Category Archives: Wife

Faith of a father

On the infamous September 11, 2001, I had know Joel barely over 1 year.
He had only met the Lord Jesus Christ as His Savior 3 months prior to our meeting.

Our year together was busy. We fell in love. We battled again our old man & our flesh vs. our faith. We got pregnant. We got married. We got news our baby may (or may not) have a problem & may not live.

Then on 9/11/2001, we started a 3rd day of labor with news of the tragedy in New York.

Moments like this shape & define who we are.
Where is our hope in chaos?

Clearly, we were all powerless that day. It wasn’t hard to realize there was no man to turn to.

But my husband led my family in turning to the only HOPE, & I remember this through the words of Pedro the Lion’s song, “Promise”, recited by Joel that day:

if i look up and the sky’s not there,
is there any reason i should be scared
when a promise, is a promise, i know

I am blessed to walk along side a man who only hopes in the Lord.

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11 years of moments

How do you sum up 11 years of marriage?

In One Thousand Gifts-style, I’ll count beautiful moments with Joel…

  • April 2000, when Joel’s confident piercing stare intimidated me during my Starbuck’s interview
  • Summer 2000, which I spent in Missouri, when Joel appeared in my prayers
  • Early August 2000, when my heart leapt because Tim told me Joel had become a Christian in June
  • Late August 2000, when I was strangely devastated that Joel, a stranger I had only met 2-3 times, arrived at Starbucks with a girl
  • Later August 2000, when I cornered him in the kitchen at a bible study, needing to understand this 2.5 month Christian had so much discernment, wisdom, & Biblical knowledge
  • When we all went to IHOP after bible study, and I tried to be cool about sitting close to him…but it was totally obvious
  • When Tim was arranging to go to the movies with Joel, and I wanted to tag along, so I chose “Coyote Ugly”…desperate times call for embarrassing choices
  • Early Sept 2000, when he finally asked me to lunch on the way home from the Shreveport trip
  • The next 9 days when we spent every moment we weren’t working at the Kettle or Denny’s, discussing the Bible, missions, life
  • When we kissed for the first time at Taco Cabana on Red Bluff
  • When we turned on my street, and he said, “You know we are getting married, right?”, and my heart leapt, and I said, “Yes…”
  • When we were sitting by the window at the Kettle & Joel called his mom and told her we needed to come to dinner is they could meet me because we were getting married
  • October 2000, when I took him to Dallas to hear the wonderful Dr John Piper and Joel understood missions the way I do
  • When we discovered we were pregnant & he jokingly said, “When you pray, do you really ask God for a baby with Down syndrome?”, never fearing my dream

Those are just the moments in the 1st 6 months…

Ode to Joel

Today is a day to celebrate many things:
Love
Perseverance
Obsession
But mainly Joel

When we married in Feb 2001, he had known the grace of our Savior 7 months. Yet he was already reflecting Him beautifully.

In the 9 yrs of our marriage, he has been the steady to my extreme swaying.

He has been the slow and hopeful to my erratic, driving goals.

Joel came into the body of Christ with a clear longing to be mentored and shaped. When he found this difficult to locate, he fought for it, then turned around and became what he had needed for others.

I admire that so much.

I will follow Him wherever God leads him.

As my wedding band states, “Wherever you go, I will go. Your people will be my people. Your God [is] my God.”

Here are vows Joel wrote for our wedding. If you have heard him preach, it should be no surprise they are saturated by scripture:

Following in the example of Christ
I come into this union to serve, not to be served. (Matt 20-28)
And wherever you go, I will go
Where you stay, I will stay
Your people will be my people
And your God will be my Gos
Where you die, I will die,
And may the Lord deal with me be it ever so severly if anything but death separates us. (Ruth 1:16-17)

You have stolen my heart, my bride
With one glance of your eyes,
You have stolen my heart. (Song of Solomon 4:9)

I do.

life is beautiful

How often do you step back and decide how you feel about your life?

I think that I spend a lot of time tweaking my life, knit-picking things I want to improve. Without realizing it, I have not assessed my life, the life of our little family, to decide if I like it or not.

This weekend, Joel, the kids, my mom and I were attending the Clear Lake Down Syndrome support group‘s spring picnic @ Challenger 7 park. We bumped into my ex-boyfriend, Gabe, swinging his 3-yr old daughter just a few swings over from my Bella.
I haven’t seen Gabe since 4-weeks after starting to date Joel. I saw him on the road, and we said hello. That was 8 yrs ago.

What I realized standing there, surrounded by my little troupe and his’, is that my life is beautiful.

  • I am so proud of my husband, that he’s a churchplanter, a pastor, an entreprenuir, and a great dad.
  • My kids are so stinking cute and awesome.
  • God has assembled my dream life, and I love it!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Contending for Marriage… inspired by seeing ONCE tonight

About a year ago, a friend called me. She wanted feedback on a decision. She was feeling like she had developed more than friendship feelings for a man other than her husband… she had already discontinued the friendship with this man. But she was trying to figure out if she should tell her husband:
– Why hurt him if she had resolved it?
– Would this be “keeping secrets”?
My initial reaction was “tell him” (her husband), because secrets seem like seeds to grow distance and sin in a marriage. But I also told her I would pray alongside her about this decision.
And in the end, she did not tell him. And her explanation sounded good to me:
Just as we expect our husbands to take every thought captive in obedience to Christ, but we don’t need a “report” on them doing this. So, as long as it had been halted at the temptation stage, without sin involved, there was no reason to hurt her husband by this information.

I think this is a really valuable experience for me to have shared – seeing how important it is to not just “be faithful” but to identify things that threaten your marriage – and stop them.

Recently, I feel like I am bombarded by a mind-set that I believe threatens marriage. I don’t know a name to call it, just a description:

In some recent episodes of Grey’s Anatomy, a married person has a very compelling connection with someone who is NOT their spouse. As George fought emotions he felt for Izzie, while being married to Callie, I found myself rooting for the romantic immediate gratification, rather than the commitment to the marriage covenant. In fact, it made me think, “Poor George – too bad he’s married.”

This seems to be the tension put forth in many shows and movies – is marriage a bondage that should be broken for personal gratification?

I felt so frustrated by this also in In the Land of Women, where Meg Ryan is struggling with a mid-life crisis… and makes friends with the young guy visiting his grandmother across the street. They walk the dog together, talk about life. And somehow, this walking-the-dog friendship becomes more meaningful than that of her husband – and they kiss.

We all seem to realize that the pressure to be perfect physically is on women today. But do we realize the threat that this message is to our marriages?

Tonight, this tension came up again in a really good movie, Once. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, you may not wanna read the rest of the blog… up to you.

The great thing about the movie ONCE was that while it brought up the same tension – intimate friendship between a married woman and a guy who was not her husband – it was resolve in a marriage-honoring way. I will highly recommend the movie, ONCE. Good music, really good story.

What I don’t like, though, is that while the characters make the honorable choices, I still left with the feeling that they missed out.
In fact, when I finally saw the husband of the married girl in the final scene of the movie, I realized that I had pictured an ogre – someone “unworthy” of marriage – to justify that I wanted his wife to do what seemed best in the moment. While the morally right thing happened, I wanted the girl to have experienced the potential love affair, even if it had cost her everything.

I don’t like this de-sensitization and glamorization of relationships outside of marriage. Maybe that’s why The Notebook is one of my favorites – as much as dementia depresses me, the movie shows a beautiful depiction of a husband loving a wife even when she is hard to love and could be easily left.

I intend to beat the odds (60% divorce rate WITHIN the church) and I want to be realistic about the forces working against US. I am just realizing that message I have taken pleasure in watching could be planting self-centeredness and self-gratifying POISON within me.

Hurricane Katrina

Well, since I work with the homeless population, things have really gotten busy. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, we have had alot of refugees from Louisiana. It has actually been really fun to have such a fast paced work environment. I figured out about a month ago that I like my job when I am busy. I don’t like it when I am bored.
I am really trying to refocus on the goal. So what is the goal… to glorify God. But what is the practical application of this.
As a mom, I am really working on playing more, bossing less. The last 2 days have been good. We have gone in the backyard and played hard after I get home from work. The kids seem to be responding to me better and acting out less – maybe they are just too tired to misbehave! I really want my kids to see me the way I see my mom. She demonstrates who Jesus is for me all the time.
As a wife, I feel like I need a goal. We have been so busy, I don’t know who to glorify God by my interactions with Joel. I have making an effort to nag less… hopefully, that is glorifying to God. I also want to support Joel more. Right now, I am in a holding pattern, waiting for him to attend the Acts 29 Bootcamp so I can follow him in the next steps for the Basilica Community.
As a child of God and member of the body of Christ, I feel like I have lost my plan. Before Darin, I had certain things I was directed to do for our church. I need to figure out if these are still the things to do.

Well, there was a big PAUSE here while I went to do some Star of Hope work…. it was really good. I got to talk to a lady for her extension (which means I decide if she can stay another month here)… she looked very sad. And for once, I had the boldness to share the Gospel. At least sprinkle some seeds. Pray for her… for confidentiality, call her GH.

Life update

My life is a very busy adventure. Joel and I have been married now for 4.33 years, and only know each other for 5 years… in that time, we have had 2 kids, adopted 1 kid, moved from 3 apartments, lived with his grandma, and bought a house. Every other year, he has worked and I have been a stay-at-home mom… then the other years, he goes to school and I work. This is my year.
My day job
While Joel and I were dating, and struggling to “stay out of trouble” if you know what I mean, we started visiting the homeless people that live under Pierce Elevated (the freeway) in downtown Houston. They were so fascinating, and appreciated what ever food or blankets we could scrounge up to bring with us. And I started wanting to know what resources existed to help them. So I applied to volunteer with the Star of Hope, who has 3 homeless shelters here. But on the interview to volunteer, they recruited me for a job.
I worked at the Star of Hope the whole time I was pregnant with Arabella (2000-2001). And I loved it. I felt like me skills in organizing and planning could really help direct people. When I quit to take care of Arabella, I was sad to leave.
So for 3 years, I tried to figure out how to come back. When I worked in 2002, I needed more flexiblity than SOH could offer, so I worked for ECI. But this year, when it came time to go back to work full-time, I was ready. I returned to the Star of Hope Women & Family Shelter in January 2005. Alot has changed since my last stint here… It has become very “business” like, specializing more in having a process than actually connecting with the homeless people. Honestly, I have trouble being here now. I am praying God will give me the direction on how I can make the new setup here feel meaningful. It doesn’t feel helpful.
But the schedule rocks
The best part of SOH is the schedule. I get off at 3:30, 2.5 miles from home, so I am home by 3:40 tops. From then on, I am 100% mom.
The real job
Like the triage nurse in the ER, I walk in and start planning which munchkin needs the most immediate care… Arabella’s fussing – get her a snack; Darin’s sleeping – throw his bigs and clothes in the washer; Holden’s bouncing off the walls – take him outside to swing. This is the work I truly love. I am exhausted and completely fulfilled.
Having babies, the pregnancy part, was hard for me. But caring for babies, daily, constantly, is not hard. I love it!
On being a wife
The job that I focus on the least, but wish I could focus on more, is being a wife. Joel is a great husband. He actually goes to school and takes care of the baby, carpools the kids to and from school, and is preparing to pastor a church. He does alot. And my usual response to him is to ask for more – more help, more time, more of him. I am a pain in his butt. But I don’t want to be… I wish we could just hang out more. That is how our love started – just spending 8-9 hours talking in a diner. We are definitely best friends.