a love for all seasons

"To every thing there is a season, and time to every purpose under heaven..."  [Ecclesiastes 3:1] I had this silly requirement before we got engaged: I needed to know you in all seasons.

I wanted to know the things that made your heartbeat, the things that made you tickled or anxious or worried. And I figured dating you through winter, spring, summer, and fall would be the best way to find out.

Because this restless, doubtful heart needed answers.

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We were married in the fall - September actually. And while I never really dreamt of my wedding day as a little girl, I always dreamt of fall. It seemed good things always happened.

It seemed things were possible and you had a chance to start over. A time for new beginnings, fresh starts, crisp apples and warm beverages with cinnamon.

And those leaves - my goodness the leaves. If they are exposing their brightest, boldest colors - surely I can too, right? 

So no, I never really dreamt of how that day would be but I suppose a little part of me always hoped, if it were too happen - I hoped it'd be during the fall.

And it seems fitting because the fall was when you first told me you loved me.

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We were sitting on your parents boat, out in the lake, cuddled all close. I was wearing your blue hoodie. I love the smell of that hoodie.

And the crease in your neck. I love that smell too.

I was so nervous. Could you tell?

Because I could feel your heart beating on my back as I pressed into you. And I wondered if you'd tell me the things you felt. Because deep down, I think I already knew.

I already knew you loved me.

So when I asked, "What did you say?" before you said any words - I think you knew too.

You knew that I knew.

winter

This winter was brutal. We were hit with snow over and over again. And while the darkness gets to me after a while and I crave to sweat and not shiver - there is something incredibly romantic about the snow.

There is something romantic about slowing down and drawing in. After all those new beginnings and fresh starts it's as if your body can just be still and breath again.

Snow days, as husband and wife, have been my favorite with you.

I liked pressing snooze and waking up when we were ready. I liked lingering in bed longer than we really should. I liked hearing you make breakfast and coming downstairs to sip coffee at our wooden table real slow, as if we were staying in a quaint B&B in some European town.

Snow days were sweet and plenty - like milk and honey.

Spring came slow and quick, all at the same time. I was ready and then I wasn't. I wanted warmth and lighter days but I wanted the slowness of being home with you - our street covered in white.

This season has been the hardest.

You said it around the fire to our closest friends. I closed my eyes when the smoke blew into my face and fidgeted in my seat and tried to listen real hard amidst the crackling of the wood. When she hurts, I hurt. 

I've wrestled with more restlessness and doubt than I'd like to admit.Though this time, not from us, not from choosing to commit but from me and my heart. 

I've clenched my fists and fought with Him. I've fought with His holy and good plan. I've fought with timing and purpose and calling. I've fought with seeking affirmation and approval in all the things of this world.

But this season I've gotten down on my knees with tears and palms open wide too. And you've listened to me husband, over and over again, as I process the same things again and again. And you've pulled it out of me, when I was quiet and couldn't find the right words to tell you how I was feeling.

So even though it's been hard, it's been sweet.

We've never had a married summer, love. What will it bring?

Will it be slow and still like the winter? Will we welcome new opportunities and promise like the fall?

Or at times, will it be rough and patchy and grace-filled like the spring?

Maybe it'll be all those things bundled up in one. I'm not sure sweet pea but come along with me and lets find out.

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Feeling Small

FullSizeRender (3) There is a high school near our house.  It's a quick walk through neighborhoods with pretty homes and neat lawns and big front porches. Sometimes when we walk through we pick our favorites.

"Oh that one!  With the gray shutters, it's so pretty."

"Yeah that's nice, I kind of prefer the one over there though, with the red door."

A lot of times we differ, but we always seem to agree on one thing: a front porch.

It's got to have it.  It has to have a big, welcoming, coffee sippin', come-on-in-and-put-your-feet-up porch.

Once we get to the high school we walk around the track.  Sometimes, there's a father and son kicking a soccer ball.  Other times, it's just us and the massive school building with large white pillars and an American flag standing tall - waving in the breeze.

Though this last time, it was us and an entire lacrosse team.  As we walked, Matthew caught a few lacrosse balls in the air that didn't make the net.

Please Lord, don't let one of those come my way, you know how awful I am at sports.  It'll just smack me right in the face.  Not today Lord.

Because I was in a mood y'all.

And it started in the most icky way.

It started with reading about college students building wells in the developing world. And that brought me to another group who started a business selling Jewelry from Uganda and a holistic wellness program.  And somehow that led me to some other fascinating soul who cooked really good food and took pretty pictures of it.

At first, I had your normal reaction.  I was overjoyed, amazed, thankful that these creative folks were doing such good work.  YES keep doing it, keep fighting the good fight, your work is SO important.

I took a bite of grapefruit and filed papers on my desk.

And that's when my heart sank.

My heart sank for all the things I wasn't doing.  My heart sank for not being creative enough, bold enough, courageous enough, to do things like that too.  It's that awful game of comparison that I fall into more than I'd like to admit.

It's that awful game of jealously. God, why aren't you using me?  Why can't I do something like that?  Did I miss something here?  Did I take a wrong turn? Did you forget about me?

I didn't feel like jogging, so I walked.  I walked as Matthew ran, more flew [I married a cheetah] around the track.

With each step, I listened to music and tried to pound my frustration, anger and sadness out of my heart and into the ground.  I begged God to work in and through my selfish, restless heart.

I have to pray this one daily.

I kept trying to fight through it.  Though, it always came back - you aren't doing enough. Those folks are doing big things because they don't hit snooze six times.  They wake up early, really early after going to bed late.  They're saving the world, every second of everyday, while you sleep and cuddle and bake bread and drink coffee.

And that's when things changed.

Suddenly, I forgot about getting hit by a lacrosse ball.  I stopped getting annoyed at how fast my husband can run.

All I saw were the trees.

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One was crooked, standing tall and proud, the sky it's backdrop and canvas. Another was full and bristly and bright.  Others stood silently, lining the sidewalk leading to the track - giant tree after giant tree.

I stopped a few times to look at them closely.  To breathe in the cool air.  To listen to the words of the music.

You're small Maeve.  Not insignificant, just small.

These trees surrounded my walk and I felt so tiny beside them.  The same way I feel when standing on the edge of the ocean, toes dipped in the water, knowing full well the earth is round but, always wondering - would I fall off? What would happen if I swam out as far as the eyes can see?

Do you think I placed you here without thought?  At this job, in this town, on that street - without reason or purpose?

Those trees and God's whisper silenced me.  I could hear Him - you're missing the whole point, Maeve.  You're missing what it's all about.

Because the thing is, it's not about you dear one.  You're making it about you.  It's about a way bigger plan than accolades and making people proud. You play a part little one, you play a big part.  But it might look different than anything you ever imagined

Sometimes, we just need to remember we're small. Sometimes, we need to be reminded that it's not about being liked or different or original.

It's about doing small acts of great love, each and every day, never ceasing, always remembering, that the next person we run into - the woman pushing her cart through the grocery store - could be carrying the biggest pain of her life. And she just needs someone to look at her.  One look, one smile, one uninterrupted glance for her to know - You are seen dear one. Your pain is felt and carried.

So where do you go to feel small friend?

Is it the ocean or mountains?  Is it holding a newborn baby?

Sometimes, we need to be told - it isn't about you.  

Go where you feel small.  And breathe a deep sigh of relief because yes, you might be small, but you're also incredibly significant.