Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Two Feet In Alabama

Ever since we moved to Birmingham and realized that we live in Jefferson County, we have heard nothing but bad news about the lines at the Courthouse to get your new car tags. We moved here in June, but since my car tags don't expire until October 31st, I was in no hurry to give three hours of my life away to standing in lines. Brandon's car has had Alabama tags throughout his whole time in Tennessee, so his car was good to go for living in Alabama. This Tennessee girl on the other hand, held on to her tags as long as possible. Since Thursday is my day off, I have been planning to get up at the crack of dawn and face the inevitable. Last Wednesday night, as I was hearing the forecast for cold weather on Thursday morning on top of all the other reasons I didn't want to go, I looked Brandon in the eyes and said: "Babe, do you think there's ANY chance we'll be moving back to Tennessee in the near future? 'Cause if so, I think it may even be best for me to just keep my tags." All it took was Brandon looking at me for a split second and saying, "Sweetheart, I'm not even going to answer that!" HA! 

Bye Bye, Tennessee License Plate!!
I knew in that moment that it was time for me to decide in my mind to be ALL here. More so now than ever are we feeling like we're in a routine here in our new city. The Lord has led us to a church home, we're surrounded by dear friends, God has provided many like-minded friends who are into the wellness lifestyle, all is well with our jobs, and so on and so forth...and the simple "finding a new dentist" and "choosing the best grocery store for us" type of thing is different than what we were used to but still no major change. It's been more of a HEART thing all along for me. It's as if Brandon never skipped a beat. He's moved many more times in his life than I have. I grew up in Chattanooga, moved to Auburn for college, then moved to Nashville. So this is really the third major move I've had. Needless to say, my heart is still processing all that this kind of transition includes. I've heard that it takes some people a year or two years to really get into the new groove.

We waited in this line outside until they opened the courthouse at 8am!!
As I've told people who've asked, "How's life in Birmingham?" ... Birmingham is great! It's a fun, Southern city that truly feels like the Alabama version of Nashville. On paper, all is well. Our jobs, church, friends, apartment, and so forth. It's been more of me realizing how much I was in my "comfort zone" in Nashville, and here I am not. Meanwhile, the Lord is teaching me so much. When I take in all that He is teaching me, I realize that I probably wouldn't have learned all this if I had still been in the groove of my comfort zone back in Nashville for this season. This is why I can truly say with confidence that I know I am right where the Lord wants  me. Is it always easy? No! Do I miss things about and people in Nashville? Absolutely! Am I praying everyday to live in the moment and bloom where I am planted? YES!! I realize more and more each day that this life is not about me in my comfort zone. All that matters is Jesus! So whether I am living for him in Birmingham or tim buck two, it really doesn't matter if I am in my comfort zone. I would much rather be pulled out of my comfort zone and seeing firsthand the things the Lord has to teach me, than rocking and rolling in my comfort zone and not seeing my need for the Lord as clearly. 

The line INSIDE! Not complaining at this point... just happy to finally be warm!
So back to the car tags. Last Wednesday night was a wake up call for me. It was time for me to face it that just like it was time for me to switch out my Tennessee tags and go get the Alabama ones, it was also time for me to commit in my heart to being all here. Time to unclench my fists (that I don't even like admit must have still been clenched) and say, "Lord, I'm all yours. I'm here for you. Give me the strength with each day to be all here. What do you have for me today?" I can honestly say that when we first got here, I had half a foot on the ground. Then it got to the point where I probably had one foot here and one foot there. Now I can tell you, I have two feet on the ground in Birmingham, Alabama. This is where the Lord has me. This is my mission field. This is where I get up each day knowing that God has a purpose for me right here and now. As my Dad reminds me often, there was a teacher at Auburn that used to say, "When you're in the in the room!" This is my prayer.

Closing statement from the man of the house: “A lightbulb definitely went off this past week. I'm proud of Whit for processing through these thoughts and being honest with herself and the Lord. It's meant the world to me all this time for her to follow my lead in moving here, and it's meant a lot to see her want to be all here. Not to mention...what a champ for waiting in that long line for three hours!! I kept telling her she can go back another day....but she's persistent and a real go-getter! One of the many things that attracted me to her from the start. We are thankful to be right where the Lord has us!"

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Root Canals and Newlyweds

There are some days when you look back and you are so thankful that you did not know when you woke up, what the day ahead would hold. Last Friday was one of those days for me!! Earlier in the week I had chipped a tooth - but it was nothing urgent so I waited to be seen at the dentist at the first available appointment on Friday morning. I went in at 8am thinking that they would fix my tooth and I’d go on with my day as normal. 
Turns out that an 8am “fix the tooth” appointment turned into the whole right side of my face becoming numb for the temporary crown to be put on - in hopes that this would do the trick and prevent me from having to have a root canal (phew!) !!! Around 12pm when the numbness started going away and I was beginning to feel my mouth again, with one hand on my forehead and the other hand on the right side of my face/chin...I was quickly realizing that I was in some serious pain!! I called the dentist to see if this was “normal” and got their answering machine since they close at 12pm on Fridays! A few minutes later when I called back out of desperation to get their emergency line, a lady at the front desk answered, spoke to my dentist about the throbbing pain I was experiencing, and they made a way for me to be seen immediately with the endodontist downstairs. 
I got there within ten minutes and after seeing one x-ray of my mouth, they informed me that I would be having a root canal...right now. At this point, I had already been numb for four hours and was becoming numb already at the stuff they were giving me for this second procedure of the day. My shaky hands could barely type a text to Brandon, “Gotta have root canal” which he responds, “Now?”...then called me and told me he’d be there in 15 minutes. It was a God-thing that he was in the Birmingham area on Friday, because his territory is Northern Alabama - so he can be hours away on any given day.

The root canal procedure began and then I remember a nurse walking over to me saying, “Whitney, your husband is in the lobby. He just wanted me to make sure you knew that he was here.” Tears filled my eyes with happiness to know that my precious husband was only a few feet away. The endodontist laughingly said, “Y’all must be newlyweds”!! I had so much in my mouth at that point that I could not clearly respond with the fact that we had been married over three years!! It warmed my heart, that by God’s grace, we love each other more today than when we said “I do” over three years ago. May this always be true!! 
Closing statement from the man of the house: “This was not the only time last week that someone asked if we were newlyweds. The other time was when I surprised Whit at her office and one of the girls she works with said that we looked at each other with the excitement of a couple that's dating...she couldn't believe we'd been married over three years. As Whit said, it's by God's grace that we love each other the way that we do. Our prayer is that the Lord would continue to draw us closer to Himself and to each other for all the days of our lives. We are so thankful that God has given us each other to do life with!! Will close with Colossians 2:6-7, 'Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.' "

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Love You But Please Leave Me Alone

We like to keep it real on this blog. The title of this week’s post is nothing we made up...this is a scenario that happened since our last post.
This weekend was full of fun times!! Friday night was The Civil Wars concert, Saturday night was the Lecrae concert, and Sunday morning was an incredible service at The Church at Brook Hills. We came home from church and had some great together time over lunch and then it was time for the palette to be spread out over the couch for the routine Sunday afternoon nap. After three years of marriage, I can honestly say that the Sunday afternoon nap drill does not get me riled up like it used to. I find it awfully cozy to get out our favorite pillows, blankets, and so forth and nest down for awhile. I rested for a little bit and then got up for a grocery run while B still slept. When I returned, I found B reading and this continued while I made us a yummy, homemade dinner. We had a delicious dinner which must have recharged my batteries to be in a place where I was ready to chat!! 

Given Brandon’s post-dinner body language and lack of words, I should have put two and two together that he did not want to chat!! However, I was trying to draw words out of him. He finally communicated to me that he had a lot on his mind and he did not want to talk about it. He did not want to verbally process it because he had already internally processed it and did not want to go through it all again. The guy in him was fine to absorb it and keep it in. The girl in me wanted to get it out of him and have him express it. He eventually got off the couch and onto his knees and started praying. It was at this time that I realized there is a huge difference between relationships outside of marriage and the relationship you have with your spouse inside of marriage. With most people I know (friends and family), I am used to verbally processing through things. Inside of marriage, I am learning that there are times that my dear husband does not want to process things with words. It was at this time on Sunday that I learned that the best gift to Brandon at this time would be to let him be and stop prodding. Next time I will not wait for him to ask me to leave him alone for the time being, I will be able to tell from his body language and lack of words that he just needs some time alone. 

Closing statement from the man of the house: “You’ve probably heard of the book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. It talks a lot about men needing to retreat to their “cave” and this being hard for women to understand because they have such a strong desire to talk through the issues that they are in conflict over. It’s hard for Whit to understand at times that I am fine, just need some alone time. We grew stronger from this moment, as I reiterated how much I love her and there was nothing bothering me about the two of us - just had a lot on my mind in general. Knowing how differently we are wired is half the battle. Once we see eye-to-eye on that, the rest of our differences seem to make a little more sense!!” 

Here is a blurb from Wikipedia with more information about Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. This put into words exactly what we experienced on Sunday evening!! Live and learn!  ...“Another major idea in John Gray’s books are the differences he believes operate in terms of the way the genders react under stress. He believes that many men withdraw until they find a solution to the problem. He refers to this as “retreating into their cave”. In some cases they may literally retreat, for example, to the garage or spend time with friends. The point of retreating is to take time to determine a solution. In these “caves”, men (writes Gray) are not necessarily focused on the problem at hand; many times this is a “time-out” of sorts to allow them to distance themselves from the problems so their brains can focus on something else. Gray posits that this allows them to revisit the problem later with a fresh perspective. 
Gray holds that this retreat into the cave has historically been hard for women to understand because when they are stressed their natural reaction is to talk about issues (even if talking does not solve the problem). This leads to a natural dynamic of the man retreating as the woman tries to grow closer”...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our Prayer

We want to be known. Each of us wants the other person to know what makes us tick...when we’re ready to be still and quiet and when we’re ready to sit and chat. We come home from long days ready to be fed and go to sleep. Then we wake up the next day and do it all over again. God has given us each other as a helper - yet some days we feel so totally different from the other that we wonder how we’re helping. It’s in those moments that we realize that no one can satisfy our deepest desires but JESUS. No perfect meal, bedtime, walk, talk, moment of silence, flowers, week at the beach, bubble bath, baseball game....NOTHING CAN SATISFY US BUT JESUS. It’s humbling to come back to that realization day in and day out. This week our marriage moment is a glimpse into one of our prayers to the Lord: 

“Lord, you are the only one that truly knows us. You not only know what makes us know the number of hairs on our head. You are with us all the day long and already know what we’re thinking before we even know that’s what we’re feeling. Please forgive us for not coming to you first and foremost to have our needs met in each moment. Thank you for loving us and continuing to reveal yourself to us. Thank you for giving us each other to show us our sin more and in return, show us our dire need for you. Draw us closer to YOU and closer to each other. May we love each other out of pure motives with the unselfish love in which you first loved us.”