Resurrection

I’m not here without Christ. I’m not full of hope and joy without the promise of what His resurrection means. I have no hope for heaven or anything good without a promise of God. And if I don’t have God, I have no purpose in this world. I must be living for something greater than myself. Nothing else in this world makes sense.

I’ve spent the past year and a half becoming. I think I have talked about this before. I’m on a journey of always becoming what it is God calls me to. The newest portion of that journey has included the labels “wife” and “mother.” And after almost 15 months of marriage, I get to become mother again. This season of becoming hasn’t been easy, but my has it been joyful and blessed. And here I sit facing this new season of unknowns (mainly having a newborn while trying to care for the rest of my family, and taking work off for a time), I hope and pray that I can continue to become just what God asks, no matter the uncertainty of tomorrow.

A gal on Twitter asked back in January what word you would choose for this coming year. What word would you come back to dwell upon as the overarching purpose of the year? What word has God laid upon your heart? I answered woman. I long to be a daughter of the King, content and rested in Him no matter the circumstances. I long to be a devoted, encouraging wife who helps her husband at no care for her own desires. To love as C.S. Lewis said,  is not affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved one’s ultimate good as far as it can be obtained. And I long to be a mother who shows God’s character to her children, to help rear them in a way that glorifies the God who created them. Now that I am married, these are my first priorities. It starts with “the basics” and anything beyond that must come from God for me to pursue.

Without God I can do none of these things. Without the truth of His word I cannot be helpful to those around me. I cannot serve Him or others without Him. So this is my journey. Figuring out how to find Him first, so that I can be the woman He has asked me to be. So this blog has been resurrected to be my companion on this journey.

Books I am reading:
My Utmost for His Highest – Oswald Chambers
Abide in Christ – Andrew Murray
And a few days each week, I continue to write my way through God’s word. I’m anywhere between Leviticus, the last few books of the New Testament (I have yet to start the Gospels, however), and the Psalms.

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Discoveries

I’m discovering many things about myself, which is no surprise to those who are married and also learned much about themselves during the first year of life with their spouse. More often than not I’ve been told the first year is the hardest, and in our situation it certainly isn’t easy. Our first two months (and four days) have been riddled with difficult relationship circumstances, illness, death, and car problems. (What’s life without car problems?) And woven into the trials are life’s daily joys: the incessant laughter and energy of the boys, the hikes, the game nights, the homemade granola bar dash, the dinner wins (and losses), family story time, lizards, dinner time devotions, after dinner nature walks, birthdays, grandparents, cousins, and the pushing of dad into the pool when he’s not expecting it (well done, Zach!). And between those woven strands of our lives I’m learning about simply being a woman. Like how to hide vegetables in dinners that the boys will devour rather than pick apart, how to ward off baby fever by enjoying the antics of baby animals and other furry woodland creatures…ok, I’m kidding (sort of).

Women, it seems, have some qualities that are pretty much in our DNA, whether we like them or not. We have duties, whether we like them or not (and some are negotiable with the husband, like sweeping, which mine is sweetly doing now). I’m beginning to feel the weight of being a woman on my heart. I still want the things I wanted before, like advocating for the oppressed and writing, but I want them in a different context. I don’t even know what that means, but God will show me so long as I’m daily in tune with His friendship and love.

Update: I want to be a wife, a mom, and an advocate. I’m pretty sure those things were still true a year ago before I met Kelly and the boys, but now my priorities have changed. And that’s alright, because I think my priorities are where God wants them. I want to be learning about Him more than I ever have, because others are now watching my daily actions and attitudes more than ever. I want to be a really good wife, the kind that Proverbs talks about. I want to be a loving, approachable, kind mom with the best food on the block (like my mom!). And I want all of our lives to weave so tightly with God’s purpose that He smiles when He thinks about the Walkers. I guess what I’m trying to say, and what our culture’s idea of femininity has previously confused my understanding of is: I’m a woman. And I want Godly-womanly things. And I know you want pictures, so take a gander below at some Walker adventures looking for wildflowers, camping trips turned stranded in the desert trips, and husband&wife camping getaways.

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The Rumor is Now True…

Sweet mercy I haven’t written in ages. Yikes. Well, by now most of you know we’re engaged, and if not, SURPRISE! You’re way behind on the local dish! Here’s how it all went down:

We planned a date night to go cross country skiing together at the end of March (clearly I’m behind on writing…). I had an inclination that Kelly was going to propose that night based on a few things that happened in the days leading up to it. The biggest one was when I asked where he wanted to ski that night. He said, “Let’s go to Tumalo Falls one more time, and then we’ll go other places for the rest of the season.” Tumalo Falls was the first place we went skiing together before we even began dating. I tried not to get my hopes up, but it was hard not to!

When we arrived, the snow was the consistency of a melted, re-frozen sno-cone – not ideal for skiing, but at the end of ski season I’ll take anything I can get. We got to the top of the first large hill on the way to the falls, at sunset, and there he asked me to marry him. We’ve had this long-running joke since we first started dating that we don’t like the term “boyfriend/girlfriend” because it seems so noncommittal, so juvenile. Our separate “dating” theories have always been to date with the purpose of marriage in mind because otherwise it’s just a waste of time. He began his little speech with, “I’m tired of being called your boyfriend, it’s time you call me your fiancee.” And he went on to tell me how much he loved me and how much he is thankful for my presence in his life.

Here’s my favorite part:

When I first arrived home (by this point we already *knew*), he gave me a garnet he has had since he was about 21 years old. It’s a gift he was given by a student while teaching English in Sri Lanka. We talked about incorporating it into my wedding ring, but apparently garnets aren’t as hard as diamonds and the jeweler explained to us it would abrade over time. We decided not to take that risk and to have it set into a necklace once the wedding was over and the purse strings loosened a touch.

I found out Kelly doesn’t like to wait to give me good gifts. He ordered my ring back in February, and of course the wait time was somewhere between 4 and 6 weeks. Somewhere in that time frame he grew tired of waiting to ask me to be his wife, so he had the necklace made and planned to propose with it while the ring was being finished. It worked out wonderfully, because this little garnet I now wear means so much to me – it contests how much I like my ring even. The funny thing about this part of the story is that Kelly got the call at the end of the business day just before he proposed that my ring was done. It wasn’t more than 24 hours before I had two lovely gifts to wear.

There you have it. I’ve finally blogged about the time when Andrea was proposed to by a tall, handsome, and wonderful man.

Home

I must say, I’ve kept rather quiet about what has been happening in my life over the last two weeks. The whole of this month has been a whirlwind of battles and victories; of God speaking very directly to my heart about my priorities and desires; of God showing Himself as a wonderful provider; and one very real revelation: He wants to give us good gifts, He wants to give us the desires of our hearts (I’ll write on this last bit later…you’ll see it entitled “Good Gifts” – I just don’t know when I will write it yet).

Leaving for California was admittedly a nice escape from the regular day to day. I was excited to forge new trails, to make new friends, and to find life in community in a place other than the one I have known for so long. What I didn’t really expect was to leave Bend and find my heart strung out along the highway all the way back home. I thought I had prepared enough mentally and emotionally not to face such a wrenching of my heart. What I didn’t expect was for God to so quickly tell me I was allowed to come home – though I imagined when He told me this it would be at the end of Spring Term. However, as my financial situation unraveled I found myself with a sizable chunk of tuition due on top of my bills and no way to pay for it all. Essentially this was because a part of my aid had fallen through, something I couldn’t have planned for.
So, a few days ago Kelly flew down to Santa Barbara, picked me up and whisked me home in good old Liza (my car).

I’m still adjusting to being home. We all know what a planner I am, so this little detour was not on my set of scheduled events. Ask those closest to me: it’s been a difficult bit of change to swallow, but I hope now to see the remainder of what God wanted me to learn from this. In the mean time I will enjoy being with my man, my family, my friends, the wonderful community here AND the snow.

 

The Goodness of God

I’ve been thinking upon God’s ultimate goodness as fact the past couple of weeks and how it looks in my life. Often times we go through seasons of doubt and question because we don’t understand what God is up to. We lack answers to the “why” and we either react with obedience and diligence in seeking Him, or we waver on the precipice of doubt and worry. There may be other reactions or responses to our lack of understanding, but these are the places I usually go to.

Plenty of unexpected events have occurred in my journey down here – things I am at a loss to explain. The housing issue, the sizable amount of tuition I was unaware I owed, not to mention the fact that I fell head over heels for a wonderful man before I left Bend (in case you wondered, I already labeled this one very good!). It’s difficult to call the first two instances God’s ultimate good because I don’t yet understand them. Of course when I look back at 2007 – the most difficult year of my life to date – I didn’t understand why I had to go through those trials until much later. I already wonder what lessons God has in store for this particular season of my life. Even the best laid plans still falter, as I am learning.

This time in my response I choose to focus on an attribute of God I haven’t really delved into much before, but I accepted it as part of my faith: the goodness of God. As with many words, our post-modern society has lost or recreated the meanings of words to suit our own needs. “Good” is one of them. I am a word nerd and subscribe to Visual Thesaurus (thanks to my sweet friend Cheryl for telling me about it!). This morning I looked up “good” and this is what it came up with:

Visual Thesaurus Results for "Good"

Apparently “good’ is not really good enough to describe something these days! We have come up with so many ways to call something good, and for a reason. Listen to the definitions that are in the sidebar for this wonderful word:

“Benefit; moral excellence or admirableness; that which is pleasing or valuable or useful; the quality of having a superior or more favorable position; an essential and distinguishing attribute of something or someone; having desirable or positive qualities especially those suitable for a thing specified; deserving of esteem and respect; promoting or enhancing well-being; agreeable or pleasing; of moral excellence; thorough; with or in a close or intimate relationship; most suitable or right for a particular purpose; resulting favorably; exerting influence; capable of pleasing; appealing to the mind; not forged; generally admired; marked by utter benignity; resembling or befitting an angel or saint; pleasant or pleasing or agreeable in nature or appearance; giving pleasure and satisfaction; showing or indicating careful judgment and discernment especially in matters of taste; adequately good for the circumstances; bringing about salvation or redemption from sin; benevolent; without malicious intent; concerned with principles of right and wrong or conforming to standards of behavior and character based on those principles; surpassingly good; in conformance with justice or law or morality; having the most positive qualities; having worth or merit or value; being honorable or admirable; encouraging or approving or pleasing.”

Take that in for a bit. I’ll hit you with more thoughts on this tomorrow.

Ah, well.

It was a very unfortunate thing that happened yesterday: it seems I was told wrong about the information regarding my aid, and instead of having a surplus I actually owe on my tuition. I’m trying to take it all in stride and rely on the God who will provide in the midst of my circumstances. For it is Him who remains constant, and it is my choice and happy obligation (as one who loves Him) to rest in Him who is ultimately good until my circumstances change.

One Incredibly Long Week

I’ve been receiving some “complaints” about not updating my blog – who would have thunk?! This may not be very creative, as I’m being taxed to my intellectual limits at the moment.

I have been here for a week – one incredibly long week. Honestly, the past three weeks have felt like a string of months considering so much has happened. God has blessedly provided in every way I need thus far, and I am sure He will continue to do so. I start a new job soon which is a huge blessing. I thought there would be complications with my work study program, but not at all. I am still blessed daily by the family I live with – they are a joy to be around. I have a new best friend (don’t worry Steph, she can’t possibly edge you out!) and her name is Lucy. Lucy is 6. She gives me plenty of hugs and colors me pictures to slide under my door. I do love a good hug, so I’m thankful someone around here so willingly gives them – and so often! I’m enjoying long walks on the beach, wearing flip flops and t-shirts, and eating incredibly fresh avocados by the pound (it seems, anyway).

And I’m sure your biggest curiosity: school. It’s wonderful. I know in six weeks I won’t be saying this, but I’m almost wishing I’d taken 20 credits instead of 16. There’s just so much to learn and be a part of here that I don’t want to miss out. Chapel is turning out to be one of my favorite times of the week and it never ceases to amaze me that we’re all here to learn and serve God. His Spirit most definitely rests in this place. Oh, and let me just mention that Condoleeza Rice is going to be speaking at one of our chapel times in March. Super rad.

If I could have you pray for anything it would be that God would provide one or two close girl friends to walk with. The wonderful woman of the house, Toby, has been such a sweet spirit to talk to, though she is busy with an infant and two other children. Even surrounded by people everywhere, I find I haven’t been in very much face to face conversation, nor have I been verbally processing my days like I used to be able to. I realized this when I was on the phone with Steph last night and I basically dumped all of the words, frustrations, worries and joys onto her in the span of about ten minutes. Bless you, woman, for sitting through that!

I miss you all dearly and cannot wait to see you again soon.