|These lupines seem to glow from the inside when the light of morning hits them.|
"Behold, I make all things new."--Revelation 21:5
Brandon and I were married 14 years ago in a 100 year old church in Wai'anae, Hawaii. We had met a year before while I was home on summer break, having sworn off dating. Of course I met him my first day back and soon the youth group kids at my dad's church were daring us to go on a date. Just a few weeks after we met, Brandon jokingly, but a little earnestly, would ask me to marry him every couple of days.
He was the first guy I had met with whom I did not feel awkward, or inadequate in any way. He was interesting to talk with and eventually he followed me back to Washington, where he was from, and I was in college. I began to understand clearly that this was a man with whom I would enjoy spending the rest of my life. We dated, then headed back to Hawaii again about 9 months later, expecting our first child and planning our wedding. We were married in May of 1998. That year was a whirlwind, as it seems the past 14 years have been.
Since then, we've added 5 children between us and moved about 7 times. We settled at our current home almost 9 years ago and seem to have developed a routine. Brandon, ever the strong provider and hard worker, has always found a way to bring good food into our home, to keep our house warm, and to provide the resources for us to give our children memorable ways to learn and grow. We have kept the kids busy doing field trips, gardening, 4H, sports, church activities and more. And always, I am reexamining my life, trimming away the non-essentials, and trying to guard my family from my penchant for overcommitment.
|This slug is between the parallel lines of boards on our deck. :)|
Recently, it had become clear that if we weren't careful, Brandon and I might become two parallel lines whose paths simply wouldn't cross. The instinct to provide can easily consume a man, drawing him into his work and away from his family. A mother's desire to nurture her children can easily smother her connection with her husband and it is easy to forget why she had those children in the first place.
These children came about because of a connection: one blessed by God, and grown over the years in deep-rooted and mysterious ways. There is a kind of knowing of another human being that can only come about through the commitment of marriage, and then even more deeply through the growing of a family. It is a day in, day out kind of understanding; an understanding of the way they tap their hands when thinking or shuffle their feet in the morning. It is the comprehension of the true meaning of a tone of voice, or the deep pain behind an angry word. It is the laugh at a shared memory and the sureness of a person always to wake up next to in the morning,
This is the kind of relationship that is the hardest, because over time, it unfolds every crinkled and hidden page in our hearts, every fault and every ugly primal part we possess. We try to hide those parts, becoming defensive when they are prodded at. We can make screens over places in our hearts we're afraid to share or don't want to take the time to reveal.
I was headed down this path. Rather than trying to discuss things, I would make accusations, or I'd try to squash my concerns. My chaotic artist's mind has been spilling over into my home, and I've found it difficult to do simple things like organize my days, and I know this caused undue stress to Brandon.
So we were heading out on our parallel roads, not sure how to help them to connect so they'd become one. We are both stubborn and self sacrificing, so it took an anniversary weekend for us to take the time to really talk. My in laws kept the children for two nights, and we spend 2 days enjoying each other, discussing issues, praying at meals, laughing at silliness and eating too much fast food. Those lines of ours have become one all over again. I'm thankful that it was as simple as that. It gives peace to my heart to have a game plan, to know I have my best friend as a partner in it, and that we and our family are part of a big and beautiful Plan handcrafted by God Himself.
And the verse shared in church a few weeks ago nestled itself in my mind, comforting me, giving me strength. "Behold, I make all things new." Rev. 21:5 We, as fragile human beings, are a split second away from poor choices and terrible consequences, but even there, we're also a split second away from a new beginning and a fresh start. What do you crave to be made new in your life today?