Relationships change over time. Sometimes this is welcomed, other times it is unsettling and disturbing. Just when we get into a groove, comfortably relating, knowing one another with ease suddenly we look around and find ourselves in an unfamiliar landscape. There are hills we haven’t encountered, unexpected turns, and new curves. It can make us long for what was.
This is what happened with us. We were in a groove, hence getting surprise pregnant with identical twin boys after we were mentally “done” having children. For the record, the birth control we had always used in the past just didn’t work one day. Enter God, the one who does shake up our lives at times. This pregnant news came about a month after Dave had told his boss he thought it was time to work on his exit strategy. Dave and I had come to the realization as we looked toward the future it was time for a change. But we did not know what was next, there was not a plan.
Fast forward almost nine months, after much discussion, prayer and fighting for faith we moved to a new state so Dave could start his new job. I was about 37 weeks pregnant with the twins. My other kids were in 7th, 5th, 3rd, and 2nd grade. We left our home of 16 years, our incredible friends who were more like family to us and a city we loved.
Talk about a landscape change. Just about everything was different. I felt like I was in an upside-down snow globe floating around with no footing. It was awful, for me. But not for Dave, he was so excited about his new position. He was thrilled to join the incredible staff. His position of executive pastor was a perfect fit for who he was. I, on the other hand, went back to babyland, a place in which I had no desire to return. I decided to nurse my baby boys. Looking back now, I wonder if it was the best decision, but I was so committed to it because I deeply believe in the benefits. This decision deepened the isolation I felt. I fell into depression and darkness in which I had not ever experienced. Meanwhile Dave was head-over-heels in love (that might not be how he would say it but it is pretty much true) with his new job and our new church. I was not. I became lost.
I longed for what was. I longed for my come-in-without-knocking friends. I longed for connection with Dave, it felt impossible because our experiences were so different. I longed for how “in love” and “on the same page” we were before we moved. I hated the pain in which I was drowning. I began to resent how he got to leave everyday for work to a job he loved. This for sure was difficult territory to navigate. And it was the first time we were having totally opposite experiences. I longed for the perceived comfort and ease of the past.
During one of my times with God on the trail this winter another picture came. It was mid-winter, snow and ice had been on the ground for a while. It was turning ugly grey-brown. The trees were bare and dingy looking. What once was beautiful when it first fell was now old and stale. Then one day, new snow began to fall, covering the trees, covering the ground, bringing new beauty to the landscape. Boom, this is it, “what we need is fresh snow.” On our relationship, “God bring fresh snow and help me see it. Give us new things to connect over, new experiences to draw us close, new, fresh, beautiful. Please God, this is what we need, this is what I need.” God brought a perspective shift yet again. I have been looking for fresh snow ever since. Do I see it every day? No. Has God brought fresh snow? Yes.
God is the God of new, of fresh, of renewal, of restoration. He creates beauty where there is none. I love the picture in Isaiah 35 where it says, “waters will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.”
This scripture is not directly about marriage but it reflects his character. He is one who, over time, brings beauty to the broken and dark places of our lives. And he can cause fresh snow to fall over a relationship in a difficult, unfamiliar landscape.