Right before midnight, my dear friend popped over to our house to ring in my 33rd birthday with me. She brought flowers and a mini cake from my favorite bakery. As soon as the clock hit midnight, she and Wayne grabbed a scented candle I had lit in my room and sang happy birthday to me.
I’ve spent a good amount of time this week remembering the gifts from this past year. It was a tougher year on my heart, as there were a good amount of moments that were unexpected, challenging, and uninvited. Even in those trials, I can honestly say with full confidence that each of those moments led to more moments that left me feeling seen, pursued, and cared for by the Lord. His love is radically generous.
Seen. Radical love isn’t just in the grand gestures, but also in the mundane, everyday moments. Knowing that loving others and receiving love myself doesn’t require a big plan helped me to delight in simple moments with my people. It helped me recognize that even doing something like bedtime routines, thankless and repetitive, are moments where the Lord is still inviting us to love well. And bedtime routines are also an invitation to receive love myself, because I get to do them. That’s a gift. The same God that made the grand gesture of coming down and dying on a cross for us had many moments of smaller gestures behind the scenes, without being noticed. He sees the labor of love in the little things and that in and of itself was sweet to me. There is delight in knowing that and letting it fuel your everyday.
“Normal Day, let me be aware
of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you, love you,
bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by in quest
of some rare and perfect tomorrow.”
Pursued. I am a type 2 on the Enneagram. I’m a Shepherd in the APEST. My love language is quality time. For a little while this year, I was finding myself trying to chase new friendships and feeling rejection in that. This led to feelings of insecurity that blinded my heart to the reality of good that was right was in front of me. Soon after feeling this, our family experienced the trauma of our dog Penny getting attacked and the aftermath of the reporters, hospital visits, and around the clock medications. While that was so hard, we saw our people run to us and show up with taking turns helping with her. When Wayne was gone many weekends for lab, friends were at our door with a hand to hold Ethan and a meal to share. During my pregnancy, many friends and family sent the cutest most thoughtful gifts just because they were thinking of us and our daughter when they saw something at a shop. As my pregnancy was ending, friends gladly sacrificed their weekend to help prepare my home through physical labor. This taught me to pray for my eyes to open a little wider and see how the Lord pursues me. The peace of knowing that pursuit is enough… but in His kindness, He also gifted us with people to pursue and love us.
Cared. The past year required a lot of coordination as both Wayne and my schedules were packed. While I do feel like I try to protect my days of rest, I don’t think that I have considered the practice of stillness as often as I should have. Stillness as in moments where I set aside my agenda and quiet my thoughts to just delight in being present. I love spending time with the Lord by praying, reading Scripture or listening to worship music, but I couldn’t shake the urge that the Lord was inviting me to just pause and be in His presence. Just being caught up in the sacred moment of being so that my soul could feel the refreshment and intimate care of His goodness. If you want a song recommendation, check out “Nothing Else,” by Cody Carnes. It wrecks me every time as I keep re-learning how to be still.
The hard moments from this year really humbled me, showing my need for Him, but also reaffirmed the fact that we are cared for by a God who is kind and radically generous with His love. Every moment this year drew me back to His unrelenting love and pursuit. So grateful for this life.
We are sneaking on Ingrid’s birthday post without her knowledge because we cannot let her birthday pass without sharing how much we love our fearless leader and friend! She is the sweetest gift from God in our lives. We are so thankful for the way she leads us as our Molliner Photography Captain but also how she leads and loves us as her friends. Below are so examples of the things we love about her or have learned through her!
Something her character has taught you this year:
Perseverance. Through labor. Through taking care of a toddler and a newborn, especially when I’ve been gone for the weekend for class. And to do it with joy. Her perseverance has definitely built character like Romans 5:4 says. I very much admire that in her. -Wayne
I have been so encouraged by Ingrid’s faithfulness and desire to seek the Lord in all she does. I have learned so much this past year from her about boundaries and trusting in the Lord. -Kim
To be slow to speak and quick to listen. Ingrid is really good at being present with you. She listens and feels with you. She allows you to process as you speak and then takes time to ask the hard questions, but not before she fully listens to you. This is something I would like to replicate in all of my friendships. -Tori
I have learned a lot trusting the Lord through Ingrid this year. The beginning of her year was filled with challenge after challenge for her and her family. Standing next to her during this difficult season, was a reminder that I am not in control of this life. As I watched her surrender her plans to Lord, it was an invitation for me to do that same with my own plans. Believing that while things may not go according to my plans, that I am called to embrace it believing the Lord is perfect, good and ALWAYS working on our behalf. -Ashley
Favorite memory with her this year:
Of course nothing compares to the birth of a child. But I had so much fun with her and Ethan at Sea World. Yes, it was hot. No, it’s not Disney. But watching Ethan love every minute, and being with her during that, was so much fun for me. Something I’ll never forget. -Wayne
My favorite memory from this year was from a wedding weekend. We were stuck in crazy long traffic due to weather and ended up staying at my parents’ home for the night. The drive we spent hours just sharing stories of our lives… we shared stories about how we met our husbands, our birth stories and the story of we became believers. The Sunday after the wedding we stopped by Starbucks and enjoyed coffee and time in the word. This was when I learned Ingrid and Wayne were expecting another baby, Carney. Gosh, I’ll never forget that weekend! It was filled with laughter and prayers. -Kim
It’s really hard to pick just one so I’ll choose two that stick out from among the rest. The first would be having the privilege to be in the room as she gave birth to sweet baby Selah. I will never forget that experience. It was by far the sweetest and most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed. Next would be the day of my last final over the summer. I had just finished taking it and was headed to Ingrid’s to work the rest of the day. Obviously sleep deprived, all I wanted was to lay down for a little bit and snuggle, in fact, that’s all I could think about while on my way to work. I walked into Ingrid’s to find her lying down and she said “how are you? how was your exam? come snuggle and tell me everything!” I can’t put into words how loved I felt in that moment. We snuggled as she played with my hair (my favorite thing ever) and I told her about my boring exam. My heart was bursting. She’s really good at seeing people and knowing how to love them well. – Tori
HANDS DOWN my favorite memory with Ingrid took place during one of the trips we took this year. In the Spring, we traveled to DC for a long weekend with our friend Christina. We all arrived at the airport to depart and realized that we were 3 hours early for our flight. Ingrid and I decided that instead of waiting, we should spend more time in the city. We grabbed an Uber and spent time seeking the Lord together at the Jefferson Monument. It was such a sweet time. On the same trip home, we had a 2-hour layover in NYC. We snuck out of the airport to enjoy a pizza in Queens. So thankful that to have a friend that shares my love of exploring, eating good food and living every minute of life to the fullest. -Ashley
Something you’re proud of her for:
Watching her give birth to our baby girl. She knows her source of strength comes from the Lord and watching her rely on Him was really beautiful. I will never know how difficult that process is of having a child, but I am so proud and thankful that she has endured it twice now. -Wayne
It has been such a joy to watch Ingrid transition to being a Mama of two. I am so proud of her for all of her preparation leading up to Selah so that she could prioritize her family and recovery. I am proud of her for taking her maternity leave and entrusting Molliner Photography to our team! -Kim
For her patience, endurance, perseverance, grace, love, gentleness, reliance on the lord and partnership with Wayne in raising up their kiddos. -Tori
I am proud of her for fully embracing this new season with her family. She has been incredibly self-less as she has moved into long nights and days with a newborn. I’ve watched her give up the way she would prefer for things to be done, give physically of herself and her time to her family. She has been sole focused on her family and making this transition smooth. -Ashley
A way she has reflected Jesus to you this year:
Her selflessness. Watching her take care of our daughter has been a beautiful example of this. No matter how little sleep or how much crying Selah does, Ingrid happily picks her up and does whatever is necessary for her to be happy. It’s a daily glimpse of Father’s love for us. -Wayne
A way that she has reflected Jesus to me is how she loves others. She is so intentional with her words and actions. Right after Trulie was born she came over to meet her and to just be with me. She was intentional with her questions and spoke lots of encouragement to me. Ingrid does a great job noticing her people and speaking truth and love. Around her, I feel seen and known, which is such a gift from the Lord. -Kim
Throughout both hard and easy days, Ingrid always chooses to believe the best of me, in every aspect of our friendship whether it’s work-related or not. if there was a mistake made, she’s quick to forgive and move on. -Tori
She has reflected Jesus to me in the ways she unconditionally loves in the simple and everyday ways. Yes, she shows extravagant love but she also faithfully loves me in the most mundane ways. Sometimes that looked like loving through covering me in prayer, listening or showing up at 10pm to be with me after a really hard day. This reminds me of Jesus because while he went to extravagant and radically ways to show us love on the cross, he also loves us each day with gifts, graces and his presence. -Ashley
HAPPY BIRTHDAY INGRID! You’re so worthy of being loved, celebrated and honored!
We LOVE YOU SO BAD! – Wayne, Kim, Tori & Ashley