25 June 2011

I think it's safe to say...

...that Abby likes our new home. In fact, we all do.

23 June 2011

Four Years and It is Lovelier (Still)

Four years ago, I slept in my bed at my parents' house for the last time. The 24 hours that followed bound me to my best friend in ways that I cannot even begin to comprehend - even now.

There is an incredible mystery to being one flesh. The idea that a man and a woman can join and image forth Christ in a new way is something so much beyond us that we could easily take our whole lives together in attempting to figure out just how He made this to work.

In the days that preceded my becoming a wife, I took time to reflect on some of the many reasons why I loved Christopher and the excitement I felt at finally becoming his bride. I put together a book for Christopher that was likely more piecemeal than story, but it was an incredible time to prepare my heart.

I picked up the book tonight on my way out of our bedroom when I couldn't sleep (I always have trouble sleeping the night before special things, perhaps because I'm prone to over-thinking and reflection in the wee hours). It was incredible to leaf through just a few of the pages, thinking about where we've been, where God has us, and the many places He has yet to carry us.

I am so incredibly blessed to have a husband who loves me and is willing to sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom, to call me out when I'm out of line and need correction, to stand by me day after day and yet not set me above the God who made him and saved him.

Before we were married, we attended a conference and heard one of our pastors talk about how he and his wife desired their lives to look like two people fighting back-to-back for the sake of the Gospel. Even though they may not have been 'looking' at one another, they were still fighting together.

Something about that idea caught fire in the both of us, and we have tried (and failed and tried again) to keep that idea at the center of our marriage. It has not truly ever been easy.

Our four years of marriage have been marked by a lot of ministry and the strained relationships that come with that commitment. We have had some intense family struggles that we have no desire to relive or revisit. We have learned that forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. God has pulled me through two seasons of depression. Chris has struggled with work, returning to school for his teacher's license and seeking his place in the classroom that God has only granted him in the past year.

But the root is that life is "lovelier still" when Christ is at the center, and marriage is no different. We have not had an easy lot, but we are anchored to something more than a desire for each other. As we said in our vows:
For better or worse, richer or poorer;
In sickness and in health;
In the pursuit of Christ and His glory;
Until death do us part.
Our aim is to pursue Christ and His glory until death parts us. Not because of anything that we bring to the table - by no means! It is only by the grace and the goodness of the God who saves us that we can make it through each day.

But because of His grace and goodness, we fight onward. Together.

It is Lovelier Still
©2005, Alyssa Kate Grinstead

How beautiful to wake in the morning
And see your beloved’s head next to yours
How beautiful to see sleep in the evening –
To find rest near the one you adore.

Yet lovelier still is to walk hand-in-hand,
Bound in Christ through this foreign land –
Knowing love and life in His sacrifice,
It is lovelier still.

How beautiful to provide for the one you love
And know that they will never have need
How beautiful to see past every fault and flaw –
To know there are more important things.

Yet lovelier still is to provide daily bread,
To feed until your souls are fed –
To find living water when your souls are dry,
It is lovelier still.

It is lovelier still with Christ at the center.
It is lovelier still when faithful and true.
It is lovelier still to step out side-by-side –
The world’s grace in the marriage of two.

Yet lovelier still is to not walk alone,
To look forward to your heavenly home –
To love each other as Christ loved His bride,
It is lovelier still.