Happy Monday, y’all! Today’s post marks the first of a month-long Monday series I am starting called “Suffering for Righteousness.” I am starting with a light topic, and planning to delve deeper into the mystery of life with Christ – a life in which suffering […]
He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion. Happy Monday! Does anyone else write stories in their minds? The place most conducive to “Story-Writing” in my thought-life is the cafe I work at, Smile Tiger. […]
Today, Johnny and I are 80 days out from our “I Do’s,” and I could not possibly be more excited.
We are also just a few weeks shy of seeing each other again for his regional soccer tournament, and less than a month away from being done with long distance forever.
In case you’re new to the blog, this post provides insight and advice from both Johnny and I on our years of long distance.
I recently put out a question via my Instagram about what interests you most in reading on the blog. An overwhelming majority loved reading about my relationship with Johnny– and, specifically, how we have navigated long distance and “made it work.”
Here is the thing about long distance (since this will probably be my last ever post while I’m in the midst of it):
If you are dating a person worthy of your time, investment, and relationship with, long distance should not be a problem.
You should not have concerns about their loyalty, truthfulness, or intentions, and if you do, we are way beyond the issue of long distance. Unless those concerns come from past hurts that genuinely have nothing to do with the person you are seeing, you need to take some time to seriously consider/pray into your reasoning for relationship with this person.
If you are in love, aligned in morals and intentions, and open with each other, the sacrifice of long distance will not feel so much like a sacrifice, but rather a necessary, non-negotiable experience. If you are led to different places/paths at the same time before you are married, pray about it, and have confidence in your relationship, this distance should not be any object in your relationship.
Now, in saying this, I do not mean that the distance isn’t difficult. Painful. Emotional. Challenging. The hardest thing about it for Johnny and I has been simply MISSING each other, aching for each other, as we are truly best friends, and love being with each other very much.
So, naturally, the way we have “made it work” has been in much, much prayer and dialogue. In feeling confident and continuously led that we are better together than apart, and clinging to the knowledge that the distance was temporary. In focusing on all of the positive things that distance brought, like road trips, heightened excitement and anticipation when we got to reunite after long stretches of time, and the best communication possible. Like the opportunity to work through a challenging circumstance so early on in our relationship, in order to work together through tough decisions and emotions. And, ultimately, because our relationship is not about me, and because we love each other, we support each other, and pray into each other’s situations.
Again, because our relationship is not about me, I don’t fret about missed dates or anything that comes with having a next-door-boyfriend, but look with joy to all the things that Jesus is glorified through in our long distance, and all that we have learned together that will without a doubt help us in our marriage, and for the rest of our lives.
Tangibly, though, how do we “keep things alive?”
We communicate. We tell each other what is on our mind. Even the little things. But we also do not put much pressure on communication. We’re at a point in which we understand our balance of intentional, sacrificial effort/each other’s schedules. But, the reality is… we both WANT to be texting each other/talking to each other all of the time. We’re pretty darned in love, if you can’t tell.
We sacrifice. It’s easy to overlook Skyping as something that isn’t like a planned date, but once we’ve set one (we’re casual about it– we don’t have a certain number per week or anything, as we both like the spontaneity of it and respect our very different schedules), we stick to it. We look so forward to these. Yes, sometimes it’s hard not to just stare at each other in frustrated longing, but it’s just like hanging out for real, if you set your mind to it ;).
We ask forgiveness. We have run into issues. We have let each other down. We have each failed. But each of these times, as we’ve sought each other’s forgiveness, we’ve been able to see as opportunities to improve, through and for Jesus. Something Johnny does so well is ask forgiveness, intentionally, humbly, and genuinely, when he has done something wrong. I have learned so much about the importance of this through his example!
“What do you do?” The very well-mannered, very put-together business woman running the networking event I attended a few days ago asked me with a truly genuine smile and caring eyes.
“I’m a writer,” I said. And even though that is true now of my profession, it feels less true than ever.
You see, I think the transition to adulthood is accompanied by many major changes. Some of them sneak up on us without our permission. Others, we always knew were impending, but didn’t think would actually come to fruition.
One of these changes I am only recently becoming more in touch with is that of my childlike instincts. The nature of trust that I used to have in not only those around me, but my own gut, has changed. An ever-loud world has tested me and questioned me and challenged me, and I know that we all experience the pressures of this reality. The voices of marketing, of peers, of family, of friends, of professors, of businesses, of co-workers and bosses… each of these voices can influence us into believing that something about us should be altered.
But recently, I’ve become more in touch with some of the influenced changes that I believe have been negative, one of them being my creative writing instincts.
I used to sit down and write pages and pages of prose or fiction, no problem. The ideas would flow. I would adopt the voice of a 15-year-old boy struggling with his identity and tell his story. I would spin a tale about an old woman with dementia who had just lost her husband and was reflecting on a life with little meaning, developing this character with unapologetic focus.
I used to hold fast to a quotation by Benjamin Franklin. “Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” What a way to think about how I spend my time as a writer, who is also a Christian!
But, as time, technology, and “voices” – plus my own inner critic – have weathered me, I know that I am less inclined to take the time to really write, to flesh out stories and characters, and to focus.
I want to change these things.
I want to finish the book I started when I was fourteen that stands at 156 pages and has about 156 to go. I yearn to recapture the child in me who finished novels in the wee hours of the night and highlighted prose to compare it to the syntax of her own stories.
Most importantly, I have deep, deep desire to want these again– more than I want the approval of the world, and more than I want to give in to the secret sins of my life, and more than I want things I’m not called to.
I know that I am a writer. It’s time to discover what that means again.
Here’s what they don’t tell you about eating disorders: They’re usually pretty innocent at first. An endeavour to “be healthier.” When my restrictive illness first developed when I was fifteen, I never would have considered that I might still be terrified of white flour and […]
In storybooks and seasons past, “Church” is seen as a service to attend for one boring hour on Sunday mornings in order to “keep right” with a distant God who might otherwise look sourly at us from His lofty place above. I think, when Christian […]
Happy Wednesday my friends!
A couple weekends ago, one of the last weekends of August, marked big changes in my life: it was the last weekend before Johnny moves to Winnipeg for the last time EVER, timed perfectly with our engagement party, hosted by one of my beautiful maids of honour and her boyfriend, pictured above.
It also brought a question from an old colleague via social media that I have been pondering ever since how I might want to answer. I also asked her permission to share the question.
It went something like this:
I’m trying to have a relationship with the Lord, but it feels forced. Any tips?
The amazing thing about Christ, I responded, is that He meets us where we’re at. I used to “try” to have a relationship with Him, but what I really needed to do was “die” to my own striving and forcing and faking, and let His Holy Spirit invade my life.
Saul, in the Bible, was a man who persecuted Christians and threw them in jail. Later, God used Saul as one of the most fundamental Christians of all time… he even wrote most of the New Testament of the Bible! This is ALL BECAUSE of an encounter Paul had himself with the Holy Spirit. He experienced Jesus.
Once I knew without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus is Lord, it is not difficult at ALL to WANT to have relationship with Him, because He promises His Holy Spirit comes into those who commit their lives to Him.
I responded in this way to the colleague, and asked if any of it resonated with her.
Her response was something of a “yes and no.”
That, for her, when she read people “proving” Christianity with the Bible, it felt fake to her. That she’s tried reading the Bible, but has a hard time understanding it. Even praying to God, she relented, had never helped her. She wanted desperately to have this encounter with God, but just hadn’t.
I think it’s really vitally important as a Christian that I don’t disregard the fact that this is a reality for this colleague, and likely many others.
The fact that the Word has revealed itself to me, and that the Holy Spirit Himself has, doesn’t mean that He has everyone, or that He approaches everyone in the same way.
It also doesn’t mean people should take “my” word for any of it, and I certainly hope no one would. I am, in fact, often skeptical of people who come to church once and claim they have “encountered the Lord,” and are then gung-ho for church. This is dangerous because Christianity is NOT about church, and ALL about Jesus Christ.
“To have Faith in Christ means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.”MERE CHRISTIANITY / CS LEWIS
The Bible Study I wrote and conducted a few months ago recognized the fact that all of this STARTS with believing. As CS Lewis writes, if you don’t believe that Jesus existed, you have no reason to do what He says.
If you think the Bible is antiquated and meaningless, you won’t regard it of any value.
But if you dig for answers to both of these things rather than allowing this present world to form your thinking, you will find unshakeable evidence that Jesus exists, and peace that passes all understanding that the Bible is HIS Word.
I do not think it worthy to spew facts to you about these things, because each one of us is different in how we might best understand these things. I also know that the Gospel defends itself.
However, I will provide some resources that I think are wonderful places to start, for anyone who may be interested in this digging:
But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.ROMANS 3:21-24
…I have learned that I struggle. I know that God knows that I love a good story. A self-titled (and, now, professionally titled) writer since I was eight years old, I see everything in life in stories. A good storyline complete with metaphors and compelling […]