The Threads of a Decade


I read somewhere recently an observation. She commented 'the years ending in -9' are often filled with much more angst than those ending in -0. While it's anecdotal at best, I resonate. This year has been a bit more angsty, for sure.

Perhaps as we close out our decades, something in us feels the pressure to examine and reexamine if we've done all we hoped for in the past 10 years we've lived. Saying goodbye is almost always harder than saying hello.

When I consider who I was as a 19 year old (oh precious one!) compared to now, the comparison feels borderline ridiculous. So much has changed, one can hardly even compare the two.

As I was processing it all recently, one thing continued to stand out to me. This decade has not been without constants. There have remained, throughout a decade of this 'life tapestry,' fibers woven  through each season.  I sense these are the markers which define the life I'm living.

Here are a few I've seen most clearly:

This all anchoring, surprisingly hopeful faith:

I've held on to a faith for the past nearly 20 years of my life. The faith has looked different in seasons, for sure, and it has become more emboldened and more convinced as the years progress. In tandem it has grown softer, and less eager to prove itself.

There was a social media study done examining couples and their online presence, Those whom broadcasted their affection for their significant others more frequently and with stronger language showed a correlation with  greater signs of insecurities within the actual relationship.

I assume my relationship with God shows a similar correlation in its early years. Fortunately,  the more I grow convinced of this faith, the more I grow convinced of its value. Thus the steady need to prove something has quieted. I'm quite confident in the One who holds me and this narrative. He doesn't need to prove Himself... because He already has a million times over.

I never thought I could be an evangelist. The people-pleaser in me squirms at making anyone uncomfortable with such hard conversations of eternity and purpose in life....but I now think I didn't truly experience the good news in the first place.

When one has never faced despair, 'good news' doesn't feel quite so necessary, does it? As a wee one, I was swimming in good news. A daughter of privilege, growing up in the quiet Midwest. I lived a variation of the 'good news' lived out by the kind people who prescribed to the faith..

It wasn't until death invaded. It wasn't until sin laid gripping claim, it wasn't until we met the end of our reason.

Then, what a beautiful thing it is to be told of the one who conquered the grave. Who took all authority from the accuser. Who brought freedom to the captives and is a Counselor, a friend. To be told of someone who knows how this story ends, who gives wisdom to those who seek it, who is not afraid of the future....

Good. news. indeed.

This well-fitted, deeply treasured,  well-weathered love:

 The handsome fella you see on the top right of this blog has journeyed with me for the past decade and then some. We began dating when I was 19 (!!!) and were married at 20 (nearly 21.) He's journeyed through this entire decade with me and seen more raw and profound change in me than anyone else. I'd say the same of him.

It's unfortunate it's taken a little less than a decade, but the solidifying of our love has definitely been a slow one. We did not love well for many, many years. We struggled deeply those first several years as so much came our way, the deepest being our selfishness. It feels significant to be closing out this decade feeling quite certain we can weather storms of great magnitude and still assume the best of each other. This is a long fought for reflex. Our 'marriage oak' (always a girl for analogies) has weathered a few storms, and is still standing.  I'm deeply grateful.  It's testament to a God who showed up, not to the two people standing here.

These three exceptional human beings:

The little three acorns who have sprouted up (couldn't help it) and are growing strong, they're something. Those three kids are another beautiful thread to this past decade. What a gift to have been shaped by them, through them, growing them. They are the call to joy on my darkest days. They're a chance to push past my own insecurities and make a life I hope for with them.

They're all entirely different. This makes parenting totally challenging in the best of ways (and the most exhausting of ways.) They all have had their fair share of nighttime screaming and we feel like parenting them has built up a selflessness, a setting down of self, more than anything else. To physically reach ones end and then lay it down too.... It's a mercy to experience God's sustaining in times of complete emptiness. I'm grateful for it, but goodness has it been trying.

We're in a season of homeschooling now. It is such a vulnerable precious season....a hard one. I'm discovering my teaching styles and strengths and I'm seeing where they thrive as well. This inherently carries with it lots and lots of error. We're building a little space which feels sacred and I'm grateful for this mostly joyful, overwhelming work.

Those Precious "Divine Appointments:" 

We've become friends. To each other, to others, and in many ways to our children. This past half decade we've learned what it truly means to be good friends. Mostly, people have demonstrated for us in our great need. These 'divine appointments' -as a dear woman in my first church used to say - have weathered so many storms with us. They've been tangible signs of miraculous intervention. This decade has been marked by friendships leaving us changed. Our friends come from different faith backgrounds, political affiliations, countries of origins, and I feel so deeply humbled they've chosen to spend their time in our company. We're awkward mostly, but they loved on us anyways.

We've learned to keep trying to love others well because of their selfless attempts at loving us often hard-to-love people.


There's been seasons of church planting, overseas living, of giving away everything we owned (minus the arts and crafts no one wanted,) and seasons of buying things again. We've had seasons of extreme financial struggle, and financial calm. We've dealt with mental health and illness, accidents and anxieties. We've changed our politics and our thoughts on religion. Everything, everything, everything, has found itself a new place to land, except those few threads.

I think my greatest personal accomplishment (if one can call it such) from the past decade is reaching a point of feeling rest.

deep down in my bones. The place where I like my own company and I treasure it enough to not spend it with others who don't value it. Not in a selfish way (well, at least not intentionally,) but in recognition that "even if you're the ripest peach, there's someone who doesn't like peaches." If you know me, you'd know how absolutely revolutionary this is for this kid who has always always always had the fear of man/parents/in-laws/friends/coworkers.

This radical rest means giving my husband and my kids freedom to be kind of weird. I approach them with curiosity and seeking to understand rather than pressure to conformity (which is my fail safe.)

An amazing thing happened one day when my kids were being all wild in a totally appropriate manner. A beautiful woman cast her disapproving gaze at me and let it rest there. I remember my throat tightening and the preparation for some words to be harpooned to my children. "Conform! Lest they disapprove of your mother!" And then...that kind voice reminding me "She doesn't get to decide if you're approved."

What a gift to already be approved (and to let the kids be silly.)

I think our greatest family accomplishment of the past decade is figuring out who we really are as a unit and making decisions based on it. Basically owning the weird bits, and the bits that seem to be God dreams. Our second (or equally) greatest striving (not an accomplishment) is working really, really hard  (and stumbling, and calling each other into) forgiveness in our relationships. This is particular to those outside of the family unit (we've had lots of practice within, we're extending out.) Goodness, the more we mingle with others, the more we get hurt. Embracing an attitude that defaults to's the one area I'm excited (in that achy way) to see growth in Ben and I and our kids as we lead.

We're calling each other up into the better thing. And it's been...a really hopeful place to be.


When I write my next near decade post, Lord willing, I'll have a 16 year old, a fourteen year old and an eleven year old. We'll have been married for 18 years.

There will be more moves to different states (countries?) more books read, more fights had, and more hobbies pursued. There will be nights relying on the almighty in lightness and in heavy. 

There will be a great deal of Legos acquired, I'm certain. A bit of complicated theology discussed. A mother load of emotions worked through.

There will be a good deal of getting after our kids hearts (and trying again when we fail) and traveling to work and paying medical bills (ahem, america....)

It'll be humanity. A perpetual relinquishing of control to the Almighty. Of owning where he has us. Learning how the loosened fist makes room for joy. Exploring how beautiful he's made the walk home-the place he's been preparing all along.

I have a lot of hopes for the next decade. I have goals for my creative passions and homeschooling, for health and wellness, for growing in skills I've dreamed about for...well a decade. Goals for our family, and our 401K and all the little bits that weave an adulthood.

But I also have a pencil put down, a check list not written. A reality embraced. These days have already been written by the one who is much kinder than I could have ever hoped for and I'm expectant.

"The real problem of the Christian Life comes where people do not usually look for it. It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in. And so on, all day. standing back from all your natural fussings and frettings coming in and out of the wind."  -C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity
I'm learning how to listen. and forgive. and how to show up to a quieter life flowing in.

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