A Surprise Rest

This week is the first in months that we didn’t have a single commitment on a week night. I won’t lie, when I realized this on Monday I legitimately squealed with delight and hurried to call Jacob to tell him. There’s something so freeing about a schedule totally open for slow moments, like grocery shopping with Jacob, cooking dinner together three nights in a row and sitting in our living room with the breeze circling through open windows.

It’s not that we don’t love what keeps us so busy, but sometimes it’s just nice to have a break. This week has reminded me of a slower pace of life, one that often and so quickly gets squandered with all the things we have to be doing to get ahead, be present, make an impact, etc. 
Well, this week I’m enjoying making an impact right here in my quiet home, right here in my marriage. We’ve enjoyed laughs, home-cooked food, and each other’s company. So thankful.

Happy weekend, I hope you can find some moments to enjoy the gift of rest.


Don’t Wish Away Your Singleness

I’ve been married for two years now, so can I tell you that marriage is great? I’m sure you didn’t hear it from me first, though. I know there are lots of single ladies reading this who are longing for marriage… and probably already gearing up to click “exit” to leave this window out of exasperation. But I want to encourage you, so stick with me. Longing for marriage is a good thing, a natural thing, and something I can absolutely relate to! When I was single, I longed for marriage, too. I felt deep down inside of me that God created me to be a wife and I was eager to take up that role!

And I really don’t think that desire is a bad thing. I think most of us were created to get married and be sanctified through marriage. But I want to encourage you today not to wish away your singleness. Singleness is a gift, and, to be honest, the only Groom we are promised is Christ. He is more than enough.

Singleness is a gift because your mind is not torn between serving Christ and your husband – you can be totally focused on Christ (read 1 Corinthians 7:32-35). 

There is something so beautiful about being able to literally go and do whatever you feel lead to do. Spend all your free time investing in younger women. Have sleepovers. Take random fun and crazy trips. Spend a year in another country serving. Have other women over to your house for Bible study a few nights a week, etc. You are the only person you have to worry about right now, and that’s truly a gift! Listen to where God wants to use you and follow him without second-guessing.

Singleness is a gift because you will be sanctified through it. 

Just like marriage is a channel for sanctification, singleness is, too. Both of them bring their struggles – I think whichever is the opposite of  your “relationship status” is always the glorified one to you, because you don’t have it. But they both bring huge challenges and huge gifts – live in those moments and grow nearer to God through them. Don’t spend all of your time wishing you were somewhere you aren’t.

Singleness is a gift because you already have a Groom. 

Many women go into marriage expecting their husbands to fulfill their every unspoken need, which is totally unrealistic and unhealthy. In fact, it’s unrealistic to expect him to fulfill your every spoken need! He just can’t. But that’s okay, because your Savior, your ultimate Groom, already has and will continue to do so every minute of every day. If you do get married one day, you will be very well off if you spend your single days learning that Christ is your all in all. Because having an earthly husband won’t change that.

And, as much as our culture tells you the opposite, ladies, there is nothing wrong with you because you’re single. There are so many wonderful qualities about you that make you you, and that exemplify how much you are made in God’s image. Singleness is not a stepping stone to get somewhere else. It’s a part of life that will stretch you if you let it.

So today, if nothing else stuck – I hope that you can spend your days where God has you right now with wide eyes ready to follow where he points, instead of with your narrow eyes buried in the map you’ve drawn out for yourself. You are loved. So very loved.

This post first appeared as a guest post on A Beautiful Exchange Blog last week.

We didn’t have a wedding party.

You read that right – we didn’t have a wedding party. We had a wedding celebration, but not a “party” of people standing with us at the altar.

Jacob and I had a small wedding – we invited only family and very close friends, so there were only ninety guests total. We wanted a small wedding for a few reasons, but that’s really what helped us decide not to have a bridal party. When we planned our wedding, we looked at all the “traditions” and decided we only wanted to do things that would have great meaning for us.
We didn’t light a unity candle or fill a vase with two colors of sand because those didn’t fit us. Instead, we shared communion with each other and then served our guests.

We didn’t have “sides” at the ceremony – instead, we asked our guests to sit wherever they’d like, because our families were joining together in our marriage, too.
My walk down the aisle wasn’t the normal length, either. Instead of it being just a few hurried seconds long, it was several minutes long. I started on the other side of the pond opposite the ceremony, and my dad walked me around the whole thing to my groom. While I’m sure many of the guests were confused at first while looking for me (haha surprise!!), I cherished those moments with my dad. He walked me the long walk to my groom and, like a dear friend of mine pointed out after, our walk to our Groom Christ is similar. It’s long, sometimes it’s hard (like walking in super high heels as the center of attention – ha!), and it takes time. That’s something I like to remember periodically – like my walk to Jacob on our wedding day, I need to continue moving forward always, looking to my Groom Christ and not losing sight of him.

We didn’t have a bridal party because we were surrounded by our close friends and family – the very people we hope will love and support us, counsel us, and encourage us to press on in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, all the days of our lives. We chose not to ask a few people to stand beside us, because we had so many sitting beside us already. In a way, all of our guests were part of our “wedding party,” and we haven’t regretted that for one second.


730 Days

730 days ago, the day I’d been thinking about for most of my life was upon me and I couldn’t believe it.
730 days ago, I woke up at 6 am and rode with my mom to get dolled up for my groom.

730 days ago, my dad and I hid behind trees as we watched our family and friends arrive to my wedding and listened to our friend sing and play “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman.

730 days ago, I put on a white dress and walked the long journey around a pond and down the aisle to my beloved.

730 days ago, referring to Jacob as “my husband” for the first time sent me into a giddy smiling spell.

730 days ago, we got sunburnt after just an hour of pictures and standing at the altar for 30 minutes.

730 days ago, our friends and family surrounded us as we vowed to love each other in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer, until the day we die.

730 days ago, my dad gave me away and Jacob’s dad lead us in promising God and each other that we would honor those commitments with all we are.

There’s something so beautiful about that commitment: knowing Jacob will be by my side for all of our lives. That in every decision, we have a sounding board, a checkmate, an encourager, a hard question-asker and a companion who won’t turn away when things are hard.

I’m so thankful for these 730 days that I’ve called him husband, and he’s called me wife. Here’s to the days ahead, when we don’t know what’s coming, but we do know who we will be standing beside.

I love you, Jacob.


The Small Moments are the Big Ones

I love my husband. Seriously, I am just so thankful for him and there are moments that I look at him and just feel so overwhelmingly thankful I get to walk through life with him every day. Those are, of course, the moments when I simultaneously feel bad for muttering when I picked up his clothes off the floor that morning. But I’m so thankful for those moments when I see glimpses of the small things that make him so great and remind me how blessed I am to literally have a partner for life – someone I can be my honest self with, even when it’s not that pretty.

When the vacuum cleaner stops sucking with the sucking power a Dyson should have. He fixes it.

When we have to go to the DMV to get our new NH driver’s licenses, and he does everything first so I can mentally prepare in case I fail the eye exam.

When I walk downstairs for breakfast and say, “Oh my gosh, did you burn something?!” only to see two halves of a bagel so burnt they are black all the way through. You can only laugh at that point, guys.

When the toilet needs plunged. TMI?

When I hate the way my heart feels about a situation, and instead of making me feel like a horrible person, he tells me it’s okay to feel that way and brainstorms how we can make the situation better.

When he wants ice cream. Because I always want ice cream and just want someone else to say it first ūüėČ

When I’m working on my shop and need advice on where to go with it. He listens and nods and gives his two cents. Nothing makes me feel more loved than dreaming with me, sheesh.

When we talk about plans for the future and what comes out of his mouth just happened to be what I’d been hoping for, but was too shy to say it out loud.

I’ll leave out the others things I want to say that would embarrass him because I love him more than writing on this blog. ūüôā

So HAPPY WEEKEND, my friends! We have big plans and I’ll be working like a busy bee getting ready for the big day on MONDAY when I launch my shop!!!

Take heart,

the story behind our cross-country move.

So I’ve realized lately that many of you have no idea why we moved or the story behind it – and it’s so important to me that I document this somewhere. I’ve been trying to write this post for three weeks now, but I just haven’t reached the point where I feel like I’ve fully portrayed the emotions and excitement behind it all. For my sanity, though, I’m giving it my best shot. It’s quite the novel, but it’s ours¬†and I love it.

About once a week, I remember how crazy it is that we actually live in New Hampshire. Before Jacob started the interview process for this new job back in the fall, I can pretty confidently say New Hampshire only crossed my mind when I got the hankering to sing the state song I learned in fifth grade. When he first mentioned he got a call from a pastor up here, I laughed. I didn’t give it much consideration, partly because it seemed crazy, but mostly just because I didn’t want to give the opportunity too much weight yet. It was too early and it wasn’t just a simple move down the street, you know?

The job process slowly moved along, with phone interviews here and there and eventually a very long¬†questionnaire about our lives and several of Jacob’s theological stances. Very few people knew about the opportunity, still, because we thought it was too early and too crazy to tell people just yet. We were almost constantly thinking about it, though. And praying. So much prayer.

It was at this point I started feeling a little sad because I thought I’d have to quit my new job I’d only had for three or four months so far. I loved what I did and what the company stands for – it was a great job to get right out of college and I had already grown to love my coworkers dearly! I shared my life with those people, so you can imagine how difficult it was to keep my over-sharing mouth shut.

At this point, though, my parents didn’t even know about the opportunity! We weren’t sure it was serious enough to tell them and, well, New Hampshire felt a lot¬†farther away from Ohio than Tennessee did… and we weren’t ready to give them that shock quite yet. Looking back, I wish we had clued them in a little sooner, but we held back because we didn’t want to put them through those emotions if we didn’t end up moving.

But then the pastor called and said they’d like to fly us up to visit. And that’s when we realized things were serious¬†and we wished we had already told my parents. But the moment we did tell them was so, so sweet. We Facetimed them together and shared the story and our excitement. They couldn’t have been more supportive. They prayed with us for our visit and the decisions to be made – both for us and the church – and told us how proud they are of us! Needless to say, I cried and felt a surge of excitement as our trip couldn’t come quicker.

We visited at the beginning of December and were absolutely blown away by the Church. The people were incredible – so down to earth and welcoming… and devoted lovers of Christ. It was a packed weekend full of events and dinners and great conversations with many (soon-to-be) new friends and coworkers. After every single meeting or event, we left with the calm confirmation that this would be our new home. We were pumped up about how much God is moving here and using this church to love this city!! We were so exhausted, though, that we hardly talked in our alone time the first two nights! Any chance we had to sleep, we slept.

But the night before we were scheduled to fly home, we both confidently said we would be crazy to say no. We prayed again and went to bed with giddy, excited spirits. The next morning we met with the lead and executive pastors to “debrief” from the weekend and they offered Jacob the job. Although we knew we wanted to make this church and city our new home, we thought about it, prayed about it, and sought counsel from our parents for a few days.

Later that week, Jacob officially accepted the position as Student Pastor and we started the process of figuring out how to move across the country. We planned to move at the end of January, so we needed to quickly give our time at our current jobs. Both of us gave our time much earlier than two weeks, because we were in situations where that was most appropriate. Chickfila was so sad to see Jacob go – it was really fun to see how appreciated and loved he was there.

And although I was extremely excited for this new adventure, I was very sad to say goodbye to my new job and dreading¬†the process of interviewing for new jobs. The day came when I had to tell my boss we were moving, though. I asked him to talk, shut his office door, and told him we were moving. I’m so emotional, I attempted¬†to keep it together and not cry, but I’m sure he could tell I was on the verge. He was so supportive and told me how they would be sad to see me go, but he knew I’d move on to bigger and better things eventually.

But then he asked if I’d be willing to work remotely for a little while, to help with the transition while they looked to fill my position. I didn’t tell him at the time, but I was kind of secretly hoping for that possibility. I was filled with excitement and gratitude¬†that I wouldn’t have to search for a new home and¬†a new job all at once. I could see my stress levels deflating immediately.

All throughout this process, God opened door after door, leading us to New Hampshire. Even though moving across the country is a scary thing, I wasn’t scared. He provided us with two jobs. We knew he was providing an amazing church family to welcome us in and love us. He provided a temporary housing situation for us while we looked for a new apartment. And the place we have now is so perfect for us – we needed to wait to find it.

Now we are 3 months in to living in New Hampshire – and we are still loving it. My “temporary” remote job has even morphed into a “keep as long as I want” temporary remote job. God has provided for us abundantly in every department and I seriously sometimes just can’t even believe it. He is so good, friends. Even the times when I was unsure and doubted that where we were in that moment¬†was right, he provided a way. He filled in the gaps. He connected the dots.

I’m so excited for what is to come. We are finally settling into a routine and feeling like this city really is our home. I’m ready to embrace it, roll up my sleeves and get to work.

I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. – 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

This verse has been running through my mind often lately. I’m asking God to use our time here – to use us to plant seeds and water seeds, but even more I’m asking him to make things grow.

Thanks for hanging with me all the way through this story. I wish I could have articulated the moments of joy and trust a little more eloquently, but sometimes I can’t translate those feelings into the right words.¬†He is so good, my friends. Thanks for your support and encouragement through the beginning of this journey we’re on!