Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Yearning

I'm in love.
No duh, right?
Yeah, I am head-over-heals-in-love. I'd be the first to admit that I've lost it. Cloud nine, all. the. way.

My heart still flutters every time my Love calls me on the phone. Seeing his face and hearing his voice gives me the thrills. I can't wait to marry him - well, I can, I have to, but ya know what I mean. As we go through the week, with our full busy schedules, I look forward with great, GREAT excitement to the next time I'll see him. And when I am with him, time seems to fly and soon it's time to say those dreadful words, "Good bye."

To all my wonderful single friends, don't leave yet! There is a point. It's coming. :) Please bear with me.

I remember once, trying to explain this strange magnetic pull that occurs whenever Drew enters the room. It's like some invisible something is pulling me towards him. After a little research, I discovered that there is in fact a word to describe this.
According to Webster's 1828 dictionary, the word to describe this phenomena is "yearning."

"Usually, to long; to feel an earnest desire; that is literally, to have a desire or inclination stretching towards the object or end."
Webster's 1828 Dictionary

Being the nerd that I am, discovering that Webster seemed to nail the way I feel about my fiancé was a wonderfully exhilarating moment!
Someone understands!
Not just anyone; Webster!

This pull, this yearning for the man I love, it reminds me a lot of another yearning.

I long for Heaven.
Thinking of Heaven excites me, it thrills me, it fills me with anticipation.
It's a lot like being in love, just larger scale.

Just as this bride here longs and yearns for her groom - it's true, it's sappy, and I'm sorry, but I'm really not sorry - the bride of Christ should long for her heavenly Groom.
Thinking about how much I miss my darling, how excited I am to see him, and how I long to marry him, has been an excellent reminder for how I ought to yearn for my heavenly Groom, the Lord Jesus.

Knowing that I'm going to see Drew can make me more hyper and jittery than three cups of coffee.
Does my excitement for Heaven, for Christ, do that?
Not enough.
Because I allow my excitement and anticipation to grow cold. When the realization of Christ's love is fresh and brand new, it's like falling in love for the first time. But after a while it's easy to allow that initial love and excitement to grow regular and ordinary.
But it's not regular and ordinary!
It's amazing!
It's something worth glorying in daily!
I've been saved and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and my eternal home is in Heaven with my Groom. I should feel deeply a longing and yearning to be home with Him, to be in His arms, to be by His side, to be united with my other half.

Falling in love, courting this wonderful man, being engaged to him......each stage has increasingly made me more and more aware of my longings for Heaven. (That sounds funny......don't over think that statement. ;) Take it in context.)
The more I yearn to be with Drew, the more I understand the way I long and yearn for Heaven, for my Groom, for my heavenly home.

It's a beautiful thing.

It's a glorious thing.

There is a yearning.
It is deep and throbbing. It consumes. It takes over. It makes me dizzy with excitement and anticipation.

I can't wait to marry Drew. The thought of being his wife thrills me.
But I REALLY can't wait for Heaven!
That thought thrills me even more.

Heaven is waiting.
I can't wait!

Monday, February 17, 2014


Cold, white, freezing, Wisconsin snow.
We've been hit with Elsa's powers, of this I am thoroughly convinced.

I was riding in the car with my dad today....on the way home from purchasing a dress of significant importance. Looking out the windshield at snow drifts and wind blowing the snow into a giant swirl of whiteness, I sighed and let out a complaint about my weariness of the snow.
"At least it's not black," he responded to my whining.
Black covering the fields, the trees, the houses, the cars, the road.....everything.
That would be horrendous.
That would be dark.

Yes, I'm glad it's not black.

"I like to think of the snow and how it's like Christ making our sins whiter than snow."
Wisdom. Beautiful, quiet wisdom. A statement from father to daughter. A simple statement. A deep statement.
Shut my mouth.
Shut up my complaining and whining about snow.
It's beautiful. It really is.
Whiter than snow.
I can't imagine it. My sins, whiter than snow. My scarlet heart changed into beautiful, clean whiteness. And all because of love! Love that is deeper, truer. Love that carries the sins of the world on Himself.

Wisconsin snow. Jesus blood. Sinful heart. Whiter than snow.

There's beauty all around. Pictures of Christ's love swirl around us if we're willing to see. To close the mouth and listen. Listen to the lilting, floating melody of love that swirls around us in the air we breath. Do you see it? Do you hear it?
"Redemption! Salvation!" cries out the snow. "Look, see the piercing light of the sun reflecting off of the whiteness! Brighter and whiter than this has He made your heart."

Do I see? Do I hear?
Not always.
But, I'm learning.
I'm learning to open my eyes, to wipe away the glassy film of self-pity and see. There is beauty. All of creation testifies the glory of the Savior and I'm starting to see it more and more.
Praise the Lord, He gives me reminders each day. He puts people like my parents, my fiancĂ©, my friends to remind me.

Cold, white, freezing, Wisconsin snow.
A lifetime of grace and forgiveness, mercy and love.
Snow. Whiter than snow.

The cold still bothers me Elsa.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

It's Not All About Us

This is a story. It's a story of two people, a bunch more people, and a really big God.
 Last Saturday, something really big happened.
Two people who wanted to get married, decided that they should get married. In other words, he proposed, I said yes and we got engaged.
Well...there's a little more to it.
However, before I recount this lovely tale, I want to be sure that it's quite clear this story isn't just about us. I feel like so many courtship to engagement type stories are just like candy articles for Christian homeschooled girls to read and daydream over. It's not really about two people that liked each other, had a perfect courtship, fell in love and are planning on getting married. There is so much more to courtship/dating/what-eva-ya-wanna-call-it than so many people let on. Really, this is about two people learning to love God more. When I really think about it honestly, this story really isn't about us nearly as much as it is about God.
And so, I shall do the very best to give you an honest retelling of our story, not because I think y'all need to know.... ;) but because someday I'll have grandkids that will ask and I want to be able to remember this even when I am old and senile. Just kidding.
I met Andrew Metzger sometime between the months of March and May of 2013. I keep trying to nail down the exact date but every time I think I've got it I start second guessing myself. Anyhoo, I was at CYAM (College and Young Adult Ministries) one evening. One of my besties, Vanessa (who recently got married) brought me over to the front where two brothers (one tall, one my height) were finishing up practicing music for the night. I had seen them both before but never bothered to introduce myself or make any attempt to meet them.
I should insert a side note here, that at the time I was completely uninterested in ever getting married. This stage of my life lasted only a couple months, but it was in fact during this time that I met my future husband-to-be.
Vanessa introduced us and then began to talk the shorter of the two, Andrew. My first thought was, "He's nice, but he's also too short." ( had this prerequisite for my future spouse that he had to be two inches taller than me and this guy was the same height. God was laughing in Heaven.) Also, at this point I hadn't graduated high school yet and was feeling a teensy weensy inferior as they talked about their college classes and professors. Suddenly, Vanessa up and walked away, leaving me standing there, awkwardly unsure of what to do or say. I seem to remember walking away shortly after. :) Later that evening, Vanessa made a joke about how she had fun introducing me to guys and then walking away.....needless to say I was slightly perturbed at the moment, now I can't thank that girl enough!
Then passed a summer of God really growing me in many ways and changing my heart a lot. I was a guarded and angry person inside, something others may or may not have seen, but something that was a very present reality for me. I could probably write a book about all the ways God changed my heart. Over the summer I truly fell in love...with God. I fell in love with Him in a way that I hadn't before. It was a real burning love for God, not just duty. I love reading my journal entries from the summer, because I can so clearly see how God was working and changing me.
At this time, Andrew and one other guy from church were leading a summer Bible study. I didn't think of Andrew much other than as our Bible study leader. Then at one point during the summer after Bible study, a group of us, including both Andrew and I, were having a conversation about history and homeschooling. I remember going home that night and telling my mom that I needed to find a Trinity student like Andrew to marry.
Then summer ended. School started up for most people. I had graduated in the spring so my life settled down into teaching piano, taking online classes, working at the local pregnancy helpline center, and stuff at home. The week of my nineteenth birthday some things happened that drew my attention to a certain Andrew Metzger....mainly his name appearing on a list of participants in my free online class. I told my mom that I was going to "observe" this guy a little more.
The next Sunday we had a meal after church and Andrew and I talked the whole time. During that conversation I realized that I REALLY liked this guy. A. Lot.
Through the rest of September and all of October, Andrew and I became really close friends. I was falling in love, and when I say falling, I mean going from not ever thinking of him, to constantly praying that God would help me not idolize this young man. I fell.
Even though my friends said he clearly, obviously liked me too, I still wondered sometimes. Looking back, yes, it was clear that we both really liked each other. I am so thankful that God gave us that time to become really good friends.
Then at the end of October, I got home from work one day and was informed that my dad had gotten together with a certain young man for lunch. I about passed out from excitement. It took everything in me to not spill my cup of hot tea all over myself. November 1st Andrew and I went on our first date. We sat on one end of Uno's eating pizza and just grinning at each other, while the rest of my family sat on the other side, probably laughing at us the whole time.
Thus began our courtship. 

It really didn't take long for me to know that this was the man I was going to marry. In all reality, I kinda already knew that even before we started courting, but it really hit me about two weeks after our first date. That's when we exchanged our first "I love you."
You don't need all the details of our courtship. This is going to be long winded as it is. Let me just say a couple important things. Courtship - getting to know each other with the intent of marriage - is not perfect. And even if you two are "perfect for each other," get along great and don't really have any big disagreements, that doesn't mean that there won't still be difficulties. I learned a lot about myself in courting Drew (yes, he asked me to call him Drew once we started courting). The biggest thing I learned was what it really means to love people. I don't know if y'all have heard Andrew Peterson's song "Love is a Good Thing," but this song became a very real reality to me. The first time I heard it I remember thinking that it was a nice song, but I didn't really get it. Now I get it. God taught me so much about what it means to love, not just Drew, but all of the people that He has put in my life.

By January, we had already started talking about getting engaged and even started brainstorming about wedding ideas. I think people thought we were crazy. That's okay. We think we're crazy too. :)
Then last week happened.
First, this rumor started circulating through our house that Drew and Daddy would be getting together on February 3rd. That part wasn't really a surprise since my Dad got together with him a few times through our courtship, but I was pretty sure that Drew was going to ask his permission this time. Thus I had placed the idea of getting engaged at a few weeks away. Little did I know that Drew had already asked my Dad's permission to marry me.
Then came Saturday, February 1st.
This picture is of the oblivious girl on that wonderful Saturday morning. She had no clue. NOT a CLUE.
Drew and I with a few close friends got together at Chili's for lunch. I hadn't seen him in a week and was really happy to be at lunch with him. But way too soon he got up and said we had to leave. I was rather upsetted by this because I had really hoped to see him longer than that. We headed out the door to leave....I'll admit I was starting to feel a little sulky. Then he said that I should come with him somewhere. I had driven up with my life-long best friend Paige and was thus very confused by this idea. Plus, through our courtship there was a rule that Drew and I weren't allowed to drive alone together. I was so confused, but he said that he had worked things out with my dad and to top it off, Paige was all good with it. The reality is, I only believed him because Paige was all good with it. I knew that she wouldn't be so chill unless she knew that Drew really had worked things out with my Dad.  I don't know why I was so confused. Haha, brain block or something. I asked Drew where we were going and he said with the gusto of Bilbo, "We're going on an adventure."
Ri-----ght. An adventure.
Somehow, I still didn't totally get it. I had started thinking that maybe he was going to propose, but I  really didn't want to expect to be proposed  to and then be disappointed if it didn't happen.
Then he pulled into our church's parking lot. I started freaking out. It was about that moment that it hit me what was going on. I don't think I will soon forget following him across the church foyer to the exact place where we first met. Nor will I forget staring into his eyes, or the words he said before getting down on one knee to propose.
I wish I could say I said something charming and witty followed by a yes, but alas, all I could do was freak out, shake my hands around like such a girl and say, "Oh my go----sh! YES!!!" and then bear hug him.
Afterwards we went to his house where our families and close friends were all waiting for us to arrive for a party.

And this is the amazing ring. I don't generally like engagement rings, but he picked out one that was exactly how I had always dreamed my ring would look. He knows me well. I always wanted a sapphire in the middle and look what I got!

In all the joy and excitement, I've been basking a lot in God's goodness the last couple days. I keep thinking of how different things would be if life had gone according to my plan rather than God's.  If life had gone according to my plan, I wouldn't be here right now, and I certainly wouldn't be engaged to Drew.  I love these lyrics from "Love is a Good Thing."
"Love is a good thing.
It'll fall like rain on your parade,
Laugh at the plans that you tried to make,
It'll wear you down till your heart just breaks
And it's a good thing.
Love is a good thing."
It's so true. God had to break my heart a little. He had to show me that my dreams, while good, weren't His plan for me. He had to bring me to a place where all I knew I confidently had was Him. And then He showed me why He had to do that.
I am so thankful that God is God and I am not. He has blessed me beyond anything I could've imagined. And I don't just say that as someone newly engaged. God has made me increasingly aware of His goodness all around me. That's one of the things that made me fall in love with Drew. He was always pointing me to Christ and talking about God's goodness. God is good through times of joy and through times of fiery trial. The best part is, God is still good even when we are not.
Even when He has to break us, He does so because He is good and He is working all things together for good.
My engagement story is not about me. It's not about Drew and I. It's about God. God working to bring two sinful people together for His glory.
And gosh, I can't wait to marry this man!