new things.

First things first!

I would like to give a big thank you to my wonderful, fantastically talented husband, Andy! He’s completely responsible for my adorable new blog layout. All I did was tell him what colors I like and said make it “cute” and “vintagy” and he did the rest.  (Just a little plug… check out www.andycrum.com to see some more of his awesome work!)

So.

You may have been wondering where the heck I have been and why I haven’t been posting for the past 80 days or so. (Or maybe you haven’t really minded one bit at all! haha)

It’s because I’ve been learning some new things.

I wish I could say I was learning fun things like how to speak French or how to hand-dye silk with household items or how to make a crown roast. Maybe those things don’t sound that fun to you, but I promise they are a lot more fun than the new things I have been learning.

You see, after all the hustle and bustle of just getting married and setting up house and getting a new puppy sort of died down, and Andy and I began to get in our groove of daily living as married folk and parents of our sweet furry baby, and I could come down off my bridal high and focus on things other than getting boxes put away and making sure our  puppy was fully house-trained… I started to pray. I started to pray because marriage and being a puppy-mommy made me start to realize a lot of really great things about life, but also a lot of not so great things about my own personal shortcomings.

New things.

Things I hadn’t really noticed about myself before.

Levels of selfishness I didn’t know were inside of me because I hadn’t ever had to take care of a husband and a house and a dog before. (Doing all three at once can be really hard sometimes…I’m SO not ready for kids!) Splashes of immaturity as it came to my attention that I fought like a child instead of handling myself like a woman when it came to disagreements between Andy and I. I realized a lot about the fruits of the spirit being displayed in my own husband…  peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control… and really began to see some areas in my life where I needed to grow.

So I prayed.

And I prayed.

And I prayed some more, asking God to help me grow. To change me, make me more like him.

And over the past 80 days or so, I feel like my life has been an emotional roller coaster as God began pruning me and is continuing to do so. In John 15:2 it says: “Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” And even though some of this pruning is on my good, fruitful branches, it’s all been somewhat painful. Needless to say, I have cried more and felt more and talked more and prayed more than ever before. And I’m learning new things!

New things like how not only should I be a picture of Christ-like love to my husband, but to ALL the people in my life.  Like it says in Matthew 4:43-44;  “You have heard that it was said,’You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” A lot of times that’s going to  mean that I have to step-up and do or say things that I don’t want to. Especially when it’s regarding people that aren’t my enemies! People that are my brothers and sisters in Christ! 1 John 4:20-21 “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.” That one really hit hard. I feel really bad for Andy because I was laying in bed one night quietly reading the scriptures and came across those verses and just started sobbing. (Must’ve been pretty freaky to have your wife reading next to you one minute and sobbing the next!) But I was sobbing at the realization that by being angry and hateful (even if only in my heart) toward my brothers and sisters did not go hand-in-hand with the love that I say I have for God… the most important love in my life.

Anyway, I’ve just been so up and down and feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck that I just couldn’t come up with anything worthwhile to say in a blog entry. Nothing that I felt would be encouraging. And I didn’t want to get on here and type up some long sob story about how so-and-so hurt my feelings and I’m angry because I didn’t get my way.  Because in reality, the only thing that would produce would be more hurt feelings or people feeling sorry for me.. and I don’t want that. I want to be an encouragement, a light, a reflection of who Christ is in my life.

So, I hope that somehow my pruning encourages you. The pruning that occurred because I saw some wonderful things in my husband that I didn’t see in myself and I asked God to change me.  Now I can see far beyond my own hurt feelings and selfishness. I can see so many new things about how He is shaping and molding me to be more like Him.

I want to see some more fruit grow. So if pruning is what it takes, that’s what I want.

I hope you do too.

Love,
janine