Tag Archives: grow

But Mostly, for Help.

brit&ausfeb1013

Tonight i journaled for the first time in what feels like months. And it was with a rawness that has been avoided for even longer. I processed a hard conversation I had tonight and got embarrassingly ugly on the pages of my new, pretty, gold and white hard-covered journal.

My immediate thought after journalling tonight was regarding my Ugly. I wish we could decide on the degree of Ugly we wrestle with. I’m not talking about the Ugly we all love to hate and occasionally brag about; the crooked smile, being a clean-freak, being too loyal of a friend, etc.

Crooked smiles and cleaning habits are pretend uglies that we use to try to disguise our deeper issues. Either that, or they’re our lame attempts at small talk. There is Ugly in us that we don’t even want to admit in our own quiet thoughts. Jealousy, anger, incredible impatience, insecurities, comparison, a lack of care for the needy, etc. These are the Uglies that keep us up at night. Maybe I’m only one of a few, so I’ll speak for myself.

Tonight I let some of my Ugly come out as I processed this hard conversation. I’ve always feared admitting such deep Ugly, even inside a private journal because somehow I felt giving it shape would also give it breath to come alive and start taking over my every thought and word and sooner or later it would be some self-fulfilling prophesy that I unleashed. So, I’ve usually only penned the essence of it, never truly letting it out of its dark cage. It’s been more like holding vomit in my mouth, just waiting for the urge to subside until I decide to swallow it again, ignoring the fact that it will burn and rage internally, causing deeper sickness and destruction, prolonging the inevitable purge that comes before peace while attempting to convince myself I never had the vomit so close to the edge of my lips in the first place.

But tonight I thought about shining light on the dark Ugly. Holding it inside has only gotten me stuck and stressed and it tastes bad, so why not try the exact opposite. Before I could change my mind, I admitted all of it. Ugly thoughts, Ugly feelings, Ugly admissions and Ugly accusations. I felt incredibly raw and frighteningly vulnerable. Like, walking-down-a-dark-alley-yelling-loudly-to-scare-away-potential-threats-and-running-faster-than-I-thought-possible vulnerable. But I made it through unscathed. And not only did the honesty NOT give breath to this Ugly, it actually seemed to suffocate it.

I prayed it all out, really. I trust the God who says to cast all my cares upon Him. So casting I did. In my written prayer I yelled, I didn’t hold back the emotional cocktail of anger and sadness, of disappointment and surrender. I wept and I left nothing unsaid. I opened the vaults and went down the list of scary things I always thought were not okay to admit. I remembered the saying,

if you can’t say it out loud, it owns you.

I will not be owned anymore. I laid every bit of it at the feet of Jesus and asked for His wisdom. I asked hard questions. I voiced disappointments and fears, and I acknowledged his goodness, more as a declaration of faith, if I’m keeping things honest.

My brother has clung to the hope: Beauty for the Ugly. And tonight I am clinging to it as well. I asked God to show me the beauty for all this ugly. Asking, in part, to fuel my faith that there actually will be beauty in exchange. I asked for redemption and restoration. I asked for peace in the midst of chaos, confusion and brokenness. I asked for humility where I’m prideful. I asked for breakthrough, for promises, for joy, for triumph and mostly, for help.

So, tonight I lay bare. Slightly embarrassed of the Ugly I unleashed. It’s not the brag-worthy kind of ugly people love to hate about themselves. It’s a train-wreck-why haven’t-you-gone-to-counseling-yet Ugly. But, I’m very ready to sift through it all for the sake of Beauty. My heart feels a mixture of relief and anticipation. Relief for the freedom this admission has granted, knowing I am in trustworthy and productive, kind hands, and anticipation for God to respond.

He can handle my Ugly. He isn’t shocked by it, He isn’t surprised by it and He isn’t shaken by it. I am so thankful that I, too, am not shaken like I thought I’d be. Turns out, this rock on which I stand is very solid.

Cheers to unleashing the Ugly and not letting it own us. To the beauty and hope that lies ahead, and to all the crooked smiles and clean freaks.

-Bee

“Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Matt. 11:28

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” 
Romans 8:26

“Cast your cares on on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22

“He will give a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair…” Isaiah 61:3

“Call to me and I will answer you, showing you great and mighty things which you do not know.” Jeremiah 33:3

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A wedding in the summer

Love like there is no tomorrow, and if tomorrow comes, love again.  -Max Lucado


Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2808-19-12

I just can’t get over the beautiful photos of Jenny and Dave on their wedding day.

 

They were married at Rancho Guajome Adobe Park in Southern California; the same place Oz and I had our wedding. It was so much fun being back there, reminiscing over our own special day. Now it’s their turn. Its a day of calm and nerves all wrapped in one emotion. It’s a day to say goodbye to singlehood and hello to a forever of us. Jenny and Dave are a we now.  I could not be more thrilled for them. Diving into the mysterious and thrilling union of marriage is something quite adventurous.  The depth of what you discover is immeasurable; you discover things about yourself, your spouse, God, love, selfishness, servanthood, family, patience, preference, honor, respect, tidiness, the good, the bad, the ugly and the absolutely beautiful. Never a dull moment and always something to learn.  They are simply gorgeous…inside and out.

Marriage is looking mighty fine on them so far.

Enjoy the photos here and leave a little note for the handsome photographer while you’re there 😉  Here’s a few teasers and some of my favorites.

 

Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2709-57-40Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2711-06-17   Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2711-17-50 Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2711-24-47 Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2805-08-05 Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2805-13-17 Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2805-23-23Soulé Wedding 2013-07-2710-59-43

All photos and editing done by the amazing Aussch Photos.

For contact information, visit his site (link above).

Love always,

Bee

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I used a Word document instead.

 

Austin&Britnie-22

I love to write. I know I can’t be the only one who discovers how I actually feel only after reading what I write. I pour out my messy heart to my journal or my, in this case, Word document. Then I read it. Then I hear myself. Then I understand a little bit more whats been making all that racket inside. I don’t start with it all figured out. But I don’t finish with it figured out either. But I do, in the process figure something out. Even if its how to get some relief. Writing is a kind of unique balm that soothes wounds until they can get some proper attention. It even helps show me where the proper attention should come from. It helps me make sense of my mess. It helps me understand how to label my emotions instead of letting them run wild, nameless and unguided. And I can’t say I’m alone in my writing. It’s always been the clearest way I’ve heard God speak to me. I think that’s why I adore keeping journals. Its like a getaway with me and God.

Writing is also a place where I can be brave. I’m learning to be brave, really. I’m not fully there yet. Here’s some background on that…

I used to keep negative things out of my journal and go straight to the hope and a prayer. If I was blaming anyone in my journaling it was probably myself. But even then, I knew that how I was seeing myself in that low moment was not in alignment with the perfect love my God had and still has for me and that my identity was in Him and not in my mistakes and falling short. So self-hatred never had a chance to shine for too long before my Defender came to my rescue and reminded me who I was and even still, who I am. This fear of writing negativity down didn’t come from a fear you may assume…I didn’t fear that someone would find the gossip between my pages and me, read it and be offended or mad at me…I feared that if I let a negative comment be confessed even in the privacy of my locked pages, that I would start to believe it and give a nasty life and power to its existence. And existence that I allowed. Lies are woven in and out of negativity. Lies about people’s worth, about their strengths and gifts.  Lies about their own hurt and their motives behind their actions that cause me pain. Those are lies I am not willing to believe. About myself or others I do life with. At least, I try not to believe. Sometimes I am deceived.

I have known the power of the tongue since a young age. I have clung tightly to writing kindness and truth and declaring God’s promises that are true instead of hashing out gossip and hatred in my secret written confessions. I’ve not done this perfectly, but since I was young I have been convicted to be cautious with what I write down. I have certainly spoken negatively about others….I will be the first to plead guilty of not thinking before I speak and hurting others in the process. But to me, as irrational as it may seem, there has been something more forever about documenting harshness in a journal. It seems more decided. Like an engraving on a stone. I don’t want to record any kind of bashing of another person whom I should be uplifting and praying for. What if archeologists find my journal hundreds of years from now and all I offer them about the identity of so-and-so is how they always failed me and were incompetent and immature and mean or ________?? I see the double-standard here. I see the inconsistency. Writing vs. Speaking…whats the difference. really? I still don’t have it figured out.

But about bravery. I see that in my habit of not writing negatively, I’ve confused it with not writing honestly. And when I don’t write honestly, I don’t get better. And I want to get better at handling hardship and struggle. I’m talking about the hard stuff. Not just the hard stuff within myself, but with others. I am starting to confess the emotions I’ve always been scared to admit in fear that I’d become some kind of anger-monster that only survives off of entitlement and bitterness. But the ironic thing is that I still have the negative things in my head and they have been eating me alive! They are still working to destroy me. I’m still somehow feeding them and they are growing. They’ve gatta go.

I’ve started to be more raw and real in my writing. They outcome is odd. I don’t always feel better about it; whatever the it is at the time. But I do feel like I take steps forward. I start realizing which aches are from which hurts and the pride I have inside wreaking chaos. And in writing honestly about the hurts caused by other people, I’m challenged with loving them in spite of their behavior…I’m confronted with loving them in the midst of their own chaos and it’s manifestations. Yikes. That gets hard. This is my starting point to healing and to abundant relationships. It’s my starting point to understanding more deeply how the Love of the Father stretched out to me when I too was guilty and offensive and in great need of grace. I need grace everyday. I need to realize these things in order to get better. In order to really love someone else from the purest, healthiest place I can. Being brave and admitting the ugly stuff is hard sometimes. I have to submit my emotions to my God and allow Him to discipline me to not dive into a rant-session, but to surrender my aches and frustrations so I don’t have to be weighed down by them anymore. It’s a fine line in journaling between being upset about something and still move towards health and crushing somebody for their responsibility or involvement in an offense which would be a big step backwards. Crushing people is never a step forward. For anyone.

In all of this I am finding more and more that I am in desperate need of my Jesus. He proves himself faithful again and again and again and again and dares me to draw nearer. I can’t figure out life in the big or the small without his guidance and patience and kindness that pulls me into a safe place; without His mighty love that turns my ashes into beauty and my defeated heart into a something strong and courageous. And whole.

 

Perhaps this post is just as messy as my at times nameless and unguided emotions, but perhaps that’s the appropriate layout.

Messy.

  Austin&Britnie-81{{photos via}}

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” -Matthew 11:28, NIV

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” -James 1:2-5, NIV

bee

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When being wrong is better

IMG_2433*

I thought today was Thursday instead of Wednesday. Literally all day. I based my decisions off of the “fact” that it was Thursday and yesterday was Wednesday and tomorrow is Friday. But this worked out in my favor, HA! Now, I am well-prepared for Friday’s events AND I still have Real Thursday to finish what I couldn’t finish in Fake Thursday! Bonus!

Today {Wednesday}, I picked up Oz from work early because he has been feeling sick the past couple of days. Sick enough to feel like he can’t teach his class. This is not the norm. The flu is double-gnarly this season so when he said he felt achy I cancelled my afternoon agenda, headed straight for the store and stocked up on anything fresh, filled with vitamin C, green, red and orange, along with some ginger, meds and Airborne. No flu for this house, nuh-uh!

Something I’m learning in all of this? I love taking care of my husband. Not just because it feels good to take care of someone else, its deeper than that. There has been something in me today that has a drive to care for him and tend to his needs. I’ve been working in a gear I didn’t know I had access to. There has been a new layer of thinking to plan out what he needs tomorrow, to think to draw him a bath filled with Epsom salt, to watch what he eats, to remember when I last gave him his cold & flu pills, his airborne, to make sure he doesn’t take his NyQuil to late. And I am not exhausted from it.

I am energized and refreshed. And no, my husband is not incapable of taking care of himself. And I know I’m not the controlling type to have to do everything for him…trust me. No, today I sensed the grace of God to give me a compassion beyond my depths and ability to nurture my husband in the way he needed me today. Beyond my natural selfish ways, something clicked in me and my goal was to be available to him and go out of my way, although it was no inconvenience, to love him.  Now, my heart is full. Not as in a pat on my own back, but in the giving today, I received the blessing. I got to invest in his life in the unique way it called for today. It was also the grace of God that allowed Oz to receive it. And because of that, there has been a great, intimate and fulfilling exchange. Sometimes its hard to receive help, or care from people. But really that’s just our pride. It’s also our pride that keeps us from sacrificing for others. But we miss out. Pride cheats us of blessing. From intimacy. Relationship. Experience**. It is a stagnant and stinky place to be.

Today I thought about what it must be like to care for my children one day. How much more they need to be nurtured… And although I won’t understand the exhaustion that I hear comes with motherhood until I myself am there, I bet that same motivation and without-question kind of response to care for them will kick in by the grace of God.

Today is a great day to appreciate my husband. Without him and without our marriage, albeit difficult at times, I would definitely be missing out on some amazing revelations and blessings. God is amazing the way he works in all things. He is ever-present and always active in our lives. I suppose this post is my way of pausing to recognize Him and the sweet way he weaves through my daily little happenings in quite profound ways. His love is great, mighty and unfathomably deep.

I am so grateful for where we are in life. It is nowhere near perfect, but that is not our goal. We are where He wants us to be and He is with us. In Him there is peace, refuge and rest.

Heres to another day, my second Thursday. May it be as lively and satisfying as the first.

IMG_2793

Zulu.

*Oz wasn’t smoking while sick…that would be a giant no-no. Nor was I knitting tonight…although that would be acceptable. Both photos were taken at an earlier time.

**Please check out Beth Moore’s poem My Name is Pride, It has been ministering to me for years. Here is a link for you to read it for yourself.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tee Gee Eye Eff

Cheers to the weekend! Oz just left to his parents house to make something quite amazing for our still-bare apartment! I am so thrilled to have the new piece in our living room by next week! Pictures to come…I hear they are worth a thousand words.

This weekend we are going to celebrate two dear friends at their wedding! I love, love, love weddings. And thankfully, being a quarter of a century in age means we get to attend lots of weddings. I mean, a lot.

I’ve been getting more work lately which is such a blessing! I love working as an American Sign Language interpreter and its a bonus that I get to work with kids! Two of my greatest passions all in one job. However, today is a day off and I’ve been quite slow with getting out the door. It’s half passed three and I’m almost ready to “start” my errands. As I leave, I’m keeping the following in mind to remember what is actually important.

beauty

I am trying to cultivate a mindset that keeps things simple. I tend to over-analyze, over-think, over-decorate, save, store and hoard things I don’t need, haven’t used and won’t used. This week I am working on my closet. Having just moved, we see how much stuff we have. Clothes, shoes, bags, doilies (i know, odd…), rugs, art supplies, chotskies & other trinkets, picture frames, etc. I could honestly go on.

And on.

And on.

And on.

But by simplifying our belongings it really cleans out our thoughts and frees us from whatever hold those extras had on us, however they had it. And with all that clutter gone, my heart breathes again and I see again the many many many blessings Oz and I have in our sweet life. There is room again to appreciate the amazing gifts from our Father instead of be consumed with the unnecessary and not actually beneficial add-ons that at some point I thought I couldn’t (or shouldn’t) live without.

So here’s to an amazing weekend, glorious in all its simplicity.

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Excited & Blessed

Happy 2013! I love celebrating the new year. Especially the last 2…This year has already proved to be an incredible one. There is just a sense in the air that this is a good year. Lots of favor, blessing, joy and peace. There is a happy rest in my heart. One that I have been longing for for some time now. There is already a fresh squeeze of creativity and motivation to dive into projects, independently and collectively with Oz and friends. I am beyond excited for this year. Beyond. We are settling into our new apartment in the community that we adore. What a sweet gift to live next to great friends.

Here’s how we closed out twenty-twelve:

Oz & Movember met again. However, they stay together pretty much all year long. And I support it.

IMG_1958

We kissed at a friends wedding:

IMG_1448

He finally got his tattoo that goes with mine. One year-ish later.  And best part, my brother got to do the honors. This all went down in this fabulous shop.

IMG_1760

My first Black Friday experience with these gems:

IMG_1594

Sunday Fundays with #ghlg:

IMG_1758

Seaport Village is always stocked with beautiful views, sunsets, people watching and great chai lattes from Upstart Crow

IMG_1757

Christmas sailing with my family!

IMG_2177

Seems San Diego’s great weather is also her greatest fault…no wind in our sails. However it was quite a great day. And we all counted our blessings that we could be together out on the water for Christmas.

IMG_2169

Oz serenading us with some Yann Tiersen on Christmas Eve:IMG_2155

Our New years and 2 years at midnight!

2years

Oz and I have a goal for this year (well, we have a few goals for this year, but I’m not talking about those right now). Each month we want to venture out as local tourists in southern California. I hope to document our local travels so if you one day find your self in this sunny corner of the country, you get some good ideas of where to go and what to do. This year is going to be such a blast. I will say it again and again. I am greatly looking forward to it and am ready to embrace each season and everyday.

Excited & blessed,

Zulu

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lessons

Image

Beij1ng, and now Nanj1ng, have already given us an overwhelming amount to write about, particularly in the area of processing and praying. Given the nature of our goals, it’s unsurprising that there’ve been many fun as well as challenging times.

            We’ve been blessed with a few answers to pra yer since our arrival. Firstly, my bag (with our toiletries inside!) arrived in perfect shape (thank you for your pra yers)! Secondly, we’ve been unexpectedly upgraded to private rooms at two different hostels for a discounted rate as well as given a private place to stay at a friend’s house for a few days. He is so good to us He even cares about those simple everyday things… like where we sleep! These answers to pra yer have come as a confirmation of our call to be here this summer and give us just one more thing to thank Him for. Likewise, Je sus has been using this time to refine me as a man, husband, and believer just as we’ve been pra ying. I’ve found even more that being refined is not an easy process. These first ten or so days have revealed a few particular areas I think He wants to focus on with me: abiding in Him, obeying His word, and giving grace/love.

His blessings of these private rooms have given us special opportunity to be intentional about learning to abide in Him through spending our mornings in His word and listening to His voice without disruption. Though at times it’s been a struggle to make that time, I’ve begun to recognize this practice as being absolutely vital to living the way that He has called me to live. I’m learning that much of the reason I’ve found having a righteous, healthy attitude such a difficult task at times has been because of my lack of abiding. How awesome that His infinite power to overcome our sin nature is right there waiting to sustain us, and how sad that we (I) so often fail to partake in it.  And how awesome still that He loves us without wavering even while we continually choose to live out the destructive patterns we choose instead of Him. He has been beckoning me softly yet persistently to find my strength in him through abiding. Please be pra ying that both Bee and I can root ourselves in the Truth by truly establishing this foundational practice in our lives and marriage.

The second thing I’ve been feeling continually challenged by is my lack of obedience to the Word in certain areas, specifically in the areas of sharing, loving, and giving. I’ve frequently felt the tug of the Spirit to share with or encourage someone (sometimes a random person) and either been too cowardly or not convicted-feeling enough to act on it. It’s the same in the areas of loving and giving. When I see someone in need and feel that tug, I often find myself conflicted about how to respond. Lies run through my mind such as “Well, I can’t just go around helping everyone!” and “They probably don’t even want my help” which, regardless of their (in)validity, only serve to dissuade me from following what the Spirit is leading me to do. Honestly, I think I’ve come to understand that I often place a higher value on comfort than I do on obedience! How miserably self-centered! Psalm 51 must have been written with me in mind. Thank the Lord that He is persistent in teaching me to overcome this. I want to follow the Lord with my whole being and in everything.

Giving grace and love has been another subject that seems to be getting brought up a bit relentlessly. Through this book I’ve been reading, “Repenting of Religion” by Gregory A. Boyd, He has really begun to open my eyes about the/a root cause of many problems I’ve got, including the abiding and obedience issues I mentioned above. The Lord assigns to me (and to all people) unsurpassable worth (completely apart from our “good” or “bad” actions) and proved it through sacrificing His son’s life for me even though I still dishonor Him. I have been forgiven so much and assigned such undeserved worth, yet, like the man whose huge debt was taken away, I so often refuse to forgive others. Instead, I judge them for how they measure up to my understanding of good and evil. But I am not the judge! He is calling me (us) to love outrageously and set aside all judgment. We are to lay down our ‘rights’ and treat each other, as well as others, with the same grace that He gives us (which is inexhaustible). When I treat people as less than having unsurpassable worth, I have forgotten what I have been forgiven of.

            These lessons haven’t been easy, and are not near completion. On the contrary, refinement takes time, discipline, and pra yer (which i could use a lot of). But we are determined to grow in our likeness to Him. Please use this entry to bring further insight into how you can pra y for Bee and I during our time here. Thanks so much! we appreciate your love and support.

Tagged , , ,