Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Me and my BFF

This picture makes me smile.  It’s not the greatest picture of Jim, and you can hardly see the view that we had from the top of the mountain overlooking the hills and the ocean, but it reminds me of a great day and a beautiful gift from a loving Father.

Jim woke me up earlier than I would have liked on Saturday morning.  He handed me a coffee and instructed me to brush teeth and throw on some clothes—we were off to Coastanoa.  I rolled out of bed and we headed out on the two hour drive to our favorite hiking spot.

This time of year has always been a struggle for me.  The post-holiday let down followed by a month or two of cold, wet days leaves me feeling a little blue and not very motivated to do much.  I appreciated Susan’s talk about depression last week—it was so informative.  I’m not sure if my blues have ever turned into depression, but I do know that they have occasionally stolen my joy and made me lose all perspective.   With Ivey back at college, it seems that this year has been especially hard for me. 

We drove to Half Moon Bay and stopped at the local grocery market for a picnic lunch.  We have this down to a science after five years—fresh bread, smoked salmon, sliced cheese, and some fruit.  We got a warm juice and a wheatgrass shot for energy and drove to the trailhead.  As we parked and began our walk, I could feel the tension and sadness beginning to fall away.  After 2 hours uphill through grassland, and then thick forest, we reached the summit.  The sun was shining, the wind refreshing, the smell intoxicating, and the endorphins from the climb exhilarating.   I felt so free and energized for the first time in months.

However, the most beautiful thing about this day was not the view or the endorphins, but that my best friend knew just what I needed and he dropped everything to make it happen for me.   

He knows my limits and he saw me getting to the edge of them.  He also knows that I can breathe better surrounded by trees, and that sometimes I need a push to get me there.  He is patient and loving as I wake up from my sluggishness and begin to feel alive again.  He knows every part of me and he loves me anyway.  He always waits and hopes for the best me to show up again.  He draws me out and lifts my eyes back to Christ and the marvelous healing light He offers.  He makes me remember how grateful I really am.  He is a beautiful husband, a loving dad to my girls, and my very best friend.

We began our lives together as friends my first year of college.  We gradually grew from best friends to dating, and then marriage followed 4 years later.   I am so thankful that no matter what has happened in our lives, through all the stages we’ve gone through, we have found a way to nurture our friendship.   I’m not saying it’s always been easy and I’m not saying we haven’t had our struggles, but there has always been a clear vision of who we wanted to be for each other, and we have worked hard to make that a constant in our lives.   

I am not sharing this with you to brag or somehow say that our marriage is perfect.  It isn’t.  But it is real and it is strong.  We haven’t figured it all out, but as I pray for you and your marriages, I want to share what we have learned:

We have learned to put our guard down and be totally transparent, trusting each other to handle what we are given gently and with great care. 
We have committed to praying for each other and trusting as God works in our marriage to make us stronger and to help us love each other more.
We try to be slow to criticize and quick to find good. 
We try never to manipulate and we try never to assign motive or intention. We always hope for the best from each other.

These are our goals as we do life together and though we often fall short, we are constantly growing closer and closer to each other along the way.  Whether you are already there, or feeling like you don't know where to start to even become friends again, here are some practical tips that may help foster the friendship:

1.  PRAY PRAY PRAY for your spouse.  Prayer builds love and intimacy.  Never underestimate the power of prayer--especially for the ones that God has placed in your life.
2.  Can you remember a place or an activity that gave you the feeling of freedom and joy?  Even if it seems silly or impractical--go for it.  Share it with your husband and let him see that side of you again!
3.  Find some way everyday to encourage, support, or build up your husband without expecting anything in return.
4.  Hold hands whenever possible.
5.  If you have to talk about something difficult or challenging, talk while you walk and walk side by side. Refer to #4  :)
6.  Share something with your husband that he might not know about you, and ask him questions that let him share himself with you in the same way.  It could be something small like a favorite place, or something big like a dream that is growing in you.  Play top 3 (top 3 favorite desserts, top 3 favorite vacation spots, etc.) You never know—tastes change with time!
7.  Never stop finding the humor in daily life and share it with each other.  There is nothing more fun than laughing.  Well, almost nothing...

"Love is patient and kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, rude or selfish, not easily angered,and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not gloat over other people’s sins
but takes its delight in the truth.  Love always bears up, always trusts, always hopes, always endures."  1 Cor. 13:4-7

"His words are sweetness itself; he is altogether desirable. This is my darling, and this is my friend..."  Song of Solomon 5:16

"Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel."  Prov. 27:9

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17

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