This anniversary was far different than the others.
Being eight months pregnant we are just weeks away from arriving at a new stage of life: parenthood. So we spent our six year anniversary enjoying the last moments with just the two of us all while dreaming about our little girl’s arrival, soon to make us a family of three.
During our weekend camping trip (Yes! Call me crazy! I went camping while pregnant!), we filled out a book called The Marriage Vision Retreat. If you’ve been following Across My Heart Ministries for long, you know I love setting goals. Each month The Bible Study Planner we created allows you to set holistic goals and invite God into your daily habits. This book was much the same but included unique exercises for us as a couple. We talked about our long term plans, financial goals, and family values, intentionally creating a vision for this new stage of life.
The Wait Is Over
In many ways our life and our marriage have been defined by seasons of waiting.
Waiting to heal from a serious accident.
Waiting to be accepted into physician assistant school.
Waiting to graduate.
Waiting to get pregnant.
We didn’t know if we’d have to move, when Joseph would be accepted to school or where he’d land his first job as a medical professional.
And yet, in the midst of the unknowns, whatever this life holds, we are in it together. It’s part of why we vowed “I choose you today and everyday” at the altar over six years ago.
As we arrive at this new season with the stability of a paycheck, a house payment and a family of three, it seems we are no longer “in the waiting”. In the world’s eyes, we’ve finally arrived. This is “the moment we’ve been waiting for”, or so we are told.
But even when you’ve arrived, even when you’ve gotten the diploma, received that promotion, or finally started your family, the journey isn’t over. As exciting as it is to finally be at this stage of life, who we are and the love that we share isn’t defined by this moment but the many many moments that got us here.
Maybe you have the house, the job, the new car. Maybe you’ve reached your fitness goals or feel like you have finally “arrived” in one way or another. This is your friendly reminder that you haven’t. And we never will this side of heaven.
None of Us Have Arrived
As a culture we talk a lot about crossing the finish line. But there is only One who could declare “It is finished”. When Christ breathed his last and submitted His Spirit for the salvation of our souls, He satisfied God’s wrath and won the victory over death. This victory is ours in Christ Jesus. But our work is far from over. Our work has just begun.
In his letters, Paul often refers to this life as “running the race” (1 Cor 9:24, Phil 3:14, Gal 5:7). To avoid the temptation of checking out and feeling like we’ve arrived, Joseph and I choose to look at this new season of life, not as the finish line but as the starting line.
This means that our mission isn’t simply to check goals off our list… graduate, get married, have kids or land that amazing job opportunity. Our mission isn’t just something we decide when we fill out a goal setting notebook. No. Our mission is living in the reality of what God has done and what God is doing here on this earth. We have the opportunity to daily participate in God’s Kingdom right here, right now. That’s what it means to have a Kingdom mindset.
From the beginning of our dating relationship we committed ourselves to intentionally keep this eternal perspective, “making the most of every opportunity” as our theme verse reads (Eph 5:16). So rather than get comfortable on the mountain top moments of life, we are preparing for the hike ahead – the unexpected phone calls, the medical anomalies, the sleepless nights – the realities of living in a world that is still experiencing the pain of sin and darkness.
With six years of marriage behind us and a whole life ahead of us, we have so much room to learn and grow. This life. This future. This marriage. This child. It isn’t ours. It’s His. Each day we declare with our lives that “This is the day the Lord has made.” (Psalm 118:24). So thankful to be walking this road together.
As my sister sang the classic Carpenter’s song at our wedding, we haven’t arrived: We’ve Only Just Begun.
We’ve Only Just Begun (lyrics)
We've only just begun to live White lace and promises A kiss for luck and we're on our way (We've only begun) Before the risin' sun, we fly So many roads to choose We'll start out walkin' and learn to run (And yes, we've just begun) Sharing horizons that are new to us Watching the signs along the way Talkin' it over, just the two of us Workin' together day to day Together And when the evening comes, we smile So much of life ahead We'll find a place where there's room to grow (And yes, we've just begun) Sharing horizons that are new to us Watching the signs along the way Talkin' it over, just the two of us Workin' together day to day Together Together And when the evening comes, we smile So much of life ahead We'll find a place where there's room to grow And yes, we've just begun