It’s starting to feel cool again in the breezes of western PA and our silent blog is indicative of a summer that was hopefully spent went but was more often than not spent with me working and Ian graciously watching Netflix. As if that’s really a challenge for him…:)
We’ve vacationed three times with family, toes in the sand at the beach, towels on the tiki bar at the lake, and feet propped on the deck and the mountain lodge.
We’re still working on walking and speech and painting and figuring out what entry into year five of marriage looks like.
We’re praying for what’s next, what God wants to use us for next, and how to fit it in to a life that just needs to be slower because brain injuries just need space to exist.
Thank you, anyone who still reads this and still prays for us.
we talk about these a lot, the littles, the little big moments that give, something.
because sometimes (most of the time) the big things don’t make sense. but the little glimpses allow us to keep breathing.
like the way for that moment the light hit just right and causes you to stop and watch.
or the way her hair flutters in the stroller, as her blue green eyes search the sky to understand the colors.
or the crackling of a morning fire on the patio.
they’re little things that, much more on hard days, mean someone knows how much we need to see Him.
we hear her yelling from her crib and making her dinosaur sounds from the johnny jump up and giggling when her mom tickles her.
her little stuffed friends are strewn on the floor and her bottles line the dishwasher and her cloth diapers fill the washing machine tub.
and her little smiles greet her uncle every morning because in this season, she’s sharing a home with her mommy, daddy, nuncle ian and aunt rara. she brings more happiness into our little bungalow than we had before and opening our home to share with family means building the best community love could ask for.
No excuses for the silence on the blog except for summer + work + waiting to feel inspired with words. the first two come to us without work but the third always drags behind.
we’ve spent the first weeks of summer in the bungalow, with our new roommates, the cutest of which is 9 months old. we’ve traveled to the mountains to share our story with my childhood church and were joined by so many from our bridal party. we sat on the beach for a week with siblings and babies who had never seen the ocean before and who filled us with curiosity and wonder. we’ve sat by the pool with friends for the Fourth of July and celebrated a sibling and cousin’s wedding. and now we head to the lake, Ian’s favorite place in the world, for a week sure to be bound with happiness despite loss, and where Ian will be surrounded by voices that he’s known always.
and he still works hard to walk, and get better at talking, and he’s re-learning to fold laundry and empty dishwashers and clean floors, all because he wants to help his wifey.
so this summer has been full but we have been well and God has always been with us.
a surprise nomination from my other in law for a scholarship to attend a leadership conference. a retreat to equip me to bring a women’s event to our town in 2016, a warm escape to florida in the fall, and a chance to meet other women who love God.
if you feel inclined to vote for me to be awarded the scholarship, check out this link.
(we don’t actually) but that was the series we had the fun chance to kick-off at our siblings’ church in Chambersburg. if you feel like listening to what we shared, here’s the link!!
then travel here for more things we have coming up!
“pray that we would know God sees us,” i told my sister. i needed it because it doesn’t always seem that He does.
and then i came home from work to find a small pot of pansies, and found out that his hands had filled the pot with dirt, and had placed the flowers, and have covered them back in with soil.
“ian what do you want to do to help larissa?” his occupational therapist asked.
“plant her flowers. and a garden”
he didn’t know what i had been thinking the week before, while i was looking at the empty beds. they were filled with wood chips but i knew that had potenial. i also knew i just didn’t have time and just didn’t know how to do it right. i didn’t understand plants that much and didn’t know how to get the soil right or figure out the amount of sun that cilantro and basil would need.
and then ian told the therapist about the garden. and he didn’t know i had been thinking that i wanted one. he wasn’t outside watching me while i looked at the beds.
but God saw it.
and God put it on Ian’s heart.
and through the person that means the most to me, God showed me that He sees me.
and i believe nothing but that it’s because He heard those weak prayers, prayers that i would believe that He sees me.
someday soon the flowers that he potted will continue to grow and the plants that will fill the beds will shoot to reach the sun and i will know that i am seen.
six of our ten ways
6. I have to make time for my spouse.
when we were first married, i had no idea what my priorities needed to be as a wife. i still don’t. and i had so many desires that really were good and supporting of ian, like creating a home, learning new recipes, hosting parties, doing volunteer work, seeking out fellowship.
but sometimes i was doing those in a way that meant less time for ian, and less quality time with me when i actually still had some fuel in me.
it took me awhile, and i’m still learning, that i had to make time for my spouse. because sometimes just waking up next to each other, while that’s more time than anyone else has with me, is not enough. we needed quality time.
i’m also still learning that ian’s pace of life is different than mine. he needs to have time for rest. he needs to take his team to eat. he needs more time to get dressed. and big crowds aren’t always good for him.
part of being ian’s spouse is letting myself be disabled, and making room and time for him to be the priority. for a long time, and maybe for the rest of our marriage, that means spending less time hosting social events. less time serving outside of the house after work. not abandoning any of them completely, because ian knows how much i need them, but not putting them in front of ian.
i’m gone enough as it is – full time work means a lot of time away from ian. he needs quality time with me. and because of ian’s disability, i see the practical ways that he needs me, that translate to his emotional needs, too. if he were healthy, maybe it would be harder for us to see that.
to my husband at thirty,
at twenty you decided to love me, and let you heart be filled with someone young and someone somewhat shy and someone who needed to learn how to love.
to really, actually love.
we both needed to learn it, our young hearts knowing better how to love selfishly then to give. we loved because it was easy and because we thought we somehow fulfilled each other. we loved because we were happy together and because we really actually didn’t need to know how to love any different way. yet.
at twenty one you started shopping for something to put on my hand to show me that this imperfect love was what you wanted forever. i knew you loved me better than i loved you. i could feel it in your confidence. your love was growing and the gut feeling that this love you had wouldn’t change because God was in it grew too and you were fighting for me.
i didn’t know God like that yet. i didn’t know myself like that yet.
by twenty two you had disappeared. you were hidden in yourself, in that secret place that i’ll never be invited into, the secret of your coma. that place that kept you from talking to me but didn’t keep you from loving me.
“his heart rate goes highest when you talk to him”
“he looks at you differently”
“he follows you with his eyes”
by twenty five your voice came back and your love fought hard enough to believe that God would allow you to be the husband you needed to be. and so you asked me.
and now at thirty, my dear lovey at thirty, you still love me better and fight harder than i do for you.
you always want to be with me.
you just want to be with me.
you don’t put expectations on me. you don’t put requirements on me. you don’t care if your party on saturday won’t be decorated because it took all my brains to get thirty people in from out of town. you don’t care that the floors are a mess or that i haven’t scrubbed the shower in a month or that our dirty laundry is stll on our bedroom floor.
you love me like this. in my imperfection. in the inconveniences i cause you. in the harsh words i say and the lunches i forget to prepare for you and the light bulbs that have been burnt out for months but i’m too lazy to change them. in my body that doesn’t feel like it used to and when i wonder out loud what it used to look like you say “always have and will be hot.”
you just enjoy me. in the way i’m made.
and in that, you show me how God loves me. through you, God reminds me that He enjoys and delights in me exactly as He created me to be.
no expectations. no works.
thank you, lovey, for living this out for me. i want your heart of love.
here’s to thirty.
love you always
4. Christ will never leave the church Both Ian and I were raised in incredibly strong marriages. My parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary this September and I have yet to ever hear an argument that actually felt like an argument.
Ian’s parent’s were untimely separated by death after 28 years of marriage. In our childhoods, because our parents were faithful to each other and they acts out of love for one another, one parent leaving was never an option. It was never a fear that Ian and I had. It simply was not an option.
We stepped into our marriage with the same mindset – that this is for the long haul. This doesn’t just end because one of us feels like they want something else. Christ never left the church. We had to commit, and keep committing, that we will never leave this marriage, physically, emotionally or spiritually.
I think that one way God protects us from leaving, or wanting to leave, is through acts of humility and forgiveness. One night, I found myself particularly tempted to lust after another able-bodied man. I fought that night between giving into my thoughts and turning away from them. I talked to Ian about it that night, confessing what I had been struggling with and how much I didn’t want to.
“What can I do for you?” he asked, not angry that I had the lust in the first place, or jealous, or judging. “Can you help me think through this?” “It’s a holy God you’re up against,” he said. And then he prayed for me, and showed me that he will not leave me or our marriage. His forgiveness tore down what Satan may have been trying to build. Christ will never leave the church.
From Ian – God is faithful. He never leaves us. Satan uses arguments to break up marriages, but God is faithful and just. He’s there when we most need him when we want to argue with each other.
5. Marriage is not about us. – “The husband is bound by love to ensure that his wife finds their marriage a source of rich fulfillment and joyful service to the Lord.” -ESV Study Bible notes
Not rich fulfillment and joyful service to myself.
Ian doesn’t do this by making me feel good about myself. He does this by washing me with the Word and by pointing me to heaven and Christ’s accomplished work and building my identity in Christ. He does this by praying for me when I’m feeling anxious. He does this by asking me what he can do to help when I’m struggling at work. He does this by telling me that it’s a holy God that I’m up against instead of taking it personally when I confess to him my temptations to lust. Loving a spouse is not always an emotional response.
From Ian – I second it all. You have to realize emotions aren’t always truth. When you do, you start at the beginning of this message of applying these truths.