My dear husband went to work this morning to grab some things to work on at home today since I couldn't drive myself to the doctor. He's been hard at work in our bonus room since we've been home and it just does something to my heart that I can't explain. My last marriage diaries post was on the day that Tyler left for Nashville. That seems like yesterday and another lifetime ago all at once. So much happened in those four months, but at the same time it was only four months. It's crazy what the Lord can teach you in a small amount of time. In certain aspects I've felt like we're brand new newlyweds all over again. It makes me so excited to leave school in the afternoons and know I'll get to share a meal with him in a matter of hours. I love our slow nights where we play with the pups and have cereal in bed. And then there are nights like last night when I act ugly and have to apologize and ask for forgiveness. And he extends it quickly and graciously. I'm thankful for that.
Here are a few things the Lord taught me from our very short season of being apart:
1. Marriage isn't a ticket out of investing in others. The Lord really convicted me of this early on. Throughout the first few months of marriage and specifically after we knew he would be traveling to Nashville, I was very selfish with my time. All I wanted to do was be at home and if I wasn't at home I wanted to get there as quickly as I could. I shudder at the opportunities I missed. Don't get me wrong, I think it is important to be home with my husband, serving him in our home, investing in our marriage. Absolutely. But, I also need to be out of my home, serving others, investing in others. Investing in teenage girls, investing in single friends, investing in accountable relationships. And not just investing for an hour so I can say that I did it and then run home to my husband. REALLY investing. My time, my energy, my heart. Now that Ty is back I have a much easier time leaving him to go serve someone or just love on someone somewhere else. I want to continue to find the balance between the two.
2. Marriage isn't about my happiness. Contrary to my own selfish hopes, marriage doesn't exist to make Nicole happy. Marriage exists to make me holy, to strengthen my relationship with Jesus, and to serve bigger and more boldly. Marriage is solely about Jesus and what He can do through us. It was through this experience (and other things going on in my life currently) that I really began to learn that my life isn't all about my happiness. Sometimes we're just called to do the hard things even if we don't want to, simply put. And, if we want to be in God's will, we MUST do them. And not just do them, but do them with a spirit that is glorifying the Lord. A sweet bride that we'll be working with in August encouraged me last week when she talked about how my happiness really isn't God's greatest concern. His glory is His greatest concern. That really came at a pivotal time for me. I can continue to do things that don't necessary make me "happy" because the Lord has called me to them. When my eyes are set on God's glory and not my happiness, it makes it straight JOYFUL when he places things in my life that DO bring me happiness and stir my passions.
3. Sometimes the hardest seasons are the sweetest seasons. I truly felt the Lord's presence more in the past few months than I have in a very very long time. He was so present. I was fearful of so many things before Ty left. Fear has always been one of my biggest struggles and the weeks before Tyler left I had incredible anxiety because of my fears. But, I faced each one. And the Lord supplied His Spirit and peace would wash over me every time. I saw how faithful the Lord is. It humbled me and convicted me on many occasions.
As I think back on those few months, I smile. I smile because, praise Jesus, they're over. I smile because we had so many sweet "firsts" during those months. I smile because the Lord was faithful to use our season for our own good and His ultimate glory. Today, we're 327 days into marriage. 327 days ago I couldn't have DREAMED about this day. This yucky, pink eye filled day where I have to find the darkest place to hide. This day where I hear his footsteps down the stairs to come check on me. This day where his love and care and protection nearly consumes me.
327 days ago, I didn't know how good this felt.