You are beautiful.
I AM NOT PERFECT.
I can’t tell you how much you are loved by God.
You are beautiful.
It’s Spring. And my heart struggles with this, in a strange way. I know normally Sunshiney Natalie would be screaming from the rooftops (especially after a maple latte this morning) that it’s SPRING YA’LL!
But really my heart is just in a little bit of a no-not-Spring place. Just a bit of a “let me stay here, buried in snow, I’m fine…really…” sort of half-smile place. More like the several inches of snow we got last night and the gray day here with my candle and vintage lamp and a warm mug of goodness in my fleece pajama pants (yes, still, at 11am #writerlife) snuggled under a blanket that has Love written in several languages on it. Just a little bit more of this.
I’ve been thinking lately of when I was little, how I spent so much time in my room quietly creating, happy as a clam to be in a cozy space creating beauty out of nothing more than glitter and gluesticks and paper and words. I would write all sorts of little storybooks and set up a shop to sell them to my mom for a nickel each. Just a happy little quiet Natalie-heart.
And then life.
You know what I’m sayin’?
Today is one of those days where I feel that unequivocally, life pressed down on top of my heart. Anxiety, selfishness, fear, bitterness…not so pretty.
See the truth of the matter is, I have a tender heart. I have a poet’s heart underneath it all, when we get down to it. One that sees pain and the quietness and the joy of life and takes it in deeply. A heart that has been wrecked with pain and brokenness.
These soft hearts like mine don’t just bounce back quickly. It is a bit more fragile. A bit more malleable. A bit more attentive and empathetic and a whole lot softer. It still hurts now and again and I face the thought of blooming into spring one more time with trepidation.
But I’m thinking how I don’t want an “And then life” life. Not worldly-life. I want heart-life. I want quiet-beauty-inner-happy-deep-well-soft-heart-poet-eyes-take-it-all-in-and-bring-it-back-to-life-and-breathe-it-out life. A happy little quiet Natalie-heart.
So I guess that means I do want Spring. The beautiful, life-giving, revival of Spring. To breathe that in again and let it fill me. To sit with that for awhile, to heal and slowly be brought back to life.
We all choose. Every single day, choosing, choosing. Which tea to have for breakfast (right now I’m loving Bigelow’s White Chocolate Kisses), how many chocolate chips to put on the oatmeal (it’s Friday–a decent handful). And the big decisions, sometimes even the subconscious ones: Choosing to show up to work with a smile on your face. Choosing to feel beautiful, even if you’ve been told otherwise by people in your life. Choosing to step out on a precariously thin limb, knowing that God is the one who sways the trees and can make you fly off that branch into blue sky dreams. These are bold choices, sometimes even reckless in the face of the world’s desires.
I’ve been told time and time again that who you marry is the second-most important decision you make in life, right after accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. Woah, hey there, that’s some kinda pressure!
“I want a man who knows the value of a promise. Who keeps his promises.I want a man who believes that marriage is holy and is forever.I want a man who makes me absolutely a better version of myself (not just the other way around).I want a man who has both common sense and utter nonsense.I want a man who thinks I am cute when I make a few too many stupid jokes in a day, and when I laugh a little too loudly at something in my head.I want a man who will know when I’m in just a little too deep, and will give me that helping hand.I want a man who knows that occasionally I do get in a little too deep, but usually I am just fine.I want a man who is strong enough to be the spiritual leader for our family. And by that, I also mean, I want a man who wants a family and is a “family man”. I want a man who loves me FOR my quirks, not in spite of them.I want a man who is able to see through me even when I just keep staring straight ahead.I want a man who appreciates the little things I choose, like nice towels and hand soaps; who knows exactly what I want, but surprises me still the same; who is okay with the fact that I am a major dork; who knows that I always want the honest answer even if I don’t like it; who will like to cook with me; who will sleep out under the stars with me JUST because I *want* to.“
So…what’s on your list? Am I way off track?
The past two years have been full of heartbreak and the difficult struggle to get my heart put back together again, whole and healthy and ready at the feet of God. He has been ever-so gracious and patient with me, and I can see His hand all over the last few years. That Footprints poem might be cliche, but I can see it was only Him who was carrying me. Now, He has set me down on two feet, and said, “Go, now, and be better.” Be stronger. Be healthier. Be braver. I think He is calling me to fill a bigger space, to be more beautiful in heart and spirit, and to dance with Him this year. To be a better version of myself, for me, for Him, for my family, for my friends, for my boyfriend, for my church, for my employers, for you beautiful readers, and even for strangers I meet in day-to-day life. Once again, I have no idea how this word will look in practice, in the rubber-meets-the-road moments over the next 12 months. I am scared, but I am willing.
Necessities: Pink legal pad, Powersheets, Emily Ley planner, Afar magazine (to get my heart interested in adventure & travel again?), hot pink Post-Its, light pink Post-it flags, pink pen, metallic pencil, blue highlighter, striped paperclips, Martha Stewart goals binder with pink clips, tea, Good Girl Style business cards, and polka-dot washi tape. Happy little things 🙂
Other Resources That Have Informed My Heart So Far for 2014:
This blog post.
This sermon series, followed by this one.
The fact that THIS is our God.
This goal-setting plan.
This convicting blog post.
This Twitter feed.
There are so, so many more resources that have been speaking to me as I prepare for the new year. I hope you find some of these helpful to you as well.
Lysa posted on her Facebook page this question: “Lysa, if you are a woman with faith then are you willing to live a life that actually requires faith?” And it’s one that has been tumbling around in my own heat and heart.
Am I ready?Are we ready?
Let’s be game-changers and faith-walkers this year.
The word for today is “Together”. Set the timer for 5 minutes!
Together is a tough word for me right now. I feel the opposite of it in so many ways. I feel left behind, left out, lonely. I am so tempted to think that God doesn’t have a plan for me, and that somehow I have been forgotten altogether.
Together implies two.
And I am only one.
Only one in the morning when I make coffee. Only one at lunch time when I check my phone and see no new messages. I am only one at night when I crawl under my fuzzy hot pink blanket for the evening. And sometimes only one hurts. Because we always say “only” one. How many? “Only one.”
The lonely one.
But in the morning, I like to sing to the radio at the top of my lungs and dance around and at lunch time I go shopping at at bedtime, I snuggle that hot pink blanket and I enjoy eating chips in bed and watching Netflix like its my job. Maybe I can enjoy being, “one,” without the only. Nothing is missing when Jesus is involved. The fullness of time brings the blessings it is meant to, and in the meantime, this season? It’s pretty darn blessed, too.
Words were harder this week. So it goes.