A story, a symbol, a masterpiece…
Brad, my husband, saw a piano free on Facebook. It was left in a shed where it received water damage and the fluctuating temperatures ruined its insides. He decided to take this on as his biggest woodworking project to date. He completely refurbished it. He changed out all the inside pieces, rebuilt and stained some parts, sanded it, varnished it, and gave it to me as a gift. I was and still am completely in awe. When I opened up the inside and he explained to me how he replaced the parts, I just stared at him with my mouth open. The amount of time and patience that was placed into this beautiful work of art cannot be numbered. I didn’t even know I wanted a piano until he gave me this one. I have a keyboard that I bought for myself while I was in high school with money I made from selling watermelons. It only got the job done through the years, but I will admit a keyboard is nothing like playing this piano!
I’m not writing this to brag about how good Brad is to me (although, I don’t deserve him at all because he’s entirely too good for me). We’ve been married for a year and a half and the big secret to it is letting God be in the middle. This piano reminds me that marriage is simple and shouldn’t be complicated. Marriage is like playing a piano…you go through highs and lows, you hit the black keys every now and then that take you by surprise but turn out being all part of the song, and when a key sticks or you hit a wrong note, you work through it and keep playing anyway. ❤️
I went through a major fashion phase right after I got married. If it was on sale, cheap to me, and cute, I would ask Brad and buy it. Now that I look back on it, I have understood why. Fashion + clothes + shoes are tons of fun to me, and I ❤️ being creative with outfits. I have been that kind of girl before I could talk (just ask my mom), but it increased so much more after marriage…
I have slacked up buying clothes the past 6 months and haven’t bought much of anything except books (Brad and I are book nerds now🤓) and groceries.
It just dawned on me WHY I would buy clothes other than just liking them and being on sale. It isn’t because I had more closet space. I did have more room which was a bonus, but that wasn’t the reason. It also isn’t because I needed to give clothes away and make a wardrobe update. I did that too, but again, this isn’t the reason.
It’s clear to me now: clothes became my way of finding confidence. Being newly married, I felt a crazy amount of pressure to be a perfect wife and everything good I’ve read about. It was my way of gaining stability when my circumstances changed. I was seeing girls at church with the latest fashion trend on or fashion bloggers on my IG feed stating the must-haves for the season. I was looking to prove myself to people and finding confidence in clothes…🤦🏻♀️
You guys, it took me until NOW to figure this out. The message I need to get to you is this: look deep into your heart. Satan plants pressure there, little lies that don’t seem to be a big deal until they grow into a monster that tears your life away piece by piece. Harsh, I know. Confidence & stability when life is changing can only be found in Christ. Carefully monitor what you are allowing yourself to believe. You control whether you believe LIES or TRUTH, friends!
I have written this post a number of times and never posted it because it’s so personal, but God keeps wanting me to share this and I can’t run from it anymore. There is a girl out there somewhere that needs this, so here goes nothing.
I fell in love with a guy when I was 15. I really did even though some may argue that it wasn’t love but “infatuation.” I know the difference between the two, and I knew it then as well. He was my best friend for a long time, and I caught all the feelings after awhile. I truly got to know him first through our friendship. I remember praying to God to allow us to date and for him to like me.
He told me he liked me (finally) and we dated my entire high school career except my freshmen year when we were building a friendship. We were alike in so many ways, and I thought that we would get married one day like most couples who date for a long time in high school. I had plans with him.
But God is cool and way bigger than the plans I made for myself. When that guy broke up with me, I was so heartbroken. It was an all-time low in my life. I didn’t eat, sleep, and I basically just cried for a couple weeks wondering why and how could this happen? (Haha, don’t pity this experience because a lot of girls go through it! You may be one of them!) I mean, it was so stinkin’ hard y’all! It took me the longest time to get over the broken relationship. God is gracious though and amazing. Over time, I realized that we wouldn’t have worked out because of how much we changed.
Going through that experience made me aware that placing a person and my own plans above God is dangerous. It is allowing that person to have reign over your heart and emotions more than God which ends in destruction. Guarding your heart (Proverbs 4:23) prevents that destruction in the first place. Just because God places a person in your life, doesn’t mean they are always meant to stay there. Maybe the reasoning was to lead that person to Christ or to have an influence on their decisions in the future. I always wondered when I would start seeing “the reasons” unfold, and they eventually did!
Trust God because He knows what He’s doing even when you can’t see it!
Traditionally, Brad carried me through the front door into our remodeled home the night of our wedding. He lifted me up and swung me into the doorway like a dream…until the veil caught on one of the sharp bricks. When he put me down, I drew the veil around me to see if it was torn. A hole about the size of a quarter stood out like a sore thumb. My heart sunk down to the pit of my stomach. I pathetically looked up at Brad and said, “This veil was my something borrowed, and I don’t know how I’m going to get this fixed. Only me…” I dreaded telling my friend about me tearing her veil, but I mustered up the courage and told her the story. She was very merciful to me and assured me that it was okay. As upset as I was about the veil, God used it to grab my attention.
Just like I have mentioned before, a lot went wrong leading up to my wedding day. I worried and stressed over each stupid little thing. I was scared it wasn’t going to be what I wanted and had been planning. But the day came…and it was beyond perfect and beautiful and the best day of my life. God used this illustration of the veil being torn to say, “Hey! Nothing is between You and me anymore!” It wasn’t God that put anything between me and Him…it was ME. Once the wedding day was over, He made it known to me that I was the one who distanced myself from Him. He never changed. He also showed me love, grace, and mercy when I ran to Him more than once.
Wherever you are in your relationship with God, know that He is the same and you’re the one who changes that status. Every veil has a hole in it for God’s indescribable, undeniable character to poke through. So reach through, grab it, hold on, and He’ll pull you out of whatever stuff you’re in right now.
Where did Brad go?” I looked over my shoulder when I reached the bottom of one of the waterfalls, and he had disappeared. I stayed there admiring the view wondering where he was for awhile, and then, traveled back to where I thought I lost him. The trail broke into four different parts, so I lingered in that section for the longest time beginning to freak out after not finding him for 30 minutes. I started going up the mountain trail straight in front of me hoping he may be on it trying to find me, but there was only a 25% chance I would get it right. The trails were long and arduous, and I didn’t want to miss seeing any of these beautiful falls with him for the first time. I trekked for a 1/2 mile, & there he was…his arms were crossed and his eyes were glaring at me but he broke into a smile. My heart danced in my chest! “I found you!!” I exclaimed, loud and proud. “Emily, you left me. I walked over 2 miles looking for you!” Whoopsie…
I’m almost too adventurous for my own good to the point that I get lost in my intentions and goals that I forget about others on my way to the destination. Then, I have to backtrack to find where I went wrong. Don’t get so caught up in pursuing your dreams and goals that you forget about the people “following” you. You are a light and an example to everyone around you, so make time with them. Strong relationships and friendships don’t grow overnight. Besides, if you have no one with you when you make it to your destination, what good is in that?
What I learned after I said “yes:”
1. Never let the significant other take God’s place.
2. Discuss decisions with your fiance because it will affect him/her in the future.
3. Admit you’re wrong when you know you’re wrong (I’m still working on this one).
4. Just trust that they will take care of you.
5. Don’t depend on him/her for happiness….they will mess up and have imperfections too.
6. Let them know your deepest secrets and struggles.
7. Say “I’m sorry.”
8.Tell them that you love them every single day because you can never overuse “I love you.” ❤
9. If you’re the girl, be submissive and don’t always try to be independent. This means just going with it even if you want to put up a fight (my struggle now). If you’re the guy, lead and provide for the girl.
10. Talk about finances together.
11. Even when you’re really stressed out about wedding planning, moving, remodeling a house, finding a job (all me right now lol), find ways to spend time with him. Being intentional about setting aside time to be with the one you love is critical no matter how busy or stressed out you may be!
12. Texting is the most terrible communication tool!!! If it is important, don’t bring it up through texting. Communicating with each other daily is extremely important and sets you up for marriage.
13. The wedding isn’t what matters in the end…the MARRIAGE of you and your future husband/wife is what is important!
14. If stuff goes wrong while wedding planning, give it to God and find a solution. Don’t cry and stress out like I did!!! I found this out the hard way. Even if it seems silly, God will listen and He’s there for you.
15. Praying for him/her and your future marriage and the current relationship is essential.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I learned while we were engaged. I hope that this can help you future husbands and wives out there!
After four months of dating, we found ourselves out in his boat at his family’s camp. I began to fish for bass from the start; cast after cast I didn’t get a bite. When Brad pulled in a small fish, the desire to impress and beat him suddenly made its appearance. I saw a spot between two trees that was shaded by the bank and knew that’s where the bass had to be sitting. I cast my tequila sunrise artificial worm…only to catch a huge branch from one of the trees right in front of me. I desperately started pulling on it embarrassed at my sloppy casting skills. I wanted to live up to being the ultimate bassmaster as I claimed to Brad, but I looked like a fool. I pulled the rod back towards me and the line became tight until it finally gave way. It slung down into the boat barely missing me and Brad. We like to IMPRESS people. We like to show them that maybe we can fish better, talk more eloquently, make higher grades, look prettier than her to get the date with that guy you’ve been crushing on, or lift heavier weights to get the girl. We feel the need to impress people because we want to feel ACCEPTED by people. There is nothing wrong with wanting to feel accepted, but that feeling can turn into an obsession. And when we obsess over wanting acceptance from others, we take our eyes off God and put them on ourselves. Then, we begin comparing our abilities, gifts, and talents that God has blessed us with to the guys and girls surrounding us either trying to get them jealous over what we have or what we can do or being jealous ourselves. Wanting to feel ACCEPTED can make the prideful and jealous part of us reveal itself, and usually doesn’t end up pretty. I tried hard to impress Brad to win acceptance from him and to show him that I was good at fishing (whether I am or not is a personal opinion, lol). Even though it ended with laughter, I still felt like an idiot…So the moral of the story is that there is no need for you to try to impress others to feel accepted. Pride + jealousy are both destructive. Just remember that you are accepted into God’s kingdom if you are saved, you are loved by God, and you belong here, right where you are.