Trying of our faith

“Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.” James 1:3

If there was one takeaway from the days leading up to and including our first week in our new life together, it is that we need faith and patience. Further, that by trying and proving our faith, we gain some patience, too.

Saying “I do” is only the first of many steps that we knew we’d have to take in the course of our marriage. Other steps include developing a closer companionship, building habits of things we should do together, (like devotions, conversations about our relationship, and book reading) and of course, figuring out how to simply live together. So many folks struggle with being good forgivers and recognizing that they live with another imperfect being – we figure we’ve got a leg up on being good forgivers by simply asking for it and giving it often.

Our wedding was our first source of fun and some frustration – naturally, we had friends come out of the woodwork offering to help us, and we’re grateful for all the help we received! However, the more and more “stuff” you put into a wedding, the more possibilities you invite for things to go wrong. So, we constantly had to keep reminding ourselves of the purpose for the day, and who is was for. Then, we had to decide what amount of stress was OK, and how we would deal with it. We struck this balance fairly early in the planning stages, and it made things so much smoother on wedding day for everyone.

By planning ahead and doing what we said we’d do (both in the plans and for managing stress) we ended up not spending a ton of money, had a great time, and made a wonderful memory.

The next few days after our wedding are known as “the honeymoon” – complete with celebration, holding hands, kissing, and stuff. Now, skip past the TMI, PDA, and constant giggling at each other, and you have a few really awesome memories in Tulsa and in Branson.

In Tulsa and Broken Arrow:

We stayed close to home the first couple of nights and got used to the idea of spending every breathing moment together. We powered through a few communication issues and started setting the tone for how we would handle conflict. How fun to get to work through these things! I hear a lot from folks who are struggling with one thing or another, and it hits me that this is a privilege! We’re being given the opportunity to practice showing God’s love, by being patient with each other and calmly working out differences and misunderstandings.

Come to find out, when you mix a computer nerd who loves to plan things out, with a somewhat spontaneous ball of fun who likes to come up with new names for everyday things, you can have misunderstandings! The great opportunity comes in how we respond to those!

In Branson:

So many ways to spend money, and so little time! We spent some time each day “window-shopping” the area and figuring out what we wanted to do the next day. Luckily, some of the trip was pretty well set in stone, based on the deals we had scouted out during the planning phase. But, for the ad-lib times, we did a swell job of not being too worried about how it all turned out.

We took our first helicopter ride, played a round of minigolf with pirates, hiked through the woods, met with friends for dinner and dessert, saw a concert, and had our first “couple’s massage.”

Now, lest you be confused and think this all went off without a hitch, I’ve got news for you — it took a few small miracles from the heavens to keep us on course. Let’s talk about how Branson works.

In Branson, everything has a catch. There’s a sales pitch, a gimmick, or some tradeoff to everything, even your chicken dinner. So you’ve got to figure out what that is before you get in too deep.  We realized early on that the line between “what we paid for” and “what we’re being ‘sold now” was getting very blurry. We narrowly avoided a pit of snake oil salesmen in the form of “timeshare opportunities” by taking time throughout the first few hours in Branson to be “constant in prayer” and ask for wisdom and guidance. We also just wrapped up “Financial Peace University” with Dave Ramsey, and he instilled some great tactics for not only managing money, but avoiding the vipers that reside in some salesmen. (Not all, but some – sorry not sorry)

I’m not a fan of what is commonly marketed as “haunted house tours” or “paranormal activity” — but I do believe in a God who teaches that there is spiritual warfare going on daily. There is a battle for our hearts and minds, folks, and Carol and I couldn’t get over an ‘uneasy feeling’ in the first hotel room we stayed in. It could have been the sales bit weighing on our minds, or the odd room layout, or lack of feeling “at home” due to the amenities. Whatever it was, it wierded us out and between that and a rock hard mattress (slight exaggeration), the hotel was very happy to relocate us to a more comfortable room.

We had a phenomenal rest of the week enjoying married life, spending our days and nights together, and generally, just being present with ourselves.

I got us started in a devotional series, establishing a precedent for spiritual development. It’s not the final goal, but it’s a step to keep us growing together by growing with God.

In the last month, it’s been easy to get bogged down in all the many things that we used to do separately, now being done as a team — so we’re having to stop doing some things, in order to give appropriate attention to other things. We’ll share some lessons learned in future posts about these types of compromises opportunities for growing together.

Through it all, we know God is in control – He shows us daily!

Love God, Love others, Love yourself,