Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celebrating 20 Years On A Remote Desert Island

New Year's Eve in Austin Texas 2012 ~ Four Seasons Hotel
Well, not exactly, but it is an island, off the coast of Maine, accessible only by ferry, and I don't think cars are even allowed.  This is really a blessing to us, although it has taken me a couple of days to warm up to the idea ~ no stores or restaurants either; can't drink the water.   We just returned from a week-long trip to California, and before that it was a week-long trip to youth camp, and before that it was a trip to Florida, and that has all added up to me wanting to, yes, celebrate, but celebrate in a way that required very little effort, like maybe a nice dinner and luxurious hotel within a two hour drive or so. 
Hartford Half-Marathon 
 But Robert was praying {in the shower on Sunday morning, evidently} about how to celebrate our 20 year anniversary in the midst of  this crazy-busy summer, and on limited funds, and then at church on Sunday morning {same morning as the shower prayer} a friend offered their family's place on this small island. {Thank you, Jonah and Michelle!}

Santa Monica, CA & Pacific Coast Highway ~ July 2012 for Stu's Wedding
Admittedly, I was voting for the Boston Harbor dinner cruise and a night in a nearby downtown hotel {have I mentioned my love for Boston?}, but this was clearly the Lord's provision, AND Robert promised to do the menu planning and shopping and packing, because...
I. Could. Not. Bring. Myself. To. Plan. One. More. Trip. Or. Meal. This. Week. 
Santa Monica, CA
Florida Trip, Summer camp, California trip, UCLA Emergency room trip, wedding rehearsals, wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, packing, unpacking, gift shopping, food shopping, cooking, and more have got me walking around like a zombie this week. He spent all day today making lists and running to various stores, getting his own work done somehow as well.  Not only did he plan our menu, and shop for our groceries {must take ALL food and water WITH you}, but he also planned the kids' meals and shopped for their groceries as well.
80's Party for Robert's 40th ~ Oct. 2008
He asked me last week what I would entitle our first 20 years of marriage, and I had a hard time answering.  Plus, my zombie state was already coming on, so I was being kinda cranky.  "Hard Work" I said?  "Uphill Climb, maybe"?  And I wasn't referring to our friendship or relationship in marriage ~ that's been a blessing and a breeze for the most part.
Captain & Tenille for our friend Allyson's 50th Birthday
It's been the work that's been difficult, but whose work isn't?  Youth ministry, University ministry, church-planting, child-birthing, child-rearing, child-educating ~ that's been hard work.  Hard work, but oh so full of blessings and gifts as well.  Sadly, I often lose this perspective.
Bar Harbor, Maine
"Beautiful Battle," he said to counter my all-negative tone, "that's what title I would give to our first 20 years."
Acadia National Park
And he's so right!  A beautiful and growing friendship between us, three beautiful children, loads of beautiful relationships with beautiful people, and the privilege of seeing the Gospel beautifully transform LOTS of lives.  All of that required lots of battling it out, of course, but all with the strength and power provided by Christ ~ and ALWAYS beautifully redemptive.
Hiking in Acadia
Robert is my greatest gift from the Lord.  We always write each other long notes in cards for anniversaries and birthdays, and mine always say that.  When he asked me to marry him, he said he could only promise two things: to be faithful to the Lord and to be faithful to me.  He has kept those promises in such a tangible way, that the other thing I always write to him is that his faithfulness in these two areas causes me to feel incredibly safe and secure ~ free to be myself, free to be honest, free of judgment, free of guilt, free of worry and fear in so many ways ~ and free to grow closer to Christ because of that provided safe atmosphere.
Switzerland for Romy's Wedding
The other thing he did for me this week was go out and purchase a new wheel for my bicycle {the old one got seriously and mysteriously bent out of shape} and coach me through changing my own bike tire and fixing a flat.  He has plenty of other things to do, but he's sacrificing his own time, money, and desires in order to help me get ready for something that I desire to do later this month: and Olympic length triathlon. {I was swimming a mile in our local pond today while he was shopping for our trip, because who can train when jet-setting and wedding attending?}
Our first half-matahon ~ Lowell, MA
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,  so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.   For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.

Ephesians 5: 25-32

I've taught on these verses several times this summer to various groups of women.  They were the verses used in the wedding sermon for my brother's ceremony last week.  Robert used them in our friends', Ben and Cindy, wedding on Saturday.  They are so important, because the "mystery" is that marriage is intended to "showcase" the gospel, to be an earthly picture of the relationship between Christ and the church, to be a tangible representation of the roles of each. Though neither of us is perfect, Robert, in the power of Christ, lives out his role as Christ so humbly and faithfully in our marriage ~ loving me as himself, giving himself up for me, providing an atmosphere of safety and growth in order for me to truly live and be transformed into the woman God wants and has called me to be.  It is my continual prayer that I would be able to return this love and sacrificial service to him as abundantly, and out of as deep a gratitude and affection, as the church responds to Christ for His ultimate sacrifice. 

Here we are 20 years ago. ☺  Like those suspenders?  This was the engagement photo that was put in our local newspapers.  When my grandmother saw it, she exclaimed "Why didn't you brush your hair?"  She was obviously unaware of the beauty and high style of the late 80's early 90's "big bangs" trend.

So even though the harbor dinner cruise was more on my radar than a three hour drive and ferry to a remote island with solar electricity and not a single restaurant in sight, I look forward to late mornings, scenic runs, gorgeous sunsets, sea kayaking, long talks, and lots of quiet moments with the man I hope to celebrate the 20 year mark at least two more times.  With him, the battle of life is beautiful indeed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Grow old along with me.The best is yet to be." Wishing the Happiest of anniversaries to you both.Love you so much. K&J