Marriage, Ministry and Mickey-D's
We're still sweeping up confetti from my husband's birthday on Sunday.
We are amazed at how quickly the years fly by and how many milestones are coming and going around these parts.
One will be driving one graduating and one entering full-fledged adulthood all in 6 month's time.
And yet no one seems to remember who has dish duty for the week.
It HAS occurred to my husband and I that if enough people leave the premises we will have to wash them with our own hands.
Surely the Lord will come before then.
This season of changes has just swept in and changed us.
December and January finds both sides of our marriage celebrating parents that have made it to 50 years of faithfulness.
There's just not sufficient confetti for the likes of that.
It's a real barrier each of us run into turning us both back to each other.
I'll never forget our first big knock-down drag-out fight as married folks.
I was merrily doing all four dirty dishes from our meal when my husband came up to me and asked me to wash each dish, leave them in the strainer and THEN turn the water on to rinse them instead of allowing the water to run the entire dish-washing process.
That was it.
The boxing gloves came out from under the sink.
Weeks of frustration over surrendering rights came out of both of us in full force.
I cannot even fathom how that led to me calling my dear Mother in Law to come rescue me from this monstrosity but that is exactly what transpired.
I just couldn't be in the same house with this guy.
That may have been because we only had two rooms at the time and I would've still been able to hear him breathing...
Make no mistake he wasn't sad to see me go either.
Without a blink my Mother in Law pulled in and I ran out in tears. She had just begun pulling out when she asked me what happened.
In between sobs I eeked out that Joel was so angry... and with that she slammed on the brake and told me she wasn't rescuing me.
I had to face the music - or water - myself.
And how grateful I am that she did.
This story is particularly hilarious because less than a month ago we purchased our first brand new dish washer.
Oh the irony.
No worries, it's eco friendly.
(Is it weird to note that you are cracking yourself up while you are typing your own post??....)
And you better believe that I'm not gonna tell you how that argument worked out.
But it did.
And literally a bazillion more of them did as well.
Yes, a bazillion.
There were times when I surely thought the stress of things was going to split us right through.
Marriage and ministry has not been easy.
Making a marriage one that you love has been the most difficult thing I've ever been a part of.
Harder than kids
Harder than financial upsets
Harder than physical issues
Harder than anything I've ever faced.
Two becoming one just gets a head-start at the wedding. It's a life's work from then and there.
Ministry adds another whole level of stress and then puts you under a giant microscope.
I smiled when a close friend told us on our last anniversary that she remembered us heading into the church supply closet to settle a hurt because we raised our kids and ourselves in front of captive eyes.
That's what a marriage in ministry is.
Moments of correction, connection and help in a supply closet.
And if you asked me what has surprised me the MOST at the 20 year mark, I'd have to admit how different we have become.
Each child, each set-back, each blessing and each trial changes us into new people and thus a new couple.
The kids have lovingly nicknamed our Sunday night excursions our "Radical Sabbatical."
This idea came from my dear husband who saw that Sunday stress combined with six starving humans after service just wore us clean through.
He began taking me out for a cheeseburger and a coke.
And the natives just had to fend for themselves making meals with things like noodles and broccoli from Saturday evening.
Chock that up to Home Ec.
And something wonderful transpired over a cheeseburger.
Well wonderful things always happen over Cheeseburgers don't they?
I looked him in the eye.
I am amazed how little I look my husband in the eyes on Sundays.
He's off to fix something and I'm off to the choir line.
Even singing in the choir NEXT to him I don't look him in the eye as I whisper that there's two new visitors and that he might want to check the temperature of the auditorium on his phone after we sing.
We laugh that seeing each other before Sunday school is always exciting to see who wore what- with him leaving so early in the morning.
I hand off a breakfast drink, he hand's off my lesson I lost once again, and we meet for lunch after a bit.
He always kisses me on the forehead or cheek but we don't really see each other until late that night.
Our Sabbatical has had us laughing and seeing how much the other has given in one day's time and how much they give each and every day to this person across from the cheeseburger.
He eats my pickles and trades me a bun when it ends up with seeds and it just might be the best marriage therapy anyone has ever invented.
It's not about the socks on the floor, the water running or who gets transitive verbs again today with the middle schooler.
It's about seeing them again.
The new person they have become while we weren't looking.
I still despise fresh tomatoes and reading aloud, and he, rice and Hallmark Christmas movies.
And that's us.
He loves me with short hair, anything purple and red nail polish, and I love him with contacts, fun socks and sweater vests.
And we choose cheeseburgers over distance.
We choose to look each other in the eye instead of becoming business partners.
We choose to apologize for the weight of words in the church kitchen because we don't want to wait to know we are alright.
We choose to see what the other is seeing because we love them.
And we give thanks for help with the dishes, the verbs and the laundry because the devil hates it.
Just because God calls us to something doesn't mean it will be easy.
It DOES mean that it sure is worth it.
As long as you take the pickle off.