Everyday, the 27th

May 27, 2010

May 27, 2010 (Olga)

Well, now it’s been five months we’ve been married. It’s unimaginable to me that it’s only been five months. How can you not have always been here? How could i have lived without you? I can see that we could not be right where we are without everything that has come before. It’s an awesome and humbling feeling to see God’s story forming and playing out and seeing how he is turning things. The greatest gift I was ever given was being chosen by God and you are so wrapped up in that; you are the second best thing God ever gave me. I am so grateful for every minute that’s been and so hopeful for every one that’s ahead.

I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to take my lyrics from someone who knows how to write them:

Had an All-American mom and dad,
Some of the coolest friends that you could ever have,
Found love I thought I’d never find,
I can’t believe this life is mine.

And I’m not planning on leaving yet,
But, the truth is, you just never know,
So, if this is as good as it gets,
Then I think I’m good to go…
– “Good To Go”, by John Corbett

You are the heart of my earthly heart, the best part of me is the part that loves you.

It’s another 27th, so I’m thinking about how blessed I am to be:

Yours always,

PS Now it’s your turn again. =)

Everyday, the 27th

Everyday, the 27th: The Introduction and April 27, 2010

On April 27, 2010, we had been married for four months and That Weird Kid from the Gas Station decided to do something really sweet. He bought me a journal. It probably won’t surprise you to find out I’m a journaler (Journalist? Hm. I would, and have, never applied that word to myself. Hm. Anyway…) It was my favorite color, orange, which was cool. But he did a weird thing – also, not that surprising – he wrote the first entry himself. I have gotten a lot of journals as gifts in my time, but no one has ever done that. 

So then, I did a weird thing. On May 27th, I wrote back. It just kind of happened. And that started one of the coolest things to come out of our marriage: The 27 Journal. Basically, each month, we take turns writing a love letter of sorts to the the other, hopefully, on the 27th, the month anniversary of our wedding date. The best thing about it is that it forces us to sit down every month and think about where we are in our life as well as our marriage. It forces us to be mindful, at least once a month. And it has made me want to bring that mindful attitude to this life everyday. Hence, the name. =)

Next month is our 5th wedding anniversary, so to celebrate I am going to publish The 27 Journal here, 1 to 2 entries per day until December 27th, our actual wedding anniversary. By the time we get to that day there will be 57 entries here, including the one I write today and the one Eli writes next month. By that time, you will have walked back through my marriage with me and hopefully, you will see the picture of us walking together toward Jesus. I figured, what better way to celebrate the best thing in my earthly life than to show the world what it has been and what it means. It might be a month of long reads, possibly long, HARD reads, but I hope you’ll stick with me.

If my purpose in writing this blog is to give out what God has given me, I can think of no better way to do that than to show you what he has taught me in this marriage. I will cut out the parts that are…too intimate, I promise. I don’t want to embarrass anyone. =) So, without further ado, let’s get started.

April 27, 2010 (Eli)


It’s been four months now since the world was made anew for us. It seems more like four years – or even forty – wonderful years.

You and me and our ragged band,
Spent too long under Pharaoh’s hand,
Had to get away to the Promised Land
So far everything’s gone as planned.
-Doot, doot, doo

Now all it needs is a chorus. (What do you want for off-the-cuff?) But, anyway, this day is a 27, which means I was just thinking about THAT DAY. This book is only for thoughts as wonderful as that. Or this: You are my dearest friend, and every moment I get to spend with you is a gift, to be cherished forever.

I love you,
Husband : )

I’m Always at Eli’s House

I was talking to my mom once awhile back, and she said that she was only joking when she says she is worried about me. Then she said, “No, I don’t worry anymore for you. I remember laying awake at 2 in the morning and worrying and you would come home and say, ‘don’t worry, Mom, I was just at Eli’s house.’ I guess you got your wish. Now you’re always at Eli’s house.”

Oh, the insight of our mothers.PlanB.2

When I think back on what it was like to be friends with him before, I can’t really remember a whole lot of our conversations. I don’t remember much about what we talked about. I mean, I know we talked about the yearbook when we were in annual class and I know we talked about John the 1st when we were in the gas station, but I don’t really remember any specific conversations. I remember snippets here and there of specific conversations. But I don’t really remember much of our conversations or what he said or what he thought about things.

I have a vague recollection of thinking he was just a huge downer, that he saw everything in the worst possible light. He could look at the dark side of the happiest accident. But I remember him being really funny and clever about it. He was trustworthy and full of integrity. He was fundamentally a good person and definitionally safe. I remember he felt the same then as he does now. Seeing him again, after ten years, he seemed no different, not at the most basic level where I feel who people are. More than all of that, though, what I really remember was an overwhelming urge to be in his presence. When I was with him, I never wanted to leave – not even at 3 in the morning, after 6 hours in a gas station. And when I wasn’t with him, I was having conversations in my head. He wasn’t the only person I ever felt that with, but I think I didn’t see it as clearly with him. It seemed to settle into the background.

And, now, it’s really lovely to look back and see God putting that in my heart. Even if I never noticed it at the time. Does that mean that we were supposed to get together back then? Does that mean that this beautiful mess we’re in is God’s Plan B or Plan F? =) I don’t think so. I used to think that’s what that means. But, now, I think that maybe that Eli-shaped hole was forming when I was 17 so that a lifetime later when I saw him again, he would fit so perfectly that I wouldn’t think twice about loving him on sight, marrying him on a whim. After 17 plus years of him fitting so perfectly in my heart and mind, how could I doubt that he would fit just as perfectly in my life?

And it puts me in mind of God’s salvation plan. I mean, we look at the Garden of Eden and we think, oh, look at the beautiful thing that God meant for us. We were supposed to live in the Garden and walk with God for all of eternity in beauty and joy. Then Eve or Adam or whoever you want to blame went and messed it up and then God had to scrabble around for the next few millennia until he finally figured out a way to get everything back in order. But I think God looked at his own love and community and came up with a way to portray that and it was thousands of years of human hatred and sin and violence counterpointed by Jesus’ supreme sacrifice and the gift of the Holy Spirit. And to make it all make sense, he put a God-shaped hole in our hearts even though he knew it would lead us to sin just as – if not more – easily as it would lead us to him. And, after going through life with this God-shaped hole in our hearts, feeling it, trying to fill it with any other thing we can put our hands on, how natural to grab with both hands the thing that finally fits? Fits so perfectly it’s like it’s always been there. Fits perfectly because that space was set aside for him before the beginning of time.

And how could that be a mistake? It’s not a mistake, it’s all part of the plan. So was everything else: Adam, Eve, the Serpent, the Fall and every other beautiful, horrible thing that’s happened since then.

Including all the “wasted minutes” and “missed opportunities” that are my crazy, jacked-up life.

 He has made everything beautiful in it’s time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  -Ecclesiastes 3:11


On Ferguson: The System Isn’t Broken, It Was Built This Way


I also like this.

Originally posted on The Belle Jar:

I have an uncle who was a cop.

His kids, my cousins, were around my age and when we visited our family in Québec every summer I practically lived at their house. As soon as we got to my grandmother’s house, all rumpled and grumpy from our eight hour drive, I would start dialling my cousins’ number on her beige rotary phone. I spent the whole damn school year waiting for summer, and my time with my cousins, to come; we wrote each other letters all through the dreary winter, hatching plans for new summer exploits. Life with my cousins – swimming in their pool, family barbecues, playing hide-and-seek in my grandmother’s mammoth hedge at twilight – was lightyears better than my boring life in Ontario.

Pretty much every summer my uncle would, at some point, take us to visit the police station. He would pretend that we were criminals and…

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‘There Are No Victories That Will Bring Us Peace’


In light of the decision in Ferguson, I’m just reblogging today. And praying.

(PS Please read the original essay that this post is quoting as well. It’s really good stuff.)

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:

It is good and right that we hound the state into giving us justice, but blacks cannot delude themselves into thinking that the state will ever become justice. There are no laws that can be passed or reforms that can be pursued that will allow us to stop being vigilant. There are no victories that will bring us peace. We will never be able to pound our swords into plowshares, because we will always have to be prepared to fight. Dr. King, our beautiful prophet, was wrong. The arc of the moral universe does not lead anywhere in particular, not in this life. If it bends towards justice, it is only because it is pulled that way by our constant effort, by our unceasing straining and sweating and shouting.

I wish I were ending this comment with answers or at least encouragement, but I have none to offer. I just…

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Why would a good God allow the fall and sin?


(I wrote this a couple of years ago, October of 2012, during a women’s conference. Just a reflection on what we were talking about at the time. I think about this question a lot, but this one kind of blew my mind.)

I was thinking the other night about the fall and sin. I mean, God allowed the serpent to be there. He allowed the devil to go there. One lady pointed out that Satan must have asked permission. Like in the beginning of Job. And I know people wonder why. I know I did. I still do sometimes, when it gets hard to wrap my mind around. I mean, why, if God is all-powerful (and he is) does there have to be sin and the fall and all of human history? If God wants us all with him (and the Bible says he does) why wouldn’t he just make us and not allow sin?

I started thinking maybe we ask the wrong question. I mean, maybe the question isn’t “If he is powerful, why did he do this?” but, rather, “Since he is good, what does this mean?” Maybe this is what it takes for God to show us how deep his love goes, how far his forgiveness will stretch, how much his grace will cover. If he were to just say, “I know you never did anything wrong, but, if you had, I would have forgiven it, all of it. Forever. I’m God. It’s no thang.” We might have believed him (okay, maybe not if he said “thang”…), but we would be left with what we can imagine. This way, we have a very real picture of what God can forgive – and does. And it goes far, far beyond our imaginations. It stretches through thousands of years of humanity, countless lifetimes, endless amounts of unspeakable evil. Maybe that’s the only picture that allows us to really begin to even glimpse the immensity of God’s forgiveness for us. His love for us. To create us so that we can’t take the punishment for our sin so that he can show his love by taking all the sin of human history on himself.

And why doesn’t God save everyone? Why so many souls clearly going to Hell when God has the power to save them all? Why is the road narrow? Maybe that’s the only way we get a picture of how precious it is. Maybe our gratitude needs to be measured not in dozens or thousands or even millions – but in billions and trillions and numbers too big to really fathom. And why do the unbelievers have to be tormented for all of eternity with screams and groans and gnashing of teeth and billowing smoke of endless suffering – forever? Is it because God enjoys suffering? The Bible says no. Is it because God needs vengeance? Well, he is a wrathful God and vengeance is his, saith the Lord. But it seems like there might be easier ways to exact that vengeance and rightly punish the wicked. And even if eternal suffering is the only right punishment for the injury that disbelief does to God, why so public? Maybe the publicity is the whole point. Maybe that picture of eternal torment is the only way we understand the vastness of God’s pain at and the heat of his hatred for our sin. Maybe it’s the only reasonable picture of how much God sets aside to forgive us. Maybe it’s not even accurate. Maybe it’s a paltry shadow of it. Maybe if every human that ever lived burned in Hell for all of eternity, it wouldn’t even be a drop in the bucket compared to God’s sorrow and anger and pain from our sin. That is a staggering thought. More staggering is this one: He set that aside to sacrifice himself to forgive us. Bore that to have us with him – because his love is even bigger than that.

But what goes beyond staggering right to soul-shattering is the question that is raised by all this: What should be our response to a God who loves us like that? What is appropriate and what does he deserve?

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?                                                                   -Romans 9:20-24