls. We got to eat In-n-Out Burger twice and tofu mushroom burgers from Taco Loco. I got to babysit my baby nephew Koston for a while and he couldn't have been sweeter. We went to the Redlands CDR CrossFit twice and worked out. Bryan and Carolyn attended their CrossFit Cert and loved it. Alex and I got good hang out and convo time while they were out gettin' edu-ma-cated. I got to hug a lot of my favorite people. I got to sit in California traffic and watch my husband switch from Grandpa Okie driver to Aggressive California driver. We got to relax but we also ran around a lot to try to get everything in that we wanted to do in one short week. The travel was pretty easy, and the plane rides were short. Our puppy Wesley was well taken care of by friends and family - namely James who house-sat and dog-sat for us most of the time and even cleaned our kitchen while we were gone (good friend). I'm sure I'm forgetting some amazingness, but you get this gist - it was everything we were hoping for and more.

I'm out for now. Maybe more later. <3