Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Best Friend

Today my husband and I have been married for twelve years and I can honestly say I am married to my best friend. For those of you who know us, you know this isn't just a story of longevity and happily ever after. We aren't the "childhood friends who grew up and got married" kind of best friends. 

No that isn't our story.

Ours is a story of passionate pursuit, perseverance, and persistence. A story of brokeness and of depth of experiences, refusing to give up and finding joy in the midst of it all. It is a journey that grows more deeply and richly and continues on, flowing like a river - sometimes gentle and sunny and sweet and I can lie back in it, feeling the gentleness of it and the warmth on my skin; while other times it has been tumultuous and wild and risky and exuberant and I've had to hang on with everything I've got - not teenaged trashy movie, melodrama for the sake of a good conflict in the storyline of boy meets girl/loses girl/wins girl back; but truly a story of redemption. Coming to the cross and looking up to find the love that heals and makes whole and restores and rebuilds and repairs and renews.

It is this story that has made him my best friend. The realness and the rawness. Beauty from ashes. As the card he left by the coffee pot this morning reads "life isn't perfect, but love doesn't care." I eagerly await the next imperfect twelve years with you Larry Neubauer. I love you, my best friend. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Taste and See

 "The Waiting is the Hardest Part"   collage mixed media by Crystal Neubauer

This weekend I found out three of my works were accepted into White Stone Gallery's annual Summer Show and I couldn't pretend this isn't a major big deal to me if I tried. This gallery represents Makoto Fujimura's work, so I am pretty much slobbering all over myself in stunned amazement. 

There is this side of me that wanted to play it all cool in front of you, like, I'm such a professional that I take this kind of thing in stride; that oddly self-protective side that doesn't want to show my vulnerability by telling you just how excited I actually am. But I can't help it, I am bouncing-on-my-tippy-toes-waiting-for-Santa- while-standing-by-the-shore-watching-my-ship-come-in-excited!

I really wanted to get in to this show but I tried not to get too anxious over it. I kept reassuring myself that God has me on a journey and I can trust him with it whether this opportunity opened up for me or not. But then the day the list was supposed to be posted online came and the gallery decided to reschedule the announcement by two whole days! 

And so my anxiety anticipation grew. 

I tried to let go and, you know, carry on with normal life. But there it was in the back of my mind for those two days tantalizing and keeping me ever so slightly on the edge of my seat. Finally the new time rolled around so I calmly logged on to the website, took a deep breath and squeezed my eyes half shut, peeking through my lashes, only to read that they rescheduled again! 

This time by just a few hours but once again my anxiety anticipation grew. I believe the words that came to mind were "I want this so badly I can taste it!"
hmmm...I want it so badly I can taste it? The thought caused me to stop as a feeling of condemnation started to creep in.

You see nine months ago I was looking for God's direction during an intense time of prayer; work, life, goal setting kind of direction and a very distinct word from the Lord came to me that I was to be a fine art artist and that was the avenue I should continue to pursue. In some Christian circles this kind of personal promise/word from God is called a "Rhema" and I had it to hold on to. I knew that it was mine and God wanted me to trust Him with it.

But after a few rejections from other shows that I had really hoped for this year, I was beginning to feel as if this promise was never going to come to fruition and maybe, just maybe, I needed to remind God about it. So there I sat on Saturday night during church having trouble focusing on just being with Him during worship and I prayed  "God you promised!" and "I want it so badly I can taste it!" with just the slightest bit of foot stomping for emphasis.

As soon as the thought formed I knew that I had gotten off track. The weight of condemnation settled on my shoulders with a heavy sigh. But just as quickly it lifted as I felt God's comfort wrap me like a caring friend.

"Yes, taste my child! Taste and enjoy this desire, but don't let it worry you. I placed this gift inside of you and it is I that is drawing it out. I gave you my word and you can trust me."

"Taste and enjoy. Taste and see that the Lord is good."

Taste and see that the LORD is good! How blessed is the person who trusts in him! ~Psalm 34:8