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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my back stoop

I crunched the numbers. I compared.

Wait, that can't be right.

I did it again.

Mmmk, it is right.

I let out a breath and looked down. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. If I do this [I'll get to this later, another time, another post] well, we can't save up for those things we talked about. Suddenly the thought of me making it difficult because of my silly dreams - became too much.

I can hear my heart shouting - you're dreams are never silly.

Maybe I was a wee bit dramatic. But if you know me at all, if you've been reading my words [thank you by the way] you've probably learned I am FULL of emotions, it's who I am.

It's who I've always been.

Matt went up to cut his hair. Yes, he buzzes that head of is, saving us 20 bucks a month. Love. that. man.

I grabbed my glass of wine and went to sit on our back stoop.  It had just rained.

I love the smell of rain.

Fresh bread from the oven and rain - two of my favorites.

It made me think of those times when I was little and I'd sit at the top of my driveway in the rain. I'd grab a lawn chair and umbrella and my stuffed animal or baby doll and watch the cars go by (disclaimer: there weren't many kids on my street to play with).

I'd pretend I didn't have a home, that I was wandering and stumbled upon this pretty house with well manicured bushes and wondered if they'd let me come in and have dinner.

In so many ways, I am still that little girl. A little lost, so very curious, and aching to be found.

I looked out and saw twinkling lights and our neighbors backyards. I wondered what folks were doing at this very moment too - cleaning up from dinner, bickering over taxes, cuddling on the couch?

Were they sitting on their back stoop like me? 

The door creaked open.

Babe..what are you doing? 

I needed some fresh air.

Do you want someone to sit with? 

This is one of those new marriage moments. One that feels so sweet and lovely and other days - incredibly uneasy and awkward. Because you see, when I was sad or angry or annoyed before, I could just sit in it and it didn't bother anyone. But now, it does. Now, someone aches to be part of it because they live in it too.

Now, someone so deeply desires to help and hold and carry the burden.

It doesn't really matter, I said back. 

It wasn't a yes or a no. Decisions have always been hard for me. I thought, if I left it open- the right choice of sitting and staying or going upstairs to bed would sort of just, figure itself out.

He sat. Of course he would. He's sweet and caring like that. 

One step below me, arms folded on his knees, eyes looking out at our little, tangly, messy backyard.

For a moment it felt like sitting on the stairs of his parents lake house - early in the morning, coffee mug in hand, watching dew lift off the water. It's one of my favorite views. It silences my soul in a way only nature and creation can. We'd sit and sip and be quiet. And I remember thinking, in that very moment - this is love, isn't it God? Sure, it's other things too - kisses and sacrifice and truth. But I think this is it too - sitting side by side in silence and feeling more safe and known than ever before.

This moment was not as romantic dear ones. This moment was annoyed and hurting and teary. I wanted him beside me but then again I didn't.

It felt like there wasn't enough space on our stoop for my worried, anxious heart and our two bodies.

I think, I actually do want to be alone.

He stood up. I could tell it hurt. I can always tell when my words cut deep and feel like a punch in the stomach. Because all he wants is to help and fix things.

And I resort to retreating and turning inward.

And I think friends, that sometimes, it's okay to do just that. There's a time for talking things out, for laying it all out there. But for me, this was not that time. Because as much as I wanted to say every little thing on my mind and heart, I couldn't.

I don't process things that way. I crave time time alone first. I sort of love time alone sometimes.

It feels crazy when I consider all the relationships I crave and need. All the dinner dates I love to plan and host.

But that's just it.

When I am with you - I want all of you. 

I want every nook and detail. I want to remember the part of the story when you stopped talking, looked down, and started folding a napkin in your lap.

My grandma Jul had this incredible way of making anyone feel as if they were the most important person in the whole world. In that little moment, nothing else mattered, nothing other than you and her and a cup of tea- no sugar, just milk, leave the tea bag in.

I want to know the sound of your laugh - each laugh you have. 

I want to see the shades of color in your eyes, and the way they change when you talk about your Dad.

And in return, like a good friend, I want to give you me too.

I want you to know that I love God and most days, feel so close to Him.  That this whole relationship over religion thing is all I need. But there are other times, when it's hard. When doubt and fear seep into my pores and all I want to do is run - run from this whole faith thing.

I want you to understand why I get awkward when asked "tell me about yourself " or "how are you doing". I want to give you an answer, trust me, I really do. I just struggle to weave it all together - to put in a box.

You want to know about me and how I'm doing?

Like, the real me or the person I sometimes fall into, when being honest and open is tough?

I want you to know that I find you fascinating and strong and full of light. 

I want you to see that I am trying to be better a human today than I was yesterday. I think we're all trying. I want you to know that I choose joy and gratitude every morning but the actual living it, the walking in it, yeah, that doesn't always happen.

These interactions, as sweet and hopeful and life-giving as they are, can be exhausting - in the best possible way.

So I sat alone, sipping my wine, closing my eyes, and humming along to "Oceans" by Hillsong.

It's easy to feel guilty for this. It's easy to feel like a big ol' jerk when I say to my husband, or friend or sister, "I think I just need to be alone."

But I think we need it y'all. At least I do.

Sometimes, to be the best lover and friend, it requires us to recharge, reboot and turn in. And that doesn't make us awful. It doesn't make us hopeless.

It makes us human - broken, thirsty, beautiful humans.

And trust that on your stoop or porch or coziest place in your home - you aren't ever really alone // the God of the universe holds you tight.

xoxo