A year ago this month J moved back to the PNW. Sometimes that year seems like a decade and sometimes it seems like it was just last month. But, somehow, a year has passed and we’ve gone from 2016 to 2017. I could waste your time blabbering on about how time flies (okay, but really, how is it March?!) but I’m not going to. I want to talk about redemption and love and how having our faith tested has been one of the most rewarding parts of our adult life together.
A year ago this month we took a blind leap of faith and drastically changed our living situation. Moving back to Washington was never part of the plan, and living apart was certainly never something we had considered. But, somehow, we made the tough call and…it sucked.
To be completely transparent those first few months were hell. We were both struggling to adjust from sharing a home for the past few years to being 3,000 miles and a 3 hour time change apart. J was adjusting to being back with his family as an adult and living with his parents at first. I was trying to relearn how to navigate school and jobs and internship without my main support, which I hadn’t realized was providing me with so much security and grounding. We were both grappling with the unknown theme the future now held and the frustration that came with not having a “good” job, of J being ready and hopeful and prepared for a career that hadn’t yet come.
You might remember me sharing that my verse of the year for 2016 was Daniel 3:18 “And if not, He is still good.” Our constant prayer for that season was to stay faithful and hopeful and expectant. Even when job opportunities slipped by. Even when living situations changed. Even when time passed and frustration mounted and hearts broke and tempers flared-my prayer was God, keep up faithful. Lord, help me stay encouraged. Please, God, just remind me of Your faithfulness. I know in my heart that You are so good but right now I need some extra reminding.
Sometimes those prayers were with gritted teeth and an angry heart. Sometimes they were in tears with a helpless heart. And sometimes they were whispered in the quiet of the night, alone in bed, begging God to just help us run the race faithfully. I would pray for patience to speak words of encouragement to my soon to be husband and for help fighting down the angry words I sometimes wanted to say. And J and I turned towards each other, becoming closer even though our physical time together was far and few between. Our relationship started to evolve and deepen in a way I didn’t even know was possible, and I began to love him in ways I hadn’t expected, even after eight years together.
And still, I began to despise March. The month that took my partner away from me, that turned my world around, that made my life so much harder than it was. Didn’t God know that I had worked out a perfect plan? Didn’t He know that we would be so happy here together, in my perfectly decorated house and perfectly scheduled calendar? Certainly God didn’t intend for us to live apart and struggle financially, spiritually, emotionally, and relationally.
And the months passed, and it started to become the new normal, and my heart would hurt, and I would question God, and then I would remind myself of His goodness. And this cycle continued, and we made adjustments, and we encouraged each other, and held fast to the things that mattered, and then the job did come, and then things changed more, and then plans were made, and then…somehow, it was March again.
And I am reminded of a year ago and a bunch of months in between when I cursed March and spent my days praying with a tired heart and encouraged J through gritted teeth. And then I realize that this March, in just two weeks, almost exactly one year from the time J moved away, we are officially starting a new chapter as he graduates from academy and embarks on his dream career. A job that comes with benefits, and good pay, and satisfaction, and worth…everything that we prayed for a year ago, plus more.
And I’m brought to tears as I realize how, in the space of almost exactly 12 months, God used a simple leap of faith to provide us with such growth. All of our doubt, of our hurt, of our questioning has been so restored because we remained faithful and leaned in to each other when it would have been so easy to just tap out.
Yes, sometimes that faith was through dug in heels and the temptation to not believe but still, it was there, and it’s now been one of the most redeeming things in our life together thus far.
A lot can happen in one year. And my, how faith and love can grow.
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
[2 Timothy 4:7]