Sunday, September 27, 2015

Piece of Cake

A year ago I was groomed, pampered, calm... ready.
I had just finished racing go-karts, trying my hand at the batting cages, and having the finishing touches of my wedding-face applied. White dress (with pockets!), red heels, champagne sash, five billion bobby pins and glossy lips... ready.

Today I'm a little pudgier, my nails are atrocious, my eyebrows are wacky... but I'm content.
I have just finished attending church, eating 10,000 calories of Mexican food, walking for an hour to try to compensate, and getting ready to spend an evening at backyard (where we were wed) bonfire with friends and family. T-shirt, bare feet, chapped lips, white little Zeus hairs all over my clothes... content.

A year ago I was inviting family and friends to my parent's yard to witness a life-long commitment being made. Today I'm sitting on the couch in my parent's house making sure our giant dog doesn't destroy it, football streaming on the television, my dad picking apples outside, my mom cooking food, my husband on a coach-- one eye on the tv and the other on his phone.

A year ago I was preparing for one for the biggest life-changes I'll ever know.
Today life is pretty normal, but I'm still wondering when and what the next life-change will be (knowing that life is full of the unpredictable).

One year ago.
We've been reminiscing a lot this week. It helps that we're back in the same place where our wedding went down. It helps that there are wedding remains all over: Aspen candle holders, giant logs, CAKE (which we're excited to finally try, regardless of the commentary that cake a year later is disgusting).
It helps that it was all just one year ago.

We have survived.
And marriage is still awesome. You might even say that it's been a piece of cake.
We're less patient, less romantic, less careful with our words, less concerned about appearances and privacy. But we laugh a lot, dream a lot, talk a lot, sing a lot (I think I'm rubbing off on him).

We aren't perfect, but it's okay.
We could be kinder, more loving, more selfless, more aware, more Christ-centered, more prayerful.

But I don't know if I could be more thankful.
Because one year ago, I stood before the Lord and a host of witnesses and was tied forever to a man who exceeded my wildest dreams. I'm still not sure how it happened. We were in a church worship service a week ago, music playing, people singing... and I thought to myself all over again, how did I get here? How is it possible that the Lord is so good and so faithful when I'm just not. I'm still in awe.

I've learned a lot.
I've learned a lot in the waiting, in the stillness, in the unknown. To trust. To live. To open up my mind to even the most unlikely things (long-haired younger men with sea turtle tattoos, in this instance), and to see what the Lord does with it. I think He's continuing to reinforce those things into my heart.

Be open-minded.
You never know what I have in store for you.

They're necessary life lessons.
Can I continue to allow Him to surprise me? To allure me?
Can I respond to the bouts of waiting with grace and joy? Can I respond to the unknown with steadfast faithfulness?
Can I believe that He is good, no matter what?
Can I believe that He has a bigger plan in mind?

I think our anniversary will always serve as a reminder of the Lord's faithfulness.
The Lord's faithfulness--even when it means waiting a long time, even when I feel like I want to give up and that there's no more hope to be had. The Lord knows. His timing is perfect. His plan is perfect.

And it's always been about much more than Debbie finally finding love.
To me, it's been a journey of finding out more about who Jesus is and what He has done... and what He continues to do. It's truly life-changing.

How can I not love Him more? were shown these things so that you might know that the Lord is God;
besides Him there is no other.

Your entries will remain anonymous

Sunday, September 20, 2015

At Least I Can...

I'm sure you're all holding your breath and wondering, "Could this be the month for the Beals...?"

Well, it's not (for those of you who were actually wondering).

And before you think I'm devastated or crushed or heartbroken- please know that I'm okay. Really, truly okay. Not just saying I'm okay to appease the masses, but really okay.

We're in month 8 of this and I couldn't help but think the other day that if we had gotten pregnant when we had started trying, our lives would look really different right now. I'm thankful for the Lord's timing. It's better than ours. It's like He knows what He's doing or something...

I think my biggest thing with our inability to get pregnant right away is that it makes me somewhat worried that there's something is wrong with me/us. That maybe we'll never be able to get pregnant. I also think the assumption was that as soon as we started trying, we'd get pregnant. And it's all okay- I just know the "never" is a lot different to cope with than the "not right now". We'll cross that bridge if we get there.

The responses I've gotten have been so encouraging.
Thanks for the prayers.
For the honesty.
Thanks to those who have shared your continued struggles with infertility and how you're learning/growing and still seeking to trust the Lord. For reminding me, yet again, that God is faithful, even when it doesn't turn out the way that we might think we desire.

It is good.

Thanks for the many of you who have admitted that you may have also struggled with trying to get pregnant. For reminding me that not everyone gets pregnant immediately after starting to try. For reminding me that real people are going through this thing and we aren't just statistics. It's been incredibly freeing to be open about where we are at in the process.
"Debbie- when are you guys going have a baby?"
"No idea- but we're trying!"
It's usually pretty fun to see the shock on people's face when I invite them in, instead of readily denying or avoiding the questions. I don't want people to ever feel like they can't ask, especially now that we've declared our efforts. It seems like people are often scared or don't want to invade. It's always okay to ask how it's going/how we're doing. I won't melt into a puddle of tears. Yet.

When I was single, I wrote a lot of blogs about living in the tension of wanting but not having. I wanted to be married. Desperately (I'm sure you may remember...). And it felt like it would never happen. I remember one of my married friends writing to me around that time, relating to my blog posts about this tension in their attempts to get pregnant. Wanting but not having. Learning to be content and trust the Lord, no matter the circumstances.

I don't usually think I'm even fully ready to have kids yet, because every month, even in the midst of disappointment, there's a large part of me that's relieved for one reason or another. But I've wondered if that's some weird sort of defense mechanism in order to better cope. Instead of dwelling in the shadows of disappointment, I jump into the world of, "Well, at least I can...." (this month, its look forward to more travel with my husband).

I remember doing this a lot when I was single, too.
Oh, another guy didn't work out?
Well, at least I can... go wherever I want, whenever I want.... talk to whomever I want, whenever I want... spend money on whatever I want, whenever I want...

You get the idea.
We cope.
And if this plan we have for ourselves doesn't work out exactly the way we might have hoped... at least I can... do, try, think, hope for something different. At least I can find some positives in the midst of this cyclical disappointment I can't ever seem to escape.

I'm not convinced it's the best way of dealing.
I know it's not the worst.
I suppose, more than anything, I just want to fully trust the Lord and do away with the feeble attempts to make myself feel better. To admit that I want a baby, to admit that there's disappointment and often shame, fear, worry, and feelings of "this is never going to happen" that accompany the monthly routines... but to just trust the Lord. To trust that He is good.

I don't want to live my life so consumed with what I don't have, that I forget all that I do have. I have a lot.

I don't want to live in such a way that I'm consumed by anything that isn't directly related to the Lord who He he is asking me to be (whether that be marriage, babies, job things, people, body-image, etc.). And while all of these things can have traces of that,  I can't let it be defining of who I am or who I want to be.

There's always more.
There's always eternity to think about.
There's always something bigger, greater, deeper than I can ever possibly imagine.
Something that isn't so limited by my narrow perspective and way of living.
There's more important things-- more important things that He is calling me to, asking of me, reminding me of. More important things like knowing Jesus and considering everything else a loss compared to that.

And, if all things in life, no matter how hard or how good, enable me to gain more of Him...
Then I am blessed.

Your entries will remain anonymous