The past six months have been quite the journey. Six months ago I stood on a stage in a campground amphitheater looking surrounded by mountains saying “I do forever” to my now husband. Some possibly bad weather was imminent and the temperature was already colder than expected for the day. It was mere minutes after our wedding ceremony ended that the heavy rain came. It’s funny now six months since that day, here I am thinking on what I have learned and what I can share.
For anyone that knows me well, knows that I think deeply and process even the simplest of things to see what I can gain from that specific event, experience, conversation, movie, or whatever else, no matter how trivial; I want to learn what God is teaching me from everything. I think of my wedding day and how incredible it was truly. Everything mostly went to plan. The rain changed some things that we just had to adapt to and move forward in spite of but it didn’t ruin anything. And the more I think of what these first married months look like, I think of the rain and weather we dealt with for not just our wedding but also our mini honeymoon. We got snowed out of the Grand Canyon- me for the second time! We had a flight excursion planned that was canceled due to the harsh conditions. We couldn’t hike Bryce Canyon because the snow was too deep for plows.
What a beautiful picture of marriage though. You can make plans, you can have dreams. None of that is bad. But life will happen and you have to choose to adapt and move forward or you’ll just be stuck or totally miss out. Granted, we haven’t had some major life altering event happen yet in our marriage, but I can tell you that these six months of marriage have surely not been without great challenge. I can definitely attest to the fact that if you let the difficult moments defeat you, you will be miserable and miss out on so much that God has for you.
A week after we got married, we moved me and my belongings across the country so that we could live together as spouses. We were both sick for almost the first two weeks of marriage. When we arrived to our home to unload the U-haul with my belongings, we found that the heavy rains had ran into the trailer and gotten half of my stuff wet and some damaged. Two weeks after we got married, my husband left for three weeks for a training. Those first three weeks were incredibly hard. I was in a new city, new state, new house. I had no friends, no community, no church, no job. Talk about feeling isolated and alone and missing my new husband. It honestly, in part, didn’t even feel like I was married because we had such a brief time together before he left. My husband came home for ten days then left again for five weeks. He returned and was home for about three weeks, only to leave again for another training for two weeks. When he returned home from that trip, he was home for two weeks only to be told to leave over a week early for another trip and would be gone for seven weeks total. I saw him one day during that trip when we each drove four hours to spend 24 hours together on a Saturday. He’s home but leaves again, today. And I know this isn’t just hard for me. I see his face every time he leaves sad to say goodbye. I see the disappointment of missing time together. I see the longing to just be home.
Military life is hard. Marriage is even harder. We’ve been distance for over half of our marriage so far and I have gained the greatest respect for people who have been a part of military families for much longer than I. But what I have learned from these six months married just brings me back to our a wedding day and honeymoon. We have learned to adapt. The rain didn’t ruin our wedding. The snow and literal blizzard didn’t ruin our honeymoon. Yeah, plans had to change. Yeah some rough things happened. But I have learned greatly that in spite of the difficulty we have faced so far, that the constant in everything is that God is with us and leading us. I have learned much from the quiet nights alone in my house before or after the call I get to have with my husband when he is gone. I have learned much from having to navigate military life a lot by myself. I have learned that my marriage is the most important thing in my life and one of the most difficult at times. The challenges, difficulties, and struggles we have faced have only caused me to pursue Jesus more in our marriage.
I think that’s how it should be. Whatever we face, whether simple or traumatic, seemingly insignificant to someone else or major news, we have to learn to trust Jesus in the process. We have to learn how to trust that God hasn’t forgotten us, that he is leading us, but we also have listen and follow his voice. We can get so caught up by the things we face that we miss his voice in the noise of life. If I didn’t have God in my life, I don’t know how I would be handling the distance of marriage, the training of my new job, the adjustment of being in a totally new place with new people. Jesus needs to be the center of your personal life for him to be the center of your marriage. To be able to face the moments in life that beat you down, discourage you, hurt you, or nearly break you, you need Jesus to hold you, pick you up, and whisper new life in your ear. He will give you strength to face whatever you are going through, whether single or married. He will give you the ability to fight for your marriage, because friend I can tell you that a marriage that honors God is one worth fighting for. I can tell you that living in a way that is allowing God to be your strength instead of trying to be your own strength is a way better option. Whatever you face, know that God has not and will not forget you. He has not left you wayside. Choose to praise, to glorify God, to trust that he will lead you in the best he has for you. Trust that he is your source when you’re empty, your strength in weakness, your light in darkness, your hope in helplessness, your comfort in grief, your peace in chaos.
This song has become a regular in my daily listening. Yes I will…