Hey friends! This Tuesday is a special one because my husband and I are celebrating our two year anniversary! So in honor of that, I wanted to write about some highlights from our second year of marriage.
1. Ministry to others
Just the other day, I was reflecting with Matt about how it has been such a privilege to see how God has used us together to minister to others better than we would by ourselves. We enjoyed getting to lead high school groups together, sharing many funny stories and getting advice from each other about how to guide them to faith. When we announced that we were leaving to go to Virginia, I was so touched when one of the high schoolers told me that even though she was sad to see us go, she thought it was really cool that we were willing to leave jobs and friends in order to go where we felt God was calling us. It’s not often we get to see how we impact the students, so that meant a lot to me to see that our obedience to God’s calling was inspiring to them.
Another ministry we have enjoyed doing more of this year is inviting people into our home. To me, there is almost nothing better than being invited into someone’s home for a home-cooked meal, honest conversation, and some competitive game playing. I’ve learned that while we may not have the best-decorated apartment or fanciest food, it doesn’t really matter to the people who come into our home. What matters is that we welcome them into our lives just as they are. I hope that in this next year we will minster to others even more this way!
2. Visiting home
Matt and I were so grateful to be able to go back to Oregon twice this year. This summer we got to do a vacation with my family in Sunriver, one of our favorite spots. Although we were sad my sister couldn’t be there, it was great to be able to spend time with our family and friends back home. And it was extra special since it was our last stop on the west coast before we moved to Virginia!
We also went back recently for Christmas, which was so great because we really missed being home! We were thrilled to meet our godson, be able to see family again, be with one of our best friends after she got engaged, and even get to spend time with some of our friends from California! Our trip was packed to the brim but we had such a wonderful time seeing everyone.
I’m so glad that Matt and I have the same hometown and have so many shared memories in Oregon. And I’m especially glad that most of our friends and family have stayed nearby so it makes it easy to visit everyone at once!
3. Trying new things
This year was one that brought many new experiences into our lives. We drove on sand dunes for the first time this summer on the Oregon coast, which was a blast. We went line dancing (one of us loved it, one of us didn’t; you can probably guess who is who). We moved to the east coast, which entailed a whole bunch of trying new things. We visited the Atlantic, I started a new job, and we both began our master’s programs.
Out of all the new things we tried, our most recent experience was probably the best. For months Matt has been
constantly talking about expressing his desire to take me skiing sometime. Although I didn’t think we would be able to do it for cost and location reasons, God made Matt’s dreams come true and provided a way for us to go while we were home with some friends from California.
I was pretty nervous about the ski lift alone, not to mention the fact that I’m not athletic at all and I hate cold weather. I had a few reservations, but Matt was so excited and I had FOMO about not being with my friends, so I decided to do it.
Surprisingly, I had a lot of fun on the slopes. After practicing on the baby hill with my friend Kevin, we tried the bunny slope and I DIDN’T FALL YOU GUYS. NOT EVEN WHEN GETTING OFF THE SKI LIFT. #itwasamiracle. After lunch they convinced me to do another green slope “that’s the same steepness and only about 4 times as long.” Not true. It was steep. And long because it was actually at the top of the mountain. And no matter how much I tried, I. Could. Not. Stop. It was really hard, and I was exhausted, but at the end I was proud that I made it down the hill without any tears. And after that the bunny slope was a piece of cake. I’m so glad I got to experience that with Matt and our friends. It was a great way to end our second year of marriage!
4. Creating community
In the first half of this last year, we were in a really sweet spot with our community. I am so thankful that God put us in two great communities – our high school staff and our community group. We made some great new friends through both and we were really flourishing. I have great memories of dancing with the Tuesday night girls, having game nights, throwing celebratory dinners and going on fun retreats. When we found out we were leaving, our friend Lydia threw us a big party and invited all our friends in California. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to everyone, but we also felt so blessed to have such wonderful friends.
As it always is when you move, it takes time to find a new community. Although we are still working on developing our community, God has brought some great friends to us in the last four months we’ve been here. Our first nights here we spent with the Smiths, who welcomed us into their home and friend group with open arms. God has blessed us so much through their fellowship and hospitality. We also have become friends with a few other couples in Matt’s program and have enjoyed going out on date nights with them. We joined a community group through our church, which makes this place feel more like home. And I have loved getting to know my coworkers and doing things with them outside of work.
We are so grateful for our friends, mentors, and church community that has gotten us through this year, both near and far. We look forward to deepening our friendships and building new ones in this upcoming year!
5. Growing closer together
Lastly, our biggest highlight of our second year is that we have grown closer together. We have had some great times this year, but there have also been many challenging ones that really made us lean on each other. Transition and change is very testing, and although it’s been hard we wouldn’t change it because it brought us so much closer together. This year we’ve prayed harder, poured more effort into our marriage, learned how to communicate better, and appreciated each other more often. We’ve become more unified in our goals and better friends, which is all you can ask for! I’m grateful to have a husband who keeps me grounded and still plans surprise dates for me. I hope that in this third year of marriage, we continue to trust in God’s plan for our lives and grow closer together as we serve Him.