It’s been two weeks since I last posted.  A very long two weeks.  Normally I would feel guilty, or lazy, or any other range of negative feeling towards my lack of posting.

But I don’t.

See, while I’ve been gone, I’ve been living life.  I’ve been working hard, and celebrating, and enjoying the things I do.  I went through midterms, interviews, early mornings followed by late nights, movies, Halloween (yes, I celebrated Halloween  this year-that does not make me a heathen, just a fan of dressing up and begging for candy).  I’ve been making things, and getting ready to plant things, and learning.  It’s been a crazy, busy, fun two weeks, and I am happy I experienced them.

That did mean a break from writing.  But I’m glad I took it.  I sat down several times over the past two weeks to write, and I found that if I had posted something the post would be more out of obligation than enjoyment, which is why I started this space in the first place.

So, that may mean less posts for a while.  But I’m good with that, and hopefully you will be too.

To all of the people in my life who are facing something scary/challenging/heartbreaking:

 

There is a light at the end of this tunnel. 

 

You will make it out of the darkness, and the fear, and the loneliness. 

 

There is hope-there is always hope.

 

Even when you are sad, there is something to smile about.

 

In ten years, you can look back on this period in your life and learn why you went through it.

 

Plus, you will have made it through.

 

There is always someone you can turn to.

 

God will always love you.

 

Do not let your darkness hinder your light-find joy in life even through the sadness.

 

I am praying for you.

 

You are in my heart, and on my mind.  And I bet I’m not the only one thinking of you.

 

Pain and sorrow are temporary, but love is forever.

 

Your friend,

Rachel

Some time ago, I learned about a situation involving one of the elders at my church.  It is pretty well known that he is an avid beer drinker, and he had posted something online about the brew he was working on.  A member of the church (I am not sure who) took offense to this statement and complained about how he was ‘not setting an appropriate example’ as an elder and youth ministries leader.

Although the story was told over lunch, and to quite a bit of laughter, I couldn’t help but feel a twinge of annoyance.  This elder is a really good man, with a wonderful family.  He is smart, kind, and a natural leader, and here was somebody questioning his example because he brews his own beer!

I feel sometimes like we get so focused on the little details and the technicalities of following Christ, we forget that ultimately we are called to a life of freedom.  We get to enter into a relationship with the God of the universe, and here we are debating about alcohol and tattoos!  It’s annoying, to say the least.  In fact, it’s more than annoying.  It’s wrong.

I’m not saying that we get to live however we want (we don’t), nor am I saying that Christians are not called to a better, set apart way of life (we are).  What I’m saying is that when Christianity is treated as a ‘religion’ with rigid rules and a specific do and don’t list, the true beauty of salvation gets lost in the details.  This ‘set apart’ life we are called to is not always easy, and it comes with expectations, but it is so amazing and free and beautiful that it makes me sad when it is trivialized by legalization.

I could go on and on, but I think I’m going to go have a glass of wine and look at my tattoos.

I was almost late to class today.  I didn’t oversleep, nor was I stuck in traffic.  I was rushed to get to school today because I spent time with my husband.

The mornings at our home usually consist of us waking up at different times and going about our business, separate from one another.  Before we head off to our days, we simply leave with a hug and a kiss and a “have a good day, love you.”  While most mornings it makes sense (typically I wake up either earlier or later than Nason, depending on my schedule that day), it is lonely sometimes.  Often I wish we could just spend the whole morning together, like we became accustomed to doing on Wednesdays this summer.  I miss that.

So this morning he blew off his bike ride and I sacrificed my leisurely morning routine to lay in bed together and hang out.  We talked and cuddled, and just enjoyed being together for about 40 minutes.  That is, before I looked at the clock and realized that I was probably going to be late.  After that we lapsed back into the routine.  But that short time…well, it was the perfect start to the day. 

I sincerely wish we could start all of our days like that.  Someday we probably will.  But until then, I’ll take what I can get.  Because when we get it, it’s wonderful.

I have a sore throat.  This morning I woke up and felt that nagging pain, and I thought, well that’s not good.  But, I stayed positive, thinking that maybe with a glass of water, a hot shower, and cough drops it would go away.

No such luck.

The pain is still there, and when I realized that it wasn’t going away (at about 7:30 this morning) I started to panic.  See, a sore throat and croaky voice may not be a big deal to most, but to someone who uses her voice to lead worship every Sunday…well, let’s just say it threatened to ruin my day.  I didn’t know what to do.  I started thinking of the best way to resolve the issue, all the while desperately popping Ricolas and praying.  Should I go see a doctor?  Should I go home and try to sleep it off?  Should I drown myself in tea?  This can’t be happening-I’m a singer, for goodness sake!

I thought you were a servant of Christ, first and foremost.

This thought stopped me in the midst of my fretting.  See, I started reading Romans yesterday, and I took special notice of the way Paul defines himself in his greeting.  He calls himself a servant of Christ, and nothing but that.  I thought that was such a neat thing, that Paul would find his entire identity in servanthood, and I prayed that whole day for such an attitude. 

And now, here I was, freaking out about a sore throat!  I mean, it is true that I sing to serve, but even when my voice is compromised I am still a servant.  Unfortunately I forgot that temporarily, and I am sorry I did. 

But I learned something today (or rather I refreshed a lesson I had already learned but had forgotten).  In ten years I may not have an amazing voice.  I may not be a lot of things that I currently find identity in.  But one thing will never change-my identity in Christ, as a daughter and servant.

So, Aaron, the guy who leads the high school band, will be covering for me and Nason in middle school service this week.  And he’s going to do an awesome job!

First of all, I want to say thank you for all of the love and support this week.  I have been very low in spirits, and people’s understanding and prayer has touched me, and it makes me realize how thankful I am for my family and friends.

That being said, something very important is happening tomorrow.  It only comes once a year, and every time it does it is a cause for celebration.  Tomorrow we celebrate the birthday of my husband’s little sister.

The birthday girl!

So happy birthday, goofy girl.  I hope you have a fun day tomorrow, and enjoy the pancakes in the morning!

On this date last year, I got a pedicure, went shopping, stuffed homemade cookies into little bags (36 dozen cookies, take that Martha Stewart!) and went to my wedding rehearsal and dinner.  That’s right, that would make tomorrow our anniversary!

It’s a little crazy to think that Nason and I have been married for a year.  It still seems fun and fresh.  Every day with him is a new adventure.  It’s been a year of happiness, a few arguments, lots of change and, above all, lots of love.  I am so happy that God brought such a loving, sweet, selfless man into my life.  He’s my best friend and constant partner in crime.  Our life is filled with service, pranks, wrestling, hiking, laughter, and growth.  We get each other, even though we’re pretty different, and yet we’re always learning about each other.  I think it’s more fun like that.

I know that this is a short post today, but I’ll just leave you with this: This past year has been absolutely wonderful, even when it’s been difficult.  We are both in love, and we will see many more anniversaries after this one.  The first is special, but it certainly will not be the last!

PS: I will not be able to post again until Monday, since we will be out of town to celebrate.