I wanted to write this post as soon as possible so that it would more accurately reflect the emotions Caleb + I experienced at CONNECT while they are still so fresh in my mind. Wow. I simply don’t even know where to begin. Maybe I’ll start with the fact that Caleb + I were the only engaged couple at CONNECT, meaning we were surrounded by, + shared life with, 39 other married couples from across the United States (+ even one couple from Honduras!!) for the past week. This alone speaks volumes because for the most part, we really just sat back + listened. We listened to stories upon stories–real life, authentic, vulnerable stuff–from couples who had experienced the highest of highs + the lowest of lows. We observed these husband + wife “teams” serve one another, laugh together, + experience redemption in their relationships. But above all, we learned (from couples’ sharing their firsthand experiences) that God must be the boss of both our business + our marriage. While this is something we’ve been reading in the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas + hearing from our marriage counselor, it’s just different when its coming from 30+ couples from all walks of life, some newlyweds + some married for 20+ years, some husband + wife photography teams + some not, etc. All echoed the same truth.
I think that in both this industry (especially) + even amongst friends + other married couples, it becomes SO easy to compare yourself to others. Why don’t I have as many weddings booked as _________? Why doesn’t our marriage seem to be working out like _________? And I feel like if Caleb + I learned anything, it’s that this line of comparison is VERY fine + VERY dangerous. While it’s good to learn from others (what we did ALL week!!!!!), we must remember who we are. Caleb said something to me that was so profound + I don’t think I’ll ever forget it because it’s spot on when it comes to this matter.
We were sitting on a hill overlooking this gorgeous lake at the Winshape Retreat Center (mind you it was also sunny + about 80 degrees ….) when he turned to me + said, “You know, I would hate to stand before God one day, going through my life with Him, + when it comes to the end He says, ‘Well done Caleb, there were a lot of amazing things you did for My Kingdom here, BUT, look at the life I actually had planned for you’ … the life that came with seeking HIS desires for us daily; listening + being obedient to what He calls us to do. Because after all, Maison, HIS plan is the best plan!!” Something that seems so simple to grasp, that we’ve heard a million times over, but really. God has a UNIQUE, amazing plan for just Caleb + I, in both the business + in our marriage!! And THAT life is the life WE WANT!!! It was just a huge moment of refocus for us, reminding us to not get caught up wanting someone else’s business or someone else’s marriage but rather being content with how God is writing OUR story + continuing to press into Him, truly seeking Him above anything else the world says it has to offer!!
Okay, so I realize that was really deep! Sorry!! Hehe : ) I definitely don’t want to forget to mention some other aspects of our trip that can’t be left unnoticed! To name a few:
- We rode down with the most amazing couple, Chad + Amber Langhoff, + it was SO GREAT to be able to get to know them more, laugh A LOT together + share our passions + fears as we spent way too many hours in our rental car … ; )
- On the way down, we stopped in Nashville for the night which was super cool for Caleb considering it has always been one of his dreams to see the “Music City”!!! We had a great time walking the streets + listening to live bands everywhere we went!!
- We got to meet some incredibly talented photographers who are actually just normal people ; ) ha! It was great to spend time with them + soak up the wisdom they had to offer us–both marital + business!
- On one of the afternoons, we participated in an “experiential” activity comprised of blind-folded walks, tight rope walking, bucket stacking + balancing … pictures to follow!
To keep this post at a readable length, I’ll cut it off there ; ) hehe. Thank you to anyone + everyone who said a prayer for us over the past week–your words of encouragement mean more than you know! We are feeling super refreshed but more importantly refocused + also just SO EXCITED to get married!! Just 140 days to go …. : P Have an amazing weekend + GO BADGERS!!! Blessings, M : )
Here he is in the big city!!!
A HUGE thank you to Chad + Amber’s friend, Jamie, for spending time with us + showing us around Nashville!!
Just a few Instagram photos from our week : ) Isn’t this place AMAZING?!
Winshape used to be a dairy farm, so the majority of the buildings are restored cattle barns! So hard to believe! Those were some lucky cows ; ) Zach + Jody hosted the retreat + shared lots of incredible wisdom with us throughout the week. Chad + Amber rocking it up front, sharing their passion for spending time with God + practicing listening prayer. Our team for the experiential activity/afternoon! These pictures are from the blog of Katelyn James.
I just have to say that we set the record for stacking the most buckets on top of one another … 12!!! The trick is that you can only touch YOUR bucket … Caleb + Ryan in the robot game : ) And here I am attempting the tight rope walk … WAY harder than it looks!
Our team rocking the balancing task! Thank goodness for the two civil engineers in the group .. : ) A shot of Caleb + I from date night : ) Chad + Amber looking super good on date night!!
The whole group together : ) Blessed + thankful for these amazing people!