Taylor and I were able to slip away for a walk all alone a few weeks ago, right at the height of autumnal glory. What I lovingly refer to as “peak week”. Right when the whole world is ablaze with that fiery glow of autumn leaves burning brightly before they fall to their slow death on the forest floor below. I feel an exhilaration deep down in my soul during this short, but intense season. The seeming light of the very leaves permeates me down to my very bones, filling a sacred void inside me that craves such unparalleled beauty. Getting away with my husband to experience this together was one of my favourite moments this past year. Autumn always puts me in a deep state of reflection too. Something I’ve been contemplating over the course of this past autumn season is Taylor and my relationship.
I’ve been thinking over a certain quality we have together, and how it’s really shown its true worth in recent months since moving back to Hungary. And this is a bit funny, but, I’ve never really been a fan of that cliché “marry your best friend” statement or claim to be made, yet I’ve realised recently that is exactly what we have in each other.
Taylor and I have always been good friends. We almost always prefer being together rather than being apart. Our relationship is a true partnership. We do virtually everything together just for the enjoyment of companionship. And due to the nature of both of us being in ministry, we are also able to spend large sections of our day together, and we chat and connect all throughout. We even have several shared interests and passions. If he’s gone for even an afternoon, I still miss him. And I know he feels the same about me. Neither of us can stand to even go grocery shopping alone, silly lovebirds that we are.
To be totally honest, I always kind of wondered if this was entirely normal, or if we were maybe just a bit odd. We simply appreciate just being together, and we get along so well. Sure, we have fights from time to time, but we always resolve things quickly, because we so hate being off step with each other.
I am not one to brag, and I very much hesitated to even write this piece up at all for fear of how it may come across to others. I personally tend to downplay things and struggle to identify strengths. I am often plagued with self-doubt and deep questioning. So if you’re like me at all, there’s a process to your thoughts here and this may sound familiar. When you first realise that you have a good thing going, well you just assume there must be some fault at its core that you are simply blind to. And then once you get past that, you just wonder why in the world you are seemingly getting that one thing right out of the rest of your messy life. And then the guilt sets in. Awkward, embarrassed guilt. Somehow you become sort of bashful about that “good thing”. Because I can see that other people aren’t as happy in their relationships, so why are we so happy? Other people get sick of each other after a full day together (or even a few hours), but why don’t we? Why are we so… happy? And why am I even wondering about this? Shouldn’t I just be grateful??
So surely you may be wondering where in the world I am going with all this (if you haven’t clicked away yet with a sigh and an eye-roll). Well here it is. Here’s what I’ve discovered. God uses that “one thing you are getting right” to your benefit, and gives it to you as a strength. One of Taylor and my strengths can be found in the stability of our relationship and in the ability to communicate with each other. Our honesty. Our acceptance of where the other is at.
When we packed up our entire lives and moved overseas to struggle through culture shock, language barriers, and now fight through isolation and depression together, it’s all becoming clear to me. We’ve faced some of our darkest, most discouraging moments here together. I can’t explain to you the deep level of isolation we experience here regularly. Long days and long nights together, with our kids of course, but still, just us two for days on end. But if we weren’t the “best friends” that we are, I’m not sure we would have lasted as long as we have.
We’ve cultivated a deep friendship in each other, and the benefits are really beginning to pay off. Now, when we often just don’t have anyone else to go and see most the time. I’m realising that awkward guilt I used to feel at being so close to Taylor is silly, because what we have together was actually orchestrated by God, a gift from Him and a blessing He intended and designed all along. It’s so that through these early years in ministry, we might be just that much less alone and isolated. Because we’re going through these struggles with our very best friend in this life. God gave us a deep, highly communicative relationship to get us through these lonely years as we get established, learn Hungarian, one of the most complex, unique languages in the world, and as we figure out our place in the ministry here, and begin to put down some roots together as a family.
I’ve come to be deeply thankful to the Lord for the way He’s strengthened our relationship since we first met, and that during all the struggles of our messy life over here we have this one thing to hold onto: at least my best friend is here going through it all with me. An aching sensation of deep gratitude wells up within me, and I am sometimes totally overwhelmed by it.
So my encouragement to you is to reflect on your own life, your own strengths and blessings, and to determine just what they are. Be very specific. And then meditate on how God is using them to His purpose, but also for your own benefit. This shift in thinking has left me in awe of the foresight God has over our lives. It instills such a deep gratitude in me. That “thing going right” in your life is nothing to be bashful or embarrassed about (or proud of either, but that’s for another post someday, I guess). Give praise to the Lord for what He has given, and look at how He is using it for your own good and for the good of others.