Monday, July 14, 2014

My Best Friend's Wedding

Every wedding I have ever been to, I have cried.  The moment the bride walks down the aisle gets me misty, but the real moment the tears flow is during the vows.  I mean, think about it, making promises for life, that is serious.  During my wedding ceremony the officiant pointed out that my husband and I were not entering into a contract that can be broken, but a covenant that is unbreakable.  It is enough to make me more than a little teary.

A few days before I stood as matron of honor to my best friend, Amy, as she was married, I looked back through my wedding photos.  I smiled as I reflected on the day and how startlingly handsome my groom was. I believe I even made the comment, "I want to have another wedding."  The groom would be the same, but I so enjoyed all the things that made our day special that I wanted to relive it again.

As I listened to the pastor during Amy's nuptials, I couldn't help but think about heaven.  I knew there would be rejoicing for their union, but I was more focused on my wedding day.  The day I would be dressed all in white and I would be walking towards the groom that is preparing a place for me.  The excitement of seeing your groom as you walk down the aisle to commit your life to him is inexplicable.  So how can I contain the even more overwhelming feeling of being the bride that has Jesus as her groom.

I committed my life to him a few days shy of 21 years ago and while every moment has not been filled with anticipation of seeing him face to face, it has been the most worthwhile relationship I have ever had.  Just as in earthly marriage, our relationship with Jesus has to be nurtured, there must be constant communication and sacrifice.  Sometimes you have to go against your own wishes in order to submit to what is best for the relationship.

I think that is what Paul was talking about in Ephesians 5.  Marriage is not only love and respect, submitting and leading,  just as your relationship with Christ is not limited to those things.  When I am pleased with my husband, I let him know and I brag about him to others.  When I have been blessed by Jesus, I let him know and I brag about Him to others.  Communication is crucial for my relationship with my husband as well as with Christ.  When I have wronged my husband I ask forgiveness just as I do when I have sinned against God.  When the comparison is made between the relationship between husband and wife and the relationship with Christ and the Church, it encompasses a whole lot more than hierarchy and roles.  What I need from my husband is also what I get from Christ.  What my husband needs from me, I must also give to Christ.

"And we will fly away in the twinkling of an eye
Leaving all our heartaches and telling them all goodbye
Yes we will fly away when He hears His Father say,
'Jesus go and get your bride, today's your wedding day'"

I'm ready!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Gaining Wisdom is Seldom Easy

At 19 years old I was diagnosed with having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  My doctor told me it would be almost impossible for me to get pregnant.  Pregnancy was the last thing on my mind at 19.  I was in my first year of college and excited for my future.  I remember being disappointed at the news, but not really understanding the impact of it.
Fast forward 5 years and I started my Korean adventure.  There are side-effects of my condition that remind me that it is still present in my life, but nothing that would hinder me from living life to the fullest.  Then on June 22, 2012 I met my husband.
I remember telling him after we had gotten serious and were discussing our future together about my PCOS.  His response didn't surprise me and in fact it gave me a sense of hope.  He told me that God will give us what we ask of Him.  I smiled and was relieved that he didn't seem concerned about it, although I have to admit there was doubt.  I have heard my husband say this many times before and I have challenged him on the theology of it as well.  But what he means is simple.  He takes God at His word.  His faith is unwavering and he trusts God to provide for our every need.  He doesn't have trouble presenting his requests to God by prayer and petition and with thanksgiving.  He is obedient to scripture and trusts God's promises.
We were married at the Nigerian Embassy in Seoul, South Korea on March 27, 2013. During our premarital/marital counseling the wife of the couple we were doing our counseling with asked me if I had any female problems.  I revealed to her the diagnosis I had received a decade before and she suggested that they lay their hands on me and pray for me.  When she and my new husband finished praying for me she said to me that I was healed.  I was excited and trusted in the power of prayer and the promises of my God.  I made the decision to not doubt, but to choose to trust God over the doctors.  To put my future in the hands of the great physician.
We celebrated our wedding on November 17, 2013 and I knew that I wanted to immediately try to have a baby. In February I began charting and tracking and detailing the condition of my body.  In January I learned that my youngest sister was pregnant with her second. I thought how fun it would be to be pregnant with my sister.  Then a few weeks later my other younger sister announced she is pregnant with her fourth.  I could hardly contain my excitement at the thought of being pregnant at the same time as both of my sisters.  I daydreamed all about it. Then the time came to take the first pregnancy test.  It was negative.
I knew that it was unlikely that I would get pregnant the first month we started trying, but then the tests were negative in March and April and May.  And then I learned of two other friends that are pregnant.
I started reading blogs and doing research and planning that when the health insurance kicks in I'll go to the doctor.  Then unaware friends ask when we are going to start trying.  And because I know their hearts and intentions I resist the urge to scream, cry, or hash out every detail to them so I reply, when God is ready, I am ready.
My tears became daily and my hope became small.  My husband would remind me that God's timing is perfect.  And there would be moments that God would show me that I need to be thankful for this time in my life.  But the sadness lingers and the uncertainty of the outcome is no small thought.
Despite the pain, I want to learn something through all of this.  I know I am only at the beginning of this process.  I anticipate many more months of negatives and more hardships resulting from my disappointment.  However, I refuse to walk this journey without gaining wisdom.
I am choosing to see every negative test as a blessing.  A negative test means more time with my husband, it means more opportunities to sleep in.  Seeing one line instead of two means I can be free to serve God in ways a mother just can't.  The absence of a pink plus means I can give more of my time, energy, and finances to God.  What a blessing.
So now I have to respond to the call.  I have to dry my tears and take a deep breath.  I have to run to Him the moment the doubt returns.  Because this I know is true, God is better than a baby.  So I will rejoice even if He chooses not to give one to us.  And while I am surrounded by pregnant women, I will choose to serve them, not envy them.  I will wait my turn, and trust my God because hope does not disappoint.

Friday, March 28, 2014

A Letter to the Man on the Street

Dear Man on the Street,

Today you asked me for a penny, I didn't have one.  I was surprised you asked for only a penny, not a dollar not even a dime.  It made me sad.  I was on my way to lunch.   I wanted to invite you to have lunch with us, but I didn't.  I watched as people passed by.  Some people pretended you weren't there, some moved to the far side of the street.  They all looked uncomfortable.  I thought about what people might say if I invited you in to have lunch.  I thought about sticking up for you.  I thought about what led you to this place.  I watched as you danced on the street to the beat of nearby street musicians.  I thought about where you stayed when it was so cold a few days ago.  Then I cried.  But not for you, for me.  For all of the missed opportunities. I thought about Jesus.  He would have invited you to lunch.  He would have listened to your story.  He wouldn't have pitied you.  He would have loved you.  I'm still learning but I left you different.  You made an impact on me and next time you ask, I'll have a penny for you.  I'll invite you to lunch.  I'll listen to your story.  I'll love you.

~ kristin