Monday, August 29, 2011

unusual, unexpected, unconventional, unpredictable

 Yesterday was the anniversary of our first year of marriage. Throughout the day, I kept thinking, 'this time last year I was....nervously eating breakfast....on my way to the church.....saying my vows to John....dancing the night away....'

While the memories of our wonderful wedding day were very much with me yesterday, it also just felt like any other day, with all of the unexpected turns that can take place.

As Christians, John & I want to place God at the centre of our marriage, and are keenly aware of how valuable prayer is - in giving thanks to God for so many blessings in our lives, for asking for His help in loving one another well, for seeking His will for our lives - and so many more reasons than these. In light of this, we had asked some friends to pray for us during our wedding ceremony. The lovely Ros was one of our friends who prayed, and she shared with us how God had given her four words for us to expect in our marriage: unusual, unexpected, unconventional, unpredictable.

These four words resonated with me throughout the day yesterday. We hadn't made any particular plans for the day (we're going away to a beautiful hotel in Gloucester tonight), and so the general plan was to just enjoy the day and go for a big long run (we're training for the Bristol half marathon). At church, a friend told us that he was going to a Monster Trucks event that afternoon, which he'd got a great deal for. We shared similar stories of great deals, discovered through Groupon, then went home to get ready for our run.

I had a few cupcakes to frost for an order that I was due to deliver later in the afternoon, and mid-frosting, I received a phone call from our Monster-Truck friend, saying he had two spare tickets, and would we like to go. This was the last thing that I imagined us spending our anniversary doing, but I loved the unexpected-ness of this opportunity and the unconventionailty of this as a way of celebrating our marriage. So, we whipped up the fastest lunch ever, grabbed our raincoats & sunglasses - because the weather was being highly unpredictable, and set off for an afternoon of watching stuntmen flying through the air. And we loved it.

 This motorbike dude was my favourite -  more of him in a minute. But first - a walking fireball
 This guy carried a burning carpet on his back as far as he could, just for fun.

Chris the motorbike dude was incredible. I kept laughing and blowing raspberries in exclamation at each of his stunts - I think I've spent too much time with baby Rachel this weekend, who is a pro at blowing raspberries.

Although we hadn't planned on doing very much on the day of anniversary, as we had a lovely hotel to look forward to the day after, in my head, I had a romantic view of how the day would go. The reality was that it ended up being a busy day, and the only plan we'd had (running) got shunted to the end of the day. By the time we got home from running, I was feeling thoroughly despondent about all kinds of things about the day that had not gone to plan. I realised that despite not making any 'plans', I still had an idea in my head of how things would be, and my expectations had not been lived up to.

I realised that in the same way that the unexpected, unpredictable, unconventional & unusual things in our marriage can be a great blessing, they also have the propensity to feel far from a blessing & more like a struggle. As I washed up the mountain of dirty dishes, I lamented the unpredictable-ness of our day. Then I felt God quietly remind me that actually, it was ny attitude & expectations that were making me feel grumpy about the day, not the events themselves. I had the opportunity to turn my thinking around and celebrate the unpredictable-ness of it all, and enjoy the rest of the evening with my brilliant husband, rather than go to bed feeling miserable. 

While it is fine to have plans and expectations, I am learning that it is alright if things don't go the way I expect them to. My hope is that I will learn to welcome and expect the unusual, unexpected, unconventional and unpredictable in our marriage, so that I might see the true blessings in these things.

My anniversary paper rose

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