Monday, March 20, 2017

Thoughts in the Difficult Seasons

I started blogging during my pregnancy with Lincoln because I wanted to document his life, but also because it helped me make sense of my thoughts. I don't monetize my blog, and I don't share it too much. This blog is my creative outlet, and for the time being it's just my place to ramble. Sometimes when I have an insane amount of stuff going through my mind, I'll feel the urge to post, so that's what today is.

Before I write all the things going on in my mind, know this: My marriage is fine. Our health is fine. As sad as this post seems, we're doing okay. There are just a lot of things going on with our family lately that haven't been the easiest.

This month has been awful. I was going to write 'difficult' but that seemed to be sugar-coating it which I don't want to do. 

"When it rains, it pours" seems to be a good Hodges motto this month. It's been one thing after the other and I've faced every emotion known to man. I go from being calm and hopeful and optimistic, to down and hopeless and angry.

This month hasn't all been bad. We have had some of the best family days, we celebrated one year of marriage, and I think our family is stronger now than we've ever been. But it's been hard. It's taken a lot of patience and grace and tears. 

In my 24 years I've come to find out that you learn most in the difficult times. In the seasons of pain and waiting, you realize a lot about God, yourself, and the people around you. This month in particular has affirmed a lot to me.

One //

God is good. I know at the core of my being that God is good. He simply is. He cannot be anything but good. But sometimes my circumstances make me lose sight of that. They make me wonder why God isn't doing more for me. Why God can't take away some of what I'm going through. I am a poster child for posting a picture of my sweet family and saying "God is so good to give me them!" which yes, He is. And no, I won't stop saying that. But if I see God's goodness based solely on what He gives me, then that means that God isn't good all the time. Because let's face it, sometimes life just doesn't go my way. But that in no way means that God isn't still good. God is good when my life is sunshine and rainbows.. But He is also good when life doesn't seem fair and there's a lot of storm clouds. He is good. He just is. Even when my circumstances are not. 

Two // 

My husband is a rock star. I have been an emotional roller coaster this month. I mean I've dealt with allllll the emotions ranging from everything's great and God is doing big things behind the scenes! all the way to nothing is working out. Nothing is fair. My life is a big mess. (If I wrote this post last week it would have said, "Life is so hard. I'm so sad. Nothing is fair. And that may or not be something I actually texted my husband last week.) I have had several tearful outbursts at random times and my husband has been a rock. He's held me, he's cleaned the house, he's reminded me of the faithfulness of God when I refused to remind myself. Marriage is a gift, and this man I conned into marrying me is a true gem. 

Three // 

My people are the best. For me, this is family. They have loved on us, they have helped, they have offered, and mostly they have prayed. Our family is covered in love, and these times remind me of how blessed we are to be surrounded by such an awesome support system. Life advice: find your people. Love them hard.

Four //

The little things are the sweetest. There have been days where I've just been down. I've been plain sad. But I've found a smile in painting my nails, in watching Michael and Lincoln run around the yard, in enjoying the outdoors, and in playing wrestle fight every single day. Sometimes you just have to look for the sunshine when everything around you is grey.

Five // 

Exercise and the outdoors are great for your mood. "Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don't shoot their husbands. They just don't." Pleaseeee tell me someone got that? No? Just me. Whatever. But really. Elle Woods said it best. The sunshine is fantastic and so is exercising. 

So there's some of what's floating around in my head. For all four of you + my mom who read that, you rock. You deserve a prize. Happy Tuesday, friends.

Groomsmen (+ full bridal party)

I'm back with more wedding pictures! Today I'm sharing the guys who were a part of our big day. With our anniversary just passed it's so fun looking through these pictures again.

These guys mean the world to Michael (and to me!) and I appreciate them standing by us on our wedding day.

Because they guys have significantly less pictures, I'm going to include the pictures of the whole wedding party in this one too.

Fun fact: we don't have a ton of pics of the whole bridal party. The bugs were AWFUL after the wedding and we were so over pictures. Good times. ;)

There you have it. The guys of our wedding! Next up.. my boys! 

Other wedding posts:

Getting ready

Friday, March 3, 2017

What I've Learned From One Year of Marriage

A year ago on Sunday, Michael and I took that walk down the altar and vowed our lives to each other before our family, friends, and God. It has been the sweetest year of growth, learning, and laughter. Here's what 365 days of marriage has taught me.

This post isn't really to give information. Heaven knows after a year of marriage I don't know everything, or even much. This is really for me to look back on and see where we were after a year. To document the things I learned this year. 

Love is a choice. I read enough marriage books before we said "I do" to know intellectually that love is a choice. But this past year I've lived it. Love isn't about a fuzzy feeling, because sometimes that happy-go-lucky feeling just isn't there. Love is on the easy days, but it's also on the days where your spouse makes you mad. 

There is no room for pride in a marriage. Saying "I'm sorry" first isn't a sign of weakness, it's a sign that you care what happens in and to your marriage. Learn to forgive, but also learn to ask for forgiveness. You'll need both. 

Marriage requires friendship. I absolutely agree that marriage requires chemistry. It does. But it also requires a deep friendship. Michael is the greatest friend I have. He's my confidant, my singing partner, the one I want to tell my exciting news first. I don't just love him, I like him.

Every marriage is different. Some people are touchy, some aren't. Some have date night every week and some don't. Some spend a lot of alone time together, and some prefer to hang out with friends often. Just because your marriage looks different, doesn't mean it's any less great. Don't get caught up wishing for what someone else has when God has blessed you with the perfect person for you.

No marriage is perfect. Social media tells us that everyone's lives are perfect, and they're not. Same goes for marriage. No marriage is perfect, no matter what their Instagram feed looks like. Work on your marriage. Enjoy your marriage. And understand that no marriage is perfect, but your marriage gets better as your work on it. 

Marriage is saying I'll love you forever, even though I don't know what forever holds. There are things we've walked through this year I never knew we'd face. There have been tough moments that we've walked together through, just because we said we would. That beautiful March day, I said yes to a life with Michael, even though I didn't (and don't) know exactly what that holds. But because I choose to love Michael, I'll face any problem in life choosing to have him beside me.

Follow Matthew 7:5. In a disagreement, always try to think of what you did first. Not what your spouse did wrong. What you did wrong. Did I have a bad attitude? Did I use a rude tone? How could I have prevented this? If you think like that, you're less likely to put blame on your spouse. One of the things I appreciate most about Michael is that when something is off between us, he always looks to see what his part in that was. And that makes me remember to do the same for myself.

We're on the same team. At the end of the day, you and your spouse are on the same team. You share a common goal: to stay happily married until your last breath. You don't want to yell at or hurt your teammate. You want to help them. This also reminds me that in an argument I don't need to be right, I need to help find a solution to the issue. 

Bonus: I try every day to ask myself, "What can I do to make my spouse's day better?" Then go do that. A little thoughtfulness goes a long way. 

What are some things you've learned this year about marriage?