Saturday, October 27, 2018

Cereal and Dishes

I've made it a habit the last few years to do a mushy gushy anniversary post....and while our 4th anniversary came and went this year, and while I had every intention to sit down and write about how great marriage still is...

I never got around to it.

Sometimes that feels like a theme of life: Never getting around to things. Like cleaning my house. Or actually preparing real meals. Or brushing our dogs. Or looking like a presentable human being. So life just becomes about priorities and getting through the things that matter more when they matter more. And then you sleep. And then you wake up. And then you do it all over again... still thinking, "I really ought to...."

So here I am a month later, still reflecting on our last year of life together. And, rather than pages and pages of all the crazy, here are some paragraphs about what our life has entailed for us in our third full year of marriage. And mostly, you'll learn, that this is basically just a list of all the ways my husband supports me and how blessed I am by our marriage.

  • School. Distance learning at its finest--including a trip to Charlotte, NC and Boston, MA and lots of pages to read and write in the meantime. If my calculations are correct, my master's degree could be complete by next December. None of this would be possible without the endless amounts of support from my husband. This is a man who selflessly lets me read every paper and post aloud to him before submitting, who lets me disappear into my books every Saturday, who dialogues with me constantly about all the things I am learning, who doesn't complain about eating cereal because I'm too behind to cook, and who has washed more than his fair share of dishes as a result of my studies. Resuming classes is, hands down, one of the best decisions I have made in a while and I could not have done it without him by my side. 
  • Children. In the last year we went through some basic testing to determine why we were not able to have children. While we weren't provided with any clear answers, there's been some peace in knowing that there's not anything "wrong" with us. There's been some peace in knowing that we can let it go and trust the Lord more fully in this area of our lives. In fact, the past month or so we've been in the process of considering what foster care could look like for us and if that's something we want to pursue. Foster Care hasn't ever been something on my radar, but for whatever reason on a random Sunday (with probably a whole lot of other factors influencing us) we felt the urging to open our hearts and home up to children (or even teenagers) in Santa Fe who may need a safe space for even just a short amount of time. Your prayers in this process would actually be awesome... 
  • Trips. In addition to our school and work travels, we've found ourselves back Hawaii this fall (we just l-o-v-e Kauai and can't seem to get enough of it). We also worked our way to Florida to meet our newest niece who was already a year old! The ocean and the sun have held a special significance in our hearts during this last season which also led us to...
  • New Tattoos. Of suns (no, not turtles and not matching). Because the sun always rises. Because the sun rises on all people-- both evil and good--and it reminds us constantly to pray for those who have hurt us, for those who are harder for us to love, and to help us not show partiality to others (Matthew 5, James 2). And also, because... from the rising of the sun, to the going down of the same, the name of the Lord shall be praised (I can always hear my friend, Lyndi, singing this song based on Psalm 113:3). Basically the sun is awesome and it holds a lot of good reminders for us as a couple, but also us as individuals. 
  • Houses. We just closed on another house in Columbia, MO that we hope to be another rental property. Have we seen it yet? No. Do we own it? Yes. Basically we're crazy. Pray that we can find renters quickly! 
  • Pottery. In addition to supporting me fully in my school workload, Kel encouraged me to take another round of pottery lessons. I just wrapped up a 7-week stint that involved me being gone for hours and hours twice a week. Just the clay and me, fighting with each other until it decides that I'm actually in charge and it will be a bowl. Or a plate. Or a mug. Or something that will look cooler once it is glazed. And even though I was kind of dreading the time commitment the class would require, this time has been good for my soul. 
  • Church. Our church involvement throughout our marriage has gone from zero to nil. This last year, however, we have realized the importance, the beauty, and the richness of caring more and giving more. Through church, we've been more actively involved in serving at a homeless shelter once a month. Through church, we have begun hosting and leading a Bible Study that challenges us to, together, reach up, reach in, and reach out. I've been proud of Kel's desire and commitment to being a part of growth, in not only our camp community, but also our local church community (and eventually beyond)!
  • Pain. We have gone through a more painful season in our marriage this year than we ever have before. In it, we have learned, through brokenness and tears, what it looks like to lean on the Lord and also each other. We have been supported by a community of friends and family (both near and far) who have believed in us, prayed for us, fought for us, and reminded us that God is good, all of the time. We have been humbled by an outpouring of kindness and grace, we have been humbled that God's plans are not our plans, and we have been forced to open our eyes a bit wider to the world around us and asked to consider where and to whom the Lord might be calling us. 
  • Rhythms. It's also been a year of learning more about rhythms--the need to rest and the need to lay down other responsibilities and commit ourselves to spiritual rhythms that lead us to the foot of the cross more consistently. We learn over and over how we cannot do much of anything good if we are not centered more wholly on the Lord and allowing the Spirit to move in and through us (vs. us always trying to do things on our own). This has involved a greater commitment to Sabbath-- to planning our lives around things that focus us on Christ and allow us to be more intentionally connected to Him, each other, and those we care about. Our Sabbath often involves corporate worship, solitude, time in creation, time with each other, and "family dinners"....and it definitely doesn't involve work or school! 
  • Discipleship. It is one of our greatest pleasures in life to journey alongside others in the quest to be more like Jesus. Both Kel and I have a deep passion to see other grow in their relationship with the Lord and are tremendously humbled when we are asked to be a part of this. When we get these opportunities, we try our best to support each other to love and serve others in ways that encourage growth, change, and more disciples of Jesus. This last year has been challenging to both of us in different aspects of discipleship, but also exciting and hopeful in other aspects. We have gotten to launch a new discipleship program at camp that is pretty sweet, too! 
So maybe that's more of a Christmas letter on the Beals... but, in my absentee from the blog-o-sphere, there's been more going on in our lives that my quick response "life is busy" can really attest to. 

The short of it? 
Marriage is still awesome. 
I'm blown away that I have a husband who I can talk to about anything and everything, who I can laugh with, who I can pray with, who I can be the ugliest in front of (physically and emotionally and spiritually and in every other way you can possibly imagine), and who loves me despite all of that. 

Perhaps we're still newlyweds in the grand scheme of marriage. But, I'm still so blessed. The Lord has been so, so good to us. 

Maybe I'll write more later. 
Or maybe I'll never get around to it. 
I guess we'll see. 

Thanks for tuning in. 
(Free free to shoot me over any questions you may have about any of that, too.)