Justin and I spent 5 days in Palm Desert for our church’s annual marriage retreat last weekend. The retreat was Fri-Sun but we decided to stay a few extra nights to celebrate my birthday but mostly have some one-on-one quality time together…no work, no emails, no errands, no planning meals, just relaxing and being together. Every summer at about this point we start to get really tired because wedding season keeps us so busy. This summer has been the busiest and craziest of them all. I’ve hardly seen this sweet husband of mine because our schedules are so flip-flopped right now, he’s working at night, I’m working during the day, before you know it 5 days will pass and I won’t have talked with him in person the whole week. I leave in the morning before he wakes up and come home when he’s already left for work, do that 4 nights in a row every week, shooting weddings and engagement sessions the other days and we’re left with no days off together. So to get 5 nights away with this guy was a dream. No interruptions, just us. It was glorious.

This was our very first time ever being able to attend Weekend Getaway. We’ve had weddings every year that weekend so we’ve never been able to go. So last summer I started praying. I prayed that we wouldn’t get any inquiries for this specific weekend. It seemed so petty, but it’s what my heart yearned for. I so desperately wanted to retreat with my husband and other married couples from our church, feel like we’re part of a church family, and pour into our marriage, especially in the middle of our busiest time of the year when we needed a weekend away the most. Every time my e-mail dinged, I prayed that it wasn’t an inquiry for the first weekend of August. I love how the Lord pays attention to every little detail, because not one email for that weekend came in, yet we got multiple inquiries for just about every other weekend for the entire summer. This was a HUGE answer to prayer for us.

If there’s one thing our church and pastor is passionate about, it’s MARRIAGE. I’ve never been to any other church that has had any sort of marriage ministry, and I’ve never felt more at home when finding New Community. I believe wholeheartedly that marriage should come first. I believe there is a purpose for every ministry within a church, but if your marriage is failing, how can you properly serve your children and lead by example? You can serve others best when you heart is in a good place with the Lord. I have found this to be so true in my own life. When we started attending New Community after moving back to San Diego two years ago my heart exploded when I heard all of the ways the church serves their married couples. This last weekend was by far my favorite week of the year. The topic for the weekend was “communication”. I can’t tell you how many books I’ve read or sermons I’ve listened to on this topic and Dale’s messages/sessions made it click far more than anything I’ve ever heard or read. It all boils down to “conversation connects the heart”. Not just “How was your day? We’re out of Milk. Feed the dog.” kind of chit chat, but real, vulnerable, you’re sometimes nervous when it leaves the lips kind of conversation. It was so fun to be able to spend a few extra nights after the retreat was over to hang out and since we had no agenda, we did A LOT of communicating. We talked a lot about a new adventure we’re starting, and no we’re not pregnant. We had some of our deepest, most vulnerable conversations, talked about wild and crazy dreams, talked about goals, where God is leading us, where He’s opening doors, where He’s closing doors, what our hearts desire, and in those moments where walls come crumbling down, the hearts connect. This weekend was exactly what we needed amidst this busy season and we’ve come home feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the year.

On Saturday night after the last session, each couple was given a “Date Night” packet. It was a three part date and we decided to start off at Flemings for some drinks and appetizers, talked a lot, and took the “5 Love Languages” test for like the 10th time only to find out Justin’s love language has changed yet again, haha. Not surprised about that. Then we went on a little driving adventure to this pretty little spot as the sun was setting where Chris and Chelsea (who we shot a few months ago) were taking everyone’s photos. Being that Justin and I never are in any of the pictures we take, I was stoked, and I had Chris snap a few on my camera (fab job by the way Chris!). Then we went off to our favorite vegan restaurant for dinner where we had fun questions to answer and had lots of heart connecting conversation. We wrapped the night up by heading back to the pool to hang out with a bunch of other couples only to have the pool shut down early because the cheerleaders who were staying at the resort were being obnoxiously loud and sneaking into the adult only pool.

As for my birthday, I was dreading 25. For some reason it sounds a whole lot older than 24. And I can’t tell you how many times in the last few weeks I read something that said you have to be 25 and I thought, “That sucks, I’m only 21, guess I can’t do it.”. I must be getting old if I can’t even remember how old I am. lol. Justin sure spoiled me and loved on me all weekend. As for my quarter life crisis, I got over that real quick when I remember how blessed I am to have been married to the sweetest man for the last three and a half years, I have a dog that is as close to a human as possible, I own a business doing what I love and it’s taken me all over the country, I can walk to the beach from my house, I have some of the closest and best friends I’ve ever had, and I serve a God whose love is relentless and His plans for me are always more perfect than mine. Every time. Thank you Jesus for the beauty of marriage and for loving me. Because of your love, I can love this man. And thank you Justin for teaching me a little more about Christ’s love for us each and every day. I love you.

“Let your conversation always be full of grace and seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Col 4:6

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