What is it about year 7? Isn't 7 the perfect number? When Dan and I were engaged, we did some premarital counseling with a pastor that told us that the first year of marriage was wonderful...it was 7 that was tough. I thought...that's weird...you're weird...Little did I know that #7 would just be...WEIRD?! (Here's a disclaimer: Dan and I are NOT having marriage problems, we are not fighting, we are not getting divorced, no one has been unfaithful...and any other rumors that might get started are not true!)
A lot of things happened this year! Our second child, beautiful Hannah Grace, was born. I learned that being a mother does not always come naturally...it is actually quite UN-natural to be patient, kind, and selfless. I learned that I used to be busy...now I'm just crazy and out of my mind. I learned that romance these days is just...different. In some ways it is better than ever...in other ways it is just different.
When I was a little girl, I dreamed of being married to a pastor. One could say that God was calling me at a young age to be married to, and support a pastor. Little did I know that it would lead me right back to the place where that dream started...my hometown. In many ways, I love it! In other ways, I don't love it as much. The truth is that I'm a pretty tough girl. I can have a pretty bad attitude. I don't let people mess with me. I'm not afraid of conflict. I struggle at times, though. In a large church, especially, it is quite easy to be misunderstood and to find yourself quite lonely. It seems that most people have an expectation for you...how you should dress, how you should interact with your husband...the pastor, how your kids should behave...and dress, who your friends should be, how available you are, how much money you should (and shouldn't) have...and the list goes on. One time a woman came up to me and commented on how my husband and I interacted during a church service and on what my outfit was like the prior Sunday. That's just crazy. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I feel quite blessed to be living my life. I've always felt as if I was called into ministry, even before I met my husband. For the most part it has even been fun! But there is something about that year #7 that has been throwing me through the ringer.
From a counselor's perspective, it is pretty normal...I know that now. Around year 7, I think things just start to settle in. We've finished school, got the jobs, bought the house, had the kids, and now we are looking toward the future and it seems like the newness and adventure is looking mundane and old. Most people throw in the towel because that old and mundane feeling is scary. For me? There is still a twinge of adventure in it all...
I still feel lonely sometimes...and that is tough for an extrovert like me. But when times get tough, or mundane, I say to pull your little family into a huddle really close and remember how much we have to be thankful for. While we all know that God is still completing his work in us...in me...we can manage this loneliness...we can manage this weird year #7. Perhaps it is weird because because It's just the calm before the storm of radical change? I guess we will see. For now, I'm holding on and looking forward to what comes next. I will rely on the truth that God never forsakes me and that He's there even when it doesn't feel like it. I will work hard to step out of my loneliness and do the work that God continues to call me into. And I will bear the criticism and misunderstanding of being a ministry wife. I will push through this weird #7 because I adore my husband and family. I love my life, and any trial is just making us stronger.