So take up what we’ve been given
Welcome the edge of our days
Hemmed in by sunrise and sunset
By our youth and by our age
Thank God for our dependence
Here’s to our chasm of need
And how it binds us together
In faith and vulnerability
Hi, friends! It is time for a little update on our life as the Orton’s. These days, I feel like every morning is a gift, that God is so deeply present in our lives no matter how mundane they feel, and even though He has poured out so. much. grace and goodness, he continually asks us to hold out our cups and ask for more. Even more grace. Even more good. Even more of Himself as we wade through the waters of mercy and tread the deeps of uncertainty.
It’s only a little bit embarrassing that I sat down and almost started typing “Good morning!” to begin this post, then realized it was 11:49 am. Yesterday was a crazy day and last night was a rough one, and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about the time the clock read when I got out of bed. That’s one of the many areas where I’m learning to give grace to myself: didn’t go to bed until after 1am? Dear self, you don’t have to wake up at sunrise the next morning.
Today, I am so full of the wonder and power of new morning mercies. I would say that’s been one of the most wonderful things I’ve learned during our first month of marriage. His mercies are new every morning, and that is so freeing and beautiful to me.
What it doesn’t mean: I can treat my husband however I want, and when a new day comes it’s as if it never happened. I can wallow in my job-less circumstances and put it off another day. We can go to sleep with tension looming over our heads and when we wake up in the morning, it will all be fine.
What it does mean: The rising sun is a daily reminder of God’s presence and faithfulness in our lives. My awareness that this day will end and a new day will come is a strong push to make things right with my husband so we can enjoy a new day with a fresh start. The morning comes, time after time, after the sun goes down and darkness falls. And really, I’m just thankful that bad days have an end and there’s hope on the horizon for a brand new one.
It’s been a really, really, really good month for the Orton’s. We are HUGE fans of marriage. Love it. Can’t believe we get to participate in such a sweet gift. I still just can’t believe that after 3 years of long distance and only being together for a few days at a time, that he comes home every. single. day. It’s just the best! And it’s still the best part of the day. When he walks through the door it’s like a small sliver of that moment when we would be reunited at our airline gates. A mixture of joy and relief and peace. I get that every day. Thank you Jesus.
We also have been so well-loved and cared for by our friends and family as we get settled in. I could not even BELIEVE the generosity of the people who showed up at our wedding with cards and checks and hugs and joy and laughter. We opened and read all the cards from the wedding day while on our honeymoon and — shocker — I cried at the IMMENSE love we felt, the provision God gave us through our home team. I was so afraid of starting out with so little money after the wedding, but nope: people help you out in that area when you get married and I’m still humbled to my bones at how every need has been supplied. The reason we haven’t gotten our thank you cards out is because I’m having self control to not write long, passionate, emotional letters to each person and even that doesn’t seem an adequate expression of my thanks.
Our honeymoon was pure magic. We stayed in a treehouse cabin on a mountain, explored the blue ridge parkway, had dinner by the fire each night, etc. and it was pure joy. The happiest I have ever been in my life.
Then we loaded up the trailer back in Rock Hill and I slept all the way up to Cary. The first week was everything you’d expect the first week in an apartment to be: CAMPING. Eating pizza for days. Enough cardboard recycled to build a whole house. Eating ice cream with plastic forks because we didn’t have silverware. Endless trips to Target. Ikea furniture pieces all over the living room floor. Working for hours on end, then standing up and looking around and realizing it was all coming together. This place is so good for us. It’s small yet open, simple and becoming more colorful and homey each day.
Like every new season, this one found us on a long learning curve. Don’t talk to me about our attempt at whole30 the first full week in our new place unless you buy me chick-fil-a while I vent. Just kidding. We learned a lot in the one week that we stuck to it. We learned a lot about why that was really really bad timing, and we are still motivated and inspired to eat clean and cook creatively, just not to the extent where I spend 3 hours in the kitchen prepping one meal. So it ended up being a really good decision to stop, for now. Our small taste of it was just long enough to be sure we will give it another try during a different phase of life.
We are figuring out good rhythms and routines as a part of adjusting, and that has been really sweet and cool to do alongside another person. I live with my best friend. I wake up and drive him to work most mornings between 6 or 7 (unless he opens), then I come home and have breakfast, coffee, devotions, to-do lists, run errands if I need to, some days by this time I will pick Andrew up from work, or work on my *sUpEr FuN* job search from Starbucks and we will go home together. Lately we’ve been running together a few times and it is just wonderful. So happy. Other times if he gets off early in the afternoon we will go for a walk, get dinner somewhere, or if i’ve been lazy that day we will get groceries together. I much prefer it that way ;) We clean up dinner, and start to settle down for the night, around 9, since we are old. I’ve finally begun to stick to my long-attempted habit of reading before bed. I usually get an hour or more in before I fall asleep. Bonus points if we read out loud to each other. This past Sunday we cleaned the apartment, got dinner for $5 at Harris Teeter then spent a few hours at Starbucks together: reading, meal planning, writing letters. When we came home we did the daily examen together and talked about things we wanted to grow in or work on or do better in the coming week and month. Also, praying together is the sweetest gift. Some things I really love about Andrew are his routines and his appreciation for consistency. Whether it’s consistent milk foam on lattes at work, always reaching out to long-distance friends before it reaches that it’s-been-too-long phase, even his consistent bed times and the way he makes waking up at 4:30 am look easy, I very much appreciate this about him.
I am learning a lot from him in that area because I struggle with not meeting my own expectations for solid routines. I struggle with being all over the place, feeling like I don’t get enough done at the end of the day, criticizing myself hard for being inconsistent. This month has found me just easing in to patterns that work well and that help keep me steady. Speaking of feeling steady, time for honesty hour: since getting married I have felt my anxiety physically and emotionally settle waaaaaaay down. At this point, I can only attribute it to God’s overwhelming grace, and maybe not having a wedding to plan. It used to feel like I was drowning in worry, and my own unmet expectations, and the worst, sharp, scary moments of crippling yet irrational fear that would leave as soon as they would come. BUT. The month of April did not have one single anxiety attack. The month of April found me so much more clear-headed, able to actually focus on listening to my emotions and sorting through them before the Lord. In this way, he has brought healing and more clarity and deeper hope and joy and contentment that has just trampled out so many monsters I’ve wrestled with: guilt, depression, anxiety, God is caging them up. It’s just amazing. AMAZING! Being able to bear my whole heart to Andrew when I feel the weights I try to carry grow heavier has been utterly, deeply transformative. Isn’t that just like Jesus? I can bring it all to him, my messiest, dirtiest, scariest thoughts, fears, feelings, and He can take it all. Willingly. Lately he’s been trading my weight and labor for trust and rest. Amazing grace. Andrew beautifully exemplifies Jesus in this way to me. Sometimes I just cry, and he just holds me, and I remember Jesus has been doing this all along.
Every season is bittersweet, this is the fallen world. I would be misleading if I left this post at “everything is awesome,” because even though life IS awesome right now, there’s a lot of hard. Andrew’s job is really, really hard right now. Remember that time I said he didn’t get home until 1 last night? Insert Kate’s first married panic attack: here (healing and deliverance is a process). My lack of job is really, really hard right now. My certainty that I need and must go to grad school BUT LOANS is really hard right now. We are looking for a church, and that’s new and daunting and hard. We are also looking for friends. So hard. Don’t even get me started. I love my days and time and routines with Andrew, but to be honest, the other day I just wanted to hang out with somebody else. That’s a hard feeling, especially when you realize you both feel that way sometimes. The other day I just straight up missed my family like hell. Almost every day I think about how all my friends live either on the other side of the world, or the country. That’s SO hard.
Even so, I’m sitting here basking in the new mercy sunlight. I’ll never stop thanking Jesus for the hard and good that go hand in hand. How else would we grow? How else would we trust and know Him in newer deeper ways? There’s something from the sermon we heard on Sunday that keeps rumbling around in my heart.
Trust the God who raises the dead.
Trust is the craziest scariest thing. But it’s also the most liberating and joyful place to live.
And so, here is what we are trusting God for, what we are anticipating with hope, and two things we really need your prayer for with us:
— Our church search. It has been off to a great start, and we are committing to one church for the next 6 weeks so as to get a good feel for it’s life and rhythms and family. We are so excited and eager, but we don’t want to stop asking for wisdom and guidance.
— Kate’s job search. Talk about trust! Being job-less is the worst. But it has been a really powerful learning process, with God uncovering my passions and desires and giving me confidence, peace, and excitement in the middle of the uncertainty. We are trusting that He has a specific place where he wants me to be, and asking again for wisdom and guidance.
It’s a joy to share this life with Andrew, and to daily offer up our cups to a sovereign God who never leaves us thirsty.