Bottom line, we all know it's hard to get find a time for schedules to sync and get together. At the end of the day we all have some combo of jobs, obligations, husbands, friends and family we all barely find time to eat, think, sleep, breathe at the end of some days let alone treat ourselves to some quality time with a friend. This is definitely a time when technology is helping us to connect when our lives don't allow for the real face to face time and that is an awesome thing.
Before we start, here's a little background on my friendship with Liz. She and I were freshmen together at OU. We were actually in the same pledge class!! KKG 2001, baby! She transferred to A&M after freshmen year I believe? It could have been mid freshmen year? We knew each other, but we weren't friends during her stint at OU. In the summer of 2003, I had planned to take a summer session of classes at the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. A friend of mine had done it the previous summer and the tuition is cheap, you live in the dorms and you're in HAWAII...I had to do this...DUH! I had planned to go with 3 other friends, but the 3 of them ended up not being able to go and I still decided to stick it out and go solo. (There were other reasons for this...but that's another blog post entitled: Depression- It sucks. ha.)
Anyway, when I landed in the Honolulu airport, not knowing what the hell I'm doing in Hawaii at the age of 19 completely alone and who do I see in the elevator going down area where you catch a cab??? I see Liz. Liz like a bright ray of sunshine. She said, "Alexis?? Do you go to OU??" I replied, "Yes....Liz??" We realized we were both in Hawaii for the same reason, both here to take summer school. A girl named Adrian was with her, who initially scared me in the elevator (if you know Adrian...you'd laugh at this), but she ended up becoming a dear friend too. Adrian and Liz were rooming together in the dorms and who was next door to them? Me. I know that God orchestrated that. Being next door to Liz and Adrian was a gift to me. So began a summer of memories that would bond us together for life....(hmmm, sorry that sort of sounds like the beginning of a Judy Blume novel.)
Liz, Adrian and I actually all live in Dallas now. Crazy how it all works out.
this pic was definitely taken with a disposable camera :). me in the black, Liz in the stripes. one of my high school buddies was in the Navy stationed in Hawaii, so we made friends with a lot of his friends. this was Adrian's birthday night and they all dressed up in their uniforms for her. it was awesome hanging out with "official" sailors. ha.
Okay, so there's the past. Time to be in the present!! Virtual coffee date is beginning!!
If you haven't already, click here to to to Liz's blog to read the start of our coffee talk (otherwise, it might be a little confusing to see what I'm answering.) Alrighty, here we go.
Hiiiiiiiiii Liz!!!!! Okay, so, I get really tickled that you read the Bachelorette recaps and enjoy them even though you don't watch the show. I just love it. You really don't know how your comments on my blog encourage me. Seriously, I really do like blogging and sharing, but it also brings out HUGE insecurities in me. I get scared that I will offend someone with my humor or views. I get nervous that certain statements will be received in the wrong way. I would hate that! I keep blogging because it's a lot of fun for me and for comments like yours that keep me going...so thank you. :)
About finding completeness in God....I know, it was a huge revelation for my life too. I joke around occasionally on my blog about depression (I even did above) and it's because I struggle with it. But, it's actually been a blessing for me to walk through it because somehow, somewhere going through that, I realized that nothing on earth will satisfy. I think I had to try everything on earth to make sure of that. I learn things the hard way, I guess? haha. As humans we are always searching for that thing that is going to make us feel "okay" or "complete". The right significant other, the right job, the right city to live in, the right friends...now that we are older it's the perfect house, the perfect kids, the right "things". These things are great and wonderful things created by God that we should enjoy, BUT they will not satisfy. Only God through Christ can do this and only living in the pure grace of Christ can lead to a life without that sense of "wanting something else". When we are in a relationship with Christ all the other stuff takes care of itself and that is the miracle of it all. Of course, how God chooses to get us to the point of "taking care of itself" is not always the way we envision it or the way we want to go and I feel like maybe it's a life long journey of learning God's will for us.
I have not read Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas. I will definitely put that on my list of "to read" books. Thanks for the recommendation. Sounds like an awesome read. Have you ever heard of Tim Keller? He's an author and the pastor of a church in NYC called Redeemer. My Bible study does a lot of studies based of his teaching. One that we did was a study on his series of Marriage Sermons. Click here for how you can listen to them!! The timing that we did this study is pretty cool because we did it while Robert and I were dating and he listened to them too. They really made us look at marriage differently and it great to listen to them and then talk about them together. It really formed an intimacy between us which I don't think could be accomplished any other way. Oh and also, The first thing that was recommended to me to listen to by Tim Keller were his series of sermons called, The Trouble with Christianity, why it's so hard to believe. I also, highly, highly recommend those sermons!!
Oh AND speaking of Bible study...would you ever want to go with me?? PLEASE come anytime!!! Wednesdays at 6:30, it's not at a church, just girls our age that get together. Actually, most of them went to your high school, so you'd already know people!! Seriously, come any time!! I do understand that you have your family and it's hard to get away...but the offer stands ANY time!! :)
Goodness, I'm getting deeper and this is going longer than I thought! Deep long virtual coffee talk for Liz and Alexis.
Okay, so I loved the advice from your mom. Feel, pray, accept. What powerful words. What good advice. Aren't mom's amazing? I'm sure now that you are a mom, you realize that even more. I feel like every time I spend time with my mom, I love and respect her on new levels. I don't know if it's getting older and more mature that does this to us or what it is?
I hate to hear that you've been stressed. Ugg. I know how that feels all too well. And I feel just like exactly as you did, most of the time I'm stressed, it is because I forget to look to God. It's so scary how subtly and quickly it can happen. I can so easily start listening to myself and the world and it's craziness and voila!! - STRESS!
BUT, like you said, we are human. We are not perfect. We are sinners, living in a broken world. We are going to forget to look to God a zillion times. Yet, we are saved by him through GRACE and grace only, not because of anything we have done or can ever do. For that, I am glad because I can't live in a world of rules and religion where I'm constantly trying to show God "how much I love him" through how good I am. That would create arrogance in me and not show people the true savior that is Christ. Any good in me any of it is through Christ, not myself, not anything that I have ever done!! I hope to live a life for people to not see me, but Christ. I fail at this, I fail at this big time. All I can do is, go on, go on and be transparent and love how God calls us to love.
I love what your friend Casey said AND what her pastor said. (I also love Casey's blog which I found through your blog!!) But, it is true, no one can ever truly tell you what marriage is. And it's also so true, that if would have tried...we wouldn't have listened!!
I've learned a lot in my marriage. I've learned that all marriages are different because we are all designed differently. My marriage isn't going to be like my parents marriage. My marriage isn't going to be like a fairytale or anything we see on TV and movies. I've learned that though Robert and I do truly love each other we can't always be in perfect harmony. We're going to disagree on things and that is okay. Robert and I fell in love and got married rather quickly. And while we are completely right for each other, I feel like it can almost become an area where we can become prideful about that...in a bad way. Not in public...like walking around displaying how great we are together. But, it private, we can get pretty pleased with ourselves. It sounds silly, but it can really become almost like an "idol" to us, you know? We forget that God designed us, he orchestrated that we met, this has nothing to do with "us". Our marriage is a huge gift to us from Him! Plus, this view can put pressure on our marriage. We think that we are so great together that we can't ever disagree. Anyone that is married KNOWS that is an impossibility. You will disagree with your spouse, but it's how you handle that disagreement that matters.
This year, I think God has been teaching me about forgiveness. In several ways. I have been absolutely, embarrassingly AWFUL in front of Robert. He forgives me and loves me anyway. He could leave he could walk away, but he doesn't. He does the opposite and forgives me and loves me as if it has never happened. Being this recipient of this human forgiveness is so cool and life altering, because it's a small real life tangible example of the way that God forgives his children- all of us. I mean, I am awful and turn away from God multiple times a day and he still loves me the same anyway. Goodness. Also in the way that I forgive - I have learned a lot about that this year. With Robert and with others. I thought I had forgiveness down. I thought that was something that was easy for me. HA. I was so wrong. You can look like you forgive and fake it, but it still manifests in your mind and grows roots when you are replaying the past in your mind. It's a struggle. Only Christ through me can forgive, I can't do it, I have to ask Christ to take over. It's a process, it doesn't immediately happen instantly. Marriage is a constantly cycle of forgiveness and love. Forgiving your spouse forgiving yourself and recommitting. It's hard and it's beautiful...which is what marriage is hard at times and beautiful. The beauty of it completely makes anything hard make it all worth it :).
Finally, I have to say, I loveeeeee your view about the blogging community. I totally think that's what it should be...a place to lean on each other, lift each other up, encourage each other and ask honest questions and to be honest in return. Sometimes, I get really bitter about the blogging/facebook thing. Which is pretty ironic since I'm a large participant in both! But, sometimes, I find it to be a place where I go to judge others and compare myself. For example, "oh i'm not as fashionable as _____", "_____ is so much smarter than me.", "_____ is so perfect" I know when I think this stuff, my perspective is the one that's wrong. I can gain so much from all of these walk of life, I should love that they share and not put that judgment on them, but I'm human and I do. I usually snap out of it and thank God for the way he made me and go forward, but I do struggle with it. You know what I mean? Do you ever feel that way with the blogs you read too?
We will have to discuss that at our next coffee date!!! :) :)
This was so fun...I'm so glad we "got together"!!!! Have a wonderful weekend!!!