What our life looks like these days
READ TIME: 7 MINUTES
If you read my last blog post, you know how disappointed I was that I didn't get to send Christmas cards. God had other plans for my time during the weekend I was going to make the cards. After the big upset of yielding my grand plans, I did what any rational, God-fearing Christian would do:
"But God!?" It's our first (settled) Christmas together. We have cute family photos. Konga bought a little santa cap! But God!!
I meannnn... thanks for the revelation that my excess stuff was cluttering my house and distracting my focus. And thanks for helping me sort through the mess. And thanks for letting me be a blessing with our donations. And thanks that my mind is so much clearer now.
Haha! Am I the only one? Even when God has a better plan, I whine for my alternative plan. Like He forgets the desires of my heart. Like He didn't put holy, loving desires in me to begin with. Ugh! Now that I'm annoyed with myself...let me tell you how this whine sesh turned out.
God knew all along
I'm one of those Christians that has a lot of dialogue with God. If you're not one, just trust me. I'm not like "weird" or anything. I won't ever tell you that God told me to tell you to give me all your money. God and I -- we just talk a lot.
As I'm bemoaning the loss of our first Christmas card, God asked me, "Why do you want to send cards to begin with?" Well, God... "I want to let everyone I know see that I'm doing well, and that You saved my life from a dark path. I want everyone who's been praying for me since I was a kid (and whose witnessed my family background) to see what a miracle you did in my life. I want to be a testament of Your grace and Your faithfulness to redeem what was lost!" K, God?? (I smirked.) And then He hit me with this:
Why don't you write a blog post?
You see, I planned to send cards which would just show a picture and like a "Warm wishes//Merry Christmas". That's it. All of what I wanted to say couldn't possibly be conveyed in the two-sided piece of paper I wanted to send.
Like I was saying
I decided on this lovely little blog post to send my Christmas greetings and to give a life update to those I love. If you've been following my story (via personal convos or social media or this blog), then you know my life has been full of ups and downs, twists and turns.
In the last few years, God transformed my life into something that I never even dreamt was possible. He gave me things that I didn't even have the courage to pray for. He lifted my head up to see His hand working in so many areas of my life -- sometimes it's hard to believe!
It all started with one decision.
And then persevering after the adrenaline fades.
And here we are, years removed from the daily trials, the tears and pain that plagued me for so long. Today, my life is drastically different, and I can only accredit it to God's love for me, His life-changing love.
My days are peaceful and warm. I have an amazing husband(!!!) and a sweet little pup. We have a home to ourselves, a community we just adore, and more.
"And they lived happily ever after!" ...I mean, right? That's what this sounds like. Actually, I wanted to give you a *FOR REAL* life update: things we're still working through and some of our recent victories and falls, so here goes!
The most obvious one is that I started blogging full-time. It's not paying the bills...yet. Okay? Everyone keeps asking me how much money I make. Ugh! You're annoying me. I don't live for money. But I do believe God is gonna cover all of my needs. He said so in Philippians 4:
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Like...is there anything else I'd rather than sentence to end with? "...According to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus". Nope! That's sounds like I'm going to be alright.
Russell & I prayed about this decision for me to quit my traditional career. We took a leap of faith, and God's surprised us. We thought we were going to have to sacrifice a lot more than we did. God covered us financially in some unexpected ways. It's like He knew what He was doing or something! :P
In the last few months of blogging full-time, I've grown as a writer. I'm taking more risks and my creativity is flowing freely. I have a better idea of where I want this blog to go and areas in which I want to grow next year.
God has also given Russell some fun opportunities to grow his investment side-business that has really challenged him...which he loves! Russ is one of those smarty pants that loves to learn, so long as it's about finance. And the ability to start working our own passions into careers in our twenties has been a blessing I never expected to see so soon! *My plan* was to work my finance career until I had a nice little nest egg and could risk trying to become an author. Well, God had a better plan, and I'M SO GRATEFUL!!! It's been so nice being able to work on this blog business while I'm young without years of working a corporate job stifling my creativity. I'm really, truly shocked that I get to do this everyday. **Pinch me!**
Obviously more important than work is our marriage. The backstory is that I came from a broken family and never learned relationship skills. Growing up, I learned not to trust people and to fend for myself. But God changed me. Like He says in Ezekiel 36:
I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
I seized that promise and for many years I've been working on loving the way God loves. Some years were better than others, but all along it was a learning process. Today I can honestly say that Russell and I have an amazing marriage! One that I can't believe I haven't screwed up yet :P Kidding! I can finally see how all these relationship lessons that God taught me have been His way of setting my life and my family (with Russell) on a new path. Those lessons were from His Word, through marriage books, and from the kitchen tables of my friends' parents. And this new path is one of love and forgiveness, where happily ever after is possible, and where peace and unity reign in our home. I'm so fired up just writing about this, because I DIDN'T DO IT! I didn't create this life I live. It's been God's grace. I'd love for you wherever you are, whatever relationships you're in, to trust that God's grace will make you and your family better than you could ever be on your own. When God graces you to forgive, run towards it! When God graces you to give past what you think you can, run toward it! And when God graces you with a beautiful spouse, run toward him/her! Keep on the path of grace, and you'll never have to admit that your life was limited by your upbringing, your past, or your mistakes. Your life will be a reflection of a limitless God.
Nope, we're not pregnant. And we're not planning on it for a few years. Please do not leave a comment. I do not care to discuss it unless your name is Mr. Jordan :)
We bought a home this year. It's a cute little bungalow -- fully updated...yay for no hard hats! -- in St. Petersburg, Florida, where we've each lived for several years. We love our new hometown and our community! We cherish the faithful friends God has added to our life. We like our house and that we can host socials. I personally enjoy the dining room the most -- it seats 8, and you know me! ;) Russell likes that there's no grass in the front, which makes upkeep minimal.
Before marriage, my Thanksgivings were spent with my brother in Houston, and my Christmases were spent at my best friend's house in Louisiana. Now that I'm married, things have changed. Our wedding date is right by Thanksgiving, so traveling solo is out of the question. Our Christmases are spent with Russell's family in Ormond Beach. His mom goes ALL OUT for Christmas, so it's always a good time! We'll also be headed up to North Augusta, where Russell's extended family lives. I'm looking forward to pausing from the hustle for a week and spending QT with Russ and loved ones. (You're like: "Aren't you a blogger? What do you need rest from?!" Look man...I work hard!)
I think that's everything I wanted to say. This has been fun to write, so I'm a little sad to end it, but if there's anything else you're curious about, let me know!
We wish you a Merry Christmas with loved ones all around. And you get caught up in wonderment over Jesus' love and sacrifice. And all the pies are calorie-free ;)
With love from,