In my 23 years of being a teacher, I can say that I rarely have taken days off during the school year for personal time. When I have to be away from school, it is usually due to sickness. My husband asked me, however, if I would like to travel with him to Destin, Florida so that he could attend a veterinary conference. How could I resist the offer to one, be with him, and two to have some rest and relaxation. Little did I know when I accepted his offer, that with the rest and relaxation would come reconnection and rejuvenation of my marriage!
Upon arrival to our resort, we decided to have dinner at the ACME Oyster House Restaurant at the Baytowne Wharf. The craw puppies started the meal with the perfect combo of crawfish and hush puppy all neatly tied together with a honey infused dipping sauce. Next, the meal arrived which could have been a meal for four not two people. It was stacked with fish, shrimp, oysters, more craw puppies and hush puppies. Although I never had been a fan of oysters, I loved the lightly battered, golden fried oyster bites that were sprinkled all over the dish. There was so much left over after we ate all that we could, that we took the rest back to our place and had it for dinner on night two!
We slept in the next day and recovered from some busy days that had preceded this trip. Before heading out for the day, I read this Scripture from Psalm 90: “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us.” I prayed this Scripture in my heart. I smiled and knew that we can trust in God to answer our prayers. Whatever “beauty” needed to look like that today, I thought, please Lord Jesus, let it be on us. I had waited for this day for so long and it was finally here. It was our day to focus on us.
On our first morning in Destin, we had a lovely breakfast on the porch of Another Broken Egg Cafe, a French country cafe, on their outside covered bricked porch area. As we sat by the bay, we sipped our coffee, watched the wind blow the palm trees then were filled with pancakes, eggs and bacon. Having time to sit and have a conversation around a table with my husband was truly a gift. Since we also were counting this trip as part of a celebration of my recent birthday, this breakfast gave me just what I wanted. The food was delicious but the presence of my husband was better! I look forward to some brunch dates in the future with my hubby in my home town at the Another Broken Egg Cafe located there.
After the breakfast, we journeyed over to the Gulf shore. When we stepped into the white powdery sand, it did not stick to my feet, but felt like pure bliss. I looked at the water and from a distance, it appeared an emerald, bluish color and was reminded of trips that I have taken with my husband to the Caribbean islands as we walked to the water’s edge. I stepped into the water and it was clear! Hand in hand we walked out into waist deep water where we found a sand bar upon which we sat. The gentle waves approached us and we just sat, looking into the distance at the horizon. The clouds drifted in the sky and laughter of toddlers digging in the sand on the shore wafted into my ears. Finally, we decided to take a walk on the beach. Getting to hold his hand, walk and talk gave me time to process this togetherness. We love our family and spend as much time as possible with them, but it was during this walk when I let myself live in the moment. This was my moment with him. We started our relationship while dating with so many moments which allowed us to fall in love and later marry. Having time with him now reminded me of those dating days. We could just be us and not try to be anything else. There was a wonderful rejuvenation that I felt while relaxing with him on the pool deck by the beach. Eventually, the wind kicked in and we decided to leave and go to get snacks.
After spending all of this time with him, I was sad to part when he had to go to the Conference. I decided to head to the beautifully manicured pool with innumerable palm trees dotting the area. I began reading a book that I have had for a while but have not made time to read yet. It is Renee Swope’s “A Confident Heart”. At first, it was so breezy that I had to cover up. I read the first chapter and noticed a sentence which the author wanted me to reflect on. It asked me to describe what happens in my heart when I read God’s words. Specifically, the following Scripture was referenced: Isiah 43:19: ” See, I am doing a new thing!” Suddenly, the clouds literally broke and the sun came bursting through warming me. It dawned on me that I am in the process of being refreshed and renewed. I chose to sit at a spot which has a beautiful waterfall streaming down rocks. Hearing the trickle of water at the waterfall even sounded refreshing to me! I also felt the need to repeat that Scripture out loud because faith comes from hearing the Word of God. The first word of that Scripture tells me to “See”. Of course, I have to see if I am to realize the new things that God is doing, but that word, “See”, continued to ring in my ears.
Sometimes in my marriage, I have chosen to see things that were not always as pleasant as they have been on this trip. I have chosen to see the struggle and dwell there. As the pool guy came by with a power washer to get the dark layers off of the cement bricks that edged one side of the pool, I realized that I am witnessing that God is slowly power washing the layers of hurt and sadness that have built in my life. I am seeing that I have to pray His Word because it will align with His purpose for my marriage and for me. I have spoken His word today and in just one sentence, The Holy Spirit of God allowed me to see that He is doing a new thing in me and in my marriage.
I know that the plan is to head home in a few days. There will not be swaying palm trees, fountains, white powder sand and time to sit, but for today, I am glad that God has given me the gift of seeing that He is doing a new thing. There have to be times when the old layers get washed away so that new memories and experiences can get poured into my mind.
I am thankful for the gift of seeing not only my husband, but not feeling like I am hindered from walking through darkness in the past. It is true that we will face shadows but they are only visible when we are not facing the light. I am not looking behind or to the left or right. I am looking at the gift of marriage that God designed for my husband and me. God planned for me to find my husband and walk through the dark as well as the light. It is only when I have read the Word of God that this newness began to seep into my soul.
Jesus used mud which he spat on into the eyes of a blind person when He was on Earth and the blind person received sight! He used natural elements infused with Him to bring about rejuvenation to the person in the Bible story and is using the natural elements in Destin which He made on Earth to renew me. Today, I am feeling that I have received insight into a happier me as I have allowed time to treasure the moments with my best friend and husband.