Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Cost Of Marriage, And 25 Years A Bride

Perusing through an article on marriage just one week before a milestone Wedding Anniversary, I am challenged with a thought provoking question.

"WHEN YOU THINK OF THE COST OF MARRIAGE, WHAT COMES TO MIND?"  

Sarah and Tyler 2016,  Me and Rick 1991 
Having recently witnessed the marriage celebration of our daughter Sarah and son-in-law, Tyler,  it was easy to quickly recount the budget and the cost (still fresh in my mind) that went into making it a most exquisite event, a near perfect wedding day--I like to say, it was one for the ages! 

Just as quickly as thoughts and happy memories of our daughter's beautiful wedding day flooded my soul, they faded into the realization that in little more than a week (April 13, 2016) I too would be celebrating happy memories...
25 years a bride.  

Although I remember it as one of the happiest days of my life, I am far removed from the financial details of my own wedding day.  Twenty five years has a way of showing me,  THE COST OF MARRIAGE isn't about the dollars and cents at all, nor is it really about the happiness, although happiness is a great byproduct.
Rather, what comes to mind has more to do with the giving, the investment, the sacrifice, the commitment and being refined like gold time and time again.  


(Left)engagement picture 1990  and (Right) today 2016
Time may weather our physical bodies but it strengthens our souls

"THE GIVING 
THE INVESTMENT 
THE SACRIFICE 
THE COMMITMENT 
AND BEING REFINED LIKE GOLD  
TIME AND TIME AGAIN"

Standing strong thru the years, started with a shared faith and commitment to walk through whatever we faced together.  It continues with an obedience to God's Word, not just when it is easy and we feel like it, but also when the days are difficult and we don't feel like it.  

Our Wedding Day,  April 13, 1991
                                                                  Often times, the cost of marriage means laying down our pride (which can be really ugly at times), and taking up our cross (which can be really painful at times).  It means putting you before me and we before I.  It means admitting our mistakes and falling to our knees in both offering  forgiveness and receiving forgiveness.  It means being intentional about us, through every season, protecting, guarding and keeping watch over that which God has joined together....our marriage relationship, our dreams and our purposes, both as a couple and as individuals.  

Rarely if ever, do we go it alone. There is both cost and great risk to staying transparent and vulnerable. Surrounding ourselves with good couples, family, and friends, means we always have people who are there to cheer and celebrate with us when life is great, but who also don't hesitate to roll up their sleeves and fight alongside us for our marriage and when times aren't so great.   

A recent Friday night date. 
Loving together, serving together, making great memories together, sharing the deepest levels of intimacy together, raising a family together, laughing together (we've done a lot of laughing), crying together (we've done a lot of crying too), facing victory and defeat together, facing triumph and tragedy together, playing together, praying together....we still don't always get it right,even after 25 years, but we always always invite His Spirit to inhabit every little (and big) detail along the way.

WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, THE REAL COST OF MARRIAGE IS GREAT!  


With the helping hands of our Heavenly Father and a deep love and devotion, we count the cost and we pay the price....not just for weddings, but for marriage too.     For it is in doing so,  that we know and experience...
 REAL LOVE
 REAL LIFE
 AND REAL MARRIAGE.

   You and Me Rick Steimling, together forever.....in love, being refined like gold, time and time again, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.         

  Happy 25th Anniversary to the Love of my life!
Crystal



Wednesday, December 24, 2014

BEING PRESENT IN THE GIFT OF NOW

                                                                                                        THE GIFT OF NOW
Christmas 2014

Seventeen years ago as a young wife and mother, the idea of an annual Christmas letter inspired me.   For 16 of those years, themes and thoughts and happenings from our lives flowed seamlessly and creatively from the tip of my pen (and later the keys of my keyboard).    It was with a great sense of accomplishment they were printed on the finest handpicked paper, crisply folded, inserted, stamped, addressed and on their way by the earliest days of December to friends and family near and far.  
This year however, the earliest days of December came and went, and still no sign of a letter, not even a stirring.  It surely wasn't for lack of report-worthy news and events.  Looking back, I’d say 2014 is one for the ages. 


A year of dedicated commitment to health and wellness (at the gym and around the table)
Matt's  High School Graduation and acceptance to Grove City College 
Sarah's marriage proposal from Tyler, and turning 21
New friendships and family
Trips to Florida, Pittsburgh, New York, Virginia and Connecticut
Wedding dress shopping   
AND…….
Quite possibly, one of the most vivid and beautiful autumns I have seen in all of my 47 years. 

At the end of the day (and the end of the year) couple ALL of that with 
the challenges of ministry life,
full time work, 
 the beginning joys and fears of the empty nest,
AND......
I find the very thing that once inspired, now takes a back seat to a different kind of inspiration......
THE GIFT OF NOW AND ALL OF ITS SIMPLICITY

BEING PRESENT IN THE GIFT OF NOW, the quieting of our hearts slowing to prepare Him room, that's what inspires me most now.   Sometimes in the ebb and flow of life's busyness, adjustments are necessary.  It's 1 day before Christmas, and I’m totally OK that my letter is just getting written.   You see………"BEING PRESENT IN THE GIFT OF NOW, no matter how changing OR how constant..... is what inspires me.”

*Exchanging baking, for an evening out for Christmas desserts and music, with new friends and dear family.  
*A cup of Christmas Tea and good conversation with my next door neighbor instead of running to the mall.    
*The expectation of stress-free togetherness.
(It's a beautiful thing, and not always packaged perfectly)
*Christmas Carolers at the front door---avoiding an over scheduled season meant being home and present to receive their melodious gifts.
*Helping my daughter’s best friend from out of town, plan a Christmas surprise....
 And being there to witness the joyful tears and capture it on video.   
*Watching my kids enjoy time with each other (in silliness and in maturity)

*Watching my husband and his “grownup” little girl checking off their "daddy-daughter" bucket list together, with little more than a year before her college graduation and wedding.
*Getting to work extra early on a Monday morning to witness an employee in need, being blessed beyond measure by her co-workers.


For us, changing things up a bit this year simply meant enjoying every single special and intimate moment of the 2014 Christmas Season (planned and unplanned)  with joy in our hearts and peace in our minds.
 As we open the pages to 2015,  
May  THE SIMPLICITY OF BEING PRESENT IN THE NOW
 bring to you some of life's greatest gifts. 
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Steimling Family