Here are fifteen short stories telling of how twenty17 has been unfolding for us. Themed ‘Finding Shelter’ as we had started the year in transition yet again. Why yes I started the year declaring it “The Year of Next Levels”. It sure has been a new level of stretching and birthing pains.
And this is my fourth straight New Year’s living out of suitcases and boxes! In 2014 I had just arrived in California for the first time and it was days to meeting the stranger whom I would say yes to marry 10 months later; in 2015 it was days before our marriage and moving into our first miracle rented space in San Francisco; in 2016 it was days from moving out of that lovely home crossing oceans to Europe for the year and as the hubs started seminary.
In 2017, today, I’m writing this in a hotel in Colorado Springs (my first time here!) days before the hubs starts his full-time gig with an incredible ministry based out here. We move into a temp rented space tomorrow until something longer term opens up in summer for what could be 3-5-7 years oh who knows! But for now I know #twenty17 shall be ‘the year of next levels’ even as I enter this new year with no plans, nothing lined up in a new city, and just a complete blank page and unknown ahead of me – but with a heart full to be surprised by my El Shaddai. Colour my world.
I love when Jacob was asked how old is he in Genesis 47:9, the patriarchs measure their age by ‘years of pilgrimage‘. Wow we need to guard this. If we are not on pilgrimage we may not have really lived. It’s much about positioning to align in His call and Kingdom. Leaving a job I love at a time when I’m truly having the time of my life in my ten-year media career, and being shipped to the mountains quite literally so, but hey not ashamed to say I love Edward more and seeing how much he is loving the destiny our good Lord has called him into!
I happen to think that that’s the single one most important thing a man can do as head of the house: to identify and step into his divine call where he lives, loves, leads their pilgrimage from an overflow. I’m seeing too how encouraging the call on him is releasing an extra portion of favor for me as I transit into his work-from-home-wife #wfhw still working out all the pieces in pioneering this but already I feel my cup runneth over! What could be deemed as old-fashioned love is becoming the most empowering thing I’ve tasted in my own pilgrimage. So excited to see glimpses of it all unfolding and seeing my man in less than a week!
“This is the thing: when you start to hit 28 or 30, everything starts to divide, and you can see very clearly two kinds of people: on one side, people who have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find God and themselves and their deep dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed through to become real live adults. And then there’s the other kind, who are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might. They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not great, because they don’t want to be lonely. They mean to find a church, they mean to develop honest, intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in kind of an extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than they were when they graduated college.
Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. Walk away, try something new. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate ladder either.”
Thiscame up on my FB’s on this day and took me back to half a decade ago a few good start-ups and great jobs later, I saw this Relevant article. Shortly after, I took a career sabbatical to tend to the garden of my emotional well, maturity and capacity that I had neglected in all the vavavoom of my 20s. I found myself not as well as I’d like my emotional capacity to be. I always tell the hubs if we’d met 5 years earlier, the girl I am on the inside would cause our partnership to look very different due to my lack of real capacity to support him towards his dreams.
Depending on how you lived your twenties, so you do in your thirties see three types of people: 1. Those who are emotionally walled-up without realising it themselves, 2. those who find themselves in emotional chaos or unbridledness when “stuff” happens, and 3. those with the deep emotional capacity to rise above – this is soil of deep relationships and the older you get, the less you’d want to deal with high-maintenance relationships.
There is no ‘right age’ for many things or milestones in life – but I’ve learned that there is this thing called emotional maturity. Why are some people better at dealing with life crises, stress, marriage, parenting, etc, than others? Much of it goes down to one’s emotional management and temperaments.
So if there is one thing I’d encourage of the mid-20s to mid-30s ‘becoming’ season is to be intentional about tending to the garden of your emotional maturity. It is not something that comes automatically with age nor in life experiences – if you’re a believer, it’s a lot to do with one’s intimacy with the Holy Spirit and to make that relationship a priority.
During my competitive athlete days I used to dread having physical and endurance trainings, especially as a young athlete mastering the sport, I was always only eager to do skill trainings to perfect my techniques – I simply could not see the point of our coach making us do miles of running, weights, core… you name it, we did it daily!
Later on did I realised my coach was right – when it came down to crunch time and big moments in a match, it is really one’s fitness and mental endurance that would make all the difference in pulling through to win.
The last three years had been all of a brand new thing! Often, like the attitude I had during my athlete life, I’d want OUT of this endurance season and bargain with Him: “Can we get on with the thriving in life part of the program already?” From marriage and ministry together to a new career taking off to relocating non-stop and living in temp homes, to working out long-distance relationships with people, to prep for parenting wellness – adulthood is a handful ain’t it?!
So lately, I was reminded how new seasons will always begin with endurance building – even as in our logical minds we want to just get on with perfecting the skill and art of what we do, and endurance looks pointless. But just as athletes play for the big moments and to win them – what big moments are you believing for? It’s very much possible in life to thrive, flourish, have and do it well in all. Take heart, you need this season for your big moments – don’t settle for less, position yourself for it.
This week, while we were sharing our story to our new family here in Colorado, I was reminded of how Edward was the first guy to have given me butterflies in my stomach and still does :) And I could never have been able to write a love story this wild for myself – I mean if you know me, this guy literally swept me off my flighty feet!
I was that girl traveling the world on my own and having the time of my lovely single life and career – I had the whole world going for me, unstoppable was my middle name! Marriage was no where near the horizons. Going from all of that to meeting a stranger (whom when he spoke Korean he charms me to no end) – and marrying him in 5 months when he proposed and signed my last name off 4 months later – what. (Do not try this at home!) Immediately we started chasing our dreams together – building our craft in filmmaking and growing in our capacities in ministry while traveling the world – literally – we have covered 5 continents in our 3 years together + lived in 3 totally different cities!
It’s no wonder the last 5 months have felt painfully slow for us being caught in a very new transition season, we feel mostly at a loss on how to navigate what could appear like roadblocks when they are really just speed bumps pacing and keeping our eyes fixed on the long haul. As we do know this year, we’ll see our marriage and life being taken to the next level. Right now though it’s always the darkest before the breakthrough of dawn. Declaring He’s got us, babe.
“Don’t move until the Spirit says go, move, do. When He does, why wait?” I’m terrible at making day-to-day decisions and choices on regular things of life (the hubs comes in handy!) but with major decisions and milestones in life I make them in a whim almost. Or I stay immovable even if it’s all but counterculture. So if you ever wonder why I’m not conforming to doing something, well, the Spirit hasn’t whispered. Why would you want to be anywhere than right in the center of His will.
I love every bit of my lovely single life but it did annoy me whenever I got asked in my late twenties why was I not dating. I was on mission and still am. And then, I met a guy and we got married in months; I always knew in my spirit that was how it’s going to be and all my twenties, I went on dates and saw guys here and there but the Spirit never whispered go move do. And when He did, there was nothing left to wait. It wasn’t just ‘oh it’s a good idea’, or ‘it’s finally time’, it was: Go – go in full speed of this.
I love every season of where I got to live, create, and build church around the world and each time I’ve packed up and uprooted to a brand new city or country in an instant when the Spirit whispers – there’s often no proper closure or goodbyes made; it was and still is emotionally wrenching to pour into a group of friends and then leave, relearn a new environment and the social appropriations that come with a new place. And still, I do love being alone and always wondered: if I still have any friends in this lifetime on earth, it is because I have met some incredibly loyal people who have capacity for friendships for the long-haul.
In the end, you can only choose to stay on mission – whether in the job you choose to take, the city you choose to move to, the person you choose to marry – don’t go move do until the Spirit whispers. When He does, you run hard and don’t look back even if nothing makes sense. Only that way, you can count on everything else will eventually catch up and when you look around, you find soul-knitted relationships with those who are pursuing the same things as you, and you can count on them to go far with you.
Six months on, believing this shall be the final #earlydays transition stretch! I saw a documentary last week about a family in exile and how they lived door to door for 18 months. It wrecked me.
I had to move 5 times between 10-17 years old. Without a stable place to call home, I learned as a child to not accumulate earthly possessions. The most scarring of which was that night my mom sat me down when I was 13 telling me we are about to lose our home, I was seized by a real fear of what being ‘homeless’ would feel or be like with all the other teenage identity issues I had.
The hubs had spent most of his childhood on the move, too – we quickly connected through our upbringing “issues” – we always felt our souls had known each other since we were two kids living in opposite ends of the world, but knitted by a common unique struggle growing up. It’s pretty romantic if you think of it.
When we met, we didn’t have to convince each other of the alternative lifestyle we were designed for. 3 years on the go later, the last 7 months living out of boxes had been the toughest stretch! Yet also relishing the end of this precious season for our marriage #earlydays. To see all these have gone into how the hubs is flourishing at a new level today, it’s special.
“But this is my shot at it today. You have come of age. You have come of notice to the devil. At the same time, your very faithful God who loves you has made a covenant through the cross of Christ not only to save you but to conform you to the image of His Son. His obligation out of His wonderful grace is to grow you up. And there is suffering in growing up. Among other things, you are forced to face the deceiver and pretender in your mirror.
I’m here to say to you today that it will not always be this hellacious. Oh, trust me. It will ALWAYS be hard. It will at times be horrific. But this season of eyeball-bulging nobody-ever-said-it would-be-like-this coming of age will not last forever. Mine lasted about seven years. Yours could last one. Or 10. That’s all up to God. Well, and you. Your cooperation is required.
It’s all about whether or not you’ll quit. Or whether or not you’ll get sloppy. Whether or not you’ll hang onto the first things that so drove you in the beginning. Jesus. The Scriptures. Holy passion. Holiness. And not just hang onto them but press further and further and further into them.”
This is so good — for the 30s and 40s battered but brave souls who have travailed and come this far in ministry life — woke up on a Monday morning to this by Beth Moore, it’s comfort breakfast for the soul!
I’ve spent a lot of the last 7 months crying to sleep since moving to our new city here in Colorado. Some days I feel like I can get destroyed by this episode but apparently it’s normal as I know a testimony of one of my leaders who had similar episode when they uprooted from Australia to Europe to church plant. Last week, I got hit by how in the days of our youth, we had served Jesus with an uncompromising passion – knees down, hands up, worship x praying through the nights at youth camps and rallies – we sing Consuming Fire like Ecclesiastes 12 says it.
In Beth’s piece: “You, who are coming of age in your calling, though God knows that, most of the time, if you’re like me, you’re not even sure how you got there … you know dang well deep in your heart that you really had no earthly idea what you were doing. All you can say at the end of the day is that you kept doing something—the next thing—however awkwardly, and perhaps even embarrassingly as you look back on it, to somehow serve Jesus. And, lo and behold, your works are producing fruit. You have this sense that you are where you are supposed to be for now.” And then you just hang on to that sense of knowing and knowing.
Just in our #SoulSunday conversation with the hubs, we concluded it’s not enough to “just hang on” as Beth writes too “you need to press further and further and further into them”. That is counter-intuitive of course, for when you are feeling utterly spent, almost devastatingly, throwing in the towel and just retreat to safe places away from warfare, rather than to stay on and press on in the trenches is not the most exciting idea. But so it is, He reminds you of the songs you sang that are etched in your heart: ‘There must be more than this. A passion for Your name.’ And you get your brave on to fight another day, one at a time.
When picking up a new sport I learned to focus on the stance more than the game, as life is so. To be positioning for the next ten years vs getting caught up playing the game everybody is playing. Investing in your “stance”, and learning to say ‘no’, and not living by the world timelines and default status quo of things. But waiting and travailing upon the audacious dreams birthed into your Spirit once upon a time and trusting in His perfect timing in all things, knowing, He loves a good come through for us, and show off He is I Am, The alpha and omega. The stakes do get higher as you get older, how precious is youth! The pressures of faith James talks about in the word grows ever so tangible. But it only means we’d need the intimacy of the Lord and the Spirit only increasingly more — to tap into the mysteries of the unknown that best position us for the long haul. Ps Brian Houston loves to say: Life is short, but it is also long. 👣 #staythepath
Pausing from video editing and endless emails to dig into some soul nourishment by Ps Bobbie, so excited to receive this! For such a time as this: filled with waiting, unsettled stretching, physical soreness from moving six times in the past 1.5 years, I wouldn’t have been able to stay the path of this if it hadn’t been a posture that I got to glean into in between Hillsong worship, Color Conferences, and church planting with a couple of the global rooms.
Ten years ago, I came across Ps Bobbie’s first book “I’ll Have What She’s Having” that which brought about a momentous shift in the direction of my young adult life. I grew ever so determined to live my twenties (and beyond!) in a way that will only turn curious hearts and eyes heavenward as I embarked on an impossible journey doing only what the world says I can’t or I shouldn’t do. While the graduate norm was to get a full-time job, I started my #media business to see how far my dreams would take me – and the only constant thing I had back then was to plug into a local church wherever He took me.
Even as I do stumble and travel on bruised knees at times in the journey thus far but as Ps Bobbie writes of Psalm 23, it’s about living a life that expresses the (outrageous) goodness of the one true Shepherd as we travel with Him. “As grand and romantic as purpose and destiny sound, they are not guaranteed with the blast of the starting gun or that first step of faith out into the unknown adventure of what lies ahead.” Oh the adventure, the alternative lifestyle that had me hooked 10 years ago. That even in the midst of the unsettled mess I am in right now, I live forward the next ten knowing He is only going to exceed the last ten. 👣
“Every priest needs a king, and every king needs a priest.” It’s a strangely timely word for our marriage I took home with me at the leadership workshop of the amazing Messenger Cup this year. I’ve come to love that our marriage partnership is one-of-its-kind “odd couple” – how we tag team in our joint dreams and to stay in the fight and win the war of broken darkness of our world as priest and 👸🏻! Not always roses and fairy dust but always rich in faith lessons and adventure. And I do love being the savvy and creative one in “growing” finances. Especially at this critical turn of chapter of our marriage and life as we navigate all that are in our hands – what do we do with our ‘talents’ literally and metaphorically? That has been the main gist of the past 7 months for us as we set our marriage up for these next 7 years of our journey. Exciting times.