Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Difference a Year Makes... A New Season

Last March, Andrew and I began a different kind of season in our marriage. I almost used the word difficult, but in retrospect, although it was difficult at times, that’s not what stands out the most. It was one of those seasons that changes us for the better even if we can’t see it at the time. It was a season of growth.
Early last year Andrew was asked to manage a job for his company which would require him to be gone out of town for the majority of the time. He would get to come home on most weekends, for which I was so grateful, and we knew it would last up to a year. { I want to stop here with a quick disclaimer: I realize that there are couples and families who are separated for longer than this and don’t have opportunities to even spend weekends together. I know that our situation could have been much harder. This post is simply about our specific situation and what we learned from it.}

I went through a period of denial at first as I didn’t want to think about spending most of our second year of marriage apart. But then there was the fact that a camper was parked in our driveway and the next thing I knew we were putting sheets on the bed and adding picture frames here and there to try and make it as home-y for him as we could. It was no longer possible to ignore the fact that he was really going.

I processed it the best way I knew how but that first Monday morning getting ready for work after he left around 3 a.m. was hard. I was just going through the motions and wishing the day away. I wish I could say that I handled it really well, but in reality I had myself a big ‘ol pity party. I tried to keep the perspective that it could be much worse, but honestly it just stunk. It was just one of things that at the time I didn’t understand how anything good could come from it and I didn’t think it was fair that we were having to put our marriage on hold for his job. You can say I was just a little spoiled and self-centered. But then, the weekends starting coming around quicker than I realized and we spent incredible quality time together and didn’t waste a precious second. And the weeks turned in to months and we got into a routine that worked for us.  

Although I still missed him terribly, I learned how to make the most of my time. I got involved in a girl’s bible study group, joined a mentorship program at our church, ramped up my quiet devotional time – which were all opportunities for spiritual growth that I could have done, but probably wouldn’t have had as much time for if Andrew had been home in the evenings. I also hadn’t expected how much we would grow together during this time. Yes, I knew that we would survive it – but growth? I had only thought of what would have to sacrifice, not what we would gain. But God has an awesome way of using the tougher parts of our lives to shape and mold us. We grew as a couple because we depended on each other and knew no one else understood what we were going through. We prayed together on Sunday nights and we trusted God to protect us. We prayed for physical safety as well as the health of our marriage. We prayed for God to use us where he had placed us and trusted that it was for a reason.

Well, it’s been a little over a year since that first early morning good-bye. We are settling into a new routine with Andrew able to be home most of the time now. We look back and can’t believe how much we have grown this past year. A lot has changed but a lot has stayed the same too. We are so thankful for an ordinary night together – of coming home and just cooking dinner or sitting on the back porch and getting to have face-to-face conversations about our day. We are now getting to see how God was working all along. How he was shaping both of us individually and teaching us to depend on him in preparation for what would come. It is amazing how God works. He can use everything for his good. We have been praying about how God would use us – use our marriage for his kingdom.  And just as always, God’s timing is perfect. We have just been offered an awesome ministry opportunity that I will write more about later. I can’t wait to share how God orchestrated it in his perfect plan. 

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

This time last year I could not have imagined where we would be right now. I am so thankful that God was able to take my self-pity and turn it into something good. To take my loneliness and turn it into spiritual growth. To take my fears and give me peace in its place. It is a continual process and I still struggle with these, but God uses the past to remind me of what He can do. I’m so thankful that he doesn’t give up on me. I am excited to see where God takes us and how he uses us in this next season! 


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