Saturday, 26 January 2013

No More Goodbyes

It's no secret, I'm missing my man. It's been 3 months and 8 days since we kissed goodbye this last time. This marks the longest time we've ever gone without seeing one another...

I was recalling to mind the other day another time we said goodbye for a long period. Charles and I were "seeing one another" and getting to know one another for 14 months before we decided to officially become a couple, knowing that when we did it was like making a little promise to someday make a bigger promise. And a little over a month after making that first little promise to one another on a cold Swedish ferry ride on the north sea, he was helping me with my bags at Victoria station, and I was boarding a train out to the airport to follow God into one of the greatest adventures of my lifetime-- a few months serving Him in the great unknown (to me) of Africa.

I remember I had found a big lollipop with the words "I love you" written on in icing and, knowing my man's playful spirit, had bought it to give him in that moment, even though when I bought it in Sweden I hadn't actually yet told him those 3 magic words. He'd asked me early on how soon I felt it was appropriate to say it, and I'd told him that I didn't use those words flippantly, because to me they hold a vow in their uttering. To me, love is not just an emotion, but an action, and if I wasn't sure I could live love to him, I wouldn't speak it to him. But that New Year's Eve, when I was visiting him in London-- in his bedroom before we headed to a party at a friend of his-- with butterflies in my stomach, I looked him in the eye and told him with conviction, "I think I love you, Charles." He replied quickly, as if it had been pent up within him just waiting to be let out for ages, "I know I love you."

And 4 days later, a kind gatekeeper at the train station let him cross the ticket gates with me, even though he hadn't a ticket, because he saw we were saying an emotional goodbye. Bless that man! And I reached into my bag and produced my giant "I love you" lollipop to leave with him, in hopes of lightening the heaviness of the goodbye. And I leaned down from the train to kiss him one last time, and then held the gaze of his full brown eyes through the train window until we could no longer see one another...

The other night it dawned on me that once he gets over here, hopefully in March, we should never have to suffer through another of these long goodbyes again. Who knows what life will bring and what kind of ministry opportunities may come and what our international marriage will require of us when it comes to the subject of time apart, but regardless, it all seems different when we're looking forward to saying "I do" this June. Any parting in the future will most likely be short, and will always hold the promise of being reunited soon, because we'll belong to one another. No more goodbyes...

So I will appreciate this time as a time that will never be relived, and look forward to that one because I have been longing for it for so long. And I will take his hand on the 1st of June and walk into forever...

Oh, how I count the days!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Les Miserables and Reckless Grace

Reckless grace...

This is what's on my mind today. God's reckless grace.

This past weekend my cousin and bridesmaid Jacks and I went to an afternoon matinee of Les Miserables, sheltered from the bitter cold of the lowest temps so far in this Minnesota winter. Admittedly, I adore this story. I have read the beautiful book by Victor Hugo twice now, and joyfully saw the beloved musical on Broadway when I was 15. I was prepared for the film version to be EPIC (and BEYOND BEAUTIFUL artistically). And I was not disappointed!

But I don't think I was prepared to be as moved or convicted by it as I was.

The French title, Les Miserables translates to "The Miserable" and how prolifically they portray the misery of the human condition. I cannot deny it, I cried pretty much the whole way through. But the beauty of it is, the entire story circles around how the misery of life on earth cannot compare to the hope of heaven. It is about a man touched by God's grace so deeply, that no matter what comes, he stands by the truth of it, knowing that his reward is heaven. I was literally so moved watching it that I nearly stood up and praised God in the middle of the darkened theatre in the final number!

I'm trying not to give you a spoiler here, but: When the priest near the beginning offers Jean Valjean grace after he had already taken advantage of his hospitality, he cannot know whether Jean Valjean will use that bit of grace to turn his life around. He cannot know that he will not just take advantage again, and yet he offers it anyway-- recklessly-- trusting that changing the man's heart is God's work, his responsibility is only to give the same amount of grace that Christ gave Him-- and that is grace without measure...

This speaks to me. This reminds me anew what Christ has done for me, and so what He has me here on earth, in the midst of this earthly misery, to do, to stand for, to point toward. His grace is reckless. His love is unconditional, measureless. He is endless hope. HE is our very reward, the hope of heaven to cradle us in and guide us through the desolate darkness that the here and now can hold...

This is why viewing the new film of Victor Hugo's legendary story Les Miserable made me want to stand up and praise God... His hope is brighter and longer and deeper and truer than any misery and grief in this blink of an eye existence. And because of that hope, we can love recklessly, showing His grace in living lives of compassion and integrity.

I am breathless with thankfulness...
(And I cannot wait to see the film and read the book again!)

"To love another person is to see the face of God..."
-- a lyric in the finale of Les Miserables

Friday, 18 January 2013

Vote for Our Story

Wanna do me a favour?

David's Bridal is hosting a contest to find the sweetest engagement story :) Grand prize is $2,500-- can you imagine the help that would be at the beginning of our life together with everything all up in the air?! And fan favourite prize is a $500 gift certificate to David's Bridal, which would be such a help for the wedding itself :)

So, we can vote once every 24 hours til the end of the month here:

Would you vote for Charles and my story? As many times as you can before the end of the month?

Thank you!!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Whispers of Light Photography

So... I'm taking the plunge.
I'm diving in to the dream of capturing glimmers of His beauty for all to see and appreciate. I suppose that's what writing has been about all along. But they say a picture is worth a thousand words...

So here it is, the beginnings of my dream job to fuel ministry:

Please check it out and follow me on this journey!
(A huge thank you to everyone whom has supported me so far :))

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Ushering out 2012

New Year's Eve always makes me reflective... On what God's done and on what He's doing and on what He's about to do in the new year.  

2012 started me out in America, sent me back to Sweden in February, in and out of England all throughout, and to Ireland with the most handsome man in the world in May! As well as handing me a new baby goddaughter that month to cherish. It took my beloved Grandma in July and left a huge gap in her place. It slipped a diamond engagement ring on my finger in August, giving me the most delightful and touching surprise I've had to date, thanks to my dearest friends and my darling man's collaboration :) It encouraged my soul and my heart for ministry in the beginning of August when it asked me to pour out my heart and my experiences of my God in my own life so far at a youth event on a small island in Kent. And it did so again when pouring out how He's touched my heart into the lives of a group of lovely 13-15 year old girls at a small summer camp in the Gloucestershire countryside later that month. It sent me to beautiful Budapest, Hungary for one random night in September and on a once-in-a-lifetime roadtrip down from Sweden to Denmark to Germany to Switzerland to Italy and finally to France in October to be maid-of-honour for my friend in their non-secret wedding :) It delivered into my life a new baby niece to love in October :) It brought me home for my dear friend/cousin Emily's long-awaited wedding in the end of October, sent me to Washington and Oregon with my Mom and my Grandpa in a precious roadtrip out to see my cousin and great aunt. It flew me down to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon on a special week with my Mom in November. And gave me my last Christmas as a single woman with my family in freezing cold Northern MN in December. In fact, I'll never spend another year as an unmarried girl after this one...

I've gotten in the habit of framing my memories according to where in the world I was when. Potentially, 2012 may be my last year of doing so much of that. It's hard to know what 2013 will bring, aside from a few choice dates which stand out in it :) This new year, on the 1st of June 2013, I will marry the best man I know, the man I believe God has been molding and shaping to share his life with me to His glory. We have very little clues as to how He specifically intends to use us together. But we know our God. And we wait in wonder...

It is big, the thought that THIS is the year He gives me the husband I have longed for. And not just anyone, but CHARLES MATTHEW KELTON, the man I love. It is big. And it's so easy to just go with the flow of the engagement and the wedding planning and the getting-on-with-life-ness of it all. But it is time to pause and ponder and process the bigness of this commitment we're making in 152 days, in this new year. I cannot quite express how I feel as I look toward the 1st of June 2013 and all that it signifies. I am excited beyond words and breathless with desire while also facing the fear of seeing the reality of some marriages all around me. We look at one another knowing that it does not always turn out all wonderful, but meeting gazes and knowing we desire to love one another well, like Christ loves us. And like we love one another now-- deeply, wistfully, joyfully, expectantly, hopefully, longingfully, with freshness and newness and trust, as well as a sort of holy fear. This thing is so much bigger than the two of us. So much stronger and so much more fragile-- in equal measure-- than we could have known it would be. And ultimately, it is a gift of His limitless grace, a gift to cherish and steward with reverance.

I love you, Charles. I cannot wait to kiss you as your wife in this new year. 152 days...

And I love you, Jesus. I cannot possibly say it loud enough or often enough. I want to thank you for this year of 2012. There have been so many hard times, a lot of heartache and some despair. There have been a lot of life's lessons that I hardly realized I was in the process of learning. And there has been a lot of laughter and joy and wonder and awe. And love. I am so thankful for Your love and Your grace which is ushering me through the years and will escort me right into and through 2013 too... 

Lord, be Lord of all my life in this new year. Help me to have more faith to trust You with, to surrender to your ways more quickly, to reject anxiety and all that draws my gaze from Your face. Lord, help me to love like You love. Help me to be transformational to the lives all around me wherever you place me, not just speaking of Your hope but living it out! Father, take my life so completely. I just want to want You more than anything else in this world... I love you. Thank you for the year which has passed and for this new one dawning. Thank You for Your grace.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...