Sunday, December 26

In it for the long haul!

My husband and I facilitate a small group for newlyweds, and during that time, we talk about issues in marriage, and how to build solid relationships from a Biblical perspective. Sometimes the couples in our group are skeptical when we tell them there will be difficult times throughout the course of their marriages. I can relate, because I remember feeling the same way during the first months after we were married!

This topic of perseverance not only in marriage, but in life has been on my mind quite a bit lately, so I thought I would bring it out through these pictures. I have been thinking about how we go from the first to the second picture in terms of maturing or growing old together. During my years as a caregiver, I have seen some of the unromantic sides of marriage, and have observed what it really means to love each other for better or worse, and in sickness and in health. During my thirteen years of being married, I have come to see how being together through the routine days of bills, and trying to figure out what's for dinner for the millionth time is a stark contrast to the wedding day when everyone was smiling, and dreaming about the wedded bliss that would follow.

The first picture of my friends Brad and Emily represents a snapshot of what I wish life could be everyday. What is more beautiful than a wedding? On this day, there is usually some stress, but for the most part, it is the start of something beautiful. People don't usually think about the trials that await them on the day they are married.

I took the second picture when my brother and I were in Italy. We were walking behind this couple, and I couldn't help but admire the way they held each other. They were struggling a bit to balance. She walked with a limp, and he gently supported her. I wondered what their story was. How long had they been together? How did they get to the point where they were still walking hand in hand that day? The one word that came to mind was perseverance.

James 1:2-4 says "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

While we have been faced with Brent's unemployment and other discouraging things, I can't help but look back on many other challenging times with the realization that God brought us through them, and taught us things we could not have learned otherwise.

Brent will occasionally tell me that we are in this "for the long haul." There is a kind of security knowing someone wants to persevere with you through life's bumps and detours. As I contemplate that thought, I am humbled knowing that many days don't look all that picture perfect. When we meet with our newlyweds, I am always the one learning. I feel blessed to have them in our lives.

I think that when we are facing the trials that James is referring to, we are not meant to go through them alone. It would be difficult to persevere if we could not depend on the encouragement of those around us.

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Italy trip

I have been going through my pictures, and have enjoyed looking at this album of Italy. I was able to go over last year to attend a conference. This was the first time I have been back in twenty years. The pictures are made up mostly of places we lived as a family. My brother and I were able to go together, and we were graciously hosted by some friends of ours from language school in Perugia. I feel such a sense of nostalgia when I look at these pictures. I miss Italy so much. It was strange to go back as a tourist knowing I would be returning to the US after such a short time. Tonight I made cookies with Nutella in them, and I remembered how much I enjoyed the simple pleasures. Fortunately, you can find it here! Saturday, we are going up to my brother's house to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, only we will be making homemade tortellini instead of turkey. Happy Thanksgiving!