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Posted on May 21, 2012 in Marriage | 2 comments

Facing Fears

Facing Fears

One year ago today, Rick asked me to marry him.  My life is incredibly different now than it was at that time.  But one thing has remained constant and steady – our love for each other.  It’s grown so much, adding trust and respect and grace into the mix, in the last year.

The night he proposed, I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Okay, so maybe that’s a bit dramatic, but that’s how I remember it.  At 35 years old, I was terrified to give my heart away again, only to have it stomped on.  I didn’t feel like I had the emotional capacity for another break up, another disappointment.  Old emotions had come rolling in, uninvited, and I was worried that Rick would realize he had my heart, the challenge was over, and walk away.  It had happened too many times before.  I also had a lot of fear about the changes that would come into my life if it did work out.  Facing those fears and pressing through into God’s peace were a daily challenge.

My heart knew that Rick was different, that he would never leave me; but my emotions were LYING to me.  Fear rose in my heart and took my breath away.  I was so in love and so afraid to believe in it and let hope rise.

On that precious night when Rick proposed, I felt like I could breathe again.  He had wanted to wait two more months, until we’d dated a full year.  He sensed my anxiety though and pushed up his time table, taking my heart into consideration in an act of selflessness that seems to define his very being.  Rick is methodical, careful, cautious, and precise.  He stepped way out of his comfort zone to help me feel more comfortable.  He is my knight in shining armor.

I wanted to get married right away, but I saw the look in his eyes.  He had proposed before he was quite ready and he needed some time to adjust.  He wasn’t hesitating to get married, but his cautious and careful personality needed time to adjust to the new path his life was taking.  With a new confidence that he was in my life forever, I relaxed and agreed to wait seven months to get married.  Seven months!  It seemed like an eternity.  But my sweet husband is a slow-adapter and I had to respect his wishes and not allow it to hurt my feelings.

Seven months later we DID get married and it’s now been nearly five months since we promised our lives to one another.  As I’ve grown in my understanding of him and learned to appreciate his steady and gentle nature, my love for him has grown as well.  He isn’t excitable, doesn’t make fast decisions, and he’s the steady rock I can feel safe and secure on.  He encourages me to fly and knowing that he is my safe place to land, I can spread my wings.  We are so good for one another, it blows me away.

While we were dating, I wondered at times if my fear was a warning from the Lord or my inability to trust the Lord.  Rick was so far from what I had anticipated, from what I’d looked for on my own, that I questioned our relationship from time to time.  Was I just so tired of being alone that I’d be willing to move to a farm in the north???  Have I lost my mind or is this what it looks like to trust the Lord?  I felt total PEACE with God, our relationship lined up with Scripture and Christian principles, and everyone I knew offered their support and encouragement.

I’m so glad I chose to face my fears and walk this path.  Farm life agrees with me.  The peace and joy I feel here, the security and safety, and the love I’m experiencing all reinforce the decision.  God knew what He was doing.  I couldn’t imagine it, but I’m so thankful that I gave Him a chance to bless me.

One year ago today, I said yes to the man I would marry.  Praise God for His goodness to me!

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Posted on May 17, 2012 in Marriage | 3 comments

I Love a Rainy Day

I Love a Rainy Day

Written April 28, 2012

Photo Credit: contemplativecottage.com

You know those rainy, cold mornings when you just want to crawl back under the covers and cuddle with your husband?  Well, if you aren’t female and married, maybe you don’t know?  However, even when I was single I had this desire, including the husband part.  I hated getting out of my nice, warm bed, getting ready, driving through the rain, dashing inside, and sitting at a desk, yawning.

So this morning may have been my most favorite morning in my whole life.  It was raining, hard.  It was cold outside.  And it was really warm under the covers.  I woke up and looked at the clock, laid back down, and moved across the bed to find my hubby.  Snuggling close, I pulled the covers over my head and fell back asleep.  We woke up late and lay in bed talking until we were ready to get up.

The song that was going through my head the entire time was that new Matt Redman one – “10,000 reasons for my heart to sing Your praise.”  My life isn’t perfect, but that moment was.  I can’t even remember now why I was so afraid to move to the farm and become a housewife.  This is heaven.

Maybe that desire we all have stay in bed on rainy days goes back to our agricultural roots?  Farmers can’t do much when it rains.  They might work in the barn, fixing or maintaining equipment, but they aren’t rushed to finish the project.  It’s a natural way to take a break, removing guilt from their minds.

One day we hope to have babies running around, hollering for us to get up and take care of them.  I think we’ll appreciate that as well.  But for this morning, I’m just so thankful for the lack of responsibility and the joy of a lazy morning.

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Posted on May 7, 2012 in Marriage | 2 comments

On (Not) Missing My Husband

On (Not) Missing My Husband

At Sedona, March 2011

When Rick and I were dating, we lived 7 hours apart from one another.  We saw each other every few weeks for long weekends.  A couple of times we were together for about 10 days straight.  When we were together, we spent every waking minute together, so there wasn’t the same kind of dating relationship that many people have – only seeing one another at their best for nice nights out.  But after seeing each other for our visits, we went back to not seeing each other at all for weeks, and at one time several months.

When we weren’t together, I missed him, but I found I could handle it pretty well for about two weeks.  That third week usually got harder and it went downhill from there.  When we got married, one of the biggest adjustments for me was that suddenly we were together non-stop.  On our honeymoon we were only apart a couple times for an hour or so.  Honestly, I got a little buggy.  As extroverted as I am, I am almost equally introverted, needing a lot of time alone to feel at peace and balanced.  Rick is used to be around other people all the time, so I don’t know that he had any of those feelings.

When we got back to the house, it was off-season for the farm.  Rick didn’t have much work to do and I needed help in the house, so we were together constantly then as well.  When he was offered a temporary job with a friend, I was thankful.  I wanted him helping me get the house set up and organized, but I also needed some time alone.  It was nice to have the opportunity to miss him while he was gone during the day.

Since then we’ve settled into a nice routine.  He works on the farm during the day and even sometimes in the evenings. I make a large noon meal, get the housework done, and have time for writing.  When he’s gone in the evenings, I miss him.  I wonder when he’s coming back and I try to think of how to make it extra-nice when he finally comes in the house.

I’ve been enjoying married life on the farm immensely, but I needed to see my little niece and nephew in South Carolina too.  I have a five-month old nephew and I’ve only seen him twice.  He’s growing and growing and I’m missing it.  Rick couldn’t leave the farm because it was getting close to time for planting.

So I made my plans for a little trip alone.  It was hard to tell him goodbye.  I was excited about the little blonde four-year old and her cuddly brother in SC who were waiting for me though.  When I got through security in the airport, I was greatly satisfied to be met by my pajama-clad niece who couldn’t contain her excitement and was jumping up and down and screaming.

I couldn’t sleep the first night though.  I kept waking up and realizing I was on the wrong side of the bed, trying to find Rick.  When we were dating, we talked on the phone all the time – hours every day.  It seemed we never ran out of things to say.  Since we got married, we rarely talk on the phone.  But being away from him reminded me that we still have much to say to one another, talking several times a day on the phone just like “old times.”  We don’t need the phone when we’re together.  (I’m so glad for that!  I got really tired of the phone after a while.)

On the third and final day of my trip, I woke up with a strong feeling of missing him.  I love waking up to him every morning.  So many times when I was single, I woke up and wished there was a warm, loving husband beside me.  At times, I went to bed at night aching with loneliness.

That’s why missing each other a little here and there is probably a good thing.  When we don’t have any time away, we tend to forget how much we appreciate one another.  I enjoyed my visit with my sweet little niece and fluffy nephew who just discovered his toes.  And I looked forward to feeling my husband’s arms around me when I returned.

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Posted on Apr 26, 2012 in Marriage, Wisdom | 10 comments

Homesick

Homesick

Engagement picture taken on the farm

Transitioning into life on the farm has been easier than I anticipated.  The wide open spaces, peace, and slower pace of life have been really good for me.  I’m enjoying getting to know Rick’s friends and family, his church, and all his favorite things.  He has good friends, a wonderful family, and a welcoming church.  The warmth and welcome I’ve been extended have been a treasure to me.

So the other night when we walked into a local restaurant for dinner, I was nearly knocked over by the unexpected sense of homesickness that hit me.  There was a church meeting in the restaurant’s banquet room and they were playing praise and worship music LOUD.  The worship leader had such a good voice and handled the transitions so smoothly that it took me about fifteen minutes to realize the music I was hearing wasn’t a recording.  The songs were familiar, ones we sang regularly at the Sunday evening service in Nashville.  My heart squeezed tight and it was everything I could do to keep from crying right there.  I didn’t want to eat; I just wanted to join them.

My husband grew up in a small, Mennonite church that’s only about five miles from his house.  It’s a good church and I’ve been enjoying the services.  I recently discovered that one branch of my family tree actually started the church.  Many of the members are relatives and they’ve been friendly and kind.  But it’s one more thing in my new life that’s entirely different from what I’m accustomed to.  In Nashville, I attended a very large church with an incredible music program.  We sang a few hymns here and there, incorporating the new with the traditional, but most of the music was upbeat and passionate.  It wasn’t a perfect church, but I loved it.  I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.

My ordination service

My new church incorporates different styles of worship into their morning services and if there’s anything Mennonites traditionally know how to do, it’s sing.  I thoroughly enjoy hearing the harmonies as a cappella voices join together to praise the Lord.  The church also has a monthly praise and worship service, devoted almost entirely to music.  The leader has a great voice and a heart for worship.  Everyone brings food and eats together afterwards in the fellowship hall.  (In Nashville, we went to Chili’s.)  We went to the last one and enjoyed it, but it isn’t home yet and my heart ached for the familiar.  During the service everything hit me at once…  I miss my friends!  I miss my church!  I miss the familiarity of my old life.  I started crying and couldn’t stop, wanting to crawl under the pew in embarrassment.

And yet, I wouldn’t trade my new life here for anything.  A friend recently wrote me a little message, reminding me that it’s okay to be sad.  Feeling sad doesn’t mean you’re not also happy.  Missing the familiar doesn’t mean the new isn’t good.  So I allowed myself to mourn the loss of my church and the familiar.

Since then I’ve been listening to praise and worship music at the house, while I’m working in the kitchen or sweeping the floors.  It feeds my soul and helps me feel connected to God.  I need to express my thanks and praise to Him and alone in my house I am free to do so.  It amazes me that of all the things that could cause me to feel the sting of homesickness so sharply, it’s music that did it.

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Posted on Apr 20, 2012 in Fertility, Marriage | 6 comments

Babies

Babies

Written at the beginning of April, 2012. 

When I was nearly eleven years old, my parents surprised everyone by announcing the birth of a son.  I wasn’t too sure how I felt about that until the first time I met him.  He was so small.  I could hold his tiny head in my hand and his body fit just right, coming to my elbow perfectly.  Watching him grow, seeing the joy he brought to our family, sealed the deal for me.  I wanted babies – lots and lots of babies.

I began babysitting, then was a nanny, and through it all my resolve has remained the same.  If I know anything, it’s that I’m called to be a mother.  I informed Rick of this fact long before we ever got serious.  He wants to be a father as well, enjoying the father-son relationship he has and seeing the beauty (that’s a girl word – he’d probably prefer I use something more manly here, but what?) of the father-son relationship his nephew has with his son.

We aren’t exactly spring chickens, so we both agreed that we’d have no problem if a baby came right away.  Today we start into our fourth month of marriage with no discernible pregnancy and it is often on our minds.

My sister's sweet daughter & son

Last month, when I discovered I wasn’t pregnant, my sister’s phone rang.  I was sad, but not devastated.  I know it can take a while, and I know how much stress we’ve been under as we set up the house and get used to being married.  I told her that I just want to know that we’re capable of having babies and that we will have them some day.  It’s the not knowing that’s bothering me.  I’ve prayed for our children for as long as I’ve been praying for my husband.  At eleven years old, I laid my hand on my womb and asked God to give us healthy, whole, happy, godly children who would bring glory to His name.  I asked for ease in childbirth too.  I repeatedly made these requests and continue to do so.  But I prayed for my husband for a really long time before he came around.

With all the answered prayers I’ve recently seen, you’d think I might feel confident that God would answer the prayers for children as well.  Instead, I’ve faced that sneaky fear that creeps in without me even realizing it, telling me nothing has ever come easy to me in this department.  Why will this answer come easy?  And what if the answer is “no”?  So please, please, please – could I just know for sure that we’ll have the babies we so desire???  THEN I can be at peace!

And in the middle of this tirade my sister was so patiently listening to, I believe I heard the voice of God.  He broke right through my tantrum with these words:  Kimberly, haven’t I promised you children?  And haven’t I kept all my promises to you so far? 

I got off the phone with my sister pretty quick.  Ashamed:  that’s what I felt.  Ashamed that I could so easily forget His promises to me.  God has promised me children, leading me over and over to Isaiah 54, which promises “more are the children of the barren”…  I really DO know how it will work out.  There’s no reason to be so afraid.

As I began to rest in that promise, doubt tried to return.  But how do you know God actually promised you that.  What if you made it up in your head?  Does God really speak to you at all, or have you just made up all of this? 

I really did consider this thought for a while.  But when these doubts come to me from time to time, I’ve found my answer for them.  I would rather look like a fool, believing the voice that sounds like God to me, than risk actually not believing God.  I can only do the best I know to do.  God knows my heart.  He knows I’m trying to following His voice (and not doing anything that contradicts Scripture).  If I get it wrong, there is tremendous grace for my failure.

So I will continue to believe God has promised us children.  I will continue to believe that this home, this husband, this life I am so enjoying, is an answer to prayer and a blessing from the Lord.  And I will wait until God gives us the promise, believing that His timing is perfect and He knows better than we do what we need.

Thy will be done.

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