Monday, July 29, 2013

Prayer Doesn't Change Things, It Changes Us: Thoughts on Our Second Anniversary

Natalie Franke Photography
I wrote on Friday about the many unexpected difficulties of moving to a new area as Andrew prepares to start his PhD next month.  Two years ago last week was our wedding day.  Though I can't say I ever anticipated moving, with the accompanying uncertainty of figuring out where to live, and losing a job opportunity while six months pregnant, I do have to say that external, material concerns notwithstanding, my soul has truly never been more at rest.

The time immediately following our wedding and honeymoon looked pretty similar to how things are right now: I was following Andrew to where he was going to school, we were settling into a new apartment, and I was looking for work (last month, I posted about transitioning to a new place after marriage; I think I'll need to take my own advice all over again)  It felt funny having a host of fancy new presents like a food processor, but not even any chairs for the kitchen table!  We ate dinner on the floor for a few weeks--I think it's a grace of the sacrament and our happiness at finally being married that we didn't mind!

Now, we have enough furniture to sit on and, thanks to my last job, enough money saved that we don't need to worry for a while about our financial situation (though it's tough, in my mind, to actually use our savings), yet it's still hard readjusting my expectations of what this next part of our lives would be like.  A blessing of having this time is that we got to spend the entire day of our anniversary together sleeping in, going to Mass and for a long walk, and just enjoying being around each other.  Last year we dressed up and treated ourselves to a fancy sushi dinner, but last week, our anniversary meal was just T-shirts and Baja Fresh burritos.  Simple and unconventional, maybe, but perfect for us right now.

That's the thing.  A friend told us the other day what a good situation it seems like the Lord has put us in.  Though certain worldly things are being taken away right now, we're being asked to follow Him deeper into trust, and we've been blessed with a wonderful community of family and friends in the area (we've happily moved back close to where we both grew up) and a little savings cushion.  You know what?  When I remember our first days in West Virginia a few years ago, I'm so thankful for not having the perfect life all set up just yet.

Sometimes it's hard, not in the sense of jealousy but just in the sense of knowing it will still be a while for us, seeing friends who have houses, two incomes, and a consistent hometown at or by the time they get married.  Not having all of that right away, though, has helped me appreciate how little we really need.  It isn't that I wouldn't enjoy some of those trappings of a comfy life, but I know now that when it's our turn we'll have such a feeling of gratitude.  For now, I feel so blessed by a loving husband and by the ease and joy I find in our relationship.  As many external things don't seem ideal on the surface, I love to consider the ways we've made each other more and more ourselves (I have come to believe, really strongly, that authentic, pure love doesn't change you so much as reveal the best parts of you that were there to begin with) and grown so much in our affection and admiration.

Blessed Teresa said, "I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us, and we change things."  I've been praying so much lately to not just want things to come easily (though I certainly wouldn't complain), but to truly want the Lord to change my heart in a way that opens me up to what's best for our family.  Here's to two years of deep joy and hope for constantly more trusting hearts.

P.S.  BHLDN, Anthropologie's wedding line, is hosting a fantastic bridal shoe giveaway of your choice through noon today!  Like Captive the Heart on Facebook for details on how to enter!

P.P.S.  If you missed it last year, you can catch my post on our first anniversary here.

6 comments:

  1. beautiful and congratulations on 2 years of marriage! Your little family is such a wonderful witness of love!

    You little blog is so fun and I have loved reading it these past few months leading up to our wedding. We now have 11 days to go! Is it bad that my fiance and I have our first dance lesson tonight and no first dance song yet? hahaha! I'm trying to read your posts about music for ideas. =)

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    1. Woohoo, you're getting so close! So excited for you, and you and your fiance will be in my prayers! I can remember making a lot of last minute decisions, too...all of them turned out just fine =) Hope you enjoyed your dance lesson!

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  2. Good for you on saving a cushion right away! We used our combined income to try to get ahead on student loans, and ended up with more credit card debt (because we had a baby...so no regrets!), still a lot of student loans, and now we're SLOWLY saving a little cushion.

    And to the previous commenter: I bought bridesmaids shoes and ties the week before the wedding; and flowers at Kroger the day before the wedding. You're in good shape. :) (And our wedding was FUN and BEAUTIFUL!)

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    1. That's the thing about savings; you never know what you'll end up using them for =)

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  3. I hear ya, girl! I love your faith though. I was actually talking with Mark last night that it's hard and lonely road sometimes not having a consistent home of our own, always having to make new friends and find a new support system, and never knowing when he will be gone out to sea or not while raising two children [soon to be 3] on my own most of the time. I just have to always tell myself that God is bigger.

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    1. Amen, such a good reminder! I know that military life must have it's own challenges that are different from academic life.

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