In twelve days, Melinda and I will be able to tuck 3 months of marriage under our belt! (I still find the fact that I married such a catch a CRAZY blessing!!!) In all honesty, it feels as if that perfect day is far in the distant horizon. Perhaps because upon our return to the real world, life went full throttle. Melinda returned to work picking up 80+ hours a week with very few days off, our "church world" got turned upside down, my work load picked up due to temporarily being short staffed, and Charley is living out her puppy stage every chance she can get. Melinda is exhausted. I am exhausted. And even though the effort is there for making time for one another ....for friends, for family, for church, for puppies, for serving, for fun, and for you name it, it's all rather challenging to balance. The burden of responsibility has this way of sucking the joy out of everything that is suppose to be joyful. .
It doesn't happen often--not audible anyway. but yesterday, for the entire forty five minute commute home, I poured my heart out to God--out loud. I am sure anyone who pulled up beside me thought I was loosing it---perhaps you are even thinking that now ....and it's ok. I have learned that in order for me to process, I, a. either have to write, or b. I have to verbally talk through it. And I haven't been doing much of either lately. So there was a lot to say, there was a lot to confess, there was a lot to let go, and there was a lot of listening that needed to be done. As I pulled into the driveway getting ready to walk into our home where the puppies were waiting, the cats were waiting, where laundry needed to be folded and put away, where dinner needed to be prepared and cooked, where the dishwasher needed emptying, where the floors needed to be vacuuming and the furniture dusted, where the bed sheets needed to be changed, where the yard needed to be cut, and where my wife would soon be home needing a piece of me too ... I, the first time in a while, felt at peace. It was a peace that calmed the depths of my weary soul.
In small group this past Monday, we talked about how God calmed Isaiah through forgiveness (Isaiah 6:5-7) and how He calmed John by reminding him of how BIG He is. (Revelation 1:17), and in that car ride home yesterday, He did the same for me. He reminded me that He is God and I am not. He reminded me that through Christ I am justified and found righteous. He reminded me that when I come to Him, He is faithful, He shows up and He offers a renewed spirit. And it's in His presence where I am reminded that it has so little to do with me, and so much to do with Him.
Last night in the midst of our running around the house, I peaked out from the kitchen (by the way I made a delicious dinner that involved homemade chicken gravy, YUM) and saw Melinda standing in the living room flipping through the pages of our wedding photo book, smiling. In that moment, all of the crazy days we have shared in the last few months seemed but a faint memory. I was taken back to that forty degree day in February, where we stood under the tiles of the Bethesda Terrace Arcade. In preparation for that moment we knew life wouldn't always be easy. We knew that we wouldn't always get a long. We knew, not only the huge challenges of life would mark this path difficult on days, but also the obstacles of our daily routines, being pulled in fifty directions, and running on fumes would remain a constant struggle. We knew that on our own, we would fail. We knew if we made it about us, our journey together would be short. Our marriage isn't about how frustrated I may get at household chores, or how exhausted Melinda may be from putting in 12 hours of hard labor, but rather, it's about how well we navigate this (and every other) trying season that arises. Remaining true to our vows and glorifying God in the processes.
Perhaps this is as much as individual journey as it is one we share together. Maybe the health of our marriage relies solely on the health of our individual relationships with Christ. Possibly our biggest role for the other is to make sure Christ's relationship above all else is nourished. Most likely we aren't going to get this right all of the time. (Thank goodness for forgiveness.) And there will be days, were we forget that it is not all about us. (Thank goodness for grace.) But just maybe, we will have those days, where we step back, where we remember our promise, where we remember how faithful and big and how good our God is, and in those difficult seasons. not only find joy, but bring Him glory.
"In the presence of God, our family and our friends I choose you, my best friend, to be my life mate.
I promise to cherish you, to pursue you, and to protect you. I promise to cheer for you in all of your passions and dreams.
I promise to pray over you, to serve alongside of you and to find contentment wherever God may lead us.
I promise to you my fullest devotion, through the trials of the present and through the fears of the future.
I vow to you to be faithful, to forgive and to demonstrate unshakeable commitment.
I promise to be by your side forever.
When you are happy I will laugh with you, when you sing I will dance with you, when you are healthy I will run with you.
When you are sick I will take care of you, when you mourn I will comfort you, and when you are angry I will calm you.
When we are rich, I will keep you humble.
And when we are poor, I will remind you of the richest of love.
When we walk through the shadows of this life, I will retell you of God's faithfulness and of His goodness.
As we step into the unknown together, may this covenant of love, above all else, exemplify the love of Christ and His commitment to us, His beloved.
May our marriage forever bring Him the glory and honor that He alone is worthy of.