What the Fruit? The Fruits of the Spirit – Part 8

I’ve recently resigned myself to the fact that my life is busy, and blogging is a pastime that I will do when I have time. Sometimes (like for the past several months) that means I’ll be lucky to post once a month. Other times (hopefully) I’ll be able to post as frequently as I’d like to, and that would be at least once every week. For now though, I’m just going to do what I can and not worry about it. So even though this series has taken me an exceptionally long time to get through, I’m pressing on! Today, I’m continuing with the second-to-last post, on the final two fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.


“But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!”

-Galatians 5:22-23 NLT


Gentleness and self-control are very intertwined for me. I have a slight anger problem that usually comes out over very stupid things. My computer not working properly, or my cat meowing incessantly at me as I’m trying to do my homework, or accidentally injuring myself have all been causes of disproportionally angry outbursts. I’ve recently come to understand that my anger, which stems from frustration, is actually a result of me feeling out of control. For some reason, I get ticked off when I feel like things aren’t working according to my plan. As a result of feeling out of control, I lose my self-control. I’ve realized that whenever I feel frustrated and angry at something, all I have to do is tell myself “you don’t have to control that” and I feel better pretty much instantly. It’s weird, but it works for me.

In my experience, gentleness goes out the window when anger takes over, and anger takes over when self-control goes out the window. And interestingly enough, I’ve noticed that for me, self-control goes out the window when I try to control things outside of myself. Perhaps that’s because when I try to control everything and fail, I give up on controlling anything at all. It’s a fascinating little cycle. I’ve found that the solution, at least in my humble experience, is to stop trying to control things outside of myself. And really, the only way I can feel at peace with doing that is by trusting God. So like so many other problems in life, it all comes down to letting go and trusting God.

The virtues of gentleness and self-control are so important when it comes to a Christian’s job of pointing others to Jesus. It’s a sad truth that many of us frequently forget to be gentle when we tell people about God. Perhaps we forget that it’s not our job to convince people to love God or change their minds and hearts; it’s only our job to love them like Jesus. When we try to control other people and realize that we can’t, we begin to feel frustrated and angry, and our gentleness disintegrates. We desperately try to force them into compliance with our beliefs. Yet this passage in the Bible is a small reminder that gentleness should be a natural result of the Holy Spirit working through us, as believers. Forcefulness is not God’s way.

Self-control is also important when it comes to how we live our lives. Christians are supposed to be examples to the world of a life lived with God. My pastor once said that as believers, we should be “better” at whatever we do. Better spouses, better parents, better writers or computer programmers or students or fill-in-the-blank-with-whatever-you-do’ers. We should have better lives, lives that prosper because that’s a big part of what God has to offer for those who believe in him and trust him. Although many of those things are out of our control (which is where trusting and relying on God comes in) there are certainly areas of our lives that are directly affected by our behavior. We are responsible for our own actions.

Think about the way that a child’s behavior reflects on his or her parents. Since even the greatest parents cannot control a child’s free will, this often isn’t fair, but it is still how the world seems to work. Like it or not, people judge a misbehaving child’s parents. The same is true with God. The way that we, as children of God, behave reflects either positively or negatively on our Heavenly Father. Followers of Christ have a great need for self-control, because we are representatives for a perfect and Holy God. Obviously, we cannot be perfect or Holy the way that God can, but having strong self-control can go a long way. Like all of the fruits of the spirit, the good news is that God will do a lot of the work in this area for us. Our main job is to surrender to God’s will in our lives, and let him change our hearts to make us more like him. He gives us supernatural self-control, which allows us to better represent him to the world.

The more time I spend on this Earth, the more I see that trusting God is the key to life. We can trust God to take care of us, to make us into the people we are meant to be, and to be faithful to his promises. In trusting God, we must learn to let go. When we let go of the things that we can’t control, we only have to concern ourselves with the things we can control; our own thoughts and actions. Although controlling our thoughts and actions is not always easy, we can do it with God’s help. This process of letting go and taking responsibility for ourselves brings peace. And when our hearts are filled with peace, then we can be the gentle, quietly strong people that we were designed to be. We find victory when we relinquish our lives to the Lord, training our thoughts on him, basing our decisions on his guidance, and letting Him do the rest.


I wait quietly before God, for my victory comes from him.

Psalm 62:1


The Second Year

On August 21st of this year, Cory and I celebrated our second anniversary as a married couple. Even though this post is late, I wanted to continue with the tradition I started last year of writing an anniversary post to reflect on the past year in our lives. It’s been a crazy one, so please forgive the length! Without further ado, here is what happened in our second year of marriage.

We started off the year having just moved into an apartment in a new city, about an hour and a half away from our hometown where we both grew up, met, and got married. Leaving our family and friends behind to live in an unfamiliar place was a bittersweet change. We were excited to see what God has in mind for us, since we felt fairly certain he was pulling us towards this new place, but we were also sad to be farther away from our loved ones.

Since our move, we have come to love this city. Most exciting of all, we’ve seen at least a few of God’s reasons for moving us here, and they are definitely for our benefit. This town is much more affordable for us than our hometown in Orange County, yet it still has the safety and beauty of a Southern California suburban city. It’s the place where Cory has found his dream job and where we have found an amazing church. There is no doubt about it; this is the place where we are now happy to call home, and where we hope to raise our family.

When we began our second year of marriage, we were living on the generosity of Cory’s parents, who were supporting us while we went to school. Our plans were to earn our bachelor’s degrees, land jobs as a programmer and an elementary school teacher, buy a house, and then after a few years, have our first child. We were trying to be patient with that timeline, even though waiting 5-6 years to have a baby was a disappointing thought to both of us. Since then, things have changed so much that it truly is nothing short of a miracle from God. By the time our second anniversary rolled around, we were settled in a beautiful house, fully supporting ourselves on Cory’s fantastic job, and in the process of trying to conceive a baby. We didn’t get there overnight, though. Our journey this past year has been an exciting ride!

We’ve had a lot of things to celebrate this past year. Both Cory and I had our 21st birthdays, and although neither of us really care for alcohol, the excitement of reaching the legal age for buying it was still there. Turning 21 is one step further into adulthood and autonomy, after all, and we were both happy to reach that milestone. This year we also celebrated our first Christmas living on our own. We bought a tiny three foot tall Christmas tree and decorated our apartment with the few decorations that we had. Although we went to visit family for the actual holiday, I will always have fond memories of our first Christmas in our own place. Yet another exciting milestone this year was our five year anniversary as a couple, in February. It’s hard to believe how much we’ve changed since we first met at 15 and 16 years old!

This year also brought some big, and unfortunately sad changes in my family. My mom’s marriage ended abruptly, leaving her and my little brother Justin (and their dog, Indie) stuck in Missouri with no place to go. Cory and I offered to let them stay with us, so they drove back to California and moved in that month. Because of the ugly way everything went down, I lost relationships my step dad and two younger step sisters. My heart was also broken for my mom and Justin, whose family was torn apart. It took my mom a little while to get back on her feet, and it was quite an interesting arrangement, having a young married couple, a single mom, a pre-teen boy, two large dogs, a cat, and one noisy cockatiel all in one apartment. We made it work as best as we could, but we were relieved when they moved out in February, and I was glad to see them putting their lives back together. This year was a sad time for Cory’s family, too, as they had to say goodbye to Cory’s grandmother, Katherine, when she passed away at 90 years old. Although the end of life is always sad, the family was able to find peace knowing that she’d lived a long and full life.

Finding a church in our new city was a surprisingly challenging task. It took us until January to find the church we now call home, and that was after many weeks of searching. But we did eventually find Passion Life Church, the week after its very first service. Being a “baby” church, it’s still new and small, but we have high hopes for it to grow into something amazing. We’ve already learned and grown so much from the people who we’ve met there. The most important lesson we’ve learned is that faith is powerful, and that God wants to give us an abundant, full life. Our faith and love for God has certainly grown since we became a part of this family.

Things have also changed a lot in our own little family. We started the year off with a household consisting of us, our dog Marley, our cat Booda, and our cockatiel Rocky. In April, we decided to bring another bird into our family and adopted a baby cockatiel, who we named Samson. It was a lot of fun to see him and Rocky getting to know each other, but unfortunately, we soon became aware of a big problem. We had hoped that Rocky, who had developed a highly unpleasant screaming habit, would improve if he had somebody to keep him company. To our great dismay, Samson did not help Rocky’s screaming, and instead only added another voice to the ear-splitting cacophony. Still, we tried to grin and bear it because we cared deeply for our little feather-babies. After a few months however, we realized that the noise was making us miserable and keeping us from really enjoying our pets. We decided to find a new home for them that was more accepting of cockatiels’ natural noisiness. It didn’t take us long to find a cockatiel-loving lady who was looking for some new friends to add to her home. Although we were sad to see them go, Rocky (who we’ve been informed is actually a female, and is now named Roxy) and Samson are clearly happier in their new home, and we could not have found a more devoted owner.

And so, we were back to being a one-dog-one-cat family. It didn’t take long for us to feel that there was a space to fill, though. One day in June we decided to “just look” at some of the dogs available for adoption in our area. The next day, we had a new fur-baby. We adopted a small, fluffy, white dog who we named Sky, and unlike with Samson, there was no looking back. Sky is an incredibly affectionate, sweet, and adorable addition to our family, and even though Marley politely ignores her in a typical grumpy-old-dog fashion, we know he secretly likes having her around.

As our second year of marriage went by, Cory and I began to realize that we wanted a baby sooner than our earlier plans had entailed. And so, back in December, we came up with a plan to hopefully speed things along. Although we were both still taking college classes full-time, and Cory was also running his small business on the side, he took on yet another challenge and began teaching himself computer programming. Our hope was that he could find a job to support us and a baby, so that we wouldn’t have to wait five or more years after all. We didn’t know if it would work, but we hoped and waited.

At the end of May, our hopes were met and exceeded as we began one of the most exciting and turbulent times in our lives so far. Within a two week period, Cory applied to, interviewed for, and was offered a job as a programmer. It was, and still is, his dream job and we are continually amazed at how blessed we’ve been. God is awesome! He didn’t stop there, though. Cory’s job put us into the perfect position, financially, to have a baby. And since our apartment lease was ending soon, we decided to start looking at houses for rent. We felt it would be better for us to rent for the time being, rather than buy, and we figured that a house would provide a better place to have a baby than an apartment. We looked at only a few houses before we found one we loved—with a price we loved—and we eagerly applied. Within 24 hours, we got the news that we’d been approved! Even though our apartment lease wasn’t quite up yet, we worked it out so we could move that week. To top it all off, a few days before we moved, I discovered that I was pregnant. Talk about a crazy month!

After all of those events, we were overwhelmed with joy and excitement. We could see God’s hand so clearly working in our lives. Everything was falling into place, and we were on the precipice of having the lives we’d been dreaming of. Perhaps it was because we took our eyes off God and started to focus too much on our circumstances, or perhaps it was simply because we have an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy our lives and our faith, but for whatever reason, that was when things took a turn for the worse. In August, after about 7 weeks of pregnancy, I had a miscarriage and we lost our baby, who we named Sam. That was a very hard time for both of us.

Fortunately, our second year of marriage didn’t end there. God brought us out of that sad place and into a place of increased faith and hope. Through the loving support of our friends and family, and the incredible guidance of our church family and pastor, we were able to heal and grow from this tragedy. Although we will always miss Sam, we will see her someday, and we know that she is not the only baby we’ll ever conceive. We have hope that we will become pregnant again soon, and that I will have a healthy full-term pregnancy.

As we look to the future, we are excited and eager to see what God has in store. I feel confident that this year will bring the biggest change yet, a baby who we can care for and love with all of the passion and commitment that we’ve been blessed to share so far in our marriage. As for the other areas of our lives, I think things will be much more stable this year than they have been so far. We love where we are in life; the only thing missing now is a baby, and we are so ready for this next chapter in our lives. That in itself is a miracle, considering where we were at the beginning of the year, and all of the glory for that goes to God. He is so good.



Thank you for the last two years, my love. I can’t wait for what’s ahead. <3

I love you forever and ever.