The day after I Do: A love letter to my for-real future husband

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Dear Logan,

Today was a hard day. Maybe it was because I started going to counseling again, maybe it was how overwhelmed I feel with this semester, plus fundraising for my trip to Lebanon this summer, plus, you know, getting engaged last week. Whatever it was, it left me an emotional wreck all day. I had been running at an unsustainable pace, and it finally caught up with me.

You know this, because after a series of very emotional texts you met me in the science building at 11pm. I talked a little, I cried a little, but mostly you held me together and reminded me to be gentle to myself.

I told you how grateful I am that you are a thoughtful, emotionally intelligent man, to which you replied with a laugh, you taught me well. But my words don’t amount to your teachable spirit and eagerness to dive deeper with me these last two years. And as I walked away, I had a moment of clarity: I am marrying the right man. And that truth spread over me, warming my toes with the cozy feeling relief brings.

In that moment, I said my second yes to marrying you. And I plan to keep saying yes, through the fights and wedding mishaps and when we wake up the morning after we said I do, bleary-eyed and shocked that there’s a life for us on the other side of the curtain.

I will say yes in the unemployment, in the miscarriages, in the postpartum depression and the 7-year itch. I want to do the work. I want to keep leaning in and asking questions. Because if there’s anything I believe about the beauty of marriage, it’s that I have the privilege of knowing you better than anyone else. And there is nothing I find more beautiful than the act of knowing and being known.

You ask for conversations at Taylor about men advocating for women, and you tweet about male privilege, and you’re learning how to say tell me more, and I tear up every time because there’s nothing sexier than a man who advocates for women. And I know it all comes from that place in your heart that pushes you to show up and be on my team.

So I will plan the flowers, the colors, the dresses, the food. And you will agonize with me over invitations and websites and caterers, and you’ll make me laugh until I cry (as you always do). But know that my eyes are on the day after I do: when we lay the first stone for our life together. I’m waiting for the infinitely more important moments that will come long after the wedding dress, the cake or our first dance.

I said yes to a life with you. And in case you didn’t know, I’m really glad you asked.

Tables in the Wilderness: A spiritual upheaval

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I know very, very little about Christianity. It’s almost embarrassing how little I know. I was raised in a Non-denominational church, memorized the Bible verses, knew the Sunday school answers, and worked the system flawlessly.

I always assumed when I graduated college and settled down I would go to a church like the one I grew up in. I never considered that I would want anything different.

And then I read A Table in the Wilderness. And I was challenged to reconsider.

Preston Yancey is young to be writing a memoir, but that doesn’t mean his words don’t have value. You don’t have to be a Millennial to be moved. He tells the ageless, time-told story of finding everything and realizing you have nothing. Watching it all slip through your fingers, and then rebuilding your life brick-by-brick.

Preston is the most honest writer I know. I am continually moved by his courage to paint himself in a less than respectable light, because that is what makes me trust him. He is a reliable narrator, freeing us to read without doubt. He tells the story of the disenchanted, the hardened, and those who have been wounded by the flaws of the Church. Those of us who have thought we were alone can find a place in his story.

Because of stories like Preston’s, I have been given permission to seek. And I will, until I find the place I’m looking for.

I pray I will know when I get there.

 

 

You can purchase the book on Amazon here.

The girl with the yoyo heart.

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Photo cred goes to the one and only Logan Evans.

I used to think I was a wanderer. All I ever wanted was to roam, daydreaming of road trips with no destination. The airport was my favorite place in the world. I would stare at the list of arrival and departure flights; O’Hare to Tokyo, Vienna, London, Paris, Sydney. Going everywhere. I could go anywhere.

Now I am far from that airport and the little brown house I lived and laughed and yelled and danced in, and today all I want is to go home again.

Home.

Such a complicated word.

For some, home is a vase full of flowers, a brick chimney, lasagna in the oven. The smell of fresh coffee. Music. Hugs. You are home and you are at peace, taking off your armor. You are safe.

For others, home is knives and anger and dust, dust everywhere, dust on things that should have been moved and removed long ago. You are angry and you are misunderstood and you know you are not safe, no matter what you are told.

Home used to fill me with bitterness and I used to say I’m done, I’m done with home. I get to pick my home. No one can tell me that is my home unless I want it to be. 

I disowned home and set out to find it somewhere else. But that somewhere else was nowhere else.

So.

I went back.

It’s still there, the dripping rain gutter and the arguments and the nest over the front porch light. But home feels a lot less painful now. It feels a lot less like old wounds and untuned piano keys and more like comfort. A place to rest. A fresh start. Bitter and sweet, like dark chocolate.

Friend, home may be a place of pain for you. You may have stormed out, slammed the door, and vowed you would never return. You never wanted again to see the tiled kitchen floor, the geese stomping on the roof, the wasps living on your windowsill.

Home may be a place of a lot of error and not enough apologies. I get that.

But can I ask you one more thing?

Please, don’t ever get so angry that you can’t give it one more try.

I know it’s hard. You may have already given one hundred, even one thousand tries. But please, save one more in your pocket just in case. You may come home and find the chimney has been replaced, and the walls have been repainted a prettier color, and that chance will still be there waiting to be offered. Just because it hurts now doesn’t mean it must keep on hurting forever. Don’t let your shoulder be chipped over and over. Don’t become a rebel without a cause.

And if the house is so torn down that there’s no hope for repair, you’ll know. And if that day comes, I hope you can walk away without regret.

 

I join the Word of the Year bandwagon

I don’t know if you’re a New Year’s resolution kind of person, but I have learned that I am not. I struggle to stick to a hands-on concept for growth that works for me all year long. I’m usually trying too hard to do what worked for somebody else, or trying to come up with something that sounds nice and meaningful.

The thing with resolutions is that you must be resolute. You have to be set on your goal, and I am usually not. I’m forgetful and easily unmotivated, or I’ll get overwhelmed. Giving myself more things to do is not usually the best way to set me free.

Right around the time when I officially threw in the towel on New Year’s resolutions, I discovered the Word of the Year – basically, New Year’s resolutions for writers. I’ve seen people doing this for several years now, but I’m always a little reluctant to join something particularly mainstream(haha). I was a little skeptical at how cliché it sounded, but after a little more research (this post really did the trick), I’ve decided to give it a try for 2014.

I chose the word that is more like my life mantra – the weapon I bear in battle. The word that brings tears to my eyes effortlessly.

Brave.

It’s my word. It’s my desire. I don’t remember ever wanting anything more than I want to be brave. So it seemed appropriate, for my very first word, to choose a word that I’ve been carrying into every year since I can remember. My soul-word.

I want to be brave.

Here I come, 2014. In the words of Katy Perry, you’re gonna hear me roar.