I know I literally just updated my blog a matter of minutes ago, but I HAD to share this. I just checked facebook and saw this heartrending post from a girl who I'd fallen out of touch with, but who was a fun classmate of mine back in college: Friends and Family, I wanted to update you and let you know that Sunday night I broke my left foot.
I'll be getting a cast or boot tomorrow morning, and will know more about what the next month of healing will look like--but I will most likely not be able to walk on it for some time.
This week has been difficult both physically and emotionally and yet I know that God is teaching me so many things. This is the weakest I have ever been. Not only is it difficult to do basic things like cooking, bathing, and getting around the house--there are details and plans to finish up in the next 17 days before Mike and I marry.
God is sovereign. Before Sunday I have never broken a bone or even twisted an ankle, yet 3 weeks before my wedding this happens. I know that God knows what He is doing.
He knows that my heart has for years dreamed about what my wedding will be like and how I will look. This idolatry has clouded the reality of what marriage is and has even killed the joy that I can have on my wedding day.
He knows that I am very stubborn and even fear asking people for help and in His kindness He is humbling my proud heart and forcing me to ask for help.
He knows that so often I put my hope in tomorrows. He is constantly and patiently teaching me that I must only and can only hope in Him.
Oh my Father knows what I need.
I have cried a lot this week, but mostly when I see how selfless and Christlike Mike has been to me. He has taken every burden on that he can find--only that I may find joy in Jesus and know that God loves me. I am so amazed that I get to marry this man.
Yesterday, my dad told me with all sincerity that if I cannot walk down the aisle--he will carry me. Yeah--I cried after this too.
And so--I may not look the way I've always dreamed, I may not have the decorations together, I may not be able to dance but as the Lord wills-- I will marry Michael Lambelet and for this I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for how good the Lord is and for the many ways He is faithful to me.
Its ironic that I should be reading this almost one year since Kyle and I got married. A flood of memories came back to me and I had to respond. Here is what I wrote:
Dear friend, I just read your heartfelt post and I had to respond. A few months before my wedding I sprained my ankle and I know how scary that is! By God's grace it healed in plenty of time before my wedding, BUT: Right before I sprained my ankle my sister had moved in with me and was very emotionally needy, and my parents shunned me during all of that time. It really rocked my faith and killed my joy about the wedding. Whenever we'd start to talk about plans I'd burst into tears, as my youngest sister couldn't be my flower girl, my mom wouldn't be helping me plan anything, my dad wouldn't be saying anything dorky yet eloquent. I had to really sacrifice a lot of my dreams. Most of them were idolatrous and silly, but some were important. I felt really guilty throughout it all - guilty for being happy, for not being happy, etc. But I learned an important lesson: A wedding is not a sparkly party where we look beautiful. A wedding is not a social event. A wedding is not a dream come true. A wedding is a rite of passage. A wedding is a huge symbol of becoming the woman God has planned for you to become. And the way you travel through that rite of passage is very symbolic of what kind of woman you will become. I went through clinging to God and leaning heavily on my then fiance' for guidance and support. If you are carried down the isle in your earthly fathers arms - oh how beautiful! I'm tearing up as I write it. No it won't be as you dreamed, but how tenderly powerful as your father literally hands you over to your new husband! Emily how much more powerful than walking! Every bride walks down holding onto her fathers arms. How many girls are carried by their fathers? I know you are in physical and emotional pain now, but I encourage you dear sister to focus on the blessing this tragedy is turning into. I hope this was encouraging and not anything else. I'll be praying for you dear girl! I'm so excited you have met your soulmate!!! MIss you girly and don't lose sight of the ultimate awesomeness: YOU GET TO BE A MRS SOON!!!!!
The best part of the garden is how many people we're able to bless with it. We've given veggies to several friends who are really struggling financially right now.
In addition to all the glorious outside work, I've been trying to get the house clean. I've deep cleaned the bathroom and living room (and discovered that our front windows are apparently where june bugs and flies go to die) and after this blog post is finished and I scarf down some food am gonna deep clean the dining room. The kitchen I have tried my best to deep clean but we have this awful habit of eating - and that keeps messing it up. The whole 'clean as you go' thing only works when the both of us aren't dashing about like mad, trying to cram as much life into the day as possible. Its wonderful and adventuresome, but the poor house suffers.
We also got my office cleaned of all VBS stuff and switched my office to a different, smaller room in the building. Hopefully that will cut down on people mistaking my office for a storage closet or a place to sort all the daycare's leftovers. We'll see though - I remain skeptical.
I can't tell you how excited I am to be getting ready for a VACATION! We're going to Kyle's family reunion in Alabama first, and then going on to Florida for our FIRST ANNIVERSARY EVER!!! I'm gonna take him to Venice, where my Grandma always used to take me, my sister and my cousin when we were kids. Did I say I was excited? I can't wait to feel the salty waves swishing the sand between my toes!!
We had yet ANOTHER event at church this last week. I tell ya, I see the fruit of such things. There's definite benefits to it. Things happen as a result. But they are EXHAUSTING! The good news with this event was that the drama was very minimal and the spiritual warfare was not nearly intense, and we still had some good fruit. However all of last week was pretty much consumed with purchasing door prizes, coordinating with hostesses, cooking, cleaning off the china, and trying not to panic when a few people had to back out of responsibilities due to various reasons. And then it hit me: I forgot to polish my silver sugar and creamer service! It was late Friday afternoon when it hit me, and I was NOT about to go BACK to the store for the billionth time to get some silver polish. And I had no idea how much such things cost. Either I could get it for a song or have to pledge my first child, and I wasn't in the mood to find out. So I did the only rational thing a semi-crunchy homeschool graduate woman could do: I grabbed the bottle of Ketchup from the refrigerator, a handful of paper towels and the silver and headed to the porch. My husband saw me out of the corner of his eye and started laughing. "What are you DOING?" he asked, with a hint of, 'The stress has finally gotten to her. My wife has just snapped.' in his voice. "I saw it on Lydia's Blog. Don't worry, I know what I'm doing!" I called over my shoulder. (to read her article on the matter, click here)
I will say that I think Lydia's experience was probably more enjoyable, because she had two toddlers quite willing to do her ketchupy bidding. I however, do NOT like gooey things on my fingers. Like, I wash my hands at least five times whenever kneading dough because I can't stand the dry yet sticky gooeyness on my fingers. Yeah I know. I'm a weird wimp. But back to the ketchup polish. It also requires a good deal of scrubbing and buffing with the paper towel, and for some reason I had thought that I could just squirt the ketchup onto the silver, let it sit for a half hour, and then just wipe the red goo away to reveal silvery glossiness. No such luck. I had to scrub and buff and scrub and buff. The tarnish eventually wore off to reveal some shiny silver, but not quick enough for my over-busy, somewhat impatient self. I finally squirted some vinegar into a small bowl and splashed some salt in with it to finish up the polishing. The trouble with that is I had to have the right proportion of vinegar to salt so that I wouldn't scratch the silver. (at that point I was thinking, 'You know, self, it would have been soooooo much simpler to just go to the store and pick up some silver polish! But oh no, we had to take out our stress on all of our cooking supplies and a poor worn out set of silver!')
The good news is that all the experimenting was non-toxic and au natural. And used up some ready-to-hit-their-expiration-date items in my fridge and pantry. It would have helped if I had been willing to dedicate 15 minutes to pure buffing of the ketchup like Lydia prescribed, but I was stressed so my ADD was kicking in full swing. And the ladies sitting at my tea table didn't seem to notice or care, so it really didn't matter anyway! At some point when I have nothing to do and am bored (HA!) I'll probably pull out whats left of the ketchup and give it another go as there are still some spots that need polishing. However I was quite pleased with the result irregardless:
The Tea Party went really well also. Several ladies came up and thanked me for putting it together, which is a definite FIRST. I honestly thought it was going to be a disaster, but it all ran smoothly. We had cool door prizes, our guest speaker moved most of the ladies to tears with her powerful testimony, the food was delicious and it looked like everyone had nice conversations while they sipped their tea. One little wizened lady (who has kept me sane throughout most of the events at this church and threatened to spank me if I canceled this one) said as we were cleaning up, "Well, this was fun. Lets do another one in the fall. But we should decorate with hay bales and forget all this china stuff!" Heehee. Well.. maybe... but if we do a hoedown then we'll have to invite the guys!
Today is one of the first truly GORGEOUS days of Summer. We've had a few days of thunderstorms, so the world is washed fresh and green is peeping back from under the brown. I've almost lost a couple of plants due to the heat, and due to the business the lack of watering or weeding. The front beds are pitiful. I did confess to my husband the other day that I far prefer the backyard garden to the front yard. We live off a main thoroughfare street, and so the noise, smell of cars, and occasional honks and lewd remarks from burly men in old pickup trucks make it less relaxing than the back yard. That and the robin dive-bombing me every time I tried to weed this spring was kind of a psychological deterrent to the front yard!
So I've felt a little guilty that the backyard is thriving while the front yard is struggling. But my husband also pointed out that this is my first year to have several full blown, food producing GARDEN BEDS all of my own. So he said I should allow for some trial and error. I think in the fall I'm moving most of the delicate plants out of the front beds and into the back beds and just going to plant huge hardy flowering things in the front for passer-by-ers enjoyment! The fun things that need attention are going into my haven.
This year I've been coming across a lot of gourd art, so I decided to plant birdhouse gourds to see if I could join in that genre of art. All but two of the seedlings died from pests or heat, but the two that made it are doing quite well. This is the first seedling all grown up:
The above pictures are of some Birdhouse Gourd Art we saw in Brown County (which reminds me I have GOT to finish that post about our AWESOME adventures there!!). I'm hoping to get enough gourds to experiment with a lot of these ideas (LOVE love love the birds in the middle picture. The big gourd in the picture on the left is actually a purse/picnic basket! and the masks on the far right picture are made out of gourds!). But the main thing I want to do is get a Wood Burning Kit and make henna-designed birdhouses out of the gourds. They sell for a small fortune online and I'm pretty sure I can do the same thing... but we'll see. So if anyone is looking for Christmas Gifts ideas for Yours Truly.... Wood Burning Kit!!!!
Knitting and needle arts have always been a part of my life. My great-grandmother does it all. She’s made all her own clothes since she was a teenager; knits, embroiders, crochets, and does a few other needle arts when she’s bored. My grandma mainly focused on cross stitch, embroidery, and rug making, and my mom knitted, crocheted and cross-stitched thousands of little gifts for family and friends. Before I was born my mom made a huge sampler that had rows of geese, sheep, shepherds and shepherdesses marching in rows above and below a quaint little thatched roof cottage that housed a proverb. I would stand for hours and look at it, following the texture of the wool embroidery thread with my eyes. Other aunts and relatives quilt and sew and I grew up tracing the patterns of cotton cloth and vinyl quilting thread with my fingers as I fell asleep.
So when I attempt at making a pair of socks for myself and they end up a child’s small instead of an adult medium, it is easy for me to get really discouraged. I am not the great master of fine folk arts that my great grandmother is, nor the machine that turns coffee into wall art that my grandma was.
But I do what I can and my husband is very encouraging. Before I took the kids to camp I decided to make all the girls little knitted turtle stuffed animals. It was an easy pattern but I was really nervous that the kids wouldn’t like them. So I waited a few days at camp before giving them to the girls, and in the meantime knit a scarf for a Christmas present. One of the girls plopped on the bed next to me and stared. “Whats that, crochet?” she asked. “No its knitting.” I retorted, feeling defensive – and then guilty that a 10 year old could make me feel defensive! “My Grandma knits.” The girl continued. Then with a sly look she said, “Are you a Grandma?” Rude little booger! But as I continued more and more girls crept up and watched, still making snide remarks but obviously enthralled. Then the requests for things that I make THEM started coming in.
The day I put the turtles in a place where they could find them was a really good lesson for me. “OH Ms Rachel! You made US something!” was the elated cry as they compared the colors and sizes and tried to pick turtle-appropriate names for their new toys. And you know, those poor turtles got dragged everywhere for the rest of camp? To the lake, to the cafeteria, to the swimming pool… I was terrified they were going to be ruined, but those girls took good care of their new little treasures.
I compare my little projects with the great masterpieces the matriarchs of my family make, and I feel completely incompetent. But despite that, I use the gift and talent God gave me to touch others. What areas of your life do you feel inept in? Do you think God can use that to touch someone else in a special way?
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
My apologies for the long silence. A combination of the Internet deciding to take a vacation and a mysterious grappling with pure exhaustion have made blogging next to impossible the last two weeks. I do have a delightful draft about our visit to Brown County right after camp, but its not finished yet. Hopefully its what I'll post next :-)
In addition to that, this week has been a daily onslaught of ministry opportunities - most of which in no way connected to my actual ministry 'job.' Although I did make the Pastor's family a pretty amazing banquet while he was in the hospital, if I do say so myself (cream of broccoli soup, mashed potatoes with sour cream, butter and fresh homegrown dill in them, kielbasa fried in marinating sauce, and for desert mango cupcakes AND carob-banana cupcakes - both with icing. All of which was made from SCRATCH)
Its been exhausting but in a good way - like after a really refreshing work out kind of exhausting. And its given my husband and I several opportunities to assess or reassess where we are and what we're doing and why. Or what keeps us going, or areas we were encouraged by - or what is currently discouraging us about certain things and trying to find ways to overcome it.
All that to say I have not abandoned you, my little blog. I'm just really busy living life outside a computer these days.
A normal woman learning to serve an Extraordinary Lord in Ordinary ways, and watching Him turn it into Amazing Grace!
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