The gladness of his heart

That’s what Josh tweeted this morning.

This is the day of the gladness of the gladness of my heart

It was crazy, it was crazy.

And it was beautiful. Having a hand to play in the creation of the decorations I was dang proud.

She was beautiful. Having a hand to play in the choosing of the wedding dress I was glad and satisfied.

The bridesmaids were beautiful, the groomsmen looked great, and I was so thankful for the love shown by so many who slaved and helped to make this day so magical.

Today my sister was a beautiful princess. She held my hand, frantically txted me over hair & makeup & missing car keys, I did my best to alleviate her stress & solve the numerous emergencies which would have been an impossibility without the Bohlenders, Annie, Joanna Eitel, my dad & aunt.

Today I gave my princess away, to a man who was stunned by her beauty and upon kissing her for the first time at the end of the ceremony declared ‘I think I’m going to faint.’

The day of the gladness of his heart.

I go to bed, as always, too late. Grateful, satisfied, joyful for them. Tomorrow I take my princess to the airport & send her & her new husband off for two weeks in Spain. Considering the last few vaca’s Kat & I have had together she’ll probably spend the whole first week sleeping.

Somehow we’d developed quite the reputation. The Styles girls. And I go to bed, mourning. Grieving the separation that comes with cleaving. Grieving my life forever changed along with her name.

But this morning I woke early enough to grab coffee with Bob Falkner before the madness began. He stared deep into my eyes and told me like he has hundreds of times, to work hard, accomplish much, cry freely and do hard things.

Getting in the car on Saturday morning to head back to VA will be a hard thing. The last two crazy weeks have been wonderful none the less due the presence of my tribe. Annie, The B’s, Jacob & Kyle, Kat. My constants, my faithful ones. But by the grace of God I go back to the un-known, unsettled, unfamiliar and press on for the grace of knowing Christ and loving Him as He loves.  All unto a day, the gladness of His heart.

There’s gonna be a wedding. It’s the sole reason why we live, to love like Him, to love Him like He loves. Fill us up Jesus, with the gladness of your heart.


Fuzzy Lines

The last week has been one lone wedding preparation blur. Between the chaos & constant changing of the schedule I’m trying to eat at least once a day & a week after my plane landed am still looking for a coffee pot.

Today was spent in a salon, stitching circles together for the alter piece while the stylist decided how to do Kat’s hair for her wedding. He finished, she asked for my opinion, I gave suggestions based off of previous conversations, he altered the style, I went back to stitching. Glancing up to answer a question I caught a look in her eye & time froze for just a moment. A wave of something washed over her face, expectancy, maybe trembling, an excitement I’ve never seen there before & one that I have never known. She is preparing herself for a bridegroom.

And for just a moment we were little girls in the basement of a tiny ranch style home in Omaha Nebraska, swimming in wedding dresses bought at different estate sales. White gloves pushed up nearly to our arm pits, heels the size only a giant could wear, twirling before a cracked mirror & dreaming of something we couldn’t possibly understand. Memories grow fuzzy through the trials of each day that pass, and I’ve so committed myself to living out each day that the lines have blurred, but just for a moment I could see us.

Today is Tuesday April 26 2011 & it is Kat’s 27th birthday. We have lived together for 22 of those years & shared a room for 20 of them. Some times I took it for granted, some times I fought to remember what a gift it was to be so near to my sister. Never did I imagine that it could change for more than the few months that we lived apart in different seasons. Never could I have seen this week.

Thursday is Kat’s wedding day & I just can’t fathom where the years have gone, or how she went from that tiny little girl in a giant antique wedding gown to the gorgeous woman that she is today, waiting to wear the dress that hangs in my closet. I’m so thankful to have lived these years as her little sister, her fighter, and her friend. Thursday everything changes, even her name. As of Thursday she will never be my roommate again, and my current adventure will become a little more stark, a little more real.

Dear Sister, it has been my honor to serve you these years. To bring you icepacks & medicine through your constant headaches, to hold your hair as you puked through countless migraines, to listen while you cried, to fight for your beauty, to fight for your heart, to make you laugh and hold your hand when you didn’t have words & neither did I. It has been my joy to be your friend, to listen to music far too loud, sing songs for years that bring you smiles, to order your food so you don’t have to talk to strangers, to pump your gas in the winter & shovel the sidewalk because you hate the cold, to mow the lawn & plant you flowers & come to visit you at work. I have been your champion as best I could until Thursday. And it will be my honor on that day to give your hand to the champion that your Father has prepared for you.

Oh these moments when the lines become clear, so painful and yet drastically beautiful.

Dreaming of Home

I woke up yesterday with a migraine.

And I ended yesterday with a migraine.

During a late night trip to walmart with Jenny I could feel the pressure rising & my vision blurring and decided to call it a day. A few minutes later I was in the kitchen grabbing Excedrin which I chugged with some coconut water for the elctrolites & promptly jumped in a steaming shower. This is my only migraine back up plan, and it didn’t work. 60 minutes later & like so many nights, I’m curled up in the dark wishing my mom were here to bring me an ice pack. I’ll get married some day if for nothing else than to have SOMEONE to bring me an icepack!

Half an hour later, I woke up. WIIIIIIDE awake from the caffeine in the Excedrin. Back up plan fail. After many attempts at sleep I decided to get up and…… do some accounting. *Sigh* I guess that’s the downside to sharing a basement with the office. Somewhere in the middle of that I found myself daydreaming about the Arabian’s we had when I was a teenager. Sassy died five years ago. I drove home to be with my parents for a few days who they said that losing the horse was the worst thing they’d ever gone through. Soon after that they gave Cressy to a BoyScout camp & I never saw him again.

That is until he popped up in my dreams this week. It was one of the nights that pain kept me awake until after 4, and somewhere before the alarm went off at 9 I found myself in Iowa, surrounded by rolling hills of rich, black soil, in the riding arena with the giant mulberry tree in the middle, and he and I went round and round in circles until his strong will finally caved & he would let me take him through rounds. It was a sunny spring day, the kind of perfect weather that bathe’s Iowa in glory all through the Spring, and in the dream my grandfather Carroll was sitting strong & straight on the top rail of the fence. With no oxygen tank & that beautiful smile spread across his face as he watched me determinedly fight the proud Arabian spirit. It’s amazing what dreams can do, the effect that they have. I woke exhausted, again, and breathless from the heart-pain.

Some hours later I stole away to the old horse farm where Jen & Jeremy live. Pain still racked my body as I walked through the forest and empty riding rings before settling in the top of the empty barn, aching for relief & aching for home. Home. Where the heart is, where loved ones are, where rest resides. But my heart is split, torn into so many pieces with those who I love, and peoples that I pray for all over the earth. Those whom I love live so far away from each other, and rest always seems to stay just out of my reach. And as I sat up in that window I ached for the home that never changes, where loved ones never die, where love always reigns victorious. Home.

We’re only at home where You are Jesus.

Rustling Leaves

  • You know what’s a bummer? Sending an email to your database that includes a “click here” link….. & forgetting to insert the link.
  • A chorus we sang in the prayer room last night has been in my head all day. “If all that I attain is just to be a sheep following Your way, then I lack nothing” I might need to write a song about it.
  • Every time I climb inside my beat up, rusty, hail damaged, $800 ’97 Geo Metro I smile & thank the Lord for it. But today when I climbed in it, it was hot. And driving with the windows down didn’t make it any cooler. And I realized that living on the east coast, driving the 45 mins-2 hour commute to DC once a week in a car without air conditioning is probably going to make me very sad. It might be time to start praying for a new car.
  • Last week my Columbia Switchback jacket came in the mail. It is a windproof – water proof – light jacket. The hood is folded in the collar making it pop (sassy +2), and the whole thing can easily zip up into one of the jackets making a tiny square that can be tucked away into any bag (easy to carry +3). It retains heat real well which is awesome since I’m ALWAYS cold, & has vents to keep you from overheating at the same time. Overall I am REAL happy with it.
  • Humility, really I don’t think you can learn it any easy way. It has to be ground slowly & painfully into your soul.
  • In 4 days I will be falling asleep under my room, in Kansas City, in a room with my sister, snuggled up with my kitty. My lonely, ill, homesick heart is so…….so happy to know this. In the middle of the night Kita will get mad that I am in my bed and he will wake up and bite me. And my lonely, ill, homesick self will kick him out of the room, all the while loving it.
  • In 14 days my sister will be married. Un-believable.
  • Andrew Murray’s book Absolute Surrender is totally kicking my tail right now.


It’s been a long journey & I’ve hit the stage of Detoxing. It happened unintentionally during a fast, I wasn’t planning to hit this stage until after my sister’s wedding but I found myself gripped in pain last Tuesday & my house mom accurately pinpointed the problem.

Candida Die Off.

Headaches, severe muscle pain, ‘foggy head’, dizzy, anxious, sick to my stomach, generally miserable & sleeplessness to name a few of the symptoms.  Limping through the week I had one continual thought “I hate antibiotics.” But one of these day’s I’m going to be better. That thought is actually incredibly strengthening on long hard days. Knowing that the pain is all unto healing, unto restoration, unto wholeness.

It’s a lot like the journey of the heart. We can walk down life’s road & be quite sick for some time before the heart-sickness stops us in our tracks, refusing to let us continue on while maimed. Then the detox begins, & oh how it hurts. Slowly maneuvering through the symptoms & side effects until the source of the pain, the core of the problem is exposed. We have to stare at that thing & decide which hurts more, the pain of dealing with the problem or the pain of stuffing it down & continuing through life with a wound that won’t stop oozing.

Physically for me it hurts more to live with a bacteria living in my blood stream, causing all manner of problems whenever the least convenient. Walking the road to healing with a nutritional treatment is causing the worst of flare up symptoms as the bacteria begins to die off, but the pain I’m in now only means I’m being healed.

Emotionally for me it hurts more to live with old hurts living in my heart, causing all manner of problems whenever the least convenient. Walking the road to healing under the leadership of the Holy Spirit causes the worst of symptoms as those wounds & un-forgiveness related to them are re-exposed & each time I choose to release one to the heart of the Lord & choose to forgive the pain flares up vehemently in protest. But the pain I’m in now only means I’m being healed.

I wake in the mornings with John Mark McMillan song lyrics in my head;

Hope grows between cracks in the asphalt

In the downtown ghetto streets that contour

The government housing intentions of my heart

And it’s true, that detoxing is ugly. But Jesus has always loved to take the ugly & make it lovely. He’s doing it in my heart, even if it only feels like pain right now. And He’d love to do it in yours.