In constant pursuit of coffee and Christ

Friday, June 13, 2014

Love is a Battlefield

Today I'm drinking from my teal Christmas mug.

My family knows how to bless me. This past Christmas my youngest sister gave me this lovely mug, filled with chocolate (second best thing to being filled with coffee and much easier to wrap).

Growing up my sister Julia and I fought all the time (she is almost 4.5 years younger). Our poor mother. Stacey (11 years younger) and I, though we've had our arguments, never had a full blown fight. Now the three of us share a love and relationship that can withstand any disagreement and opposition.

One of the things, I feel, a lot of couples get wrong is the idea that love and happiness go together 100% of the time. Don't get me wrong, happiness is a great part of being in love but, let's face it, being truly in love may make you miserable from time to time too.

"... for better or worse..." maybe they (whomever "they" may be) should consider changing this to "for better and worse" because, I guarantee you, you will see both.

I'm not being pessimistic, it's not in my nature. Personally I fancy myself as more of a rational/realist who errs on the side of romantic/giddy/nostalgic/sentimental with a strong dash of don't-mess-with-me.

For those thinking this is about my personal life, well of course it is! Nothing is more personal than love and your opinion on the matter. To set the record straight, and I mean in stone, concrete, without wavering, etc., etc. my Ben and I are as solid as they come. We have attained a level of open and honest that only comes through hardship. When I tell you that he is my best friend and we know everything about each other I'm not just throwing out lovey dovey BS, I mean it. I will also tell you that we have not always been this way but had to learn some lessons and grow together the hard way. Take it from me,while learning from others mistakes may be the easier route, learning from your own mistakes, you'll never forget the lesson.

When I think about true examples of real love, one of the couples I think about, and am so incredibly grateful for and blessed by, are my grandfather and late grandmother.

They used to drive down to visit us in their motor home and stay for a few days. We would always go grocery shopping and buy BBQ beef, BBQ chips, buns, bagel chips, cherry pie, lemonade, and potato salad. After our shopping was done we would all sit around the little table in the back of the motor home, say grace, and dig in. My grandpa would cut one piece from the pie and then say "I see my piece" and gesture that we all had to share the small, cut piece and he was going to eat the remainder of the pie. Of course, as little girls, we would fall for it every time.

We would drive back home (I even was allowed behind the wheel a few times!) and everyone but one of us girls would be evacuated so that we could spend time with grandpa. We all knew what this meant: the big bad wolf wanted to steal all of our Cracker Jacks so we had to eat them all before he could get to them! This was done with all of us, one at a time. Our special time with grandpa as he told us stories and we ate our Cracker Jacks.

Grandma always had stories too. We heard all about how she and grandpa used to go out dancing and singing with their friends, she told us Bible stories, and all about our mom and aunts and uncle when they were our age. Our grammar was corrected, our speech perfected, our singing appreciated. Grandma could quote every movie she had ever watched, which was a lot, and she could sing every song she had ever heard. Grandma gave all her attention to you when she spoke with you, and you knew better than to interrupt when she wasn't! She conducted herself with a grace and love that I aspire to attain. She also operated under the don't-mess-with-me standards. I have had the greatest examples in my life. I am so blessed.

All these lovely memories of my grandparents together are intermingled with the memories of them fighting. I mean FIGHTING. Not physical fist fights of course, but verbally there was blood on the ground. Grandpa would try to tell Grandma that she remembered something wrong or said something wrong, "No, Helen, you've got it all wrong..." to which my grandmother would reply, with great robust and authority " I most certainly do NOT!" and it would escalate from there. Lots of yelling, doors slamming... we were removed from the motor home on more than one occasion. Every time, after a few minutes or so, they would come out, all smiles as if nothing had happened.

How is this relevant? How is this not relevant??

Knowing how to love fully goes hand in hand with knowing how to fight and recover. You're two different people, with two different sets of thought patterns, emotions, skills, interests, etc. If you're not having disagreements than that means one of you is conforming to avoid confrontation. Now obviously you don't have to fight the way my grandparents did. Sometimes all you need is a nice sit down over a cup of coffee to express your feelings and get everything out on the table.

I'm the angry passionate one in the relationship. When I'm upset with you, you know it. Ben, on the other hand, is very internal. He can be upset about something for

"days, weeks, months, who knows" 
~ Eeyore 

and nobody would ever know. There have been times when I've had to pry his frustrations out of him. What I have noticed, which is a lovely thing, is that we are rubbing off on one another. While I'm still very open about my feelings, I will give myself some time to calm down and consider why I'm upset and if it's really worth the fight. Ben has started to voice his frustrations more frequently, venting about everything from work to well, that's pretty much it as of late.

It seems today love is just a feeling. Everyone is walking around looking for someone to make them feel "all warm and fuzzy" or "butterflies" or whatever kids are saying now days. Well, everyone is wrong. Love is a decision, a way of life, a mindset. Love is a painful, beautiful, difficult, life altering, way of living. Love is not something that can be confused with fever or indigestion.

To listen to my grandparents argue one might have made the assumption that they didn't really love each other. What a horrible misconception that would have been.

My grandparents were married for 69 years when my beautiful grandmother passed. Never have I witnessed my grandfather so quiet and meek. He wrote a beautiful letter that the pastor read aloud at my grandmothers funeral, a letter full of love and memories. He wrote about her kindness, her faithfulness, her generosity...

"Her smile is adding to the glory of Heaven now" 

I'm not one to cry, but I teared up there.

He also wrote of his new theme song, which is beautiful and so perfectly fitting:

Where the blue of the night
Meets the gold of the day
Someone waits for me

And the gold of her hair
Crowns the blue of her eyes
Like a halo, tenderly

If only I could see her
Oh how happy I would be

Where the blue of the night
Meets the gold of the day
Someone waits for me
~Where the Blue of the Night

So, don't let Disney movies fool you (though Frozen was pretty accurate, from my standpoint and relationship with my sisters anyways). Love is not a fairy tale. Love is more than shivers up your spine and wet sloppy kisses. Sometimes love is a pain in your rear, a tear down your face, a smile from across the room that melts your heart. 

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 
 *Notice it says "not easily angered" not "never angered"  

“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” 
~Friedrich Nietzsche

“You don't love someone because they're perfect, you love them in spite of the fact that they're not.” 
~Jodi Picoult

"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up."
~James A. Baldwin

photo taken from

Friday, June 6, 2014

I Will See You Again

This morning I chose my 'I love you' mug.

When I was somewhere around the age of 7 years old, my mom bought this mug for me while we were out grocery shopping. I was sitting in the cart, you know, up by the handles, and I dropped it before we even made it out the door. I was crushed, she could tell. Without making a fuss that I had wasted money, caused a scene, and made a mess, my mom simply turned around and bought the mug for me again. "I'll hold onto it this time" she said. I have very few memories from that age, but my first coffee mug... it's only fitting that I would remember this story.

To say the last eight days have been hectic would be like saying D Day was a cake walk. HOORAH! to all our active duty, reservists, and veterans. Thank you for your service!

*Thank a soldier. You will never regret it, they will never forget it.

All at the same time I have everything and nothing to say.

Within a 72 hour period I went from fearing for my mother, to grieving the loss of my grandmother (my mothers mother).

The grieving process is sweetened by the knowledge that she lives still, in the splendor of His glory, in Heaven. No longer suffering, no longer bound by the confines of this world. My grandmother passed with the peace of knowing that she was going to meet her Heavenly Father, knowing that, some day, we will all be together again.

Maybe I need more coffee (when do I not?), but I am so happy for her. Don't get me wrong, my heart is heavy for my grandfather and those she left behind, all of whom miss her terribly. She passed knowing that her family was happy, healthy, and serving the Lord. She passed confident in her relationship with Christ.

I cannot think of a better way to honor her life than to ask the following question

If your life ended today, would you get to meet my grandmother in Heaven?

Jesus' blood has the power to cover all sin, ALL SIN. When we ask for His forgiveness, and welcome Him into our lives, that blood covers our sin, giving us the key to the gates of Heaven.

"If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
~ 1 John 1:8-9

Lord knows I'm not a perfect person, but I have been forgiven by my loving Heavenly Father and have been shrouded with the Blood of Jesus. My life has a purpose and peace that is beyond my understanding. 

"Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
~ John 14:6

"God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that whomever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life"
~ John 1:16

 Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” 
~ John 10:10

If you need Jesus in your life, if you're ready to be forgiven, if you're ready for peace beyond understanding, if you're ready for the craziest ride of your life, follow this link and click the blue tabs at the top of the page.

I love you grandma. We shall see you again!