The guy in the hallway

My office was a good walk from the main printer in the church I worked at. To save myself from running down ten times a day, I would save most of my printing for once in the morning, once in the afternoon.

Hitting “print” on all my files, I picked up my keys and headed for my short cut to the main office. I cut through the gym, past the kitchen and opened the door for the back hallway.

All of a sudden there was a pounding inside my chest stronger and louder than  anything I could hear in the moment. My head felt dizzy and my cheeks were burning hot. All the blood rushed to my toes and I felt faint.

Was that Andrew Switzer walking toward me?

I didn’t even know that I liked him consciously, but this unsuspecting encounter had me wondering where my heart was at during this full body reaction.

“Hey Monica!”

“Oh, hi, what are you doing here?” I choked out.

Dumb question. It’s probably confidential, it is a church.

I couldn’t even hear his response with the pulse in my ear drums pounding so loud. Why was I being so ridiculous? I was officially in my twenties now, not a high schooler, I couldn’t react like this!

I heard him say something about how he was going to be working on a video for the pastor I was assistant to so he’d be in contact with me on some specifics.

Oh great, I’d have to pull myself together enough to work with him on something!

We parted ways and I took my racing heart down to the printer to pick up my papers.

I remember every single detail about that encounter, because it’s the first time I remember recognizing this unspoken attraction to Andrew. It caught me off guard and overwhelmed me completely.

That was five and half years ago. We started dating the following summer, got married that spring, had our first baby the spring after that, and our second baby this past spring.

It’s been a whirlwind roller coaster at times, and sometimes I forget what a privilege it is to do life with this guy who radically stole my heart.

Everything about him on the outside seemed so different from me; care free, relaxed, maybe even a bit disorganized – but I loved that and he literally injected fun into every situation I saw him in.

The funny thing about “growing up” together, is that we see ourselves changing, I becoming a little more like him, and him maybe becoming a little more like me. But it helps to take the time to remember where we came from.

Being with him is pretty normal now, but he’s not normal. He’s the love of my life, and if I ever forget that all I have to do is think back to how desperately I wanted to be with him.

And then I thank God for giving me the man who made my heart beat so wild to live, serve and raise kids with.

I’m so proud to say that this world changer is my husband. 1507673_10153589756810431_1080552055_n

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Can you thank Him for that?

Tough times are a part of life. We know this. No one would ever claim to have had life easy.

There is a great book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey that I have been reading. The more I learn about effective people, I realize they are simply taking what life throws at them and doing something good with it.

When a challenge comes, as hard as it is they look and honestly ask the question “how can this improve my character?”

This is a very biblical principle. James 1:2-4 tells us that we can be JOYFUL when trouble comes.

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

So I decided to try this out in the middle of the night. Amayah was up for probably the tenth time crying and I was exhausted. The night before had been rough, the day had been rough and my body felt rough.

I left her room, knowing I was going to have to go back in and walked into the living room. I said “God, thank you that you can use this situation as an opportunity to shape my character and build my endurance. I don’t feel like I can do this right now, but I know you’re preparing me to go long-term for you.”

I had to remind myself of my prayer the rest of the night, but I honestly had a lot more peace.

Romans 5:3-5 encourages us of the positive things that can come from trials.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t believe for the negative things in our lives to change. I believe in praying for healing, and I ask that God will help my kids sleep well and be kept safe.

However, it is so freeing to know that nothing is happening that is not benefiting you long-term. You are being molded and shaped into the beautiful creation God intends you to be, even when it doesn’t feel like it.

Keep thanking him for using the difficult things in your life and you’ll have a depth to your character that you could only had dreamed of!

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Long Neck Perspective

I have never been much of an animal person. This past October I came face to face with many animals when my family visited the San Francisco Zoo.

Giraffes are one of the most majestic creatures I have ever encountered. While we were driving from our conference in Redding, CA to our next stop, we came to a fun pit stop for families. We saw a statue of a giraffe that would be a teaser for the real thing.

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Giraffes have an ability to see above everyone else. Their long necks and great eyesight allow them to be spread out, yet still protect one another because they can see for miles!

Their perspective is from the sky. They do not look at life from same level as a majority of the world.

Giraffes give us a beautiful picture of seeing things from God’s perspective. From the height at which they see the world, problems seem small.

A friend pointed out the verse to me in Ephesians 2:6 in relation to the giraffe:

For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 

This is what it looks like for us to have long neck perspective. We don’t have to look at our problems head on, we can look at them from a place of royalty, seated with Jesus. IMG_4012

Giraffes have extremely elastic blood vessels in their neck to help them lean their heads down to drink. It’s a good thing they do or they would lose consciousness each time they tried to get water from a stream. {randomgiraffefacts.com}

Sometimes when we do have to come back to earth, so to speak, from being in deep communion with God, we can become discouraged with the world around us.

Giraffes can absorb extra blood in their neck so they don’t because light headed on the way down.

We need to have a reserve with the Lord. We aren’t just spending time with him and then going back to our lives alone, we can carry his presence with us all day, everyday. 

If something seemingly random comes into your life and captivates your heart, like what happened with me and giraffes, God might be trying to show you something.

He delights in showing us pieces of his heart through imagery. All through the bible he relates who he is and principles of himself through pictures like fig trees, mustard seeds, loaves and fishes, and other comparisons.

For me, I sure love giraffes now as they are my visual reminder to see things with a perspective from above.

Here’s one last giraffe fact:

Like human fingerprints, each giraffe’s coat is unique.

I love that, because I really love being unique.

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