We drove up to what appeared to be an abandoned cabin in the middle of nowhere. Is this right? Is this REALLY the place? I pulled up the photo on our Airbnb app and compared all the details. Yes… this was it. We had arrived to our destination in Pray, Montana. Wow.
My first reaction was stunned. Followed by fear, excitement, apprehension, adrenaline, and then tears; tears of joy. You see, I was intentional when I booked our anniversary trip this year. In previous years we stayed in places with a lot of hustle and bustle… we enjoy that high energy city life with the opportunity to explore the country around it. We absolutely love local eateries with craft beers and a fancy wine selection. All of our previous itineraries were centered around dinner reservations at five star restaurants. In simple terms, we love food and we generally eat our way through cities. We don’t consider ourselves “foodies” yet, but that is definitely a goal. However, this year I KNEW that we needed something different. We needed a serious break from the busyness. In fact, we needed zero internet, zero cell service, zero Starbucks, zero skyscrapers, zero fancy clothes, and zero dinner reservations.
So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun. Ecclesiastes 8:15
This cabin in the middle of Pray, Montana was exactly what we needed.
There is little to no cell phone service in this “town.” We will call it a town because it’s one of the last places anyone can buy gas before entering Yellowstone National Park. Our cabin has wifi and 1-2 bars on the Verizon service, but every time the wind blows… the service is interrupted causing long-term web surfing virtually impossible. That honestly makes me happier. Justin and I grew up with access to the entire world at our fingertips. We’ve been texting and web surfing since we were in elementary school. This is our first real break. Freedom.
I think it’s ironic that this town is called “Pray.” I literally prayed for such a place to exist for us back in July (we always book our anniversary trips in July because there is a 5th paycheck in that month). The Lord provided every single thing I asked for…. all the way down to the hot tub and hammock.
“And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” 1 John 5:14
If you’ve been following my blog, then you know I’m a serious planner. I plan everything. I am a gal that focuses on meeting goals. Whether that goal is selecting all my groceries in my self-set deadline of 30-mins or planning the most amazing travel experience with my husband. Planning is my thriller. So, you can imagine how out of place my mind feels in Pray right now. We have no plan. No schedule. No itinerary. No expectations.
To my surprise, we’ve actually hit the sack early each night. Make all the funny assumptions you want, but I can tell you hitting the sack early had nothin’ to do with the hanky panky. It has everything to do with our bodies being exhausted from life. In fact, up until this week… our schedules and energy levels haven’t allowed for much hanky panky. Real life is hard and maybe it’s just us, but our marriage often gets pushed to the side as we focus on work, podcasts, blog posts, family, friends, grocery shopping, laundry, cleaning the house, doctor and vet visits, and everything else that life throws at us. We KNOW that our marriage comes before all of those things, but somewhere in the back of our minds we also know that it will never go anywhere… our marriage is not leaving and we have a weird understanding that this is just how it is for now… until… well, who knows when. We will wait on each other, right? Or is that just in fairytales?
I’m not sure how many cycles we can go through, but we’ve been through a lot of them already. It’s usually me that brings up to Justin that we need to refocus; put our marriage first in all the crazy priorities we have. We get focused for about two weeks… things start to look up, but then something happens that needs to push our marriage back to slot number two or three on the priorities list. We always say… “it’s just this one time.” I’m starting to see that it only takes one time to throw off our priorities for months. Justin and I are so career driven that often times we can go two or three months without realizing that we haven’t had one romantic moment or date. I’m the outspoken one… so I usually start the conversation that leads to the argument which ends with a big apology party and shift of priorities. Two weeks later… repeat. Repeat again. Again. Again. Twelve years of “again.”
I’m tired of the cycle.
This is where we are right now. The cabin was/is my hope to end this vicious cycle. Only time will tell what happens after this trip. My morning prayers have been that Justin and I refocus our minds, hearts, and priorities this week. There is something intimate, yet healing about experiencing God’s creation right before your eyes with the person you chose to do life with. For example, last night we drove through Yellowstone National Park at sunset. The colors were breathtakingly beautiful and I had this urge to just STOP and take it in. The moment was overwhelming with beauty and intimacy. It had me all hot and bothered from the inside-out; the romance was in the air all of a sudden. I haven’t had that urge in a while. This is what we NEEDED. It was healing.
Maybe you can pray for my marriage rather than judge it?
I’ve noticed that the people who are quick to judge are the ones who have the most struggles. Their judgement is often a way of putting up a wall. They want to separate themselves from anyone who would make them be honest and vulnerable. Quite frankly, no one is better than you or me. We are the same. We all have struggles, a past, pain, and a story. How we handle all of that really determines how quick we can heal from it. As any counseling program will tell you, the first step in healing is “admitting.” Go ahead judgers – start admitting.
Maybe we are the only ones who need healing in our marriage, but then again… maybe we are not. I decided a long time ago that I would be vulnerable to anyone who would listen because I wanted to open up the floodgates for conversation and relate-ability. Here is the way I see it: holding in feelings is only appropriate in certain “formal” settings (like Thanksgiving dinner) and for the most part… being vulnerable is the only way we can have authentic relationships. I realize that no one wants to be friends with a drama queen and Lord knows that I’m not trying to air dirty laundry nor be overly dramatic. In fact, if you hand me the spot light or give me your full attention, then I’ll probably vomit a little in my mouth. I really do not like being at the center of attention. Being vulnerable will put you there for a quick minute, but I have found that doing so really gets the other person in the conversation to open up their heart. It puts the spotlight on them, too. Eventually… both of you are in the spotlight together; completely uncomfortable and exposed, but together. I call that moment: Intimacy.
You see, I desire deep authentic and intimate relationships. The only way someone can know ME is by knowing my good and my bad. I’m not sugar coating my life’s complexities, but I am asking for you to be my friend even though my marriage isn’t perfect. Maybe your struggle isn’t in your marriage. Maybe your struggle is something totally opposite of relationships…. whatever it is… I want you to be honest and vulnerable about it with the next person you have coffee with. Be honest with me. This is a safe place. Let it out. Get it off your chest. Please… for heaven’s sake… let’s be real. Comment your story below.
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