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It’s a little bit of a dream, sitting in this cozy, renovated gate house surrounded by stone and wood and brick.  It’s raining and it’s quiet and I have a cup of coffee and I’m writing.  My husband and I ate an amazing meal last night, sourced locally and from the inn we’re staying at.  Our kids are being cared for by grandparents and friends are helping with some of the logistics, and we know we couldn’t do this without them.  This time away was a Christmas gift, and what a gift it is. (By the time you read this, I’ll be back in the thick of it.)  We’re heading to see a movie at 10:30 this morning (!) and have mapped out a great little coffee place to hit up afterwards.

We’ve made times like this a priority.  This one was a gift, in the truest sense of the word.  Other times, we’ve had to make our own financial sacrifices to make these times happen.  We’ve sometimes only done one night, other times more.  These times are crucial, though, when your life is so bent towards others.  It’s part of taking care of our marriage so that when the kids are gone, when the ministry fades (maybe never?), when the chaos looks a little different… we still know who we are.

We know that we cannot love other people the way God has called us to if we don’t take care of this relationship first.  Love is work, you guys.  Anyone who tells you differently is telling you a lie.  We only need to look to Jesus to know the hard calling of love.  Sometimes the work looks like a hard late night conversation, when all you really want to do is sleep.  Sometimes it’s full of tears and apologies.  Sometimes the work of love means laying down your own agenda in favor of your spouse and their agenda.  Over and over we have had to choose love.  No one has a marriage that doesn’t require work.

We work hard, we play hard.  One without the other is unbalanced.

We’re going to walk in this rain to the barn they serve breakfast in, and sip more coffee, and eat good food, and get filled up for the next little bit.  So grateful for this respite, so grateful for His grace.