Every day is wedding day.


Today, I want to make mention of these people – who have stood by us in great times, bizarre times, and hard times. Who make us laugh, bring purpose to our lives, and who we could not be ourselves without. These are words for them:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”

-Elizabeth Kubler Ros

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…because love wins.

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Weddings are dreams…if you do them right.


I got married this weekend!

Everything everyone says about the day going so fast, but being so beautiful, is right. Everything they say about being madly in love being intoxicating, is right. Everything they say about the great blessing of being surrounded by the people who love you, and who you love most, is right. They’re all right. It’s magical, but it’s only magical if you do it right. It’s only right if you’re marrying who you should marry. And if you’re upholding marriage until it’s time for marriage.

The most magical parts of our day were not the flowers (even though they were beautiful!), or the candles (which I got from the dollar store and that didn’t burn right…not that I noticed – I heard from my people), or the hair, or the makeup, or the suits. It wasn’t the “rager” we had after (the whole thing was over by 10pm), and it certainly wasn’t the tight (although also beautiful) dress I was wearing.

What was magical was Jesus. Jesus, who picked us for each other. Who made a love story out of our resistance (see any other blog post from before this about how we thought our lives should go). Jesus who changed us like water into wine, and Jesus, who was our first love. Jesus, who taught us what love is. Who teaches us what love is. Jesus, was the magic. Jesus, is the magic. Today is magical. Because marriage is Jesus’ and it can only be done as marriage, with Jesus. The rest is a sham.

Ray and I didn’t freak out about details while planning. We laughed a lot. We learned how to tie bows, and he got to watch me wander around Hobby Lobby a lot and grow his patience. We made time for our families and extended leases so that we didn’t have to live together before our marriage. We cried in the last three years as we lived in different houses, and states, and had surgery and almost cancer diagnoses, ER visits, hair loss, reconciliation of pasts, and figuring out how to fit into a new life. And we did it all together. It wasn’t easy, and it was magic too. This time with each other and Jesus, was our magic.

One of my two most favorite moments of our wedding was walking down the aisle with my father to greet my groom. After three years of up and down and changing as a person with him, there is only one person who could ever have compared to the love that my father has for me. I was proud of the man I was marrying. I was so blessed that my dad loved him so much and how much he has laid down his life for me. I am thankful that my father taught me to wait for the man who could make my life magical.

My second favorite moment, was when the man of my dreams cried while dancing our first dance with me. I have a hard time dancing – mostly because I am a white girl, but also because I have a prosthetic leg. While most people are busy working on shows for their first dance, we practiced me following him so that I didn’t step on him or my dress. It’s a vulnerable point for me. And it’s a space of challenge that only he could have worked himself into. He led me like the man of my dreams who knows exactly how to let me be independent while empowering me by holding me up in ways that people do not see. He has done physical therapy I didn’t know I needed, and he has wrapped up the broken pieces of my heart into one whole piece.

But he couldn’t do that without being led by Jesus. Half of the letter he wrote me before the wedding was Scripture. Wait for the man who doesn’t just give you himself. Wait for the man who unashamedly laughs with you while you plan for your wedding, who cries on your shoulder because he thinks you’re the most beautiful person in the world, and wait for the man who gets up the Monday after the wedding to go to work so that you can rest. Wait for the man who gives you Jesus.

Wait for the magic. Wait to see your groom until you walk down the aisle (pictures can wait until after). Wait for him to stand up and be a man. Don’t marry someone for the flowers. They will fade. Don’t marry someone for the candles. They won’t stay lit. Don’t marry someone for the sex. Married sex is the only sex that counts, and it’s not about the sex. Marry the person who you can let into the moments that make your heart break.

Wait for the man who will spin you around in front of a room of people because he can’t decide if he wants to look at you, or hold you close. Wait for the magic. Do the wedding right – it’s easy to do when the marriage is right. Wait for the right dream come true.

This is our first dance song. Here are the lyrics. Please listen and read. It is what we want people to see of our lives, which is why we picked it. The first verse is me (speaking to 25,000 this summer) and the second is him. And we have learned…nothing matters…but looking like love, Jesus, to each other, and to the world.

I hope everyone who was able to come and those who we know see that, and only that, in our wedding – and in our marriage. In our forever.

The marriage was worth the wait. The magic was worth the wait. Ray was worth the wait.

More Like Love – Ben Rector: Click here to listen

I use to think I wanted to be famous
I’d be recognized out in a crowd
But the funny thing is anytime I’ve gotten what I want
It lets me down

But now I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I used to think I needed all the answers
I used to need to know that I was right
I used to be afraid of things I couldn’t cover up
In black and white

But I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
And I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

I find the farther that I climb
There’s always another line
Of mountain tops
It’s never going to stop
And the more of anything I do
The thing that always ends up true
Is getting what I want
Will never be enough

So I just wanna look more like love
I just wanna look more like love
This whole world is spinning crazy
I can’t quite keep up
It’s the one thing around here
That we don’t have quite enough of
So I just wanna look a little more
Like love

Like love

…because love wins.

first-dance

 

“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.”


“Marry your best friend. I do not say that lightly.
Really, truly find the strongest, happiest friendship
in the person you fall in love with.
Someone who speaks highly of you. Someone you can laugh with.
The kid of laughs that make your belly ache, and your nose snort.
The embarrassing, earnest, healing kind of laughs.
Wit is important. Life is too short not to love someone
who lets you be a fool with them.
Make sure they are somebody who lets you cry, too.
Despair will come.
Find someone that you want to be there with you through these times.
Most importantly, marry the one that makes passion,
love, and madness combine and course through you.
A love that will never dilute even when the waters get deep, and dark.”

…because love wins.

Some learning about ADHD.


I’ve decided that ADHD is worse than both depression and anxiety. I have also been able to see that not being close to someone who lives with a mental illness can make it very hard to understand what a mental illness even is. But I have learned that if you are close to someone with mental illness, you’ll learn a lot about the beauty of being human. Here’s why. 

Let me state this, as a follow up to my previous post – ADHD stinks. It’s up and down and triggered by all kinds of things. It involves the parts of the brain which need to be used to see problems. It’s like trying to process how to fix a machine through that broken machine, for the person living with it. Of course, this isn’t to say that people with ADHD can’t figure out life. But this is to say that some of them have to work way too hard to do that. 

Then there’s us. People who stand on the outside and see the symptoms of things:
Easily distracted. (Yeah, the shiny things jokes are funny for about 5 minutes, but not a lot after that.)
Wanting to be organized, and not being able to figure out why that’s challenging.
Lacking motivation (not that they don’t care).
Hard time understanding social cues and that being more surprising for them than others around them.
And anger. (I would be angry if I couldn’t understand what I was feeling or why I was too.)

If my brain wouldn’t let me see how I could get out of those things, I wouldn’t know that I was bound to live my life short of who I could be either. No one with ADHD is stupid because of it. They’re not awful. They may have developed some character difficulties, but I would have too. They’re wonderful, beautiful people. Who just happen to have a hard time fighting their own brain.

 

This has been a lot of learning about ADHD. And has me thinking I probably have a new passion to pursue in my life. 

…because love wins. 

Words.


We all carry some pretty powerful weapons on our lips. The same lips carry band aids for the the soul. 

Words. 

Sometimes words are the most exceptional of things. I myself am a lover of affirmation. So I am a lover of positive words. 

But there have been words that have wounded me deeply. Because they hold the same power when they are terrible as well. 

Words. 

Quick. Slow. Quiet. Hopeful. Lies. Truth. 

The thing about words, is that they represent something more. They represent a person. And I’ve learned something. From God, from my mother, and from my father. Words should not be said unless you mean them. If you say something positive, you best follow through. Or else your words will quickly mean nothing. If you say something negative, you need to realize that those words carry on. They carry on to the trust that someone has for you later. They carry on to the trust they have for others. 

Do you really need to use that name? 

Do you really need to express your anger while you’re angry? 

Is it really their fault? Or are you calling them what you should be calling yourself? 

Words are powerful. They can make people stay. They can make people cry. They can make people laugh. And they can also make people leave. 

Here are some of my favorite songs about words. Today, and every day, think long and hard and choose them wisely. Think about what you would feel being talked about that way. And what you would feel if you said those things to someone. They can change everything. 

What are Words: Chris Medina

Words: Hawk Nelson

…because love wins.

This is a lot harder than I want it to be.


If you’re a follower of my blog (ohhhh, hheeeeeyyyy!) you’ll probably remember this post: I am a woman. My best friend is a man. We don’t intend to get married, and it’s awesome. 

And you probably mostly remember it, because now we’re dating. See, here we are!

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Gotcha! We were planning to date when I wrote that last blog post too.

JUST KIDDING.

For real, we had no idea. In fact, I would have said that we were fighting against the idea. At that point, we knew everything faulty about each other and didn’t have any interest in having to take care of that person and their messiness. Nice and selfish, right? Haha. And on and on that went, until finally, God was like, “Yo, stop fighting me, I’m GOD.” And now here we are.

If you’ve talked to either of us in the past 5 months, we’ll tell you that this has probably been among the most personally challenging times of either of our lives. Throw together two leader-like individuals who have been through quite the variety of hard things, undissected pasts, some deep fears, and lots of hopes and dreams, and you’ve got pretty much a ridiculous mess.

We’re generally pretty intense people. We both hate conflict, (we’re learning), and have dug through just about anything that could be dug through probably about 30 years before most couples dig through things. I’m totally kidding, I have no idea. But we analyze everything like 30 million times more than we need to. That much I know. We’re also learning about what to do and not do with that.

Seriously, this relationship has been a lot harder than either of us wanted it to be.

But, it’s also been very good for us. Because conflicting deep heart issues have proven that love is literally the only thing that can win. And I don’t mean like, the feelings “oooo, I love you and everything is butterflies!” I mean, the part of us that sits at Jesus’ feet and says, “I have no idea how anything will work. Could you make that make sense?” Two perfectionists trying to perfect the other person will kind of leave someone in that place.

What we’ve learned is that Romans 8:28 (God uses everything for the good of His children.) is indeed true. It’s all for the good. It’s all for healing. And it’s all to bring us closer to Jesus. Cuz I’m not perfect. And neither is he. But that’s the point. We can’t navigate something perfectly that’s made with imperfect people. We need Jesus. And then even though we don’t know the future and we don’t know how to understand stuff, we have Jesus, and He has shown us that there still remains nothing we can do without His guidance. That makes the hard worth it.

…because love wins.

I’m only human.


I can hold my breath. 
I can bite my tongue. 
I can stay awake for days, 
if that’s what you want.
Be your number one. 

I can fake a smile.
I can force a laugh. 
I can dance and play the part,
if that’s what you ask.
Give you all I have. 

I can do it. 
I can do it.
I can do it.

But I’m only human,
and I bleed when I fall down. 
I’m only human
and I crash and I break down. 

Your words in my head, 
knives in my heart. 
You build me up
and then I fall apart. 
Cuz I’m only human. 

I can turn it on. 
Be your good machine.
I can hold the weight of worlds, 
if that’s what you need. 
Be your everything. 

I can do it. 
I can do it. 
I’ll get through it. 

But I’m only human, 
and I bleed when I fall down. 
I’m only human 
and I crash and I break down. 

Your words in my head, 
knives in my heart. 
You build me up
and then I fall apart. 
Cuz I’m only human. 

I’m only human. I’m only human. Just a little human. 

I can take so much. 
Til I’ve had enough. 

Cuz I’m only human, 
and I bleed when I fall down. 
I’m only human 
and I crash and I break down. 

Your words in my head, 
knives in my heart. 
You build me up
and then I fall apart. 
Cuz I’m only human.

Why you need to call your mom and dad.


I spend a lot of time thinking about the end of early life compared to those around me.

Stubbed my toe? I’ll be in Heaven someday. This is okay.
Someone isn’t kind to me? They probably need a hug. Life is short.
Family needs help? Yes. Just yes. Life is short.
Someone picks on me? Doesn’t matter – the earth won’t matter at some point.
I’m tired? Still need to call my mom and dad.

When I was in the second grade, I heard three words that changed everything about me. “You have cancer.”

We weren’t a super exceptional family. We played together and argued and laughed. We ate dinner together and tried to give each other the space we needed to function. My sister and I were little – growing. Needing love. Mom and dad were older, but still needing love. We were by no means perfect.

Then cancer happened. And I changed. But so did the other three people who fought alongside me. My sister was my best friend, and she knows that, because she still is. But my mom and dad were my brain, and my comfort, and my hope.

I weighed somewhere around 50 lbs when I started my 49 weeks of chemotherapy. I was always so exhausted from the treatment that I often had a hard time waking up in the middle of the night. That paired with having fluids pumped into me all day every day made a lot of room for wet beds.

I would roll over, “Mommy, (who was sleeping on a terribly uncomfortable couch) I had an accident.” She was exhausted, but she loved me. And these are the moments when someone knows what real love is. She changed my clothes and moved my IV pole over to her bed where I went back to sleep. The nurses could have changed the bedding, but my mom always insisted upon doing it.

My dad spent the night with me on the weekends. He was strong enough to carry me, so every night he would set an alarm to wake me up to take me to the bathroom to prevent having an accident. I was frail, and sick, and he would gently wake me up, carry me into the bathroom which he kept dimly lit, and take care of me. Then he would carry me back and we’d drift back to our hospital sleep.

And that’s why you need to call your mom and dad. Because no matter what you think they did wrong, they did stuff. They took care of you, changed your diapers, worked to feed you, and honestly, kept you alive this long. That’s a lot of work.

I hate seeing my parents grow older. Cancer taught us to call each other. I talk to my mom at least 3 times each day. Because you know what? Life is supposed to be like that. We’re supposed to be obsessed with each other and want to talk to each other. Someone should know what we’re eating for lunch and it shouldn’t have to be on facebook.

And I hate seeing them grow older because I know that unlike most people my age, I won’t have to worry about if we were close enough. I’ll know that we were, because I won’t know how to move forward without my best of best friends to share each day with.

Think about it next time you’re worried about yourself before your parents. Then pick up the phone and ask them how they are.

…because love wins.