Quote Challenge Day 3

Yesterday, the quotes I posted focused on pressing on in love, in spite of the pain. Today I’m going to focus on beauty: both finding and making it. 

This is something I’ve been trying to build into who I am… Trying to make a habit of looking for the beautiful things in life, especially in the ordinary days and unexpected places. It really is a beautiful life, if you take the time to look. 

This may take it a bit to the extreme, but it’s another thing I strive for… Making even the little, everyday things beautiful. It doesn’t take long, but what s difference it can make in one’s mood and ultimately one’s life.

This is something I want to get better at. I notice beautiful things in people often, but I don’t always say it. Which is sad, because I know how much it encourages me when people do that for me. 

This is how to make things beautiful!

This is thought provoking… Reminds me of a book I read called “A Million Little Ways” (Or something like that.) that talked about being creative with your life as a way to bring glory to God. He is very creative, so it brings Him glory as His people create. 
Tada! I posted quotes for three days in a row. I kind of posted more than three a day, but oh well. It’s too hard to choose!

 That was fun, thank you for challenging me, Emily!

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Wedding Photos!

We’ve been married for over two months already, but here are a few of our wedding portraits! We are enjoying marriage very much so far and are grateful to God for the way He works in our lives. 🙂

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Disappointment

That’s kind of a scary title right before a wedding, huh? Don’t worry, it hasn’t been called off. 😉

A few months ago, though, our pastor talked about how all our experiences shape us and how, as we love God, He works all things out for good. Together with what we had discussed in marriage class the day before that sermon–namely, a few of our largest disappointments– I started thinking about how that has worked out in our lives.

Both Peter and I have had rather severe disappointments in our lives– his back “went bad” around 18, thus drastically changing the course of his life, making it impossible for him to do what he had wanted to do–He had planned on a physically active lifestyle that would have taken him out of Florida.

I was in a relationship that I thought was headed for marriage–(I was rather delusional at the time… looking back I see how crazy it was to think that), but that ended abruptly and traumatically. (long story.)

Neither of us understood why we had to go through those very hard and disappointing experiences.

As I was thinking about all these things, I realized that had we both gotten what we wanted–had we not experienced those severe disappointments– He would’ve been in a different state, and I would’ve probably still been in a delusional relationship. We would not be getting married in 11 days, nor would we have the character built during those rough times.

This not only causes me to thank God greatly for His allowance of those disappointments–it also gives me confidence that He will indeed continue to work beautifully both in and through and in spite of future difficulties and set backs.

He is indeed wonderful and wise in all His ways… we cannot fully understand His ways, but we certainly can marvel and praise Him.

And I do.

He has protected me and provided wonderfully. I am a blessed woman…very much looking forward to being married in just a few days. 🙂

An Annoucement!

Not really sure if anyone reads this blog anymore or not, but for those who still may–I am engaged!!! 😀 (to the same young man (whose name is Peter) mentioned previously)

He asked my dad if he could ask me, and then a few days later, on Christmas at a pretty garden/park, he asked me to marry him– and I said yes! We are both still a little in disbelief, as we both had reached a place where we kind of thought we might not get married… however, God had other ideas, and here we are. 🙂 It’s been a blessing to us and those around us to see how God has worked in bringing us to this place… my mom and his mom had both been praying about it, unbeknownst to us, and apparently some other people had been too. It seemed to happen rather fast, but we’ve been going to the same church for eight years, so it’s really more like “about time!”, haha. I’m already busy with wedding plans and ideas… we are planning to get married in less than four months, so there’s a lot to get done and I’ll probably continue mostly ignoring this blog. I may have more time to devote to blogging after we are married, however… we shall see. 🙂

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Peter and Carissa engaged

(not the best picture, we were both rather tired… but you get the idea. :))

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So, I’ve been learning a lot, or at least struggling a lot. But mainly I’ve been realizing how hard I try and how stressed and worried I can get, and how tightly I hold on to things.

I’ve just been talking to my sister, working through some things out loud and hearing her stories of how God has taught her, and how she’s grown and learned to rest, learned what grace means. And I’ve heard it all before, I know it in my head, but yet too often I forget. It’s just the little things, you know–waiting for a text, or getting lost, or an out of control sibling–and I’m all stressed and worried. It’s hard to remember to trust God during those times, to let go and realize it’s all about Him anyway, and no matter how things look down here, no matter how crazy it gets, He is still there, still good.

Even when I don’t feel it.

Because often I don’t; I get caught up in whatever it is and I feel like He’s far away or maybe He’s not really real, or maybe He is but He doesn’t really care. For me.

But He does. Even if I don’t feel like it. How do I know? The Bible tells me so.

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve been using that as a sort of excuse of why I’ve been like this… but in thinking back, really, God proved Himself so faithful that I have no excuse for not trusting Him. Yeah, it was hard, and there were a lot of things that were confusing, but all throughout I saw His hand.

So… I guess this is basically a post of sharing where I’m at right now, and asking for prayer. I can’t say I’ve got this figured out, and I’m not going to say I’m working on it, ’cause I’ve been saying that all along and that’s exactly the trouble. I’ve been trying to force myself into shape by myself, and it doesn’t work like that. I’ve got to relax, and do what the verses says–cast it on Him.

Another Excuse Post (But this one has News)

I’ve been neglecting this blog horribly. 😛 But I do have some good reasons… My life has been rather crazy for quite some time now–this year has been intense. There’s been a ton going on–My mom was out of town visiting her father for a while, and then when she came back I went up to New York for a week (and had a lovely, relaxing, fun time), and when I came back she and I organized the entire kitchen, and then on the fourth of July her dad, my grandpa died, so she left the next day, and then Hannah left not too long after that for Central America, and I had two weeks of working daily and trying to manage the home. Yeah. Craziness.

And it wasn’t over then, either.

Becaaauuussse…. shortly after my mom came back, a young man from my church, the music leader actually, started showing definite interest in me. (I’d been suspecting it for quite some time) That is, he actually texted me for significant lengths of time. And usually he barely replied at all. So that was weird.

About a week after this odd behavior (haha), he told me he liked me and I said I liked him too (imagine that) and… well, it’s been quite the ride since then. That was a little over a month ago now, and since then we’ve had a great many long talks and we still haven’t found anything to argue about. We’ve tried pretty hard but it’s just not working. We found out that we actually get a long quite well–for some reason it took us about 8 years to find this out (we’ve been going to the same church all this time) but hey, at least we figured it out. Seriously, though, God’s timing was, as usual, just right.

He just finished school we when started talking, took his certification exam, and then a few days later got a full time job offer at a big hospital about an hour from where we live. Pretty awesome opportunity… it ended up working out that he could do the job and come back on weekends to lead music at church (and spend time with me, ahem), so he accepted the job and started last Monday. It’s been an adjustment for both of us, but it has been good. Though I must say I am really excited to see him tonight. 😀

We’re excited to see how God continues to lead. 🙂 Prayer appreciated… this is big stuff and we want to glorify God in it.

And maybe eventually we will get a decent enough picture to post. We both seem to have a knack for making weird faces, talking, and or closing our eyes. haha. 😛

This is a Blog Post

(This is a draft I wrote back before I had posted on here… Thought I might as well post it just to give you a glimpse of what my life has been like.)

In which I say things. Because it’s been waaaaayyy too long. I blame my iPhone. And life. And other stuff.

Actually it’s my fault. I’m a big girl now.

So, what has happened since February 26th?

I’ve been to El Salvador and Honduras and back. I’ve turned 24. I’ve finished a journal. I’ve made new friends. I’ve done things I’ve never done before, like passing out 2 ENGLISH gospels of John IN AMERICA. Scary stuff, people. (somehow Spanish ones in CA are easier to give away.) And going to a picnic with Muslims. I’ve cooked lots of food like soup and muffins and chili and zucchini pie. I’ve been sick a few times. I’ve learned more Spanish and played guitar here and there. I’ve been doing Bright Lights. I’ve been to ECHO with my friend Rebeka who came down to visit me for a week. My mom got in another car accident and I’ve been helping her out at home. I’ve been struggling with faith and contentment with my stage in life and with not knowing What I Am Doing With My Life. (Don’t know why but 24 sounds ancient and like I ought to have things Figured Out. I know it really isn’t, but still.) I’ve been praying but not as much as I’d like. I’ve been helping at church with slides and Other Things. I’ve read a few books. I’ve cleaned a lot.

That probably sounds a lot more exciting and glamorous than it is… Or maybe I just have an exciting life and am used to it, haha. At any rate that is a glimpse of what has been going on in my life.

Where Do You Stand?

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The past few weeks–months, really–I’ve been struggling with my faith for various reasons from various sources.

Is this Christianity stuff really real? I mean I know there’s a god, there has to be, but is the Bible true, and is what I believe about God accurate?

It’s been dreadful, to be blunt. I’m not one to shy away from tough questions. I ask them and ponder them. And it’s hard. There are a lot of things that don’t make sense, things I just don’t get.

But there comes a time, I’m learning, to set the questions aside and believe.

One morning as I was struggling with these sorts of doubting, questioning thoughts (in bed–it starts there and rarely quits till after I fall asleep in the evening.) I looked down from my bunk bed and saw this paper on the floor. It was from a sermon our pastor did… one of my siblings was “volunteered” to hold it up. I have no idea why it was there, though.

I looked at it and realized I didn’t know, just then, where I stood. I was stuck somewhere in the misty lowlands.

I knew I had to choose. One can’t stay there forever. So, I did. And I can now say, with the hymn…

On Christ the solid Rock I stand/all other ground is sinking sand.

Deep Thoughts

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At the last Bright Lights meeting, we had a spontaneous time of sharing. It was wonderful. Some really cool thoughts and stories were shared and I am starting to think that I can learn more from them than they can learn from me.

One of the thoughts was from my friend Brianne. She talked about how God is teaching her that often the most beautiful things are found in the most dangerous, scary places. She told a story of how she was hiking with her mom, and they decided to chose the scarier looking path (complete with spiders) instead of the well traveled one… and how that led to some beautiful oak trees that made it all worth it.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot since… and it’s so true and so deep. Especially with love.

Love is terrifying. Might as well just say it. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s pretty much… impossible.

That is, without God.

We’ve been talking about God’s love over the past three meetings and… I think it’s finally starting to sink in. For me. I spent hours thinking and praying about it and I finally got to the point where I wept.

He asks that I humble myself–that I stand before Him with no excuses, nothing to hide behind–and admit my sin. To Him. Holy, Holy, Holy. Who cannot bear to look on sin.

That is a horrifying thing to do.

But when I did it, I found, once again, the most beautiful truth of all: He loves me anyway and has made a way; has paid my fine.

His love and my sin stood in such terrible contrast… I saw how unworthy I am and yet I KNEW, deeper than ever, that He loves me. Oh, what a life-changing truth.

And… my heart is being softened, again. I am remembering that I am Loved and because of that I am free to love others.

It hurts. It scares me.

But I am learning, like Brianne, that this path is worth it; that ultimately it leads to the greatest joy and beauty.