I have so much to catch up on around here. I don't like to ruffle the chronology of events, but there are some things that are strong on my heart right now. I will post pictures of the wedding as soon as I get them, but until then, I will just say that it was exactly how I pictured "my perfect wedding," thanks to my team of selfless, party savvy, organizationally advanced, friends. Now, onto the honeymoon and beyond.
The surprise location was Maui and I can safely say that it was probably the best consecutive seven days EVER! It was the most perfect place and the most perfect balance of lazing around the pools, walking up and down the beach, amazing food, and a few little adventures thrown in the mix. However, the best part of the honeymoon was having all of the world and its stresses stripped away, until it was just me and Tony and it was amazing. Between having five kids and crazy lives lately, we have never spent any length of time with the two of us. I wasn't sure what it would be like, but I found out that I had married the most perfect man for me. We simply enjoyed being in each other's presence. We laughed a million laughs. We talked and we talked and we talked some more, but never about kids, schedules, jobs, etc. . . Who even knows what we talked about for days and hours on end.
The honeymoon felt like a stake in the ground. I can now say, without a doubt, that at the core of our marriage, there is something beautiful and strong.
The first week home was like an extension of the honeymoon. I forgot how wonderful and amazing it is to be married.
But before you start wishing you still had this passionate love in your marriage, don't worry . . . the honeymoon did not go much beyond a week and a half. By the end of the second week home . . . the hard that I had expected arrived. It's like everything that was stripped away during the honeymoon came creeping back into our lives and suffocated all the bliss that I so recently experienced. It's kinda like we are living in a house with one child who has lost three parents, two kids who have lost their dad, two kids who have endured the bouncing back and forth between two parents for as long as they can remember, one who is finding it harder to move forward than she thought, and one who is experiencing rejection due to the other not moving forward very quickly. Oh wait - we are living in a house with all that mess. When the seven of us are together, the kids seem to do fine, but I feel like Tony and I take on much of all this stress and instead of become a team, we begin to compete. We become critical of each others parenting and we also become very quick to be offended (that is most definitely more me than Tony). I wonder how long it will take to figure this out?????
I must say, that in spite of some tough reality, I have a lot of hope. First, I find it quite easy to find the time and space to pray, right now. When you need Jesus, you make the time and I love that. Second, that time has been so rich. Yesterday I prayed for God to be my teacher through all of this. I have DVD's and podcasts and books all about step families, step parenting, back pain, parenting kids from trauma, etc. . . ., but during the day, I can't find the time to dig into them and at the end of the day, the only thing I really want to do is get a few laughs in during a rerun of Modern Family, while receiving my treasured nightly foot rub.
So, yesterday, the very day I prayed that prayer, I made an unplanned trip to the pool, only so I didn't have a mess to clean up at lunch. My usual crowd was not there, which left me eating my lunch alone, until an acquaintance came up to talk to me. We had gone to the same college, but don't really know each other well. She was one of those people who is not afraid to ask beyond the usual, "How is it going?" and our conversation felt like a touch from the Holy Spirit. I told her how I feel like nothing from here on out will ever be uncomplicated. The simple life is gone, (unless I find myself kidless in Maui again). She reminded me that God is walking with each of our kids individually and they will each have their own story of Jesus in their lives. Pretty basic words, but I need these simple reminders to help me feel like life doesn't have to be so complicated and heavy. Freedom in Christ is so . . . well . . . .freeing. And in addition to those words, she is going to try and put me into contact with a friend of hers who has walked my very road, but is many years past my wobbly state. That would be a real plus in my life!
I know this is getting long, but I have to add one more story of how God is being very direct with me. I randomly started reading through Joshua in the mornings. This morning I laughed out loud about a verse. God had JUST dried up the flooding Jordan River, so the Israelites could cross it. The Israelites had JUST built a memorial to remember to remember how God miraculously led them. God had JUST brought down the walls of Jericho in a really cool way. And then in Chapter 7, Joshua says, "If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!" WHAT?????? How quickly Joshua forgot how mighty God is. How quickly he wanted to be safe and plain, on the other side of the Jordan. How quickly I forget the dripping bliss on our honeymoon. How quickly I dismiss all that God has been a part of in bringing Tony and I through so much in the past year and a half.
Now, I know I will write all this and within 10 seconds of Tony getting home, I'll probably be annoyed by something ridiculous, because that is what I do sometimes. Nonetheless, I am leaning in to Jesus, praying for all our big and little people in this family, asking for a bigger portion of grace all around, and praying that Tony and I figure out how to live above all the stresses and circumstances and difficult emotions.
The part really strikes me is that after all the engagements and parties and weddings and honeymoons are over...you are still coming back to reality, to life. AND you see how Jesus and the freedom He offers is the key to finding your way through the craze-maze.
And I am always stunned at my short-term memory of the ways God is faithful, too! The people of the Old Testament, because they were forgetful, used Ebenezer’s, markers of gigantic moments when they saw the Lord bold and bright. They knew what I should know by now – that forgetting is part of the deal. I think we write on this little piece of blog real estate for that reason. May this beautiful post of yours be a redemptive reminder on some random Tuesday when we've locked our keys in the car or forgotten a permission slip or something ludicrous and monotonous like that.
MOST OF ALL: I just love that you are loving marriage. So happy, happy, happy that you have that again.
Truth be told I more than a little relieved to hear you say that you and Tony had an awesome honeymoon and it solidified your love for each other!! No "buyer's remorse" -- that's good! (Perhaps that's the understatement of the year). I mean, I've always known that you all were in love and it would/will all work out okay in the end, but it's just such sweet music to hear that you both are 100% in love and committed in spite of all the crazy (and very real) stressors.
I'm guessing the memory of that honeymoon will serve as an Ebenezer to you in a way. I hope you look at those pictures of you splashing in the waterfall and watch the videos of the waves lapping and remember God's goodness -- even when chaos swirls around you at home.
I love how raw and real you are as you write. It ministers to us in our mundane and in our chaos too. And, FYI, we have a trampoline, a fenced backyard, and if all else fails, an Xbox, so you can feel free to drop any of those little hooligans off at ANY TIME so you can sneak away to reprise a bit of that romance. :) Just sayin'......