I loved hearing you guys talk about people pleasing and skipping lunch. Thank you! I love when you talk to me and each other.
This post involves my plan for 2021 – read it here.
My chosen abstinence for February was excessive people pleasing, but there was more to my month than that. My chosen book of the Bible was Lamentations, and my focal point for growth and joy was intimacy. Let’s take a look.
I already told you some of the knowledge I gathered about the book of Lamentations in the month of February, and the gorgeous poetic structure written into it. I told you how much fun I had recreating the verse form in English. Thank you to those of you who shared your versions, in public and in private! They were so beautiful.
Now my brain is spinning with similar ways to interact with other Scriptures. Some that come to mind are writing a present day Psalm, creating another parable of the kingdom, or researching and writing the history of a Bible character.
I was surprised by how much it pulled me into the book, to participate in creating something similar. I think it’s worth verbalizing to God in the ways that the old time saints did.
In addition, I read Lamentations three or four times in various versions, and spent extra time focusing on chapter three, an incredible writing. In my research, I found that in some church traditions, chapter three is read aloud during Good Friday services as a portrayal of Christ’s suffering. So I read it in that light. And I read it in light of my own suffering. It was illuminating and glorious.
My favorite verses are available here. A quick snapshot:
It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth. Let him sit alone in silence
when it is laid on him;
let him put his mouth in the dust—
there may yet be hope…
For the Lord will notLamentations 3:27-29, 31-32
cast off forever,
but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion
according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
I had a lovely little idea that February would be the perfect month to focus on intimacy, because of Valentine’s Day and all. I imagined investing in Ryan – relationship building, special times of connection, creative giving, and sexuality.
The week before February, I inherited a newborn baby. I realize my body didn’t go through birth, but wow. I always forget how much emotional and physical energy it takes to care for and bond with a new child 24/7. And a newborn!
Not only did my husband and I lose our incomparable seven to eight hour uninterrupted nights together, but we also lost our last precious hour or two of the day, when all the children are snug in their bedrooms and we take time to reconnect. Often we read, often we snack a little, often we have a deep talk, sometimes we watch a movie, sometimes we play a game. It’s my favorite part of the day, except for the actual moment of slipping under the covers of my bed.
Now during that hour and a half, I burp the baby.
And I feed her a little more, and change the diaper again, and in general perform all the anxious mommy tucking-in routines that accompany settling a newborn for the night. It takes forever. I think you remember.
There’s nothing like knowing she’s going to be up in a couple hours that puts a damper on lingering over romance of any kind.
I lamented about this to my husband, and he said, “Well, hm. What did you mean by intimacy? Maybe you could simply focus on knowing and being known, love.”
So I did. We talked for many hours in February. We had much to talk about, as always, and much of it this month was what you might call dark. We talked about our parenting, and our own faults, and our marriage. We talked about big questions. We talked about our church discipline. We talked about how I felt the night he stood me up – when we planned a mini date and he took a fire call instead. We talked about overwhelming emotions. We talked about hard things.
We got closer, as we always do on the other side.
And he started doing something really sweet. As part of my Valentine décor, I’d put up Scrabble tiles to spell phrases – the same generic things as last year: B MINE and LUV U 4EVR. Then one day, I noticed there was a new phrase up.
And a few days later, another.
I never caught him changing the messages, but they lit up my world every time I came into my kitchen and found a new love note in Scrabble letters.
He arranged flowers and candy for me on Valentine’s morning, and I gave him a tin of coffee M&M’s (have you had them? yummers) mixed with lots of tiny notes about things I love about him.
Late in February (the 26th), I took all the pent-up ideas for blessing Ryan and lined up an extended date night with him. I arranged sitting for all the kids including Bebe, so I could be entirely a wife for once, and planned the evening as a gift for him – a mini progressive supper that included salads and biscuits from Red Lobster to go, burgers and fries at our favorite local joint, the best ice cream in town for later, and a very funny Ted Cunningham recording on adding spice to your marriage.
That was satisfying.
We don’t go on a ton of eating-out dates, and when we do it’s very special.
I ordered a smash-up burger with bacon, fried egg, avocado, and pesto sauce, because I asked the server for a recommendation and that’s what she suggested. She said “It’s sooo flavorful!” and it was. Ryan ordered a maple bacon concoction with onion rings. Both were to die for, as always. We came home and I was scrolling through my Google photos a couple days later. I messaged Ryan and said, “You have got to look at the photos from last year on February 21!!”
This is what we found.
The restaurant got better at presentation, but we ordered the exact same burgers at the exact same place (look at the paper wrapping!) almost exactly one year previous. And didn’t remember it. That’s just creepy… and we are getting old.
Someday soon I plan to talk more about our marriage and our current journey. You know it hasn’t been easy. But I am really, really in love with this guy. And so grateful for his love for me.
That’s how our February went. ❤
How was yours?