Monthly Archives: August 2015

on marriage…

Having been married for only two years, we’re not exactly the experts, but having been married for two years, we understand what the first two years of being married can look like…those who have been married for decades may have forgotten the very [presumably] unique joys and challenges of the early days.


Clare&Lloyd_Ceremony_LR_122

I’ve had moments in the last two years where I’ve thought to myself “what have I done?!!” and asking if everyone finds it this hard, because all I see is the instagrammed bliss of newlyweds. Bliss? Where is our bliss? Did we skip that bit?  The thing is, we have had our share of bliss moments, we’ve had moments of going deeper in our friendship, in understanding our hearts better, of growing towards Jesus together, of full love tanks, of celebration but in all of these pieces, they have been fought for. Growing pains.

To go deeper in our friendship, we’ve had to have the I-don’t-like-it-when-you-do-that or I-don’t-understand-why-you-would-say-that conversation; to understand our hearts better, we’ve caused each other more pain and learned to heal from that place. Because I’ve given my entire heart to Lloyd, he holds it and has the potential to hurt me more than anyone else…the same is true the other way round. In growing towards Jesus together we’ve had to learn that we’re different, that our faith is different and that I’m not always right. Haha. In having full love tanks, we’ve had to experience what it is to have empty tanks from not loving each other well and in enjoying celebration, we have also learnt to mourn together and realise that celebration is important even amidst pain, empty bank balances and challenging life circumstances. We have NOT got any of this right first time!

I’m not saying we only grow through negative circumstances, but I think often we look at the finish line, the happy ending forgetting the uphill to get there.

I would not change the last two years.

I would not change the arguments, the tears and the big whoopsies.

I would choose to be kinder with my words.

I would choose to laugh it off more than fight it out.

But I wouldn’t change what we’re growing, because it’s beautiful, right?

Although on the surface Lloyd and I may look like this polished, got-it-all-together couple (really just on the surface, most of our people know the truth!), we have found two years of marriage really hard. Both of us were close to 30 when we got married and so had lived very independent lives up until that point: suddenly we’re accountable, we’re in each other’s’ faces, and we’re making decisions together. This is both the hardest thing and my favourite thing. I really believe in family, I believe family is what God gave us to figure out what it means to be alive, and have life in its fullness, I love that I’m not alone** and that I cannot do things by myself, because difficult as it can be to navigate this, I have someone to have my back, to fight for me and with me and that has been my greatest joy in the last few years. I am blessed with a warrior – life has been challenging on many levels, and Lloyd has been my backbone when I’ve felt like crumbling, he’s listened to my rants and helped me move past it through holding me when I cry, or helping me laugh when I’ve forgotten…THAT is my joy, not the shiny pictures on facebook, because, frankly, neither of us do very well when we’re trying to get the perfect selfie!

**[I’m not going to get into this now, as this is a blog about marriage, but I believe in a family across blood lines, into community and friendships that look like family…marriage is NOT the only way we can create family]

What I’ve learnt in my marriage is that it’s ok to ask the hard questions, it’s ok to ask “what have I done?” or “is this the right thing, can we really do this?” and I’ve found the same thing to be true in my walk with Jesus. I’ve had my moments of admitting that I feel crazy, “what am I giving my life to?” but in those moments of my darkest doubts, I’ve heard the voice of God (sometimes through other people, sometimes the Bible, sometimes circumstances…) say that it’s ok and then he steps in and blows my mind with his kindness, with his love, with his grace. I’m at a point in my faith where I have seen too much to doubt if this is real but I still have my questions, my fears and my insecurities to work through – Can’t we speed this thing up God? Can I get this patience thing down yet?

And I’m reminded my faith, and my marriage, is a journey, that if we’re so busy rushing to the finish line, we miss the joy of journeying uphill together, of pushing through, of looking at our rubbish in its face and with my family, yelling a resounding NO in the face of lies. When we get to the end of those small hills, and see the sunset, or get new perspective, we can look back together and say we did this, we made it.

IMG-20150813-WA0005My faith is richer because of the battle.

My marriage is stronger because of the battle.

So I honour my husband for walking with me, for the fun he brings and the real wisdom he carries in our marriage. My prayer is that day by day, we learn to walk better, that our relationship muscles only grow stronger and that we continue to choose each other when things are hard.

Let’s do this!


knitting

I can’t knit, much as my nanny tried, it never quite caught on. But God has been using this metaphor of knitting, of being knit or created, to help me understand my heart and where I find myself currently.knit

The image is of me as a jumper and the intention was always that the jumper would be perfect, but along the way a few stitches have been dropped and knots have gotten into the pattern; it doesn’t make the jumper unwearable, or even noticeably broken, but the one who knit it knows, they know how it was supposed to look.

And so, a few months back, where I found myself was in a place where it felt like the knitter had decided it was time to fix some of the gaps, but in order to reach the holes that had formed, the entire jumper needs to be unraveled. I went through a season where it felt like my entire identity unraveled before me – I was confronted with lies I was believing about myself, lies about God and I had a few moments of panic… is this it, God? Am I losing it? And then, he spoke to me and said,

‘I knit you together in your mother’s womb, with all of my best bits, from me, from Jesus and from Holy Spirit. You are pieced together with love, each stitch brought us joy as you are the expression of us. You are our love song on earth’

And, breathe.

Suddenly I felt safe in this unraveling as I was able to look to the creator and trust – trust that I was being unraveled so I could be re-made, trust that this was happening now because I was ready, I could face some of this ugliness in a way I couldn’t have before and trust that if I could find peace in this process, I might just come out stronger. He said,

‘I have put my safety net around you so you don’t have to create and live in your false net built of insecurities, disappointment and fear of failure. You are a risk-taker, you don’t have to be afraid, jump.’

Let me be totally honest, this hasn’t been a quick process, I’m pretty sure I’m only half way there in it and a lot of it has NOT been fun. I shared with my church family some of the more ugly moments that have brought some of the biggest victories, and I’ve had friends celebrate the little milestones when they happen…but it’s hard. It’s forced me to ask some really difficult questions about my life, my work, my relationships but I am thankful for God’s kindness. I am thankful that God holds the mirror up to me and gently reminds me that that wasn’t how he made me, I am thankful (through gritted teeth at times) to learn what humility looks and feels like and I am thankful to be reminded that we are unfinished pieces of art, of great worth, but in progress…and our life of faith means figuring that together.

recent snapshot from our Tree of Life family baptism day – doing this thing together


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