Friendship

In about two weeks Steven and I will pack up a moving truck, with the help of our dear family, and we will move to NC. Woah. It feels weird even typing those words. I’ve been living in this weird of paradox of emotions the past week or so, feeling excited and expectant and also overwhelmed and immensely sad. It’s so strange to live in that place, but I’m beginning to learn that it’s good and helpful and healthy to feel all these things. To sit in the sadness for a little while, and let the tears fall. To plan and dream of what is to come in this new place we are moving to. I feel all things, and I love it and I hate it. It’s hard and it’s wonderful. It’s my own Vice Verses (This is a reference to a Switchfoot song.. if you do not know it, immediately stop reading and go listen. It will change your life.)

So I live in this place of sadness and joy, and I embrace it. Most of the time. The other times, I turn to my friends, family, and husband to talk me down from the emotional cliff. And that’s what this post is for. It’s for them. It will probably be pretty long, so be prepared. I’ll highlight their names so you can skip to the person you want to read about, I won’t be offended.

Leigh Detzel
If you don’t have the privilege and pleasure of being friends with Leigh, I feel sorry for you. She is literally the most encouraging person I know. We have developed such a dear and special friendship, during a time when I had been feeling pretty lonely in the friend department. She speaks such wise and encouraging truth into my life, and when she does I try to open my heart up extra wide and soak it all up like a sponge. She has been an answer to prayer, and whenever we are together I spend 3/4 of the time laughing. I love laughter, so thus I love Leigh. She loves bunnies and really all animals and organic sustainable food and Jebus. Her heart is big, and she is one of the most authentic people I have ever met. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Phylicia Masonheimer
Phylicia is a writer and she blogs over at phyliciadelta.com. She is passionate and authentic and strong and (perhaps most importantly) hilarious. Phylicia is one of my favorite people in the world because she makes me laugh, we have a mutual obsession with coffee (sorry Phy, just calling it was it is), and because we are so different but love each other so truly. While we have many many things in common, we don’t always see eye to eye. And sometimes when that happens people get very uncivilized and REWD. But not Phylicia. We talk and disagree and are both passionate about our views, but in the end we are true blue friends. We’re like lawyers that argue in the court room but then go out to lunch afterwards… except we don’t really argue, but I’m assuming you get the picture I’m painting. Phylicia challenges me and grows me and makes me better. She is truly iron that sharpens iron. She is sweet and funny and loves the Lord with her whole heart. She is also currently growing a baby… because she’s hardcore like that. She also has a ballin husband named Josh, who is really good at Settlers of Catan. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Tiffany Towne
Tiffany was one of my first friends that I made in my office. She has one of those amazing personalities where she just immediately makes you feel at ease. We have had many many lunches together and had many many laughs. She is literally one of the hardest working and strongest people I know. She is loyal to her core, and always thinks the best of everyone. We have had the best of times… and also the not so best of times. But she knows who I am, every part, the good and the bad, and loves me still. What more can I really ask for in a friend? She is such a special person, and I can’t wait to see the amazing things she accomplishes. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Theresa Dunbar
Theresa is literally one of the most genuine and sweet and loving people I know. She has been my boss for almost three years, but most importantly she has become my friend. She always has the best and most Godly advice, she is filled with infinite wisdom. She never tries to hide her mistakes, but instead uses them as a teaching tool to help me navigate my decisions. I am a better and more wise person because of her. I could never repay her for the way she has invested in me and loved me so so well. There aren’t really adequate words to describe the impact she has made in my life. She is an incredible wife, mother, boss and friend. I look at the way her husband Bill loves her and the way she loves him and it inspires me. I love her more than words, and I can’t talk about it any more because I will cry. Dearest friend, I honor you here.

Deanne Marie Housknecht
I saw a quote recently about sister in laws, how they are our family by chance but our friends by choice, and I feel like this couldn’t apply more perfectly in our relationship! Deanne is my seester, but she is also my friend. We laugh and shop and have serious talks. She is such an incredible and Godly woman, wise beyond her years. She recently had to go through a not so great season, and had to deal with some very serious and adult things and she was SO stinking wise and strong. I’m sure there were times where she felt defeated because she is a hooman, but she never let her emotions get the best of her. She is a woman of integrity and strength. She is also bad a#@ because she shoots a bow and arrow and is the only female on the club team at school. GIRL POWER. She has an amazing husband, who works so hard to provide for her. He supports her as she pursues her dreams of being a nurse, and he loves her well. Dearest sister and friend, I honor you here.

Christy Moxley
I met Christy in either 2011 or 2012… I’m beginning to reach an age where all the years blend together. We were in a life group together, and she quickly became one of my favorite people. We had the best talks, they were real and hilarious. Christy has one of those amazingly infections smiles, and a personality to match it. She has experienced deep pain and yet she loves so well. She has a heart for single moms, and babies (she is also growing a baby…all my friends are awesome) and for her husband Rich. She calls him Richy Baby and it makes me laugh every time. Hopefully Rich will still be my friend now that that is in writing. He is really great at making people laugh… however he is not good at Settlers of Catan. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Claire Pikarsky
I met Claire my freshman year at college, and then we became co-workers and then we became friends. Claire is the kind of woman I want to be when I grow up. I’m being very serious. She is kind and welcoming, and never says a bad word about anyone. She goes above and beyond the call of duty to make you feel like you matter to her. She is affirming and supportive, gorgeous and fun. I am so thankful that our friendship has grown and blossomed. We laugh together and have deep talks together. We share with one another transparently and honestly, always making our focus go back to Jesus. She inspires me and makes me want to be better. Her friendship and our friendship with her husband David, mean so much. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Brianna Brown
Brianna is one of the sweetest people I know. She has this incredible smile, the kind that just welcomes you into her life. She and her husband Bobby have a heart for the nations. They served as missionaries in Nepal, she works for World Help (which is a humanitarian organization) and they are currently in the waiting period for an international adoption from Ethiopia. Not only that, but she is also currently pregnant. That’s right, they are adopting and pregnant. THEY ARE HARDCORE. I have such incredible friends, that do things like love the unloved and grow humans inside them. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Rachel Brewer
I have known Rachel for about 4 or 5 years. We met at a ladies bible study and she saw me in my most immature and silly… and yet she still wants to be my friend. Bless her. Rachel LOVES people, and she does that by sharing her health journey and encouraging them on their own. She is such a strong and hard working person. She is a wife, a mom, and a business owner. She is a professional encourager and inspiration. Rachel and her husband Mark are excellent at welcoming people into their lives. Every time we go to their awesome loft we feel right at home because they have created that environment. Their kids are fun and polite and kind. We played apples to apples with them last week, and it was definitely one of the funniest things ever. They are such a great family, and I’m so thankful and proud to be Rachel’s friend. Dear friend, I honor you here.

Alexia Weaver
Lexi is literally the most encouraging, joyful, and authentic person I know. I’m not even exaggerating. She always has a smile on her face, and yet she’s also not afraid to talk about the hard stuff. That’s my favorite thing about her. She’s silly and fun always willing to try new things. She literally loves everyone, and I’m convinced she’s never met a stranger. She’s one of those people that you just want to be friends with forever because when you are with her life feels better. She’s thoughtful, loving and passionate. She has incredible vision, and trusts that God will open the doors she needs. She’s an amazing wife and mother. I love watching her and her husband together with their son Jax. I love that baby, he is the CUTEST. They are such great parents, and baby Jax will grow up knowing he is safe and loved. I’m so thankful for them. Dearest friend, I honor you here.

Steven Combs
I know that everyone else has been a female… but I just can’t write a post honoring friends without including my best friend. I honestly can’t imagine anyone else that I would rather adventure with. He is strong and steady, calming the storms that so often happen in my heart. He is an excellent hugger and my voice of reason. He is funny and creative and a musical genius. He is literally the wisest person I know. He steadies me when I am anxious and fearful and he is teaching me to not take myself too seriously. He takes chances, and dreams HUGE dreams. He is my biggest encouragement and accountability partner. I am a different woman today because of this man, and I know I am better for it. I love you Steven Anthony, and I honor you here.

I’m sorry that this post is exceptionally long, but at the same time I’m not. Each of these people deserved to be honored.  I’m so lucky to know them and so blessed to be their friend. I have known some incredible people here in Lynchburg, far too many for one post. I know this is just scraping the surface. But these people are so special. They are once in a life time kind of friends. I would like to pack them up and bring them with me, but since I can’t I will treasure them in my heart, and bribe them to come visit me with trips to Raleigh and swimming in our pool.

Advertisements

8 Months of Matrimony

Today makes 8 months of marriage for me Steven! Can I just say it has been the most wonderful while simultaneously the most difficult 8 months of my life. Marriage is grand, and marriage is hard. It stretches and grows you, slowly changing you into someone who is a little less selfish and a little more righteous. Marriage is one of those things that shines a light on all your insecurities while also shining a light on all the best parts about you. It’s amazing and a gift, and yet… sometimes we drive each other bonkers. Bless. If you’re married I’m sure you know what I’m talking about, and if you’ve been married for a long time I’m sure you’re thinking, “JUST WAIT!”

So to celebrate 8 months of awesome I’m going to share 8 things I’m learning about marriage and my handsome husband (see picture above for reference.)

1.) I am very very selfish. I want what I want when I want it, whether he’s busy doing something else or wants something different, it don’t matta. I want it. The end. Needless to say this selfishness causes conflict, so I’m learning that if I want to see my marriage thrive and if I don’t want both of us to start pulling our hair out in sheer frustration, than it’s time for me to bite the selfless bullet. Philippians 2:4 says, “Let  each of you look not only to his own interest, but also to the interest of others.” When we serve each other and look out for the other’s interest, things just go better. Trust me man.

2.) SNUGGLING IS THE BEST. Nothing deep about it, I just love snuggling. You know that verse about love covering a multitude of wrongs? Snuggling basically works the same way, just saying. Morning snuggles? There ain’t nothin’ better. Judge away friends, I don’t even care.

3.) I can’t expect Steve to understand all of me all the time, or to read my mind. It just doesn’t work that way. That’s a big one that I need to learn. Steve is not a psychic and he is a male which means he no habla female. When I take that pressure off of him to understand me 100% of the time, then it seems that we can walk in more freedom in our marriage. When i don’t put my expectations into his area and expect him to be responsible for my feelings, things are just better.

4.) Laughter really is the best medicine. It’s kind of like snuggling, in that it also covers a multitude of wrongs. I love to laugh, I love hearing other people laugh, and noone makes me laugh like Steven Combs can. Gosh, he’s hilarious!!

5.) Communication is more important than I ever could have imagined. It keeps our lines from being crossed, and when our lines do get crossed it helps them get fixed a little faster. Sometimes if Steve and I are disagreeing about something we have to stop and say, “how did we get here? Are we hearing each other, or are we misunderstanding what the other is trying to say?” When we do that more times than not, we are able to form a solution to the problem. When we listen AND hear each other and seek to understand where the other is coming from… man oh man it just changes the whole thing!

6.) Life is hard, thus having fun is a must!! Steve and I are intentional about having fun together. I mean just being together is fun, but it makes it extra fun when you take road trips, and record music together, and try new restaurants, and go on bike rides, and drink coffee together. Like this past weekend we tried this restaurant I’ve had my eyes on, watched the Hobbit, went to the farmer’s market, went to church, went to life group, and went on a mini road trip to NC to visit PA schools. SO FUN!

7.) Sharing money has been both good and annoying. Good because my husband is very frugal and speaks wisdom into my purchases. For example, “Sarah do you really need that 10th purse?” But then again it’s annoying because YES I NEED THAT PURSE! Bless. I have a purse problem. But the bottom line is, I’m not always careful with spending money and so Steve keeps me accountable by ensuring that my purchases are wise and needed. God knew I needed that otherwise I’d end up in the poor house.

And last but not least…

8.) The love I have for Steve and receive from him is unlike any love I’ve ever experienced before. I’ve felt love before, love for friends and family. But love for a husband is just a different ball game. I don’t know how to explain but it’s wonderful and hard and I’m just so grateful for it. Everyday when I wake up next to that man of mine I just breathe out praise to the God who knew we needed each other. The God who knew I didn’t need someone who would encourage me by feeding my insecurities, but instead encourages me by calling me out of them and into freedom. God knew I needed his smile, and mad coffee making skills. God knew I needed him, because he helps me be better, and he helps me look more like Jesus.

Marriage. It isn’t always sunshine and roses, but it is wonderful. I know I’m a newlywed… I know I still have a lot to learn, and I am dedicated to being a life long student of marriage and Steven and God.

He Weeps

It’s been raining here since Friday. I don’t mean a little drizzle, but more like a downpour. I miss the sun and vitamin D that it brings along with it, but today the rain is comforting.

I’ve been feeling a little heavy lately, worn down and burdened by the woes of the world around me. Ebola in Africa, war in Gaza and Israel, and ISIS taking over Iraq, brutally murdering anyone who gets in their way, whether they be Christians or even Muslims. Airplanes are falling out of the sky. Recently the 15 year old son of a pastor who used to work for the University I went to, committed suicide. Yesterday the great and hilarious Robin Williams committed suicide. The world is feeling extra broken, and I’ve been feeling that brokenness extra. I was beginning to feel that God was very far away, and that He was looking down from heaven watching our world self-destruct and He didn’t even care. Doesn’t He see us down here? Has He forgotten us? But then I remembered the rain.

I’m a sentimental person, romantic to my very core. When I look at the rain, I see God. In my grief, the rain reminds me that God is grieving too, He does not leave me us to mourn on our own. He does not look at the world and say, “Well they really messed up this awesome thing I created, guess I’ll leave them to it.” Isaiah 63:9 says, “In all their suffering He also suffered, and He personally rescued them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years.” In our suffering, He suffers. In the death and violence and the sadness, He suffers. The bible is full or reminders that God does not forget us in our pain and suffering. He is present. Psalm 22:24 says, “For He has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; He has not hidden His face from him but has listened to his cry for help.” Psalm 46:1-2 says, “God is our refuge and strength, and ever present help in times of trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.” He is our safety in a world that feels so unsafe, and He does not forget. Isaiah 49:14-16 says, “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.’ ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.’ ” Our world is not forgotten. Our hearts are not forgotten. Our pain does not go unseen. His compassion never fails, and His mercy is renewed each and every day. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted by the God of comfort. He doesn’t tell us to just suck it up, He doesn’t say to get over it. He mourns with us, He mourns for us… for the whole world. He doesn’t ask us not to grieve and to just be happy all the time, but instead He joins us as we adopt the posture of lamenting.

The rain reminds me that I am not alone in my grief. That He who made the world weeps with me. In this time of chaos and death and violence and pain He brings the rain. He weeps. He is Immanuel, God with us. The God who sent His son to die for us. The God who mourned for Israel is the same God who mourns with us today. May we not be afraid to join Him in His grief.

Tomorrow the sun is supposed to finally show it’s face. The ground will dry, and the birds will sing. But I will not forget the rain, or the God who brings it.