When I act unloving and I feel unlovable and how can he love me and how does He love me and that one about new mercies, I cry in the night and cling to grace and the hope of morning.
Last night was an Anything + Broccoli night. A Hy-Vee fried chicken + broccoli night to be exact. Meal planning, being organized, grocery shopping, folding laundry, generally feeling normal about life has gone out the window and a baseline of stress has set in. The only thing in the refrigerator was broccoli.
But it’s only a season. Just have to get through the end of April. At the end of April, see, I’ll be done with my job at Christ Community Church. Yep. I quit my job. Well, I’m in the process of quitting.
Chad was offered the opportunity to take a new position as Director of Business Development (fancy, huh?) with Gro Master, one that would require him to be on the road visiting dealers and customers 3 or 4 days each week. At first we said no. He travels a bit right now, maybe one or two nights a month, but every week? I know some marriages survive long deployments and separation, but I wouldn’t choose that for my life if I don’t have to.
But then we remembered all the conversations we’ve had, all the If Onlys. If only I could travel with Chad.
It became clear that I could fill a role at Gro Master as Director of Marketing, handling marketing (obvs) and developing training materials and the website and all the things I love to do. And I could travel with Chad. I once (or twice) said I’d never work for Gro Master. I should probably learn not to say “never.”
So, at the end of April I’m done at CCC. I love this job. I love my boss and coworkers. It’s equal parts wonderful and hard working at church. (My pastor is my CEO is my pastor.) But I will miss it.
Over the past several weeks, I’ve been taking time off to go on the road with Chad, visiting dealers and solving all sorts of customer problems in Small Town, USA. On-the-job industry training, basically. I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve been able to check several things off my “never thought I’d do that” bucket list. Like staying at the only operating hotel designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (who is only sometimes confused in my mind with Andrew Lloyd Weber), sitting on the floor of a hog barn and playing with an injured baby pig, and showering in a truck stop. It’s been pretty great, actually. Except I’m working two jobs. See paragraph one.
I’m excited about this new season of our lives, but until the old season ends, Anything + Broccoli will be considered a success.
(and why I’m going back)
The last thing I pinned was a recipe for Quinoa Mac & Cheese. 36 weeks ago. I still haven’t made it. I also pinned a pair of DYI colorblock earrings, some wishful-thinking wall art, and a j.Crew elephant charm necklace. Adorbs.
I like clothes and jewelry and art and organization and curating life. Pinterest had become part of my daily blog-checking routine and I loved it.
But I struggled to know the difference, to feel and live the difference between helpful ideas and recipes, and thinking that an elephant charm necklace could actually make my life better. I was envious of women who had seemingly perfect meals and wardrobes and home decor and abs and folded fitted sheets and WOW, my newlywed life definitely didn’t look like that. I let it get to me, eat at me. I felt like a failure as a woman and new wife. So I quit.
It was, at the time, the best decision that I could have made for my marriage and my sanity. It was tough – I really loved Pinterest. But it was freeing.
36 weeks later, I am in a better place. My home and clothes and body still don’t look like that, and I can never seem to get dinner ready all at the same time, but
I’ve learned I’m learning to be okay with that. I’ve also learned that there’s really not a better way for cataloging internet recipes that I want to try or keep track of. So I’m going to give it another chance. Give myself another chance, really. The New Year seems like a good time for a little grace for us all.
Chad and I decided not to get each other anniversary gifts, but he did hang a little gallery over our bed that I put together, and called it a gift. I was super excited to have arts, and I love how it turned out.
But let me tell you, Chad and I hang pictures very differently. I’m an eye-ball it and pound a few holes until it lands where you want it girl, but as it turns out, Chad’s method, which included a tape measure, level and graph paper, actually creates less holes in the wall. Who knew? He’s so smart.
I just love the vintage Nebraska map and tiny birds on a wire and sunset and colors and we are, indeed, so good together.
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation
Dad told me to breathe as we waited in the lobby of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. I giggled nervously and tried to breathe and clutched my bouquet even tighter.
O my soul, praise him for he is thy health and salvation
All ye who hear, now to his temple draw near
Heads were silhouetted in the windows; I could see them waiting in rows. All these people came to share our day. Wooden pews filled with glory, clouds of witnesses.
Praise him in glad adoration
I walked down the aisle after my girls and my father gave me away, trusting his little girl to the care of a man with tears and love in his eyes.
Praise to the Lord, who over all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth
Tim lead us in our vows and we promised to love and cherish and honor. We said I do and I kissed you, my husband, in front of all those people. And we wear rings, reminding the world and ourselves that you, me, we belong to another.
Hast thou not seen how thy desires ever have been
granted in what he ordaineth?
I live with you and sleep rolled up next to you and we need a king bed. I need to learn to get up earlier and you get sleepy and it’s a good thing that mercies are new every morning because Lord knows we need them.
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness and mercy here daily attend thee.
The days pass and we fill them with laughter and laundry and jobs and our apple products and hopping and snuggles and learning to love and serve each other.
Ponder anew what the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.
Your faith challenges me, your patience is unending and you have nothing but grace for me. You’re my most faithful encourager. You believe there’s nothing I can’t do and when I fail, you love me anyway. You show me Jesus everyday.
Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore him
All that hath life and breath
Come now with praises before him
Let the amen sound from his people again
Gladly for aye we adore him
366 days later, I love you. I cherish you. I honor you. You’re my absolute most favorite. Amen.
We’ve been married for 360 days, so let’s go out to dinner!
Krug Park in Benson has become our bar, but we haven’t ever made it next door to Lot 2, until last night. It’s cozy and cute, with exposed brick and Hello, would you look at that cheese board? Lot 2, you had me at Manchego. And homemade pickles. And bread.
We’re terrible about having our picture taken together, but here we are.
“Am I a good husband?” Chad asked quietly last night as we were getting ready for bed. My mind slowed, wanting to answer just right.
Your patience with me is humbling. My eyes squeeze tightly shut each morning in defiance of getting out of bed and you kiss my cheek and let me sleep. My heart spews unkindness and you move forward to embrace me. Minutes and hours pass as you work on our budget and finances, and you know all the numbers are just grace anyway. Your living example of fasting and prayer, your courage in sharing truth, all the scripture tucked away in your heart, your encouragement and compassion, your life challenges me to love more, to trust God in new ways, to pour out more of myself. You bear my burdens and lighten my heart with strength and laughter and I don’t want to imagine life apart from your side.
Your hard working hands hold mine gentle as we dream and how do we make our house home? Truth is, it doesn’t matter if the floors need to be swept or vacuumed or refinished altogether or if there’s spider webs in the corners or my toothbrush has to lay on the counter. All my heart is at home with you and there’s only one answer.
Yes, you’re a very good husband.
We laid close last night, skin on skin, bodies still but mind wandering.
When I woke this day one year younger, I couldn’t know that by sunset I’d have said yes, pledged my life to you, agreed to take your name. I knew I’d say yes. From day one, I knew I’d say yes. I just didn’t know when the question would come.
It came with the evening wind, dancing in my hair. It came with the setting sun, warming my face, breathing life and joy. You caught me by surprise and I said yes, we said “I do,” and here we are today.
I woke this morning with fresh mercies on my mind, mercies poured out to be poured out. That’s the joy and responsibility of our covenant, that I get to wake up and try again. When my yesterday’s words were sharp or wrong or misunderstood, when attitudes are sour and milk is spilled or dinner burned and tears fall, there’s new mercy for today. We’re given grace for the trying again.
The days and months pass and life and God teach me what it means to be wife, to be woman, friend, daughter, child. To be one of grace.
I took your name but I am still me and you are you. The problems in our marriage are the problems in our hearts and I learn with pain and stubbornness and humility and patient husband what it means to be loved. To accept love not earn it. To be slower to speak, quicker to listen. To hear affirmation and believe it. To listen to the right voices, the true voices. And your arms hold me as I cry and we heal together from our brokenness, our dirt, our sin, and we’re stronger together than alone.
Our young marriage is grace and laughter and truth-telling and life and chaos and silly and never ending laundry and love. So much love.
I’m so glad you asked.
With all my heart,
Chad asked me to marry him a year ago today. On my porch in midtown in the sunshine.
New in 2012, we’re sharing the iBook that Chad wrote for me. You can read the whole thing here. This really should be sponsored by Kleenex, ’cause you can’t not cry.
[side note about the iBook – woven throughout the book are emails that I sent to Chad (at his request) early last spring with proposal ideas I did/didn’t like, accompanied by diptych images. The text of those emails is the first part of each numbered segment. Chad’s part of the book follows each image. It makes more sense the farther you read.]
Anyway, I said yes and my ring is beautiful and there was lots of excitement. Thanks for sharing it with us.