Holy Moments – Day 1 – We Are No Longer Two

Holy Moments. My theme for this month. I have a bunch of ideas. So many things I want to write about. Yet, I began the month by biting off a bit more than I could chew. Back on September 26, I decided on a new theme for my blog, made the big switch to a new host, and lost my old posts and content in cyber space for a few days (not before I had backed it all up on my computer, thank goodness), but still. Being on tenterhooks, frustrated by technology, was not the way I had wanted to begin 31 days of contemplating ‘holy moments’ in my life.

Nevertheless, those moments are here. In the midst of our everyday.
My new blog theme doesn’t look like I want it to…yet. It’s just like my life in that way…It only bears a slight resemblance to the vision I have for it in my head. Yet I know…there is good in it. God is here with me in this hot mess. And there are beautiful things He wants me to see. Like this….
WeddingRingPassport
My husband’s passport and wedding ring sitting on my jewelry box today. Signs of to whom he belongs. Me. His nation.
He’s on a short trip, and the tugging in my heart, which I have felt every single time he’s flown since we were engaged 18 years ago reminds me that my short-lived concerns are nothing compared to what’s irreplaceable.
I kiss him goodbye. One holy moment. And then I wait patiently for the next one. A text.
On the ground. Uneventful. 
Four words that ease my heart. And they are not to be taken for granted. My husband and our union is not to be taken for granted. We are joined together by His design. I know that, and am glad to be reminded of it.
And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” – Mark 10: 8-9

Building a House…For 17 Years

Today, my husband and I celebrate the 17th anniversary of our wedding. As my sister-in-law was taking me to get my hair done on that bright spring morning, she gave me the single best piece of advice: “At a couple points,” she said, “just STOP. Take a look around. Take it all in.” I’m so very, very grateful that she offered me this wisdom, because thanks to her, I have several clear memories of that gorgeous day, when I so easily could have lost them in the shuffle and momentum of the celebration.

Wedding_1998_2 Of the Scriptures that were read, this one stands out for me:

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.”  (Matthew 7:24-25)

I’m not even going to begin to claim that we’ve done everything right in our 17 years of marriage. And anyone who has been married for any length of time will tell you that rain will fall, floods will come, and winds will blow. Your commitment to one another will be tested, perhaps not to the breaking point, but there will certainly be challenges.

My sister-in-law’s wisdom is still the one and only thing I tell brides-to-be, and I think it applies well to the rest of life too. And I’m sure you’ve heard it before, too – because we all know that life goes by so, so darn quickly. You don’t want to let precious moments with your loved ones or friends slip by unnoticed. But I would argue that stopping to take a look around is also critical for the long-term success of a marriage.

Wedding_1998When my husband looked into my eyes and pledged to be with me until “death do us part,” I could see in his green eyes that he meant every word. We both meant what we said, and still do.

It’s easy to stop at the good moments – to appreciate sweetness…The feel of my hand in my husband’s. The way he always kisses me goodbye before leaving the house – for any reason, big or small. The fact that he is exceptionally good at picking out gifts for me, and at whipping up the most delicious meals. At these times, it’s also easy to remember to thank God for this good man.

But then of course, storms do occasionally blow through. What I’ve learned is, they don’t have to tear us down – because in the midst of them, we can keep building the foundation of our house – brick by brick. It’s grace that taught me this – worked on me, really.

As often as possible, we STOP in the moment and take a look around. We look into one another’s eyes. We examine what’s really going on in the here and now – take an unflinching look so that patterns we know didn’t work for us in the past can’t repeat themselves. We speak honestly and openly about the present, and if there’s something that needs work – we work on it. Nothing gets swept under the rug. And the words we use with one another are words of affirmation – they support, encourage, reaffirm our connection and commitment to one another. They build up the foundation of our marriage – the foundation of “us.”

A house isn’t built overnight, but when the foundation is re-fortified, it can stand for a long, long time. May ours be built stronger, again and again. This is my prayer for us, on this 17th anniversary of ours.