January 8th was my 30th Birthday! It was a great day! It started with getting my nails done with mom, and then Brian planned a date for me that included going to the Living Room (where we had our first date) to get a Chai, because, well, I always want a Chai, and to read me a sweet Birthday letter. Then he took me to Cinepolis (an incredible theatre with very comfy overstuffed recliners for seats and a personal waiter) to see Star Wars, followed by a delicious dinner at Searsucker in Del Mar with yummy Basil infused Lemonade, a delectable desert, and a pretty necklace for my gift. We had so much fun.
It was one of those words that has been strangely accurate. It actually epitomized what last year was like.
29 was a good, but challenging year. I got married in February, which was the fulfillment of a lifelong desire, but then I had to get used to being married, and it had its challenges. In those first few months, many wounds, insecurities, and weaknesses were triggered. It was like looking in a mirror and seeing my selfishness. I did not like what I saw, and had a very hard time processing what was happening to me. God drew near and poured out healing waters on my fractured soul. He brought the Gospel to the places that needed transformation. I discovered the beauty of covenant, and the power it has to enable a spouse to love the other in their weakest moments. Brian was such a strong source of love and truth as I wandered through that season. Things really clicked for us about 5 months in, and since then it has been pretty blissful. I truly love being married.
We switched churches shortly before we got married. It changed a lot of my friendships in a way I had not anticipated. In many ways, it felt like I was experiencing the biggest event in my life alone. I was married, but somehow lonely. (Have you been there?) It was strange going to church and not really knowing people. Sure, I knew some names, and recognized a lot of friendly faces, but conversations did not run much deeper than a smile and the typical, “Hi, how are you?” in between services. I often had the thought, “I miss being known.”
God showed me my responsibility in that, however. For one to be known, one must be vulnerable. What is the point of relationship if we cannot show our truest selves? I realized I have a hard time being vulnerable with people I do not know. I will get real and raw with someone I know. Someone who is safe. I will be vulnerable on my blog because I have no idea who is reading it, nor do I know what you think of what I write. (Unless you leave a comment J Please be nice.) But new people? Strangers? People I have just met? What if they judge my weaknesses? What if they don’t understand me? (Which is what I have felt most of my life – misunderstood.) What if I divulge the raw parts of myself that are in desperate need of Jesus, and they criticize me? I was getting enough practice being vulnerable in marriage; I needed safety and security in my other relationships. And guess what? I did not get it. Familiarity and closeness seemed completely out of reach last year. I had no choice but to reach out…take the risk of rejection and put my truest self out there – mess and all. I got mixed results. I took that risk at a Women’s conference with some older women. I bared my soul, desperately needing encouragement and the reassurance that I was not alone. I took the risk, and was missed. Big time. But there were other times, like at our first Life Group, where the risk was well received, and so worth it. That group had just 3 couples, including us, and was the perfect environment for me to be transparent, and then so wonderfully encouraged and accepted. I was learning how to be known.
I also adjusted to working at a new salon, which is a huge change for a creative like myself.
SOT started in September. That, in and of itself, has had some highs and lows. Our schedule went from blissfully simple and open, to maxed out and full. It was a huge adjustment. Through this school, God has pierced me with His Truth, revealing and obliterating lies I had always believed. SOT also became another tool God used to reveal the places in me that need Jesus. In other words, my flesh, lack of faith in certain areas, and woundedness were once again exposed. Things I did not want to see. But things have to be seen, before they can be changed, right? How can you change what you do not know? It has been one of those seasons that has been very fruitful, but painful and stretching at the same time. Just like that prophetic word predicted. Now that we are half way done with SOT, new friendships are budding and I have enjoyed getting to know more people at our church. I thank God daily for leading us to All People’s. Every Sunday feels like coming home.
Some highs of 2015 obviously include our Wedding and Honeymoon in St. Lucia, and a few small trips to Chicago, Boston and Mexico. We had a great first Christmas, and had so much fun decorating our first apartment together.
My Sweet 16.