Friday, June 26, 2015

What's In a Relationship

I'm actually in Illinois right now, slightly sad to be apart from my lovely Colorado but much consoled by the light rain falling outside right now. My mom's parents live here in Illinois and later today are celebrating fifty years of marriage together. How incredibly special is that? Making a marriage work for half a century takes a lot of work and commitment.
My parents celebrated twenty-five years in May, so this is really a pretty special year. Being not much a relationship expert myself, I've actually been watching my parents' relationship pretty closely for the last month or so, just wondering what has made them the dependable, cooperative team capable of raising four children, running a household, working three jobs between the two of them, and spearheading an incredible outreach to the teens in our church and schools. Here's a lot of what I've noticed, not only recently but throughout most of my life.

They never do anything important alone. Simple decisions--"mom, can I go over to a friend's house Friday night?"--can be handled by whichever parent is present. But important things--"mom, my French class is going to Europe next summer, can I go?"--definitely a two-parent problem. Seriously, they are always talking to each other, agreeing on scheduling, chauffeuring, who's doing what where and when and their relationship has certainly benefited from it. Achieving some vague semblance of organisation is hard enough in my own life; I can't imaging trying to do it with allowances for five other people.

They truly know each other. My dad is leaving again soon after this trip ends so he can go to Montana for his grandmother's funeral, and my mom, while she's staying here to work and run the house, is going to be supporting him before he goes, praying for him while he's there, and waiting for him when he comes back. She knows this is going to be hard for him, and she knows him well enough to know what he needs in the middle of it. They got to know each other before they were married but they didn't let it stop there. They've been continuing to learn about each other for the past twenty-five years.

They know when and how to lighten up without lightening their wallets. Our family has never been wealthy but we make ends meet and still manage to have fun thanks to a lot of creativity on my parents part. Rather than fight over money, they discuss how to save and where, but they also know when it's worth it to spend a little. My dad just walked in with a bunch of roses for my mom, which was probably a touch expensive but it was also a sweet and heartfelt gesture that reminded her how much he loves her.

They like to be together. They take time to go on walks together and talk. They treasure the time they have together, because they know how important that time is. And they want to spend that time together, instead of being out doing "fun" things with friends.

I can't say as much about my grandparents' relationship; I see them about two times a year, compared to the two times a day I see my parents. But obviously there must be something incredibly special because the commitment it takes to make fifty years is mind-blowing. Here's to hoping that, someday, I'll be able to say the same (but not for a very long time yet).

What does it take to make a relationship like that work? If you have an idea, leave it in the comments section below. I'd love to hear from you!


Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Days I Struggle the Most

Some days I really just want to scream. I want to scream and scream until I can't hear anything or think anything or feel anything because the day has been so hard. Everyone has their limit; the one thing that makes them fall to pieces. We treat it like a secret because we want people to think that we can deal with anything, but we all know it's there so I might as well be the first to open up:

The one thing
I truly cannot handle
is feeling alone.

I'm sure you can all relate to some extent. No one really wants to be alone all of the time; sooner or later, we're going to need someone's help. I'm not saying I never ever want to be alone, either, because sometimes people are just too much to handle. But being alone and feeling alone are different. I think there's this huge misconception that a person can't be lonely if they're surrounded by friends but I know for a fact that sometimes the loneliest place a person can be is with other people who remind them that they are in a moment but not a part of it. Too often, I feel myself plagued by the lie that having a boyfriend means I won't be lonely anymore but I know that doesn't work either. I have a boyfriend, and he has done all he can to be there for me and connect with me when I need him but he can only do so much and too often I feel like I ask too much of him as it is. I believe God has created us (women) with a space in our hearts that only a man--the right man--can fill. Some of us are so perfectly happy to be single that they don't feel this type of loneliness, but some of us will always struggle, even after we have the right guy in our lives. I fall solidly into the second group.
Loneliness can only really be compared to a void. On nights like tonight, it feels an awful lot like I'm falling headfirst into a bottomless pit and I can't seem to drag myself out. It's something I'll struggle with my entire life. I'm reaching out tonight because I need prayer, and because I need to feel like I'm connected to someone, but mostly because I know that loneliness isn't solely my problem. I may not know you, I may not know your name or your face or your story or what you've been going through, but I want you to know that you're not alone. I never know for sure, but I always hope my words will find a way to reach someone, to help them somehow. Maybe that someone is you. I hope and pray that whoever and wherever you are, the grace of God is upon you, because His love is unfailing and He will hold you through any storm. Even on nights when all I can do is cry, I know He is holding me.
As always, I would love to pray for you. You can contact me via the comments section on this post or the Facebook and email info on my "Contact Me" page on the left side of the screen. May the Lord be with you all, no matter what you're feeling or where you are in life. God bless.


Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Only Thing that Matters Right This Second

The sky is rumbling and a light rain is sprinkling down through the aspen leaves. I got to spend two hours with my best friend/boyfriend this morning, I'm home all by myself listening to the rain on the roof, I have to be at work in an hour but right now I just feel peaceful. One of those moments where time ceases to matter and everything I'm worried about-college, future plans, tuition payments, moving all the way across the country and my phone being Lord only knows where-is less important than what's happening right this second. Right this second, I am completely and perfectly at peace. Right this second, I know that by the grace of God everything I'm afraid of will be worked out. Right this second, I know God is good and there's a future for mankind. Right this second, I can't even say that I feel beautiful because I feel so much that whether people think I'm beautiful or not doesn't matter. Right this second, I love life.
What are you feeling right this second? I would love to hear it. Sometimes we spend so much of our time living for the future that we forget this moment is the one we're living in. So why don't we all just jump out and live it.