“I’ll be a living…sanctuary..for..you.” 

I tried to control the heaviness of my breath as the lyrics ended, my lips kissing the bridge of Aliyah’s nose. She was asleep. Thank God. 

I crouched down to the floor, feeling for the skinny stretch maternity jeans and salmon one-shoulder top I envisioned wearing while completing my daughter’s bedtime routine. I threw on some deodorant and the body spray I found in the side pocket of our suitcase and ran out of the house.

It was 10:30 and the movie started in 10 minutes, but still he took the time to open my door. He forced his lips together in efforts to cover the cheesy smile on his face. I boasted my all-teeth smile unashamed to admit what we were both thinking: this was a big deal!

Check out our trip to Ohio!Our drive to the theater seemed to fly by, my heart rate admitting fault for speeding up the ETA assigned by Google maps. The movie, Jurassic World, was surprisingly good — although my review would have to take a backseat to another made by someone who wasn’t holding hands with the cutest guy in the room/state/nation/world! 

I’ll save you from reading all my wifey feels and get to the point: we went on a date!

No babies, no friends, no bibles…(you tend to make a date night out of anything when you’re parents). So what? You’re married, why is a date such a big deal? Well, as I sit here writing, reminiscing about that time I spent with my best friend, I realize it may very well have been our first date of 2018. 

****

I’m reminded so strongly of the advice we constantly received during our engagement. 

“Make sure you go on a date at least once a week.” 

There were several variations of that same sentiment with specific regulations for what constituted a “date”. I believe each of those comments/suggestions were made in genuine love and solid wisdom, but the reality is we haven’t followed that rule. At all. 

There’s no room for judgment here because I know the status of my marriage. I know how much our love for one another has increased this year, despite our failure to follow the formula set by friends and counselors. It’s almost as if we’ve chosen to walk in the bountiful grace made available to us in this season rather than acting as accusers, condemning our relationship because of a law that’s impossible to fulfill (at least right now). 

We’re busy parents of (almost) two kids, working on saving for our future. We spend hours out each week as a family and even more time Netflix and chilling at home when Aliyah is asleep. The investment in our relationship may not look like it did before but it’s there.   

****

Here’s the rainbow (a reminder of God’s promise) I caught on our date:  

“God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8

There are laws in Christianity, rules that are designed to keep us close to God. But it’s possible to spend more time focused on following the rules than following His heart. We can get caught up in thinking our own actions determine our salvation status when ultimately obeying the handbook to heaven is impossible for our flawed humanity.

I’m glad all God sees when He looks at me is not my lack but His amazing grace.

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