10 years, Baby! and a whole lot of whittling…

My six-year-old talks about the New Earth daily.  While we have tried hard to drive eternity home in her heart, we find ourselves often having to remind her that the Kingdom is coming in and through Jesus-followers.  She has a part in bringing the New Earth here.

E: “Mama, don’t you want to go to the New Earth now…like today…”

(She often goes here when things get hard.)

Me: “No, Em. I actually kind of like it here. I believe that you and me being here together right now was always part of God’s plan. Remember, we are here {for now} so that we can be a part of the Kingdom coming now.”

E: “Yeah. I guess.”

She is often disappointed by the things of this world. Just the other day she reminded me once again that there would be no hospitals, no police officers and no firefighters in the New Earth. “You and Daddy won’t have a job, Mommy.”  AMEN, sister!

I don’t know if other families talk about Heaven and eternity as often as we do, but it’s a daily (sometimes multiple times a day) conversation over here.  There is a longing for Kingdom, but we are indeed here {for now}.

Several years ago I saw this incredible couple in the Target parking lot.  (This story was always going to be in my book, but I’m going to tell you part of it now.) They were probably in their mid-eighties.  They parked and walked in hand in hand.  I remember telling the Lord that I wanted to grow old like that.  I want that to be my story.  I want to live as long as possible with my husband right next to me. I want us to experience life and death simultaneously, really. I’ve wrestled with that moment off and on for years now.  What is God’s will? Will that be my story?  There are so many other ways that story could go.

Ross and I celebrated 10 years of marriage on the 4th. I have always thought that marrying upped the risk factor of life by a ton and having kids is just about the riskiest thing you could ever do in life.  The amount of love and life poured out for other people is overwhelmingly scary and risky.  If my heart spends too much time thinking about it, I will cry myself to sleep.  But how does the saying go? “It’s better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.”  I don’t know…the jury is still out. (just kidding)  But it’s HARD on my heart.

The night Ross and I went on our first date, it was unlike any first date ever. I cleared the air and broke the ice at the dinner table by asking Ross his intentions. There was much at stake for me in even being there, and I wasn’t messing around. He clearly stated that he wanted to date to me. The night was full of deep, full, and giddy conversation.  I left that night knowing that I was going to marry him. We hugged goodbye and the Holy Spirit fell. We both lost our breath and knew that this was the beginning of a holy journey.

Ten years later, it has been just that. A holy journey. Sanctification is ultimately always producing something beautiful.  But it would be foolish to say that it always looks or feels beautiful.  It reminds me of whittling wood.  You know something is happening…the finished product will be a masterpiece; but the shavings and the in-between state are uncomfortable and frustrating at times.  The difference in today and ten years ago is that I feel like I have a vision for the masterpiece.  I used to have no idea what the hell was happening.  It used to feel like sharpening a pencil over and over again and it keeps breaking and the lead falls out.  (I HATE THAT!)  In the beginning marriage felt like we were traveling the same mountain road, dying there and getting back up and traveling it again.  It was exhausting, and I could not have told you that for sure a masterpiece was being produced. Again, it felt like a crappy pencil. But now, I feel like I have tasted and seen the masterpiece, and it is good.  I could literally whittle all day.  Bring on the whittling!

Honestly, I’ve simply learned to savor and hold tight the moments.  I feel like, when I take a moment to breathe, every moment with Ross is a holy moment.  It is righteous, sanctifying, and beautiful. And it’s sobering to think that the moments don’t last forever…

We spent our 10th anniversary on our last full day in Lake Tahoe.  It began with a melt down from our girlies that lasted all morning and consequently made us late to lunch and missing beach time with the family.  It was hard. It still brings tears to my eyes. Whittling is hard work and now we have added other pieces to the masterpiece that have to be whittled too. But there was something deeply peaceful and holy about those moments.  I wasn’t disappointed that we spent our anniversary morning like that, just sad at the intensity of brokenness in the here and now.  I was honestly honored that the Lord chose us for this risky business of parenting and grateful that we could do it together that day.  Deeply grateful that I’m not alone in it.

When I told my six-year-old that I kind of like it here, I do.  These moments are making masterpieces.  We are all a work in progress and I can’t think of four people (and a dog) that I would rather be in process with.  Cheers to 10 years, 1 dog, 3 girls and a LOT of whittling!!!

He is indeed making diamonds out of us.





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