Reclaiming Abundance: My Beloved's (week 9!)

So. You’re probably wondering why it took me two weeks between posts… Oh- you’re not? Well, I’m going to tell you anyway. The short version is that I said “Yes” to basically everything I possibly could from October 10th to now.

 

The long version goes thus:

We’d decided to go over to visit my parents for that delightful covered bridge festival day. That was the 10th. After that, we had two birthday parties that same weekend. The following two weekends occupied themselves with two more trips to Indy, because Ryan and I’d agreed to fill in preaching/leading worship since my parents were on a trip. ((Ryan was preaching, and I led worship. Obviously, I did not preach, so this was likely an unnecessary clarification.)) So, on the 18th we found ourselves at a Starbucks meeting up with my beautiful friend Megan and her positively adorable 4-month old, Aurora, ((Who is so tiny in comparison to Lucy; she could eat that baby.)) and then led the church services the following day. The next weekend (aka the 25th-26th) we went to the wedding of two wonderful friends from our small group and THEN drove over to Indy. Oh, did I say “went” to the wedding? I meant “went to the wedding, in which we were involved a surprising amount.” Ryan agreed to run sound/tech and I helped with the bridal party’s makeup… and Lucy was the flower girl.

 

** PAUSE FOR EFFECT: BRACE YOURSELVES FOR EXTREEM CUTENESS **

 

photo 7 photo 8 photo 10 photo 6 photo 2

 

((Yes, I realize that Lucy’s face in that last one is SO flattering, but it was so cute of Katie and Andrew, I had to include it… Sorry, Lu.))

 

I mean, seriously. I’m so glad they got married so we’d have a reason to dress her up like this… which I know was their whole purpose. To all who attended and experienced this decibel of cuteness: You’re welcome.

 

Anyway. The awesome thing is I developed a positively dreadful cold round about Wednesday- huzza!!! In case you don’t know, having a cold of any kind presents certain obstacles to things like singing. Which is vexing when you’re supposed to lead worship and, you know, sing and stuff. Mercifully, I somehow had something resembling a singing voice, though when I spoke it came out like crackling, scratchy burnt pieces of toast. So, it’s really a miracle that people didn’t flee when I welcomed everyone at the beginning…

 

It reminded me of this:

 

Except unlike Phoebe, my phlegm was, unfortunately, NOT sexy.

 

Suffice it to say, time for blogging evaporated and here we are, nearly two weeks later. *Hangs head in shame* My deepest and most profuse apologies to you who are reading. All three of you.

 

However. In spite of our active October ((I refuse to call it merely “busyness” because I so thoroughly enjoyed ALL of the people and activities we got to be a part of. It was all truly wonderful; we simply find ourselves ready for a day spent in jammies drinking copious amounts of coffee and not moving save to prepare meals or get ready for bed)) I must note- nay, brag!– on my wonderful, thoughtful, gracious, helpful, hunky husband. I could spend the remainder of this post listing all the ways in which he made the last several weeks infused with peace in the midst of- to some degree- chaos. But to be brief ((…let’s pause so we can all laugh at this hilarious joke…)) here are a few:

1. He has intentionally carved out space before leaving for work every morning for us to pick up doing our couples devotional again- and keep doing it, instead of sleeping longer.

2. He made dinner- as in had it ready to eat when I got home after one of my longer days last week. It was brinner. ((That’s breakfast-for-dinner fyi. And no, he didn’t make it because that’s the only thing he knows how to make. I’d actually put it on our menu for that evening. Which makes it even more amazing that he just took initiative to do it.)) And it was awesome. Complete with coffee, which he’d just finished making when I got home with Lucy.

Brinner. How I love thee!
Brinner. How I love thee!

 

3. He did laundry, helped with dishes, and was willing to make the *extra* trip to Indy so we could have our epic covered bridge festival day of fried food goodness… not to mention carrying all our stuff up and down the stairs like, a bazillion times ((third floor apartment, people)) which means a LOT more now with Lucy. Apparently, even one baby has a ton of crap to take everywhere. ((If only someone had invented a type of- I don’t know- huge box in which you and all your possessions or perhaps, other people, could stand and it would magically take you to down to the ground and/or back up to your floor, as the case may be…))

 

As I’ve said, I could go on, but then it might just look as though I’m including all these reasons because I’ve recently discovered that he reads my blog and I’m just trying to get marriage points. ((The fact that he reads it in and of itself should be a big, giant, highlighted, bold-underlined-italics reason on this Husband Brag List, too.))

 

But of course, all this does have something to do with this week’s Abundance verse. Which is actually from two verses:

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine… And his banner over me is love.”

 

Technically, it’s Song of Solomon 6:3 and 2:4b. And in case you didn’t know, that is the NIV for the first part, and the NASB for the second.

 

Originally, I had picked this to doodle as a wedding present for Katie and Andrew. What is surprising is how dense I was when it came to choosing a verse to do for them. I didn’t want to just use any verse about love or marriage, or that part in Ephesians about husbands and wives, or that verse that is so often quoted at weddings about going where you go and staying where you stay etc. ((…which always intrigues me a little, just because technically Ruth said that to her mother-in-law, Naomi, after Naomi tells Ruth that she’s free to go back to her family since her husband- Naomi’s son- had died… so, it’s not said in the context of romantic relationship)) The reason that I say I was dense is because of how huge a part of our love story- Ryan’s and mine- that verse has been.

 

Thank you, Target, for such a lovely picture frame!
Thank you, Target, for such a lovely picture frame!

Ryan was my first boyfriend… and last ((obviously)). We met spring of 2008, which was the latter half of my sophomore year of college. Without telling you the entire story, which would take several posts worth of space, I just want to tell you one part of it. The part where I was freaking out because I’d never had a boyfriend before and was terrified of this new thing that was wholly unexpected in every possible way. ((Since I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d probably be like my mom and not marry someone until I was 32… This at the wizened and sagacious age of 20.)) I’d even laid down the boundary of letter-writing (to theoretically protect myself from any phone-talking expectations) that summer, because we started dating- oh, I mean “talking” ((which was all I was brave enough to call it at that point. You know, in case he was a head case. I never factored in that might be the head case.)) at the end of the school year, after which I would go home to Indiana, eight-ish hours from him.

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I believe it was during that first month that I was home, when I got to have coffee with my beautiful Aimee, and poured out my bubbling torrent of neuroticism. Or, to call it by its proper name, we shall use the scientific term: First Boyfriend Freak Out. And Aimee, whose closeness with the Lord I perpetually seek to emulate, shared something you might call prophetic about Ryan with me. She looked at me- with that enviable perfect peace smiling out of her eyes- and told me that Ryan was waving a banner over me. At the time, neither Aimee nor myself, seemingly knew how to take that exactly. And we moved on from there… I didn’t have an epiphany about the obvious connection of this comment with those verses until the next month, when Ryan visited our family for a week. Just after he left, I opened one of my journals, and saw this verse- Isaiah 11:10- from earlier that year before I’d met Ryan:

” In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.”

 

And it hit me. He’s waving a banner over me. That banner was love. CONNECTIONS, PEOPLE!!! ((I think they call that a kairos moment… Maybe?)) And then my brain exploded… just kidding. But I did write my first love song whenever that was- somewhere around July 4, 2008- about being willing to risk for this relationship. I think it was exceptionally terrifying because Ryan knew within like, 2 weeks of knowing me that he could marry me, and I didn’t know until like, 6 months (9?) into our relationship. ((Depending on whether you count the “talking” months… sheesh.)) Of course, it took another 2 or 3 months after I wrote this song for me to actually play it for Ryan, but really, can you blame me? I mean, you can’t exactly un-play a song for someone once it’s played.

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So, that’s how it started- the journey of forging my path with Ryan’s- two becoming one. And really, that’s what the whole of our marriage- and any marriage, I suppose- is, at it’s core. It’s a daily thing. You put on a gown and a tux and make a vow on one day, but the next day you don’t wear a gown and look your best. Sometimes you look downright ugly. Or your spouse does. The truth is, Ryan has kept on waving a banner of love over me through plenty of ups and a plethora of dreadful downs. I have kept answering him with my love. And it’s only through Christ- who IS love- that we have any idea of what this looks like, or how to keep our promise when one of us is being human in a hideous way. That’s my prayer for anyone’s marriage- certainly it continues to be my prayer for Ryan and myself- that we may keep waving this banner of love over each other, over our homes, our children, our lives.

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