I’ll Love You For Five Years & Always

I’ll love you for forever.

It’s what we vowed, to choose each other, always.

The hardest part of this process is realizing that our always only lasted five years. For five years, you were the only person I ever wanted. All of my best memories, all of my plans were wrapped up in you.

Five years worth of forever.

I’m still not sure how to wrap my head or my heart around this ending. I am able to let go, knowing that even if others will disagree with me, I have done absolutely everything I could to fight for us — to fight for you. There’s a part of me that’s bitter, broken. Desperately wanting to know what I could have done differently. There will be your list of things of course, things that you’ll say pushed you over the edge. I get that. I know I caused you hurt and I know there were issues with how I handled things. After all, I’m only human.

I’m realizing how much we love differently when we believe it’s forever. I’m realizing how much I enabled and excused the things that happened in our home, holding to my mantra: this is just a season.

It took me a very long time, but I finally realized that circumstances are a season. Choices are not.

I know I’m going to cry every time I hear Ed Sheeran. It’ll take me a while to be able to eat at Cactus again. Starbucks BOGO days will never feel the same. I’ll watch our favorite movies and hear your commentary every time. I know my heart will break fresh every time something new comes up to remind me.

You’ll exist in most of the corners of my life, for five years we did it together.

So I’ll keep loving you, baby, even as I let you go.

I’ll love you for five years & always.

xoxo, B

Why Divorce Is Never An Option In My Marriage

By no means do my husband and I have a perfect relationship, let alone marriage.

We are going on four years in June, two of those spent married. It’s crazy to me how such a small amount of time can hold so many memories: both good and bad.

For a long time, I wasn’t sure we would last. We faced a lot of struggles and a lot of hurt. The word “divorce” got thrown around. Our marriage turned from a place of refuge to a place of war.

There was no miracle that saved us, we put a lot of hard work and prayer into making our marriage go on. We had reached the point where the only thing holding us together was that piece of paper, but we chose to rebuild, and with grace and a lot of support, we saw a renewal of our love and were able to offer each other forgiveness and relationship.

I took away a lot of things from this experience, but the number one decision that made a difference was to say: Divorce is not an option.

Divorce is not an option because it allows for a fallback. It means that if a marriage fails, there is still a socially acceptable alternative. It means that once there’s only a piece of paper holding you together, you might as well make it disappear.

Divorce is not an option because it allows for “what-ifs.” It asks the question “What if this marriage was the wrong decision?” “What if we should have waited?” “What if…?” Allowing the what-ifs encourages dissatisfaction and insecurities in the marriage.

Divorce is not an option because it means throwing the first stone. It means you compare your spouse’s shortcomings to your own and judge them based on the scale of your own design. It means judgement is placed higher than forgiveness in your marriage and that the faults of your partner outweigh their charms.

Divorce is not an option because marriage is a vow. The words themselves are vows, yes, but even bigger than that is the soul binding nature of marriage. You are vowing your life to another person and regardless of how cheaply marriage is portrayed in our society, that is a weighty commitment. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard or read a statement from my peers along the lines of “I’m pretty sure he’s the one, but if it doesn’t work out, there’s always divorce.”

If that’s how you see marriage, your marriage is going to be a hard, rocky road.

There are without doubt necessary reasons for a divorce. It is not up to me to say what those are. But I do know that if you allow divorce to be an option during your marriage, the hard times will be 10x harder than if you go in knowing it is not an option.

When soldiers go into battle, they go in with the expectation that they will win. If they were to go in allowing the option to lose, chances are they will.

Treat your marriage like the most important battle of your life where your only option is to win and don’t be surprised to see victory after victory as you continue on.

xoxo, B

A Dangerous Love

Anyone who knows me personally, knows my story, has followed this blog should know without a doubt by now that Jesus is my everything. I have been chronicling my faith journey for a while now, sharing various struggles and triumphs that I have encountered, hoping that my daily walk will encourage someone somewhere. But recently, I have been seriously struggling with how to write to a world that is falling apart around me — my own life included in the chaos.

As a believer, I want to have an answer for the hard questions. But all too often, I feel as though I fail far too often to every have a voice. I follow these amazing women on Instagram whose faith seems double or triple my own, whose pictures are always perfectly hipster, and whose motherhood seems so serene. I understand that on social media we put our best foot forward and I watch their lives with a grain of salt, but still! Can’t some of their inspiration rub off on me? Some of their lighthearted messages or their glittery outlook on life? How am I supposed to be a light in the world when I’m as dark and twisty as Meredith Grey?

I have always desired to live a transparent life. I am a very very private person by necessity, but at heart, I am an open book. My whole life I’ve worn my heart on my sleeve and allowed myself to be vulnerable {sometimes at great personal cost} because I love big. And when you love big, you want people to know your story and who you are so that they know they can trust you to love them too.

This blog has served an amazing purpose of allowing me to sort out feelings that I didn’t understand until I put words to them. It has allowed me to channel my grief and my fear and find hope from my circumstances. It has allowed me to share the huge moments when God has shown up and I’m left in awe again. And through all of those mostly dark, twisty and sometimes joyful moments, there has been one common thought: love.

In the last two weeks, I’ve been slowly realizing the wounds I have covered up for years now. I have had to come to terms with the fact that I can write all I want about healing and grace {both of which I have truly encountered} but no amount of writing is going to make up for refraining from taking action in moving my life forward. Since I left my college campus in 2013, I have been uncertain of everything. What career do I pursue? When do I finish? Is this the right choice? How do I juggle motherhood, marriage, career, and passion? Where is my passion? What do I love?

And in the last year, everything started unraveling.

From health problems, to car problems, to home problems, to stressful jobs, teething toddler, empty bank accounts, miscommunication, etc. I have been in survival mode for over a year, and this week, for the first time since I was in college, I have been able to take the time to be quiet, be still, and to hear God speak.

God uses music to reach my heart a lot of the time, and most recently, music by Lauren Daigle, specifically the song “loyal”. The first verse says:

I could never earn Your heart

I could never reach that far

But You have pulled me close

You’ve never let me go

I’m safe forever in Your arms

Your promises I cannot break

And I know You will never change

Isn’t that a powerful image? That despite our complete and utter inability to earn God’s love, He chooses to draw us near. We cannot break His promises. He promises to never leave us or forsake us {Deut. 31:6} — nothing we do can change that. For me, as a very literal person, this is huge. All these moments in my life that I have felt like a failure, all these moments that I have felt alone, He was there. His love is “loyal, more faithful than the rising sun, this love for me I can’t outrun,” and as a runner, believe me, I have tried.

The other song that’s been dear to my heart is by Hillsong United “touch the sky”. My favorite line is:

What treasure waits within Your scars

This gift of freedom gold can’t buy

I bought the world and sold my heart

You traded heaven to have me again

As someone who has sought acceptance from and been sensitive to the opinions of the world her whole life, this is powerful. Jesus traded heaven for me. For me. I have known the story forever, but this week, with all my pondering, that thought took on new meaning. My voice has meaning. My words have meaning. Heaven doesn’t even compare to the love Christ has for me. For all of us.

So, when I pause and remember that we are called to love like Jesus loves… What a huge, scary thought. Because Jesus loves big. Jesus lived transparently. He sat and ate with lepers, prostitutes, thieves, maybe even homosexuals — the Bible doesn’t say. Jesus’s love was the kind that knew no boundaries. As Christians, we like our boundaries: sin and not sin. Good and bad. Wrong and right. Black and white. But Jesus didn’t love like that, He loved us so much that while we were still sinners He died on the cross {rom. 5:8}. That’s a dangerous love. That’s a love that others will judge. That’s a love that causes a God to leave heaven and become man so that we would have a way there.

And that’s how I want to love. I am determined to love dangerously, leaving behind the criticism of people who err on the side of caution. If Jesus loved me with abandon, I will love others with abandon. If He gave up everything to show us the way to heaven, far be it from me to do any less for others.

I feel as though I know my calling now. Even though careers and life will always change, I am forever called to love. To be reminded of that gives me a renewed perspective on comparing my life to anyone else’s and on going forward. I am treasured. I am loved. And maybe I will always be dark and twisty, but at least I know I can love big because I am loved bigger.

xoxo, B