Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Our Home – Why we’re still in Maryland

I wanted to address this matter because I know my family strongly desires to see Daniel & I make our home in another state; however, we strongly believe that God has a different plan and purpose for us.

a.        God’s plan for us is to stay in Maryland.  Why? 
He has provided affordable living arrangements for us, good connections, networks, and friends who are encouraging and walking with us every step of the way, and a good new job for me (babysitting 4 children for a single mother, whom I met through my recent involvement in the Pro-Life ministry at church.  This job is a blessing because it came when my work hours were very few and this mother's need was very great.  I love being able to serve her and her children in this way and I hope to provide child-care for her as long as God would have me do so because I feel it is His plan for me to share His love with the people around me in Maryland - and isn't THAT what it's all about?).  We feel very connected in our ministries in church and our service is very much appreciated; on top of that, we are meeting new people and our existing friendships are growing.  He & I have very few friends apart from the ones in church, particularly friends with whom we are very close, and we feel the best way to grow those relationships is to walk beside our brothers and sisters on a daily basis here in Maryland.      

b.       We don’t feel led to leave Maryland yet, and we’re not just going to “jump ship” without God’s leading.  Our life path is different than everyone else’s; what He has planned for one family is not what He has planned for another family.  I considered moving to NC with my family this past summer, but God quickly made it clear that that was not what He intended for me to do.  Looking back now I can see that, had I moved, Daniel would've suffered terribly on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level.  We went through some difficult trials together, pertaining in particular with his jobs.  That being said, I cannot nor do I want to imagine how much harder it would've been if we had been separated.  With no promise of employment elsewhere we feel that, in this season, God would have us stay in Maryland.  In another season, He may have us move but right now we can’t see the future or what it holds for us. 

c.       Our God is bigger than the economy and the tyranny of the government. 
God has been faithful to prove His trustworthiness in the face of our great financial difficulties and I believe that, if it is God’s will for us to stay here, He will continue to bless us and provide for our every need.  I have seen Him provide me breakfast when I had nothing of my own to eat, and finances for car repairs, groceries, and medical supplies when I was short on money.  Honestly, the biggest issue should not be the money.  I’m not trying to downplay the severity of our state’s situation.  Maryland is a broken state, just like all the others.  Our country is a broken country, just like all the others.  But our God is bigger, more powerful, and more loving than our government.  If He were to send us to the poorest, sickest, most hostile place in the world, we would go.  His plans for us are for our good…He has nothing but our best interest in mind and we can go wherever He sends us with confidence because He is always with us.  That being said, we are very blessed to be where we are, surrounded by the people who care for and love us most, as we start this new season in our lives.  I would also like to say that I have felt my faith strengthen in these trying times and, through the faith-building I’ve received, I believe that God has used me to encourage Daniel in his own times of anxiety and doubt.  This is very encouraging because it means He is growing us into the husband and wife that He wants us to be. 

d.      Daniel wants to stay close to his family in order to receive allergy shots from his mom (a registered nurse) when he needs them. 
My Diabetes and Celiac doctors are also nearby.  This is not to say that we couldn’t move elsewhere and receive the same care; it is just much more convenient for us right now. 

Because of these few reasons I am going to follow, cleave to, and respect him and his leadership in this decision.  After all, we are going to be starting our own family unit and family units have to do what is best for them, which is not always what is best for everyone else.  Because we are different people and a different family, we have a different path.  

And that's okay.  That's part of God's intended purpose: to spread out, multiply, and inhabit the earth.  With His guidance, we're just going to do it a little bit differently.  So fear not for us but pray for us, that God would do His work through us while we are still in Maryland.    

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Different Direction

So I think I’ve figured out what I want to do with my blog.  Wedding planning is only going to last another month, and I’ve got the blog on our wedding website for those updates:

So, I am going to take my personal blog in a different direction.  I would like to use this post to explain myself.   

I’ve had a lot floating around in my mind lately.  Most of it pertains to my personal, spiritual, and physical well-being and growth.  Some of the thoughts take me back to the past; some of them are forcing me to spring into the future.  I’ve been encouraged and emboldened to speak my mind; I’ve also felt discouraged about sharing.  However, I am tired of feeling like my voice does not matter, my opinions do not count, and my experiences are not relevant. 

Now that I have a clearer idea of who I am as a person and how my mind works, I think that it is helpful and necessary to share my perspective.  If you do not care to hear from me, you are not obligated to read my blog.  If you have the desire to lend me your attention span briefly every so often, I ask that you would bear with me as I continue to find my voice, which is a big deal to me since I've never really been able to find it before.  The biggest reason for that is because I am an introvert - quiet, reserved; I don't talk unless I feel I have something important to say, and if I feel ignored or pushed aside, I will not waste my energy on trying to make myself heard. 

Here, let me give you a brief glimpse into my personality:

ISFJ – Introverted, Sensing, Feeling, Judging 

  I – Introversion preferred to extraversion: ISFJs tend to be quiet and reserved. They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas extraverts gain energy).

· S – Sensing preferred to intuition: ISFJs tend to be more concrete than abstract. They focus their attention on the details rather than the big picture, and on immediate realities rather than future possibilities.

· F – Feeling preferred to thinking: ISFJs tend to value personal considerations above objective criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social implications than to logic.

· J – Judgment preferred to perception: ISFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions early. They derive a sense of control through predictability.


AKA Guardian Protector

We are lucky that Protectors make up as much as ten percent the population, because their primary interest is in the safety and security of those they care about - their family, their circle of friends, their students, their patients, their boss, their fellow-workers, or their employees. Protectors have an extraordinary sense of loyalty and responsibility in their makeup, and seem fulfilled in the degree they can shield others from the dirt and dangers of the world. Speculating and experimenting do not intrigue Protectors, who prefer to make do with time-honored and time-tested products and procedures rather than change to new. At work Protectors are seldom happy in situations where the rules are constantly changing, or where long-established ways of doing things are not respected. For their part, Protectors value tradition, both in the culture and in their family. Protectors believe deeply in the stability of social ranking conferred by birth, titles, offices, and credentials. And they cherish family history and enjoy caring for family property, from houses to heirlooms.

Wanting to be of service to others, Protectors find great satisfaction in assisting the downtrodden, and can deal with disability and neediness in others better than any other type. They are not as outgoing and talkative as the Provider Guardians [ESFJs], and their shyness is often misjudged as stiffness, even coldness, when in truth Protectors are warm-hearted and sympathetic, giving happily of themselves to those in need.

Their reserve ought really to be seen as an expression of their sincerity and seriousness of purpose. The most diligent of all the types, Protectors are willing to work long, hard hours quietly doing all the thankless jobs that others manage to avoid. Protectors are quite happy working alone; in fact, in positions of authority they may try to do everything themselves rather than direct others to get the job done. Thoroughness and frugality are also virtues for them. When Protectors undertake a task, they will complete it if humanly possible. They also know better than any other type the value of a dollar, and they abhor the squandering or misuse of money. To save, to put something aside against an unpredictable future, to prepare for emergencies-these are actions near and dear to the Protector's heart. For all these reasons, Protectors are frequently overworked, just as they are frequently misunderstood and undervalued. Their contributions, and also their economies, are often taken for granted, and they rarely get the gratitude they deserve.

I am growing excited as I think about all the things I want to express: joys and sorrows.
I am looking forward to experiencing a new chapter in my life (marriage).
I am growing eager about sharing the things (good and bad) that have gotten me to where I am today.
I am trusting that my spiritual experiences will shed light on and open eyes to the reality of God's love in my life while also exposing the dangerous pitfalls that Satan has tried to use against me.
I am hopeful that you will join me, learn from me, share with me, encourage me, and pray for me.  I am going to make it a goal of posting at least once a week. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

6 More Weeks!

6 more weeks until our wedding!  Daniel & I are finally starting to feel the excitement rising as we rejoice that the day of which we have both been dreaming but thought would never come is actually in reach!  And things are coming together pretty well...all things considered.  :)

Ironically, (and sadly) the two groomsmen that we planned the March 24th date around are no longer able to make it to our wedding (due to finances and conflicting schedules).  Daniel has been searching for replacements and has already found one, but we still need another.  He is prayerfully considering 2 other young men to ask.

As I said, wedding planning is coming along nicely; although lately I've been feeling like a chicken with its head cut off - between wedding planning and my new job I feel like I've hardly had a chance to catch my breath!  But now that I have access to the wedding money we've received, I am able to purchase the last things we need for decorations, flowers, and accessories!  Our honeymoon details have been ironed out (we just have to book a hotel room for one night) and we are thrilled just thinking about all the wonderful things we are going to do and see!  

Other updates:
I have found someone who is willing to bake & decorate my cake as a present: Marybeth Matney.

We've also found a wedding coordinator, Deborah Banks, who will help out with some of the details that I won't be able to keep track of on the Big Day.  I am meeting with her tomorrow after church to talk about plans.

And we have a photographer, Angelica Gottberg, who offered to take our pictures as a very generous wedding present!

And tonight, I am getting together with my seamstress friend to go over the final details of my wedding dress alterations!  I'm so excited to see it and try it on!