Two Years…and we begin.

Psalms 38:9 “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you.”

Hummmmm, shhhhhhhhh, chirp-chirp, hummmmm—the sounds of “silence” becomes loud as I step on the booster step and slide into my pile of pillows to spend time with Heavenly Dad. I play worship music and read from His guidebook as I sip my coffee.

“What do you want to teach me today, Father?” as I slip my bare feet under the covers. “Clink” my coffee lid clicks as I open it to sip. “Click” as it snaps shut to keep my brew hot.

Two years ago today I had a very different morning. I was preparing to get married! I really don’t remember much about the morning or about the day. It was a happy-sad day as no one ever wants an, “and they lived happily ever after…again.” You just don’t see that phrase in fairy tales.

But Psalms 38:9 “O Lord, all my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you,” came up on my phone randomly this morning and I was reminded that He is the author of “The Beginning to The End”—not fairy tales.

After Archie went to be with Him, Heavenly Dad and I had A LOT of time alone. He had to teach me who I was, what I liked to do, eat, wear, and everything in between. There came a time when I was ready and missed “serving.” As I shared that with Heavenly Dad He opened doors for me to volunteer at church in the 1-2nd grade class teaching the books of the Bible with hand motions and the introduction of speakers. I also helped with the “maiden voyage” of Divorce Care for Kids.” I had walked in their shoes as a child and made it through❤️ with God’s help and encouragement. I wanted to share that healing with kiddos who were navigating that difficult path.

Finally, I was ready to serve at home. It’s a little hard to do when I lived by myself and two fury kids. It was at that point I started to venture out into the world of online dating with Taylor creating my first “profile.” I truly needed as much for her to be ready for me to take that step as I was.

I did meet several gentlemen (some total and complete creepers) online and a handful in person. Eric is the only one that made it past the “Meet-n-Greet” to a first date. Technically, our meet-n-greet turned into a first date when it lasted 8 hrs.

Eric is a complete opposite of Archie, minus the love of sports so at least he’s off the hook for comparison. Whatever Archie was like, imagine the opposite and you have Eric. I think that helps Taylor a great deal in knowing her dad hasn’t been “replaced.” He’s just her “bonus dad.” That’s in addition to her “car dad,” which is Lee from Price’s Automotive who looks out for her cars. Then there’s her “medical dad,” who is Doc Stephens. He took care of Archie when he died and helped me when I couldn’t stop her nausea after Archie went home (I was terrified I was going to loose both of them the same day). Hard times and Heavenly Dad sent these miraculous men to step up, stand in, and STAY in that gap for her because her dad isn’t coming back. Some people have the option of their dad being in their lives or not–I did, not that I made the right choice. She does not.

To say the last two years have been a fairytale would be an utter lie. We are older and have developed experiences that come with expectations. We have had to do and are continuing to learn how to “die to self” and release each other from the filters from the past. We are learning not to “judge the motives” behind each other’s words and actions. It’s sad as we were choosing not to take words at face value because our past was telling us there was always a hidden agenda.

We were constantly reminding each other, “That was from your past. I’m not that person,” which can be hard to say, hear, and even harder to believe.

Clink, sip, click. “Dad, why bring it up? We’ve come so far from where we’ve started.”

I think that’s why He brought it up. Relationships are hard. Marriage and choosing to stay married is even harder. Choosing to love when the feelings don’t match or are missing is the hardest of all. Truth, however, tells me/us that we made a covenant before our Heavenly Father first. Anything else is lies we tell ourselves for our own selfish benefit (to make it “easy”)–or at least mine.

Maybe Heavenly Dad brought this to mind because of a few random lessons Eric and I are learning. Maybe someone out there needs to hear them as they never saw them in this light as we hadn’t. Here it goes:

-The “silent treatment“ is actually a form of control and manipulation. We make ourselves judge and jury. Instead of extending the forgiveness God has given us, we decide if that person has been “punished“ long enough when we decide to begin speaking again.

-“Space“ can be interpreted in different ways. For one it’s a cool down for the other it’s giving up on. We’ve learned that, “just because we can,“ and “you can’t make me“ is actually the flipside of, “I love you. What can I do to make you feel safe and secure?” Dying to self… Putting the other one’s feelings before our “rights” is love.

– Taking the time to listen. We both have a habit of cutting each other off because we think we know what the other ones is going to say. More often than not we are wrong. If we would take the time to let each other express themselves completely, we would not only understand them and where they’re coming from, but show them that we respect them and value their thoughts and communication.

One HUGE win for us was not trying to convince each other to see things our way. Through some amazing-God-sent-counselors (Thank you Martha, Robert, and Lily) we are learning to pray and let God change the other’s mind or be open for God to change ours! We can be right but react in a way that is demeaning, authoritative, or just plain disrespectful. Then it doesn’t matter how right we are because, ultimately, we’re wrong if we aren’t acting in love.

I asked Eric if there were anymore lessons we are in the process of learning that he thought we should add. His response was, “There’s too many for that one blog.” I guess that means we’ve got a long way to go to get where we are going. It will be fun getting there together, even if it is hard work.

As a bonus: my lovely daughter, from she and Kristian, dropped flowers and candy off for me along with paying for a pineapple topped pizza (because she knows Eric loves it), for my “half” of our anniversary. For Eric some Reeces candy and some something special, as his “half” of our anniversary. Her support of this crazy journey of ups, downs, flips, and turns cannot begin to be measured.

Blessings to you all, but a special thank you to the Eichers.

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