This is our's crazy, it's hectic, but most of all it's fun!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Fitted sheets

My mother is the reigning queen bee when it comes to folding fitted sheets. Seriously. She taught me the ways of the world and not to toot my own horn or anything, but I can certainly get the job done. 

Except for that one day. 

My mom stopped by to visit and I was in the midst of folding sheets. I went along with the task at hand and in the back of my head and I noticed I wasn't doing the job very well. It was sloppy. It wasn't neat like I was typically capable of, but instead big and fluffy, and I knew I could do better. I chalked it up to "distractions". I was chatting with my mom and just going through motions. I stacked it in my pile of sheets and went on with the conversation. 

Not two minutes later, my mom picked it up and asked, "you're not going to leave that like that are you?" and she perfectly folded that sheet like she always does. I was thankful. She knew I could do it and when I clearly dropped the ball in that moment she reached out to help me. To remind me of what she had taught me and to remind myself that I am capable. 

When she left I went to my room and did the most responsible thing I could think of. I drug out sheets that weren't folded under some false pressure I had placed on myself to justify that I was able. 

My mom's is on the left and mine is on the right. That purple set is nowhere near perfect like my momma's. Yet, I know I still have so much time to perfect it like hers. And, when mine is perfect like that one sitting on the left, Claire will hopefully be working on the one on the right.

It was a pressure I had placed on myself. No one else did. My mom knew I could fold better than I had. (And looking back now I wish I had a picture of it in all it's glory because it wasn't pretty.)

I feel that way as a Christian. Want to know something? I was a late(r) in life Christian. Is that even a thing? I feel like I just labeled myself, but I digress.  I was baptized in 2010. It's something I am so proud of, but it's also so intimidating for me. I'm a newbie by all accounts. Another label I've slapped on myself. I grew up knowing, believing, but it was never something that I was ready to commit to until my last year in college and by God's perfect timing when I began dating Ryan. I remember clear as day Ryan and I having the "we're getting serious" conversation that all married couples eventfully have and he specifically said, we will be going to church together. I had already been visiting a church with a friend, who was invited by her coworker. This just happened to be the same church Ryan attended. I remember the first time I actually sat with him. Insert big puffy hearts. 

I was ready. 

I was ready to leave the life I had known before and move closer to God. I was baptized in front of 3 people. It was very personal and something I treasure deep in my heart. 

I mention all the this because I feel like I was being perfectly prepped for a time when my faith was it. I mean, IT. It was all I had to rely on for a solid 10 days. 

My relationship with God is personal. It's between me and Him. He knows every single flaw and He knows every single strength. At the same time, I feel so inadequate. Like the newbie. Like I don't measure up sometimes to my peers. 

Alright, who out there is going to give me the sister me too. Meeee, too. Anyone?

You know what's been nothing but a blessing in my life? My church and the relationships that are forming. I joined an If:table and oh my goodness what a positive it is. I don't feel like the newbie, but rather a woman, mom, daughter, wife, friend who is navigating through this world trying to do His work. It's empowering walking away knowing I am just like others in so many ways. The pressure isn't there to be perfect, but to be real. To be comfortable. 

And again, I'm ready. 

I am ready to step out in faith, armed with more knowledge and His spirit and to see where He will take me next. This time I have others doing it with me. Reminding me that those fitted sheets can be folded tighter and that I can love others deeper. 

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. Hebrews 10:35-36 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Receiving an F

If ever there was a day that God was trying to see how I was applying my skillz in patience, today was that day. 

I received an F. 

I failed. I forgot. I froze. I flipped. I fainted. Okay, so maybe not the last one, but I'm positive that would have been less embarrassing than how my children behaved out at lunch. 

Wyatt and Claire are really good out in public. I can typically give the look and they quit. Or, if times get really tough, I can break out the spanking threat and they straighten right up. 

Today, I pulled that card and had to actually use it. I was beyond aggravated.  "I am so over this" actually came out of my mouth today. Much, much later in the day, but still. 

After the bathroom shenanigans we returned to our seats and I immediately realized things weren't going to get better. They were hungry, compounded with sadness and what I think was embarrassment too, and the result was just going to be even more disasterous. We got our order to go and I left Ryan to wait until it finished. I took them to the car and something divine happened. 

I carefully chose my words. I wasn't angry and (yelling) giving demands. I was calm, but stern. This is when I secretly wished Ryan had witnessed my spectacular parenting because y'all I was so impressed with myself. I wanted to be Christ like. To make my words a reflection of love. To let those two little faces see me as someone who loved them in this moment, but also how disappointed in their behavior I was when they know how to act. How fits, incomprehensible slurs, screaming, and back talking are not the way we do stuff. Not the way we communicate. Like I said, I handled this situation so well. 

We made it back to Ryan's work and ate lunch and then went home. 

They were in bed in a second and both asleep before I shut their doors. The tension I was holding onto in my neck faded slowly. 

I sat there folding clothes going back over the lunch time fiasco still in disbelief. I felt like a failure. Even though my reaction game was strong, my parenting game felt weak. Then I remembered they're human. I'm human. We have good days and we have bad days. There are days when I am begging Jesus to be with me more and days when I am all thank you Jesus we are crushing this day! Today, I was begging. I was putting away those clothes and just prayed. Prayed hard that my day would improve. That I could be kind, gentle, and patient. That I would not react so quickly at the episode...Because there would be more. Oh was there more. 

I'll just go on to say that we survived the afternoon. When Ryan walked through the door Ryan he said we need to hurry and eat so we could get them to church. See, he too understood they needed to learn about obedience. I kid, I kid.  They needed some kid, playground, and other adult time. And some Bible lessons. I kid again. Kinda. 

We all needed that short break tonight and looking back with them asleep now, I realize the next time I see their little faces and bright expectant eyes that I have another shot. I have another chance to shower them with love, grace, gentleness, and kindness. I remember that am a completely broken, fit throwing, mess of a person at times, but God loves me. He forgives me. He gives me the chance to do better. To try harder. To seek Jesus more and more. And it just happens that tomorrow that is number one on my list. 

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" Lamentations 3:22-23

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Saying yes

Is this a wife/mom thing or did I somehow draw the short straw? Surely it's the latter. 

I'm that person in our house. You know, the one who knows where everything is. Nevermind that I haven't seen a specific toy in 3 days or I didn't even see where Ryan left his wallet the night before, somehow I know. 

And you best believe if I don't know where said item is off the top of my head I might as well go ahead and throw on the search and rescue jacket because I will be the one to go looking for it. (And 9 times out of 10 be the one to find it.)

This is where I throw out a confession: I actually enjoy knowing where everything is. 

I can't exactly say why. Maybe it's because I like to be right. No that can't be it. Maybe it's because I feel like it's home. My home. My special little place that houses a family of 4, one dog, one cat, and a fish named Wyatt that somehow survives another day. It feels like home and I feel like I know it like the back of my hand. 

There is another place that is home. My parent's house. No matter what time of day, that door is always open. We will be coming home from somewhere and the kids will ask to go to Mimi and Pawpaw's and so we agree to stop by and visit. Ryan still asks me if I'm going to call before we head that way and I still give him the side eye. I don't have to call to let my parents know we're coming. I still consider that (another) home. I should note that occasionally I do stop by unannounced without kids in tow and my parents give me the side eye. 

It's home. The most comforting, relaxing, and safest of places in the whole world to me. 

But then there's one more. This one is new. This one is quickly becoming that comforting, relaxing, and safe place. The place that I notice myself itching for as each day that passes. The one that I see myself in others. The one that my kids shriek about when I pass the road to it. 

This home is River Park. 

I write this blog to record. It's our family's blog. It all began when I was engaged and preparing to start living my life as a wife. Hence the name Nearly Newlyweds. It quickly became a place to record all our exciting times: our life as an engaged couple, as a married couple, as new parents, and as parents of two. There are funny stories and sad stories. Stories of hope and fear and stories of fresh beginnings. My main goal is to be able to look back on these entries and see where we came from and how we were molded into the people we are today. 

This is just another one of those entries. 

We began attenting River Park 6 weeks ago and I was blown away. 

I think the moment God makes us uncomfortable we should prepare for something big. 

This was something big for us. For me. Getting out of our comfort zone and leaving something that we had grown to know, but weren't really growing beyond that. It was a stuck feeling, but only a barrier we had placed on ourselves. Stepping through those doors changed something in me. 

A fire was lit and I was hungry. I wanted more. And more. And more. And each day we get to go back I am so thankful that we listened that morning. That we said yes to God. That we got uncomfortable for just a moment because the reward has been so great! 

I'm reading a book right now and it says, "Soon saying yes to God will no longer be a discipline of your heart, but rather the delight of your life."

Is that not the best? 

We placed membership at River Park and it's quickly becoming home. And that is an incredible feeling. I see myself in others. I see young moms, just like me, who struggle to quiet kids for what seems like an enternity. I see wives, just like me, who struggle with being it "all". I've shared more with these people in the last few weeks then I would have ever thought possible. And it's freeing. It's inspiring. It's everything I have been needing, but didn't know I needed. It's another home. 

Today, we learned about the church's history. Today, they celebrated 6 years. Six. It still seems so young and new, but the history is so deep. I picked up on that. Knowing they started in a barn with 32 people and have established themselves in this beautiful church is something worth admiring and it's something I am proud to be apart of. The faithfulness that this group held on to. The dream they all shared. I got emotional listening this morning. I giggled with everyone else when "our babies" were mentioned. The "babies" that you need to watch for because without a doubt you will be dodging them at any given moment. And this is what I love! I love seeing my kids so excited about church. Building those friendships so young and being around other parents in the same season as me. 

This morning after hearing it I immediately wrote it down- "We want to reflect the Christ that we serve."

I pray that when others see me they see Jesus. That my light is shining bright. 

I'm confident in saying I'm not the person I was months ago. I have a completely different sense of who I am and who I want to be. From here on out I want to continue to say yes to God. I want to get uncomfortable. I want to be bold. I am so excited about our future at "the Park". See there, I've even picked up on some of their lingo. Ha! 
Claire should get some credit in contributing to this post. "God made meeee!" in her sweetest little mouse voice. 

How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lordmy heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young—a place near your altar, Lord Almighty, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house; they are ever praising you. Psalm 84:1-4  
Blessed are those who dwell in your hothey are ever praising you

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Baptist Famous

Yesterday, I watched our Baptist Health commercial. (And no, we are not really Baptist Famous, I just enjoy fun titles...yet my husband still thinks he's royalty. Ahem.)

You know, the one that will quite possibly been seen by me during my Thursday night viewing of The Blacklist. Yah, that one.

Excuse me, I need to let that sink in for a moment.

I guess I never expected to share Ryan's story beyond friends of friends, by word of mouth, or throughout Facebook land. But here we are getting ready to see the commercial go live tomorrow.

There are actually two 30 second commercials. One shows numerous Baptist Health patients, each with their own amazing story. The second one is Ryan and it briefly explains what happened to him last July. Then, there is an almost 6 minute interview online that shares his entire story told by me and Ryan. The commercial is amazing. It so perfectly captures who Ryan is: a loving and dedicated husband and dad, as well as a lover of the outdoors.

The interview though? Even better than the commercial. I was not expecting to be that emotional over it. They so perfectly pieced together his story. It flowed seamlessly and I wasn't at all the blubbery mess of a wife that I expected to be portrayed as. I feel like people get a taste of who we are, what we believe, and that prayers carried us to where we are today.

I still sit back in amazement that this is part of our story. It is something that truly shaped me as the person that I am today. I live differently. I love differently. I pray differently.

By differently, I mean better.

Before Ryan got sick and nearly left this earth for good, I thought of myself as an average person in terms of my faith. I prayed daily and had what I thought was a good relationship with God.

I was so, so wrong. I don't want to be average.

At the mere mention of Ryan's ordeal, two things immediately flash into my mind. One, the power of prayer. Two, how loving and faithful my God is.

I can't even begin to wrap my head around the number of people who were praying for Ryan. I scrolled back through old Facebook messages today from July and August of 2014. I wish I could share them with you. People who didn't even know me or Ryan sending messages to me because God spoke to them and they listened. They reached out, encouraged me, and over and over again told me they were praying for Ryan, my kids, and me. I remember sweet friends crying out for prayers for me when I was the last one who felt worthy of prayers. I have never prayed so hard in my life as I did during those days.

As a simple reminder, even during the darkest of days, He is our light. He is everything good in this world and He loves us. I never once doubted His love for me or for Ryan who was so lifeless, but still hanging on.  I knew he would be faithful. I knew His will would be done. I always said, I would see Ryan walk out of those doors of Baptist or he would welcome me into heaven. God is good. I don't ever look back and wonder why we went through what we did. I've had people tell me they still wonder why Ryan is still here and why God sometimes chooses to keep others here but call someone else home. I don't know the answer to that. It's not my job to seek out that answer either. My job is to sing his praises and give all the glory to him. And I do. My goodness do I.

I am excited to share this last little bit of his story with you. In a different way. I guess, for the first time really, a little bit from Ryan's view. We have two completely different takeaways from him getting sick. I watched it happen. I watched it all unfold and I watched people circle around me and pray for him. I shed tears with so many people who just wanted to love on me. Who just wanted to grieve with me. Who were just as scared as I was, but who all believed the good Lord could heal his body. I pray that everyone has the foundation. That support. That you have someone who will cry with you, but most importantly pray with you and for you. I cannot stress enough how far prayer can take you. It literally  will carry you through the toughest of time and my goodness through the best of times.  I promise you, you need that in your life.

Ryan woke up thankful. Just thankful. That one word holds so much for our family. I'm not even sure it's possible for us to really grasp just how much, but just know it's a lot. So here's to sharing the last little bit of our story in a different way. We are putting a fun, final touch on it and those that prayed so faithfully for him, I feel like this is just as much your story as it is ours.

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