…the chairs, the dishes, the food, the centerpieces—in the light of eternity these little decisions simply do not matter. What does matter is having seats for your guests and feeding them as you celebrate together. The decisions are not the end in and of themselves. Rather, they are the means to an end. And even accomplishing the means can be an act of worship as you faithfully complete the tasks God has given you to do.
Wedding Planning that Leads to Worship, Catherine Parks
This weekend, we went away. I turned off my phone for 48 hours; we slept in, hiked, cooked over a campfire, shivered and snuggled in the freezing cold (underneath layers of blankets and sandwiched between sleeping bags); parts of it we were silent, and other parts were filled with conversation; every bit of it was perfection.
“We should make this an annual tradition,” he said, and I agreed, thinking that in future these times with just the two of us would grow more rare, and sweeter because of it.
It is wonderful being married to someone I never tire of being around. There are times when we both need a break from each other, yes, but we can take that time to be alone or with others, and then return to the other with joy. But this weekend was a set apart time to do nothing except be together.
We talked a lot about kids and what we want to do before having them (him: hike the whole Appalachian Trail; me: go on some extravagant trip we can only do while it’s just the two of us). It’s amazing to discover how different we are on some things, even though in other ways we have so many similarities. But it’s amazing. I love finding out other ways we are separate individuals and then realizing that Jesus brought us together on purpose!
Also, I love that even though we’re different, we love trying new things together, playing to the other’s strengths. This weekend, I discovered that I am no expert in preparing meals for a campfire (I always assumed it was easy because of the ease with which my mom did it). But despite my lack of expertise, we loved cooking new recipes, enjoyed our meals, and encouraged each other. We worked together for every part of the weekend: putting the tent up, finding firewood, cutting the firewood, meal prep, re-blowing up the air mattress, praying together.
We talked about Jesus and what we’ve been learning through the Exodus study. It’s been such a blessing to do our lessons together – I told Mike I was really impressed with how he initiated us doing our lessons together, which I see as him being a servant-leader and helping me graciously respond. He said that the biggest thing he’s learned is to be excited about opening the Bible every day and studying it. Even though he knows the Bible really well he’s never really done that before. “Sometimes,” he said, “I do it more because I want to keep on schedule and because I feel like I have to. But other times I’m genuinely excited to read the passage and study more.” I told him what I had learned: about re-reading Exodus 3:8 and how it can be pared down to God saying “I have come down to [rescue] them and bring them up into a new and large land…” –which is a beautiful paraphrase of what Jesus did on the Cross and what He’s done in my life.
He’s brought me out of my old
land life and into a new one, and He will do the same thing one day when He returns for His bride. What a picture. Thank You Lord!
All this to say: it was an ordinary weekend but tinged with so many sweet memories. I want to remember it for a good while. And that’s why I’m writing all this down.
I confessed to Mike today that I don’t pray for him anymore. and so I’m going to try to make that more of a habit. A joyful habit. I am realizing recently that my heart – and subsequently my mouth – has a high proclivity to complain rather than be thankful. and I think Jesus is letting me realize how much comparing Mike to others is really hurtful instead of helpful. so I’d like to pray more for a thankful heart – and a thankful mouth – and to stop comparing, both inwardly and outwardly. It’s not encouraging to Mike.
I remember when Joel was doing premarital counseling with us, he was talking about recognizing that we were God’s gift to each other. Mike is God’s gift to me. and what a good gift he is! My comparisons lose focus on that and rather focus on “upgrading” him, which is just selfish on my end.
So, Lord, help me. Correcting my heart is something You are much better at than I. And meanwhile, I can renew my mind to be more thankful. take the weeds out of my brain.