Friday, 14 September 2012

Blessings Abound

I just wrote a post in our baby blog about the intense amount of stress we're facing at the moment. Now, I know that there will be people who will read this and think, "it's just a move, what's the big deal". Please understand that I am no stranger to packing up a life into boxes and moving house. My parents moved quite a bit when I was younger, we immigrated to Canada when I was teen, moved around some more, before I moved to England and then had to face a similar procedure of immigration to get back into Canada years later. I have packed and taped boxes galore, arranged deliveries and appointments, insurance and cargo and storage. But this takes the cake. This is not something to be taken light heartedly. The money, the documents, the appointments, the logistics, the phone calls, the money, the lack of money - have I mentioned money yet?

And so today, on closing day, while I wait for the lawyers office to call and say that the keys are ready to be picked up, I am reflecting and blogging, rather than cooking or cleaning or crossing items off my very long to-do list. Because - it makes me feel better.

And upon reflection, my pulse eases, my frown softens (thank heaven!) and I start to feel like a human being again, rather than a rabid animal frantically rushing from point A to point B responding to stimuli. Again I say, thank heaven.

It always amazes me how taking time to reflect on the blessings that God has given, really does alleviate anxiety and fear and want. Reflecting on your blessings is a blessing in itself! Amazing! And our blessings abound. We are so excited and so blessed to be able to be home-owners tonight. Our very own home. And considering the difficulty and immense cost involved, we feel even more fortunate to be in this position at our age.

We are facing parenthood, but it's not scary. Maybe we should be afraid, but we're not. We're taking one day at a time and looking forward to having a baby boy to add to our family. And while we forage into the unknown of parenting, we are both really confident that our love for each other will help us forge through whatever difficulty arises. And we have no doubt that there will be difficulties, but we're a team.

Aside from the usual blessings of health and employment and the support of extended family (I am not making light of them, but just taking a quick line to acknowledge them), I feel unbelievably blessed to be this man's wife. I have struggled with his training away from home and I have struggled with getting ready for the move on my own. Last night I remembered that he has been sleeping on a tiny cot in a building that is not dissimilar to an army-barrack. He gets up at 5:30am every day, slogs through training and classes and meetings, studies until midnight most evenings and still makes time for a phone call or skype. Its too easy to get caught up in our own miseries and frustrations and forget the work and sacrifice of others in our lives. I am thankful to be blessed with this relationship. I am thankful to have been reminded of this blessing. And I am so proud to be able to call James my husband, build a home and family together and enjoy the riches of just living.

We will be spending our weekend painting and stripping wallpaper, tearing up carpets and taking down doors. And as an added blessing - one that we were not able to have while living in England - we are being helped by my parents and their partners, my brother and his girlfriend and my sister-in-law. An army of workers to help us make our new house a home!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

On the Act of Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails;

We celebrated our second wedding anniversary this weekend. What a change from last year! James was still in England and I was in already in Canada. In 1 year, we are settled, home-buyers with a full career and a baby on the way! What a busy year! But what a wonderfully enriching year. It's difficult to believe that the wedding was already 2 years past, but to feel at the same time that we have been together for most of our lives. I am so pleased that we were able to celebrate this anniversary together before James left for his training. We had to make the effort to carve the day out for ourselves and our whimsy, but it was so rewarding! A day, for us, and only us. Our last anniversary as a couple, our next will be as a family! 

I have posted blogs in the past about this, but following an email to my great-aunt today, I am reminded that I am truthfully, wholly thankful that I am married to the perfect person for me. The best match for my life. Not just a man, not just a friend, not just a relationship. Not just a "next logical step" or "relationship that ended up that way". Someone that loves me as much as I love him, albeit differently. My husband, my mate, my partner, who fills me with joy, and hope and excitement. And also, frustration, annoyance, and at times, exasperation! I have thought light-heartedly that God brought us together to test me, refine me and make me rely further on Him. Now I'm certain of it. 

As we struggle to settle in to our new routine - James staying away at college during the week, while I keep the home fires burning and attempt to do the necessary in regards to our new house - I have had a rude awakening in the meaning of love. 
The act of loving, which looks so different to the speaking of love. 
An abrupt teaching on humility at the same time. 
One of my worst flaws is my pride. I often speak of love, the evidence of actions vs words, the necessity for balance in marriage, the responsibility of partners in this journey. And the reality is that what I speak is truth. Unfortunately, what I have practised is not. 

I selfishly and unfairly expected James to provide his entire evening of free time to me, to support my need to discuss the house, our finances, my day. I did want to discuss his day, his interactions with people, but it was to satisfy my need for emotional intimacy. James is in a residence on his own, without any other members of his unit, while the other men are all of the same unit. He is experiencing isolation, unfamiliar surroundings and adjusting to a new routine, new studies and new expectations. My heart said "me, me, me" and I acted on that rather than what I know love to be - selfless, patient and kind. And I won. Rather than feeling close to my husband, supported and loved, I felt selfish and unfulfilled and realised that I'd been brought up short on my pride. 

Love is an act, not just a word. The act of love is selfless, and kind and patient and understanding. It endures, it hopes and it does not fail. God has loved me as such every single day. He loves me so much that He's taught me a fast lesson on humility and love, without causing too much pain. I am humbled, and hopefully, my husband's patience will continue as my learning continues. 

I suppose, with our 2nd anniversary just past (and what a lovely day it was!), and the uncertainty of the future settling in, I should start practising the act of the love much more fervently. We do, after all, intend to be married for a very very long time and I'd really rather be happy! 
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