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.

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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.

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.

Detoxing

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.

Bridesmaids Dresses

Today looked a little something like this:

Actually let’s begin with yesterday. After dinner & a house church meeting at the Sawyers, Jeremy, Jenny & I had a long, sleepy drive back into F-burg. Somewhere mid drive Jen & I hit our second wind. Very hard. At the same time. It’s hard to describe the way my sister-in-law & I interact. Hard to describe & yet so enjoyable to experience. Anyway, last night’s  car ride exploded with mirth & though we should have parted ways to go to bed I found myself following them into the country drawn by the promised fire. Since the move I’ve had a couple of nights like this, staying up way too late in their kitchen gathered around the fireplace buried in laughter and bizarre conversation with the two of them & Chad Easter. Last night the boys tramped outside while I set out to start the fire. Unfortunately I didn’t know anything about their flue & thoroughly smoked out the kitchen before realizing my mistake. Blame my country roots, you don’t have to open the flue when the stars are your ceiling. Anyway it proved for much laughter & Jen & I had the kitchen windows open & a blazing inferno to greet the boys who eventually found their way inside. These have by far been my favorite nights and last night was no exception and left me pulling into my driveway somewhere around 4am.

Thus begins today, bed around 4.30 sleeping for 9 hours and then throwing myself into yet another Sunday of working on Kat’s wedding.

Wash the cloth that will be cut & sewn into circles & flowers & strips for garland.

Find out where Bridesmaids are in ordering their dresses.

Discover major issue with Bridesmaids dressed.

Spend the next 4 hours on the phone with David’s Bridal and Bridesmaids

Look for dress options for the Flower girls

Email Email Phone Call Email

Put cloth in the Dryer

Phone Call Email Dinner

Message the guy working on decorations

Email Phone Call

File Taxes

Update Sister

Call Kelsey. Done.

Half the Bridesmaids have dresses purchased and being shipped tomorrow. The other half…. well I’ll do my best. I keep reminding myself that in a month all of the work will pay off, Kat & Josh will be married, we will be ecstatic to stand with them on the day they enter into covenant with each other before God & hopefully that emotion will mean that no one even cares what dress they are wearing.

I have 3 phone calls & 4 emails needing to be done tomorrow, before my 9.30am meeting that leads into a full day of work, a 4pm set and 4 hours in the House of Prayer, and I’ll pull in the driveway around 9.30 pm and still need to fold the mountain of laundry that I did last week and still needing to unpack my suitcase from my trip from 2 weeks ago. These days are one long blur, B4L into Prayer furnace come home and work on wedding. Next day: JHOP into B4L come home and work on wedding. Alternate, repeat. Now that the end is in sight with the Bridesmaids dresses the wedding details will dramatically slow down and I’ll breathe a little in between. It’s hard to help your sister plan & walk out her wedding party from half way across the country. It’s still worth it, every single day, every single moment.

11.39 & I should have gone to bed 40 minutes ago. But the guitar in the corner is drawing me gently & I’ll not sleep if I don’t spend some time singing with the Lord. Working for Bound4Life for the last 3 months has been an incredible experience. I love this little team, love being so close to Jen & J again, love my days praying in the JHOP in DC, & love the little bit I’ve been able to experience of the community at the Prayer Furnace. Sleep ever alludes me, & almost a day does not go by without tears washing my homesick heart, still I am thankful for the leadership of the Lord. You’re such a good Shepherd Jesus.

And when or if I should ever marry, it will be done in a Forrest &  my bridesmaids will wear flannel & go barefoot. There will be no problem with money, venue, dresses or shoes. Amen.

Secret Wedding Weekend

No no no, I did not secretly get married over the weekend.

However I DID “secretly” spend a weekend in Kansas City recently with the sole purpose of helping my sister plan her wedding. And also to cry on my mom’s shoulder. And squeeze my dad’s neck. And hold my puppy…..and……

It was a painful 2 days. Not due to wedding planning, we actually accomplished a lot which is good since that was the goal. But painful for my little homesick heart that so dearly loves my family and friends. It’s not as if Virginia is torturing me, (then again this random snowstorm at the end of March is definitely a form of torture) it’s just that I really love my family & KC community. The passing of my Grandfather was monumental, and so terrible to walk out while being so far away and so far from the comfort of  familiarity. Even now as Spring is coming (as soon as the snow melts….) I ache every time I think of my flowerbeds, fruit trees, and tree swing. And I’ve definitely cried more than once in missing my many rose bushes.

But life is what it is and the journey does not have me walking on a road where comfort is found in familiarity or normalcy for that matter. This stretch of road is throwing me in searching for the heart of the Father, my Shepherd, my cover to lead me and love me and keep me. I was homesick before, but after a week in Colorado  helping the Bohlenders and a weekend with family…. ok I’m still homesick. It’s ok, it is natural, and it’s not going to kill me. These days are packed with adventure and acceleration in the plans that brought me so far away. Every morning comes too early, every evening ends too late, and just as before the fight is to keep my heart in the place of prayer whether I’m in the office or prayer room. I’m thankful for the door that the Lord invited me to step through and glad that I accepted. I’m thankful for the family that I am living with and the small band I am serving. I’m thankful for skype and txt messaging which keeps me connected to my family. I miss my sister so deeply but am thankful for the random nights (like tonight) when I can stay up till 2.45 in the morning laughing with my beloved brother Jeremy and his sweet wife, all the while wishing for Nathan and Kat to join us. I’m thankful for the road I’m on, though I can’t see where it leads. And I’m thankful that I am going home in 4 weeks for Kat’s wedding.

Ok enough being emotional! If you want to read Kat’s post about the Secret Wedding Weekend click here.