May 31, 2017

Five Reasons to Marry a Calvinist

Nearly five months ago, I married a Calvinist. GASP. I am most definitely the least confrontational person you’ll meet, and I had pledged my life to someone whose theology was debated openly. I mean, there are entire Facebook pages dedicated to just debating Calvinism. Yet, after five months of attending a Calvinist church, five months of asking a myriad of questions to my dear husband, and after reading Romans 9 more times than necessary, I have come to believe that everyone should marry a Calvinist. Though the reasons are many, here are my top five:

  1. Theology
Calvinists, by nature, are theologians with references. Feel free to question what they believe because they will most likely have a bible-based answer. My husband Kris loves theology more than almost anyone I know. That may be due to the fact that he is a calvinist, or it could just be that he is incredible. Or both.
Now, there is much debate about the correct interpretation of theology, but rest assured that no one loves theology as much as a Calvinist, while I am sure that there are Calvinists who love theology more than they love God, in my limited experience, they genuinely are studying the Bible to see the beauty of Jesus.

  1. Unpretentiousness
My husband is one of the most humble people ever. No really. The knowledge of total depravity, and complete reliance on God should mark every Calvinist with humility. Last summer, as Kris and I were discussing our views on theology I didn’t even know existed (Like did God cause the fall? I have no idea. I never even thought of that question) I was amazed at how gently he answered, and how often he quoted scripture. Like, I know scripture, but he KNOWS scripture. He was never harsh, never acted like a know-it-all, and was always super attractive.
Keep in mind, if you marry someone who loves the Bible, then you better not quote anything out of context. Unless you’re a really funny wife who quotes things out of context when your husband is studying to distract him… What a benefit, to marry someone who really does treasure the Word. Oh, the joy of having someone who is not afraid to question wrong interpretations of scripture, all in the pursuit of living out Psalms 27:4.

  1. Library-enthusiasts
Need a free date night? No one will appreciate a well-stocked library more than a Calvinist. Be forewarned however, if your library doesn’t stock enough books on the desert fathers, or is lacking in selection of books authored by Charles Spurgeon, you will have a very very very short date.

  1. Incredible Focus
Obviously, anyone who reads books by ancient authors is bound to be a very focused person. Calvinists are constantly digging into new learning material, articles, blogs, books, youtube sermons, you name it. Sometimes I’ll read Kris’s theology books over his shoulder, and I recognize maybe half the words. Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but still, when we go to the library, I go to the fiction section, and Kris goes to the “Obscure authors from the 1200s” section.
Calvinists are really good at concentrating, and as a result, are usually incredibly articulate, especially when explaining to you why the movie “Luther” is not only a valid date-night option, but also a far superior  choice, as opposed to popular rom-com “While You Were Sleeping.” Sigh.
  1. Piper is a Calvinist
John Piper is a like, 15 or 16 point Calvinist I think (Kris said he is actually just a 7 point Calvinist, but I don’t remember it that way). That’s more than enough reason to marry a Calvinist. Don’t believe me? Listen to this sermon jam

Now, I must be fair. I have met many people of God who love the Bible, and are full of humility, and were as far away from John Calvin as Paul was (I’m just making a joke all you who are about to start throwing epistles at me) and they would be great matches too. Really, the utmost desire in our hearts should be to see the beauty of Christ. If we are able to marry someone who also desires to see His glory on the earth, then BOOM. Match made in heaven (or not, if you don’t believe in “the one”) So go my dear friends and marry a sweet Calvinist, although I already got the best one.

May 15, 2017

Book Review: "The Ebb Tide" by Beverly Lewis

Cape May "Diamonds"
    Read in less than 48 hours, I would consider this book a new favorite. To be fair, Beverly Lewis's books nearly always have me neglecting dishes, cooking, and laundry. Most of her books have been read in under a week, a few in less than a day. This book did not disappoint.
    The story is centered around a young Amish woman, 20-year-old Sallie Riehl. Wanting to travel, she puts off her baptismal classes until she can satiate her wanderlust. Perhaps by providence, she accepts a job as a nanny in Cape May for the Summer. It is in Cape May that she wrestles with her Amish heritage. As she finds her heart is torn between the outside world and her family, she knows she must come to a decision about the faith she holds dear.
   I think this book is among my favorites from Beverly Lewis. Although the “Abram’s Daughters” series is my all time favorite, “The Ebb Tide” comes in as a close second. Though this book is not set in the idyllic Lancaster county, it’s location is equally captivating. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Cape May, New Jersey. I so appreciated the vivid detail, and I felt as if I was actually there.
    One of the most interesting parts of this novel is that it is one of the first I’ve read where I saw the beauty of being an “Englischer” as opposed to being Amish. I was gently encouraged in my faith, seeing some of the negatives of being Amish for the first time. Though there are certainly several advantages to being Amish, this book showed me that there are also disadvantages (and not just being unable to use air conditioning!)
Overall, I thought this was an incredibly beautiful book. With an enjoyable storyline, relatable characters, and a God-glorifying storyline, this is one of my top books so far this year.


May 14, 2017

On Mother's Day...

"Never could it be possible for any man to estimate what he owes to a godly mother." -Charles Spurgeon

      I have had the great honor of being surrounded by godly mothers. As I grow older, I realize it is a wonder and a rarity to never question the support you'll receive from your family. I can't imagine how different my life would have been if even one of these women had not been a believer.

I am grateful for my mom, who always taught me to finish what I started, and to give without condition.
I am grateful for my mom-in-law Shannon, for welcoming me into the family so easily, and for serving her family so well.
I am grateful for my grandma Cheryl, for teaching me to give my best to people and to do all things well.
I am grateful to my great-grandma Irene, for showing me how to be hospitable, and the joy of a handwritten letter.
I am grateful to my grandma Marcia, great grandma Pearl, and great-great grandma Haws who gave me an example of a life well lived, of seeking the Lord until the day you see Him face to face, and living your entire life loving God and people.

       I am in disbelief that I have not one, but several mothers in my life, pointing me to Christ, and teaching me about His beauty.

     Happy Mother's Day to every Mom out there, serving God by raising up your children to love Him. What you do has lasting impact, for generations your children will reap the blessing you've sown. The hours and days you've poured out will receive the harvest you're due.

      May you be reminded of the faithfulness of God on this beautiful spring day, and if you have  a mother who has blessed you, don't just buy her a card. Buy her three and make sure that they are funnier than the ones your siblings buy.

Happy Mother's Day!

May 11, 2017

Our Story: A Tale of God's Faithfulness

       Where to begin. Kris and I have been so blessed, looking back at the story God has written for us. I know from the outside, it seems like we dated and were married in a matter of months. Actually, that is what it seems like from the inside too. So, for those of you wondering what the heck just happened, I wanted to share bits of our story here.

Coffee for Days

     "Would you be able to meet for coffee?" It seemed like such a simple text. Kris and I, though friends since the first day of school, had become great friends on the New York ministry trip. I replied that I could meet, we set a date, and I anxiously awaited the day. On that fateful coffee meeting, Kris kindly encouraged me in my pursuit of the Lord, and gently let me know that he was consecrated. Though we had both been asked numerous times on the trip if we were a couple, we continued to deny, deny, deny. After completely reassuring Kris that I had "no feelings for him besides friendship," we parted ways, promising to text often.
     Later that day, my conscience reminded me that honesty was the best. So I texted Kris saying that I  "may" have feelings for him besides just friendship, but knowing that he wasn't ready for a relationship, I was totally not fine just being friends. Kris touched my heart by saying, "Libby, I so enjoy your friendship, but your heart is more important to me. If it is too difficult for you to remain friends without me crushing you, then we don't have to be friends."
     So, I just enjoyed texting him as a friend, until two days later when he called *another* coffee meeting. I was so confused. I thought, "He already says he only wants to be friends, what more could he possibly want?" I would later find out that he didn't know the reason he called the meeting either. During the meeting, he said a swirl of different things: he was moving to Minnesota, he thought we were compatible, he didn't want to curse us with long distance, he wasn't consecrated anymore. I was so confused at the end, I went home and sent him a book-like text.
      I, in honesty, told him it seemed like he was gathering my opinion on long-distance relationships. He responded that though the idea had "crossed his mind" he never thought that long distance relationships worked out. I, in a moment of unbridled confidence spoke of the several long distance relationships that I had seen work out well. We agreed to meet for coffee in a couple days to discuss it. Then after that coffee meeting, we decided we wanted to meet in another couple of days to talk some more. One hour coffee meetings turned into three hours, and three hours turned into six. We met almost every three days for about a month, before I had to go back home to Colorado for the Summer. When I left, I had the hope of a relationship at Summer's end; we had decided to "test out" long distance over the Summer, and make our decision before he moved up to Minnesota.

                                                A Facetime Summer and a Stud Boyfriend

     We agreed to call each other once a week, and text each other at least twice week. (We wanted to start out with achievable goals. ) The first phone call lasted three hours, which was an incredibly long amount of time for two people who disdain telephones. We texted each other every second of the day, and we decided to read a book together so that we could talk twice a week instead of once. The first month was filled with discussion of theology, love languages, boundaries, and every other logistical thought possible.  We grew so much in friendship, talking for 5-8 hours on the phone twice a week. We decided we wanted to "officially" start our relationship as quickly as possible after we started school.
     He came down to visit one time in the Summer, and guys, he was so incredibly sweet, he was so fun to hang around, so gentle to my siblings. Plus he is a studmuffin. At the end of the Summer, he took me on our first official date (We later decided all of our coffee "meetings" were indeed dates, but you know, "intentional friendship") He surprised me by taking me to a murder mystery dinner theater in downtown KC. We both lost the competition because we were cheesily staring into each other's eyes the whole time. I'm dead serious SO MUCH CHEESE. We had to say goodbye later that week, as he started his journey up to Minneapolis to attend Bethlehem Bible College and Seminary. I missed him so bad. We both despised the fact that we had lived less than a mile from each other for 2 years, yet had never realized that we liked each other. Now we were going to be hundreds of miles apart. Two weeks later, after a beautiful video of each of our family members encouraging our relationship, he surprised me at my house in KC. After asking me to officially be his girlfriend, we both went out for a lovely day of coffee and Houlihans chicken. 
A side note: I fully believe that Houlihans' stuffed chicken breast is a vital part of any romantic relationship.
     Every other week it seemed, we were each driving four hours to see each other in Des Moines, Iowa: The midpoint of our locations. Now, we wanted to be together all the time, so we made this drive a lot, and when we weren't driving, we were facetiming for hours a day, to the point neither of us were sleeping (you know, since we still had "homework" and "classes" and "jobs") After a couple months of this, we made a decision that would change all of our plans. We decided to get married before the next semester of school. GASP. Although neither of us wanted to elope, we decided to have a very small wedding, have receptions later, and not have to spend any more time apart. 

The Engagement

Guys, I had suspected it was coming. But not on the day it came.
     I woke up on November 22, 2016, and I knew it was my girls day with Kris's sister Katie. I was excited to spend the day doing girly things, albeit disappointed to not get any time with Kris. We get into Sedalia (a town near Kris's house) and Katie tells me she has something for me, and then hands me an envelope from her purse. On the envelope is written, "Clue 1" SQUEAL.
     Inside was an adorable poem Kris wrote for me, leading me to a salon to get my hair done. Then, I received a clue to get a massage, and get my makeup done. (All of this is prepaid, because Kris saved forever. Oh my gosh guys) Then, after lunch, I got a mani/pedi, and journeyed the 1.5 hours from Sedalia to KC. There, after changing into my favorite dress, I was shocked to see a limo pull up.
     So, me and Katie get in the limo. At this point, I'm completely ecstatic. When the limo pulls up to IHOPU, I knew exactly the classroom to go to. Walking in, I go straight to room 110, the classroom where Kris and I took a class together on the book of Daniel. When I enter, the lights are dimmed, Kris comes and hugs me, and says he has a story to tell me.
     He tells me the sweetest story you've ever heard, and you should ask me about it in person, because it is too special to just type out.
Then, he gets down on one knee, says, "I love you, will you marry me."  I said yes.

    Now, circling around to one year of being best friends, I can't even contain the joy I have. God is SO faithful to us. He really cares. He saw me and Kris, friendzoning each other freshman year. He planned out our coffee "meetings" He knew when we'd get married. He is so kind.
   It's so interesting, looking back on this past year. At the time, everything seemed to go at half speed, yet here we are, married, and the waiting is no longer remembered. My brother-in-law Keegan, in his toast to us said that we've now seen where "the waiting meets the promise." I am so profoundly aware of the promises fulfilled in my marriage to Kris. All the waiting, saving, trusting met the promise of His faithfulness. God is so good.


     Wow. That's all I have to say about the past 3 years. Are you wondering where I've been? I'm not nearly conceited enough to think that my absence been thought about. Nonetheless, I'm back, and thrilled to be here on the old blog once again.
      I bet you are wondering why on earth I stopped blogging. I bet you have just been treading water for month, hoping I will start writing book reviews again. Therefore, I shall give you what you are longing for, a full explanation on my whereabouts this past couple of years.
     First things first, I went to a Bible college. For 2 1/2 incredible years, I studied theology, took voice lesson, furthered my piano playing abilities, and met many incredible people at the International House of Prayer University. Between reading school books, taking tests,
hanging out with friends, and going to classes, I rapidly abandoned all hobbies. Blogging was the first activity to be cut out: when you're writing so many papers, extra-curricular writing is no longer fun.
      You may be wondering, "Gee Libby, why the heck did you do 2 1/2 years? That's a really weird number!" My dear friend, you are correct. No one does just 2 1/2 years. Except me. For I am unique, and something more important came up... I'm MARRIED!

I am celebrating 5 months in June of being married to this fantastic man! Now, I am here in Minnesota for him to attend college and seminary. I am so blessed. God has been so faithful to me, and I can't wait to see what He has planned!