Just Around the Riverbend
Oh my goodness! What a month it has been. I haven’t sat down to write in quite a while so it feels really good to get back into the swing. Life has been a little crazy. Things are changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up with all the latest and life is a little exhausting at the current moment. Life as I knew it six months ago seems like a lifetime ago and this new normal that we are being asked to accept and embrace is quite the challenge.
Anywho, despite the unrest and upheaval our country is experiencing, I have experienced so much joy the past month. Finally, finally, FINALLY Ian and I were able to see each other after his work lifted their travel bans. Praise the Lord Jesus, what a gift! We have also slowly been able to see some more family and meet our newest little nephew, Wesley James, who is one perfect baby and we are slightly obsessed with how cute he is. Ian and I have continued to plan and prepare for our marriage and God is really stretching us to grow in trust and acceptance of His will. We are excited to see what God has planned for our wedding day because we truly feel He picked our date for us and we just know that He has something really special planned. Speaking of which….
“Let God surprise you.”
These words slipped from Ian’s mouth as we were floating down the river this week. What seemed like an innocent comment at the time, buried itself in the depth of my heart, planted a seed, and has begun to blossom. Disclaimer: it is in the very early stages of blooming…like still in the twig stage, but beginning to come to life nonetheless.
As we were floating down the river we were at the mercy of where the river wanted to take us. Now, we were able to kick and paddle our arms to steer directions occasionally but for the most part we just relaxed in our tube and let the river decide our course. At one point we were headed straight to a rocky area where there was a fallen tree with lots of branches. As we paddled away from it, Ian laughed and said, “It’s like the river has a mind of its own and sees the most dangerous parts of the river and thinks…ooo, there, that’s where I want to go.” This made me smile and I told him it reminded me of Pocahontas. He gave me a strange look and said, “What part?” I continued to smile and said, “The song, Just Around the Riverbend.” I continued by telling him that I thought I should try to channel my inner Pocahontas because I thought she should be my spirit princess. Normally I say my spirit princess is Rapunzel. She is just my all-around favorite and I relate to her in so many ways but, in this season, I think I need to learn from Pocahontas: I need to channel her bravery, her adventure, her determination, and her confidence.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m moving later this year. Ian and I have been doing this long-distance business for far too long and we are super excited to be married and live in the same place, together, as husband and wife! Woohoo!! 139 days to go! While I can not wait to be where he is, I’m also really nervous about the move. Any of you who know me know that I’m a home girl. I was the one who told my mom she could never sell our house or move, otherwise I was going to buy it from her because I’m so attached to that house. I love my family with every ounce of my self and I love my hometown. As bad of a rep as it has sometimes, I have never left. My story thus far has been told here and so much of how I have identified myself up to this point has been here. The thought of leaving it: terrifying! I must love Ian an awful lot!! I do, I do, I do. I can’t wait to say these words on our wedding day. I can’t wait to say our vows and form a covenant with each other. I can’t wait to begin creating our lives together and discovering our dreams.
So much about the future is exciting. So much about the future is unknown. I don’t do too well with the unknown. It has always been hard for me. Ask my mom. She will tell you I have always wanted to know how everything will play out. I always wanted to be able to see the destination before embarking on the journey to get there. I get really anxious with this kind of thing. I’m not the best at letting things go and just enjoying the journey. Ian’s dad has repetitively said this statement to us, Enjoy the Journey. I have welcomed his frequent reminder because it always brings me back to the present. Always bringing me back to the place where I am at and just for those moments, enjoying them. Not skipping ahead, not wondering how things will pan out, just simply embracing the day, the moment, the journey.
Ian is one heck of a man. Forever, I will gush over him because I still can’t believe he is mine. He is so patient, so gentle, so wise. I love his mind and how he thinks about the world. He is intelligent and has a unique perspective. He sees people for who they are and he sees himself humbly. He is constantly trying to better himself and strive to find ways he can make a difference in the world. He thinks a lot about how everything integrates together and he is all about peace and love. I love his heart and how he loves. He is creative and so chill. He doesn’t get hung up on the little things because it takes too much energy to stay in a negative state. He has a lot of little tools in his pocket on how to deal with stress, anxiety, and frustrations so he doesn’t go down that road and stay there. He is always helping me put things in perspective and is honest with me. He loves adventure and he loves to learn new things. He likes to laugh, a lot! He is the king at making me laugh when I’m upset or crying about something. He is one of those people who feel like sunshine and you can’t help but want to be around them. He makes my life so bright. He is helping me be a better person simply by the way he lives life. I learn from him. I admire him. I can’t wait to be his wife!
Because he is so dang good at this stuff, I have turned to him a lot with my struggle with anxiety of the unknown. He is such a rock for me. I look at him and I can’t help but smile. That day, floating down the river, we were talking about the move and the changes and the unknowns. I asked him how he felt his word for the year, peace, and our word for the year, clarity, were playing out. He said he thought God was doing an awful good job at bringing clarity for us and he felt really peaceful about where we are and where we are going. He asked how I felt and if I agreed. I said yeah, for the most part. There are a few big things that I’m still waiting on for God to make clear. After asking me, “Like what?”, he so wisely responded, “Well, there is still a lot of time left this year for Him to reveal those things. I think you are just going to have to get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable for a bit longer while you wait for Him to show you them.” In playful joking banter, I laughed, kind of pouted a bit, and said, “I’m not very good at being patient.” He laughed, “What?! You?? NO!” and then he said, “Let God surprise you.”
I thought about this a lot driving home that night. So often I try to control and plan. I’m a perfectionist to a fault and I too often rely on myself to figure everything out and makes things happen. I asked Ian what I should do and he looked at me simply and said, “Pray. Pray and learn to believe that praying IS doing something about it. In fact, it is doing everything about it.” Whoa. I know this. It isn’t new information I was being told but it was information I needed to be reminded of. As I drove home with this conversation playing in my head I played Just around the Riverbend from Pocahontas.
As I listened, I was gently reminded of the dreamer that resides deep in my heart. I was reminded of how my heart stirs when I think of what the future could hold for me. I thought about how often in my life I chose the smoothest course because it was safe and known and comfortable. I thought about how often I didn’t pursue things my heart got excited about because I wasn’t good at dealing with change or taking risks. I was inspired to remember my word for the year, wonder, and begin praying to have this disposition of heart when I look to the future unknowns. I began to pray for a sense of excitement to replace the anxiety about what is waiting for me just around the riverbend, what God has in store for me in the next season of life I am entering into.
Ian told me my best tool for dealing with anxiety is to write. He reminded me that I started this blog as a way for me to learn to breathe, to learn to process, and to discover. It was a way for me to be honest and offer hope, to let my fingers type what flows from my heart and allow myself to be surprised by what is revealed through that process. It’s hard sometimes to be vulnerable and share the things that are hard, the things that you don’t deem as pretty, but, I’m not ashamed of what I go through, of what I experience because it is part of the process of growth. Quite frankly, it’s a super human thing and I think we all experience seasons like this so I also know I’m not alone in these feelings. I feel my emotions deeply. I experience anxiety but I also have faith. While the unknown is scary, I have faith that it is going to be beautiful. I just can’t see what that looks like yet. It truly is a walk by faith and not by sight. In the book of Hebrews, it says, “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” Everything I have hoped for is waiting for me in the future I am walking to. God planned it this way and I trust God. I found a quote this week that said, “Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” Pretty excited to discover what the titles are going to be. Pretty excited to explore what is just around the riverbend. Pray for me please! And please, please, please pray for Ian and I and our upcoming marriage. Our hearts are full as we prepare and we are so excited to receive this sacrament. Have a great week!