Sunday, February 23, 2014

Committed

Today, Nick and I exchanged these vows:

Stacey, all that I am and all that I have I share with you. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I vow to love you, cherish you, honor and respect you until I leave this planet.  I want you to be my wife.

Nick, I don't have a lot to give, but what I have I give to you.  I vow to honor you, respect you, love and cherish you until the day I leave this planet.  I want you to be my husband.

Today, I ignored my head and followed my heart.  Today, I became a wife.  Today, I took the name of my husband and became Mrs. Stacey D. Herron.

Ceremony and celebration to follow.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Well, he asked me to marry him.  I said, "Yes."
Then he told me he wasn't ready.  I said, "I knew that."
Then he told me he knew we're meant to be.  I said, "How do you know?"
He said, "Because you're still here."

It's crazy how much he and I have been through.  It's unbelievable how much I have grown and changed and made compromises that I never thought I'd make in order to be with him.  Some people think I'm just love struck.  Some think I'm being duped.  Others think I need to 'just do me' for a while.  While others wonder, 'What's the rush?'

Only one person thinks we are making the right decision.  Only one person stands with me and understands the value of marriage in the way that I do.  I'm glad I have one.  So many times God calls us to things and we must stand alone.  I've been so afraid to be called out from the group, to allow God to isolate and/or insulate me from the common crowd that I've missed opportunities to be used greatly.  Well, this may be the greatest calling away from the masses I've ever heard.  I'm walking, eyes wide open, into what may be one of the greatest challenges of my life.  And only one friend stands fully with me.  Those are usually the kind of odds God likes to work with.

My fiance is not the man I or anyone who knows me would have chosen for myself.  He cannot even believe that I chose him.  He thinks that he's not good enough for me and that I deserve better.  The long and short of it is, he is flawed.  Terribly flawed.  He has weaknesses and shortcomings that a woman like me would never have given accepted in a man.  And yet, I have accepted him.  He may never change.  He may never be any more or any better than who and what he is right now.  And I have accepted him.  It's no wonder people are concerned for me.  They don't want me to be hurt.  They don't want me to waste my gifts, my beauty, my talent, my life on a man who is unworthy of me.  They don't want me to miss out on the ideal marriage situation in order to become help meet to someone who is so clearly not the ideal choice.  I get it.

But I also get something that they don't get.  I get that every godly marriage doesn't comprise of a Boaz and a Ruth.  I get that at least  one godly marriage consisted of a prophet and a whore.  One other consisted of a a murderer and a widow.  And yet another consisted of a former prostitute and a forgotten patriarch.  Jesus didn't come to earth to save perfect people.  He came to restore lost and broken people back to God. I get that marriage is hard work and if you choose the wrong person or marry at the wrong time, it can be harder than it needs to be.  But, I also get that easy is overrated.  Marriage isn't about me being happy and having an easy time of things.  Marriage is about demonstrating, in human form, the over arching, all encompassing, ever lasting love of a perfect God toward and imperfect people.  Marriage isn't about perfection, it's about be perfected.

Is there some sort of sick hubris in thinking that God would call me to a great sacrifice of marriage like Hosea?  Sacrifice of marriage.  Hmm.  Bet nobody's ever thought of it like that before.  Is it just an area of brokenness in me that I need so badly to be needed that I will place myself in unnecessary hardship just to fill my own selfish need?  Is it possible that he and all the others are correct and there is someone better out there for me, someone who doesn't have all the issues?  Possibly.  I can't deny that I have thought about it (frequently).  I can't deny that I have asked all these questions of God and myself.  I can't deny that the wisdom of my family and friends hasn't affected me.  But, ultimately, I keep coming back to him.  I keep coming back to LOVE.  Real love.  Sacrificial love.  I keep coming back to PURPOSE.  Real purpose. Throw away the trappings of this world purpose.

This may be the greatest calling of my life and hubris will certainly lead to my destruction.  The only way to fulfill this calling is through humility.  Through understanding who I am and being all of who I am through Christ.  He may never change, but I must believe he will as will I. I cannot remain the same if we are to thrive.  I must change.  I must become more like Christ.  I must rely on His strength and wisdom.  I have asked God to give me the strength to go running in the opposite direction if this isn't right.  That's the only way I'll be able to go back.  Now, I can only move forward.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Something hit me today. I'm afraid to be married.  For someone who has pined for little else in life, it seems completely paradoxical.  How could a woman who believes her greatest purpose in life is to demonstrate the love of God as a wife and mother, be afraid to get married?  Well, sometimes it just is what it is until it isn't.

I had a conversation recently with someone who knows me only professionally and from this conversation I began to think about why I haven't gotten married and why my honey and I have struggled so much in a very different light.  This person asked me, "What's the worst that could happen?"  I had to admit, the worst that would happen would be that it didn't work out and I'd have to move back home with my mom and hear the sighs and see the eye rolls of well meaning friends, "Oh, there goes Stacey again, jumped head first and now she's all wet."  The next worse thing I discovered later.  The next worst thing is the isolation that will come from my family if I marry in an unconventional way, as seems very likely.

I hate isolation.  I mean, like everybody there are times when I like to be to myself, but to be disconnected, to miss conversation, affection and intellectual exchange is like unplugging the phone.  Case in point, when I was in high school, I began playing the violin.  I was as close to a prodigy as you can be when you pick up an instrument for the first time at 15 years old.  My orchestra teacher recognized my gift and decided to put me in the back room during class.  He would give me two or three pieces of music to learn and then leave me in that room to teach the rest of the orchestra.  By the end of the class, I had the music down pat and needed only a bit of correction and encouragement.  This went on for what seemed like much longer than it probably was.  I felt like I was losing my mind.  I begged and begged to leave that room and join the rest of the class.  My teacher warned me that if I joined them I would fall behind.  That was enough to hold me for a while, but then I had enough.  Despite the knowledge that I was far more advanced than the rest of the class and I would drop down several levels, I just had to join the pack.  Thirty seven years later, I'm relearning how to the play the violin.  I still have the talent, but the "gift" well, it's not what it was.

TD Jakes spoke of elevation of a few, Peter, James and John being taken from the 12 to the mount to see Jesus transfigured.  They were already part of an elite group, but they were exclusive.  When they returned to the 9, there is no way that they didn't behave or think differently than the rest.  Today's daily bible reading was Daniel 1 and 2.  When Babylon conquered Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar had all the best young men brought to him to be trained as wise men.  Of this elite group, only Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael were taken to the king.  Daniel was elevated even out of this group, as he alone sat in the king's gate. Greatness requires a certain amount of isolation.  Most people never achieve greatness because they are too afraid to separate from the group.

I told my honey that I'm afraid to move to Nashville for fear it might night work out for me again.  I don't want to do the same thing over again.  But this time would be different, I would be married, but my marriage and probably many other callings will require me to lose some relationships, to forge paths that I can follow no one, but Christ himself.  This is petrifying to me and why I have remained single and emotionally dependent for so long.

Now that Mr. Mandela is gone, I see yet another picture of how being set apart is not just a by product of greatness, but a vital necessity.  Am I ready to be elevated and leave behind the crowd?  Am I courageous enough to overcome the fear of being Me and My Man against the world?  I don't know yet, but I don't have long to figure it out.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

This post will self destruct in 5, 4...

I've taken way bigger risks than posting videos of myself playing the violin...more specifically, playing the violin badly, for instance, flying to Europe alone, moving across country alone, driving hundreds of miles alone to meet, for the first time, a man I hoped to marry.  But, this risk seems just as daunting because of the person for whom I've posted these videos.  

I've always been able to perform - whether acting, singing or playing - better for complete strangers.  For people I know and love, I perform worse because the criticism is worse.  That's why I could blow like a beast as a guest worship leader at a church I had never attended, with the congregation seated only a few feet away, gathered around like children begging for candy.  But at my own church, standing on a stage, with hundreds of familiar eyes watching, I could barely pull off a 30 second solo of one of our most beloved songs.  I was comfortable singing at that lovely Anglican church because I knew I would never see any of those folks again, but folks at my church would have several times during the week to give me the side-eye about Sunday's screw up.

To be fair, I must admit, that has never happened.  Everyone always encouraged and applauded anything I threw out at them (except our worship leader, but that was her job, I guess and my family. I rest my case.). Nevertheless, perception is reality.

Regardless, a risk-taker, I am.  The greater the risk, the greater the reward and I have been rewarded well.  So, I gladly post these crazy videos and hope that any and all who see them will be kind.  If not, at least, putting myself on blast will push me to practice, practice, practice.  No sights set on Carnegie Hall, but I do intend to play better than I ever did before.  Enjoy!



To be viewed from top to bottom.

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Monday, November 4, 2013

Hmmm...

I am strongly considering taking a Thanksgiving vacation to Annapolis, MD.  I was supposed to be spending the holiday with my...Oh, God, I can't bring myself to say it.  The fifth and twenty fourth letters of the alphabet placed side by side make my stomach queasy.  So, I'll say my former beau.  I was supposed to be spending the holiday with my former beau.  In fact, it was discussing the logistics of our holiday that led to our ultimate - and I do mean ultimate - parting.  My eyes are swollen and burning.  My head and heart ache and I simply do not even want to be with my family, around the table, again, with everyone paired up except me.  In fact, I refuse to do it.  So, since I was going to be gone anyway, might as well just go alone.  



Fail up

These words came to mind when sharing with a friend some of the feelings I have about my recent break up.  I immediately did a google image search because I wanted to blog about this idea with a visual.  The visual I got was unexpected.  It was a photo of Tavis Smiley, my black brain crush, (Steven Mansfield is my white/Cherokee brain crush) on the cover of his book entitled "Fail Up".  Amazon search, followed by reading of chapters 1 and 6, followed by listening to Dr. King's Drum Major sermon, followed by decision.

I've decided that I must act the way that I think vs. the way that I see.  I see things in broad panoramic images, but I break ideas and concepts down to the bottom line very quickly.  When I teach and advise, I'm always telling my student or confidant to take apart ideas in chunks and build from the most basic all the way up, in essence, deconstruct-construct.  I thought I blogged about that concept once before, but am unable to find it.

Nevertheless, knowing that I tend to get bogged down, I must begin to take my own advice and take things a little at a time.  Primarily, I am allowing myself to focus on only two dreams at a time, plan only two days at a time and accomplish a minimum of two tasks laid out for myself on any given day.  For now, 2 is my magic number.  When I master this practice I can and certainly hope to be able to plan months in advance and juggle many things at once, all while moving forward, wiser and better than I was before.

I have learned that failure is absolutely necessary for success.  And I have even begun to believe that no matter how dedicated or driven one is, no matter how much time one has on this earth, we all will leave this earth as failures, having left something undone, undeveloped, incomplete.  Fatalistic?  Kind of, but not quite, because I believe that the predetermined end is ALWAYS good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.  That in and of itself is the core of failing up, I think. You must fail better than the last time, the goal being to maximize the journey, not simply to reach the destination.  For whatever point you reach, if it is higher than the point where you fell, you have succeeded.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Done and DONE

Opposites may attract, but it's hella hard for them to stick.