I really like being a girlfriend.
I love loving and being loved—in the big ways and the small ways. There is something in my heart that feels settled and deeply connected in my relationship. And it’s fabulous.
But as much as I love being a girlfriend, there are times when relationships are just really hard.
Carl and I have had fabulously romantic days, and achingly frustrating days. We’ve had dates for the record books, and dates so bad that they really should go in some kind of record book.
We have seasons that feel close and romantic—where I could burst into song at any moment for the love I feel for that adorable man. And we have seasons that feel distant and infuriating—when we just can’t get on the same page, or a busy day gets the best of us.
Sometimes I’m in a relationship, and I want to shout it from a mountaintop, and sometimes I’m in a relation-shit. Pardon my French.
And I’m discovering with this jump-into-the-lake, dance-in-the-rain kind of freedom that these seasons are perfectly normal, and even better, that they’re good.
Every bad day affords us the opportunity to get closer and become better versions of ourselves. Every conflict—and the healing that follows—makes our relationship stronger and makes that next romantic moment even sweeter.
But somehow it’s harder to translate that kind of thinking to my relationship with the Lord.
For the first several years of my life as a Christian, I was madly in love. My relationship with God was wild and fresh and intimate and exciting. I wanted to talk about him, think about him, sing about him, and learn about him all day every day. And sometimes I really would.
I went to church twice a week and devoured my bible like a red velvet cupcake from the bakery near our office.
But if I’m really honest—and it’s hard to be—my relationship with God doesn’t always feel like that. In fact, sometimes my relationship with God feels more like a relation-shit.
My mornings are hurried and groggy, and my quiet times (when they happen) include me gulping down coffee and trying to hold my eyes open while I peer down at my sleep-blurred Bible.
I think about God a lot, but spend more time counting the ways I’m disappointing him than living in the reality of his fabulous grace.
And then I’m disappointed in me too because I think that if I was pulling my weight in this God/Stephanie relationship, I would be giddy about it every single moment of every single day.
In other words, I’m failing. Miserably.
But if giddy isn’t the only indication of good for Carl and I, why do I think it should be with God?
I’m not saying that God has cranky days, or busy seasons at the office (he may, I’m just assuming he can handle it). I know that God is steadfast, and that his character doesn’t change.
But even though God doesn’t waver with the seasons, I absolutely do. And so does life.
I have seasons that are busier than others, crankier than others, more exhausting than others. I can be irrational and irritated and have no good excuse for either. I can feel loved one moment and rejected the next, and I can go from happy to sad with a change in the wind. I don’t feel like singing from a mountaintop every moment—partially because I’m human and partially because I’m living this sometimes-frustrating thing called life.
In other words—maybe my feelings aren’t a great way to measure my relationships.
Carl and I aren’t always roses and champagne. And my relationship with God isn’t always mountaintops and Chris Tomlin. But here’s the good news…
My relationships are more solid and more steadfast than my feelings.
They’re there, and solid, and growing. And the beauty of the love that comes out of those hard-fought moments is far better than perfection.
How have you seen love increase because of the hard days?