Wednesday, July 25, 2012

On flowers and bikes and five years of matrimony.

July 29th will be the 5 year anniversary of our marriage. If you had asked me on my wedding day, a 21 year old bride, what I thought life would look like in 5 years, I would have shrugged. At 21, I could not think that far into the future. There is so much wisdom that comes with age and life experiences, that at 21 I thought I knew everything and at almost 27, I can tell you that I know very little. What I do know is this- our love has bloomed and blossomed at a steady pace from the day that we met. There has not been a single moment that has gone by that my love for Omar hasn't increased, and vice versa. At 21, I would have said that is the definition of successful love.
 I now know that it is not. 
It is the moments that we have struggled and fought to sustain the promise we made that have created the roots that ground our love.
A pretty flower can only survive so long once it is out of the ground, it grows and is beautiful, then it slowly dies. Above the surface, our love has continuously blossomed, bringing beauty and light to the world around us, but without our roots, the beauty is temporary.
Deep reaching roots are the definition of successful love.
When Omar and I got married, we had dated for exactly 1 year. We had only been dating for 1 year, yet we promised our entire lives away to each other, not knowing the cost. We knew very little of sacrifice and forgiveness. We only knew attraction, that there was an undeniable connection between us, and how to hear the still, small voice of God pushing us towards the alter. 
In the last 5 years, I have learned to love another person. Not superficial adoration, but true, unconditional, undeniable, worth dying for kind of love.
There is nothing I wouldn't do for Omar.
There is no place I wouldn't go and no sacrifice I wouldn't make if it meant he would benefit from it. There was a point in our marriage where I was moments away from filing for divorce, that I thought God had abandoned us, that I hadn't heard Him clearly when He told me to say "I do." It was in that moment that God moved in ways that I had been praying for for years. He brought about a repentance that I had only read about in books, and caused us both to reexamine everything we knew of Him and one another. He filled our lives with people who were present in the storms and valleys, when things got unbearable, there was not a single burden that we carried alone.
We were covered in prayer and surrounded by tangible love.
Recently, we bought bicycles with hopes to someday do a triathalon. The most fun part of cycling is coasting downhill, however, it is not possible to go downhill without having to go uphill. Uphill rides are extremely difficult, there are moments when I cannot breathe and my legs feel like they are going to give out. There is a stark contrast between the ease of going downhill and the effort it takes to go up. Downhill is fun and freeing and I used to think that was what marriage was about. In the moments when I have nearly given up because the intensity of the uphill pedaling gets to be too much, it is there when I meet God. It is those moments when I cling to Him, when He is the only thing sustaining me. There are little to no benefits in going downhill except that it feels good in the moment. My muscles, my confidence, my improved heart health, my strength and my mind only benefit from the uphill climb, the unbearable moments of clinging to Jesus and pushing forward even though it feels like I cannot.
5 years feel like an incredible victory. Growing up with Omar has been the most significant part of my life thusfar. Through the joys and the trials, he has taught me more than any other human being. He challenges me to be more, to do more, to push harder and to overcome. He constantly holds a mirror to the brokenness and beauty inside of me, and helps me to see my soul clearly. He does not allow me to give up or give in, instead, he is behind me, yelling for me to keep pedaling, to keep going, encouraging me and calling things out of me that I cannot see myself. Our love is deep rooted, and strong, and though we will face many more uphill battles, we will face them together.
"We're dancing in the minefields,
We're sailing in the storms, 
and its harder than we dreamed, but, I believe,
 thats what the promise is for.
So, when I lose my way, find me.
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days,
when I forget my name, remind me.
Because we bear the light of the Son of Man,
so there's nothing left to fear,
So, I'll walk with you in the shadowlands
till the shadows disappear.
Because He promised not to leave us
And His promises are true.
So, in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you."


Sunday, May 27, 2012


today's sermon was about remembering, so i spent the last half hour looking through my old blogs and realizing a few things.

first, i don't feel like an alien anymore. i spent so much of the last 7 or so years feeling like i was from another planet. the tension between following Christ and having my own way was so intense, and it made me have a perpetual feeling of being homesick. i am not sure which changes have made this feeling less relevant, but i feel like i'm exactly where i'm supposed to be. i still have moments where i hope Jesus will just come and take me home, where i wrestle with the ugliness of humanity and this world, but they are no longer dominating my life. thank God for that.

second, in september, i wrote that i wanted to be migraine free by april 2012 after suffering from migraines for the better part of my life. thank god, i have found a solution. they are needle-less imitrex injections that i take when my migraines come on, and they have changed my life. i haven't truly suffered from a migraine for several months now. i can't believe that i'm finally free!

third,  i really need to stop planning my own life. i'm terrible at it.

fourth, i am overwhelmed with gratefulness for the church that God has given us. i've always kind of been annoyed by the idea of getting fully invested in one particular church. i think its because i've witnessed people worship church over worshiping God, and i was always so afraid of that happening that i never allowed myself to get involved. we are invested in a church with every single characteristic that i ever hoped for in a church. our pastor is an authentic man of God whose singular goal is to bring the hearts of people to God. every part of his life says that this is true. he has taken the time to invest in Omar and to challenge him to be a better man. he has believed in him and called things out of him that may not have happened without his encouragement. he understands grace and second chances and places integrity as the highest priority in peoples' character. i've never grown more spiritually than i have in this place with these people. we are surrounded by people who are authentically following Jesus and loving others. and its the little things too. our church understands the importance of adoption. although it is only a little more than a year old, we are investing in orphans and widows in our community and abroad. there are multiple families in our church who have adopted children and are so good at parenting them. my best friend's husband is the worship pastor. our friend, vincent, is the guitar player. omar is the children's ministry director and they think its cool that he decorated his office in vintage super hero art. i'm just stoked to be challenged by the sermons, filled by the areas that we get to serve, and brought to the throne of grace each week in worship. i didn't realize what an important role being involved in an authentic church would play in our lives until now.

i really feel like a grown up and its weird and great and i love omar and the other rad people in our life and holy moly we are are so blessed. life is goooood. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012


2011 will go down as the craziest year of my life. i have never grown so much in a single year. i am stronger, braver, more humble, more grateful, and more in awe of the power of Christ than i have even been. a few things that happened this year (in no particular order):
- we were on national television (wheel of fortune) where we won a trip to puerto rico!
-i was awarded "new teacher of the year" for CCSD!
-we remodeled our house!
-we hiked vernal falls in yosemite, and we didnt even die!
-we stopped drinking alcohol completely.
-i went to california more times than i can count. at least more than 6 times. 
-we drove to san francisco and got to see the golden gate bridge!
-i got a master's degree!!!!
-i asked my boss if she would double the size of my classroom and hire my best friend, jocelyn, to co-teach with me and she did! we have 9 of the cutest, best, kids ever. our kids have grown and are doing things that we were told they would never do.
-toured hollywood with my baby sister and stayed at a fancy hotel.
-we camped on the beach with 6 of our friends!
-jocelyn (see above) went from being a classmate, to being one of my very best friends. she gave her life to Jesus 3 months ago, and has immensely blessed my life with her presence in it!
-Jesus saved my marriage. He gave us a hope and a future when we saw none. redemption has never been more tangible than it was in 2011!!!!!
-watched my best friend give birth to her perfect little boy. we are obsessed with him!
- omar started a job at the raddest church in america. he spends everyday serving God with my best friend's husband.  rad!
-went on a mermaid trip with my favorite girls to disneyland and rode the mermaid ride!!!
-omar got into seminary to be a pastor!
-we started the process to get our foster care license!
-we spent 8 days in puerto rico riding horses through the rainforest, hiking, kayaking in bioluminescent bays,  best vacation of my life and it was FREE! thanks, pat sajak!

(in making this list, i realized a few things. one- this is a blessed life. i can't believe i'm living it. two- 2011 was a LONG year. i had to look at facebook pictures, because i didn't remember most of what happened in the first six months of this year. pure, utter, chaos that i can't believe happened, and praise the lord! we came out on top.)