happy returns

I don’t remember what it felt like to wake up that morning, the one rainy Saturday of the entire fall.

How do people live through such days? Days that you enter knowing they are going to change only everything?

How does an indecisive, usually fearful girl keep on, one step and then the next, toward voluntarily making a forever promise? How does she still have an appetite?

It must be grace, must it not?

Grace that on a morning when I might have felt panicked, rushed, and full of tears, I felt an immense calm.

Under the raining, we were wrapped in a warm glory, and I remember being amazed by how many people were there, and I remember that my face hurt from smiling.

I haven’t the words to write the meaning of a year of marriage, even if I knew the meaning, which I’m not sure I do. But the same grace that gilded that very first day has touched every day since.

I remember that my hand trembled in his, and that I laughed and cried through the vows. And that we were so very glad.

We remain so.

 

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

Singleness and Sanctification (DG)

Last month I had the privilege of being published on Desiring God‘s blog, and I wanted to share that with my long-time readers here. So below is a peek at that post; you can click the link in the last paragraph to read the rest of the article on the Desiring God website.

“You must be learning so much! All my newlywed friends say that they learn so much about the Lord through marriage!”

The girl looked earnestly at me, her face alight with congratulations. Having been a single girl until my late twenties — when now, yes, I am a newlywed — I could read the wistfulness behind the congratulations, the little ache behind her sincere joy for us.

I know those things that you hear from your married friends: that there is nothing like marriage to show you your own sinfulness, or the depth of God’s love, or any number of other lessons. That there is nothing like marriage to sanctify you and make you more Christ-like.

And, yes, I have been learning things in my scant months of being a wife. So I could smile and say “yes” to the girl’s implied question. But I didn’t stop at yes. There was more that needed saying. . . . 

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

 

 

Five Minute Friday: trust (small and glad, day 9)

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When I think about marriage in human terms, it seems insane: why would I ever trust myself to make such immense promises, knowing my weaknesses as I do? How could I rationally trust anyone else with such promises? Why would we enter into a forever-covenant, knowing that we’ll both fall short?

But I don’t have to think about it in human terms. God made marriage. He does the joining together. And because my fiancé and I trust Him, we can make these vows confidently. Not from a place of personal strength, but from a place of weakness, knowing that when we are weak, our Savior is strong.

So that ultimately, my confidence entering into marriage is not in my fiancé. (Though I definitely consider him trustworthy!) My confidence is in the Lord who created the universe and upholds all things by the word of His power.

He who keeps the galaxies suspended in space can be trusted to keep our marriage. I trust Him.

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Participating in Five Minute Friday with Kate Motaung today, using her prompt, trust. The “trust” button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

calling: small and glad, day 1

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It is just over ten months since I got the text message: “Can I call you in a few minutes?”

Y’all, you only ask if you can call if the call is important — if you have Something to Say. Otherwise, you just call, and if you don’t reach the person, you leave a voicemail or send a text or try again later.

And when a guy sends a girl this text? A guy she hadn’t suspected was interested? Well, her stomach flip-flops, she feels hot and clammy, and she feels like the world has begun to rotate at double its usual speed as she texts back that he can call.

And then she spends minutes telling herself that he probably has something perfectly commonplace to say, after all; but she doesn’t really believe that. And when he calls, her disbelief is confirmed.

Long ago, in the pages of the Victorian books in which I came of age, young gentlemen went “calling” on young ladies as a form of courtship. Our modern day “calling” on the phone may also initiate a courtship.

And I had been wondering if singleness were my calling, if God were calling me to rejoice in His sufficiency even as He denied my dearest dreams. (And He does call to that, in other ways, and He will be my sufficiency, always.) But this phone call — was it the first intimation of a different calling entirely?

I accepted the invitation with fear and trembling, and watched, small and glad, as my corner of Wonderland began to transform.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

learnings: September 2015

Today I join Emily P. Freeman to share a few things we learned in September.

WhatWeLearnedinSeptember

  1. People are astonishingly generous, so that all I can feel is small and glad and grateful. (Related fact: it’s fun being the bride at a wedding shower.)
  2. @socalitybarbie is a fun feed to browse. (And it reminded me of the more fun of browsing Catalog Living.)
  3. Visiting three college friends in Virginia is a good idea, and oh! it was good for my soul. Laughter; lots of laughter.
  4. Going outside to wait for your ride is a good idea:
    IAD: sunset
  5. At least two people are trying to still live in the Victorian era — not as reenactors, but just as a lifestyle. I find it highly unusual.
  6. Elizabeth Goudge. So far I haven’t met a book by her that I didn’t love. The Rosemary Tree is no exception.
    Here’s a quote, chosen because it requires less context than most of the other gems I’ve found, and because, like the other gems, it rings true: “I’ve never welcomed anything difficult or painful. I’ve always resented it and hit back. I can see now that to have welcomed the slings and arrows might have been to welcome love.” Yes.
  7. Getting married is SO much work, and I’d never have a hope of being ready if it weren’t for my mom.
  8. People are the best: family, fiancé, friends . . . and the random people you meet throughout the day: the TSA agent singing “Oh Happy Day,” my friend’s neighbor who made us come into his yard and filled our hands with tomatoes, the girl who sold me a hamburger at Five Guys. I like people.
    loved

©2015 by Stacy Nott

a strange and perfect time

It’s a strange time to be engaged, I’m thinking.

Popcorn

photo thanks to Janet Crouch Photography

The highest court in the land just declared same-sex marriage constitutional, attempting to redefine an institution older than original sin.

Set our meager few hundreds of years of national existence against the dawn of time and ask if our interpretations of our founding fathers really have any weight beside decrees established by the Creator of the universe. We might determine that Thomas Jefferson did not believe gravity existed, but that would not cause us to immediately float from the surface of our earth.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that same-sex couples do and will marry — and also that they do and will love one another. But I am convinced that, in spite of five Supreme Court justices’ lofty opinions, those marriages are fundamentally different things than the one on which I will embark with my fiancé this fall.

I’m not actually here to argue about the ins and outs of that, however, just to think about its implications for one man and one woman who plan to marry soon.

There’s a part of me that, seeing marriage redefined and turned inside upon itself like this, simply wants to throw it off completely. They’ve ruined it, I’m tempted to say, and I’ll have nothing to do with it. 

I suppose similar thoughts may have motivated the early church’s flight to celibacy long ago: seeing the constant abuses of good things can make us lose sight of their goodness and abandon them completely. Follow that line of reasoning too far, however, and it becomes logical to drink poison-laced cool-aid in a jungle commune somewhere — life itself, after all, is mightily abused.

But no. Though Christ calls us to die daily, He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. He didn’t lead His disciples out to hide from the corruption of their world, but led them headlong into the midst of the mess, laying His sinless hands on the rotting flesh of lepers, weeping outside of a stinking tomb, submitting to the revolting brutality of scourging and a cross. (And the stone was rolled away; the grave clothes left empty; Thomas put his hands into the wounds on the risen Lord.)

And so He calls us to live in the midst of kingdoms to which we do not belong, elect exiles, strangers, aliens, ambassadors of the Kingdom which is not of this world. We marry because God made marriage, and we love because He loved us first, and by His grace we make visible a glimpse of that great mystery, Christ and His church.

We don’t show the mystery by ceasing to marry, but by marrying. So that, even in this strange time, I wear my ring with joy, and plan a wedding celebration, and thank the Lord that He created them male and female and declared that the two should become one flesh.

It’s a perfect time to be engaged, I’m thinking.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): Mercy

We’re celebrating a wedding this weekend. I’ve traveled, and others have traveled, and here we are. Last night my face ached with smiling; my eyes had been full of tears more than once.

I’ve known the bride more than eight years, shared a room with her for three. We wrote a poem in the first year of our acquaintance, lamenting the lack of readily-available husbands visible on our college campus.

And now, at last, she’s getting married.

I listen to the families talk, look at her face, at her groom’s face, hear the joy in the voices, and practice to play joyous music on the piano for the ceremony. Mercy.

Marriage is a picture. It’s meant to show us things, to help us understand, just a bit, of the love of God. He makes it beautiful.

In view of His mercies we are urged to present ourselves as living sacrifices to Him, and being a sacrifice is often painful, but seeing the mercies is so sweet.

And somehow He weaves the mercies and the pains — the greatest mercy was the greatest sacrifice — and we are obliged to celebrate most these moments of giving self away. Because that’s what we’re made for.

Because He makes it beautiful.

Thanks, Lisa-Jo!

Joining the Five Minute Friday party with Lisa-Jo and friends today. Join in, or read more posts, using the button above.