Posted by: JennyRain | May 31, 2010

First Anniversary Hangover

Not what you think, I promise!

Yesterday was a tough day.

It was John’s and my first wedding anniversary.

One year, yesterday.

After a ginormous fight Saturday night, I put him on a 6am plane to South Dakota for a week-long conference.

Yeah, yesterday sucked.

I tried hard to keep my emotions in check, to keep a poker face, but it sucks when you are in a fight with your favorite husband on your first anniversary.

All day I questioned my wisdom in being married, in a relationship at all. I questioned my ability to handle things in a healthy way. I questioned myself. I wondered if I should have gone to Africa in 2007 and if somehow I had wandered off of God’s perfect plan for my life and maybe that is why I was dealing with conflict. I questioned why intimate relationships areΒ so hard for me.

My mind rattled with all of the things I should have said and it beat with the things I shouldn’t have said. My heart broke over the fact that we would never have another first anniversary.

The day started with me feeling sorry for myself as usually happens when conflict happens.

Have I mentioned that I hate conflict?

Hate it.
Can’t stand it.
Avoid it at all costs.

Would even go so far as to say it was un-biblical if I could find a scripture to support it, but to date, have not yet found that scripture.

John and I had a conflict on our first-anniversary.

Let me restate.

A BIG one. BEEG. Berry BEEG.

On our almost-first-anniversary. The conflict carried through to our anniversary day.

For the LOVE. On our anniversary, y’all!!

After the conflict ended, I attempted to have my own self-induced pity party.

But dangit if God didn’t get all up in the middle of it to mess it up.

Who said God was invited to my pity party!?!

When I started the actual anniversary day off with moping, God placed a very specialΒ someone named Sara on my heart and in my mind repeatedly until I paid attention.

My friend Sara has suffered from consistent illness that has over-hauled her life in the last few years. She cannot leave her home because of her illness. She is in persistent pain. She has been robbed of a lot of things, beautiful things because of this illness.

Yet despite all this, SHE CHOOSES JOY.

She is not pollyanish about her illness, she simply enters each day aware of it, but chooses the better path. Joy.

Every day. Moment by moment. Regularly. Intentionally.

My friend chooses joy.

I was choosing sadness.

I have health. I have a wonderful husband. My life has been blessed with SO much… family, friends, a job I love, people all around me who are healthy, who love God, and who are beautiful role models.

Yet, I was choosing sadness.

But, my friend chooses joy.

God would not release me from this image of my friend throughout the day.

Every time I attempted to “choose sadness,” God intervened.

He kept me in church. All stinking day. When I got home from church here in the VA, God pointed me to dial in to a service on the west coast where several of my blogger buddies were leading worship. When west-coast-worship was over it was time for our evening service. That service was about R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P-S of all things.

And as God kept me in church, He schooled me.

Simply being in that environment, I was encouraged. I was encouraged by the music, I was encouraged by the people, I was encouraged because God was there.

Yet each time services ended, I started nursing my pity-party-hangover.

So God intervened again.

I had received an email from my friend in and amongst all this church-ing.

She used to sing, I was fascinated by this and had mentioned it, so she sent me a link to her singing.

My friend Sara can saaaaangg y’all.

I listened to her sing “His Eye is on the Sparrow” and I melted.

Then I cried.

I cried because you could hear the joy in the very fiber of Sara’s voice as she sang. Her joy was tangible, something that could be felt, and it created an environment that was so freeing for my heart. I cried because I wanted – like Sara could – to be able to choose joy no matter what…


No matter the circumstances.
No matter if God answered my prayers or not.
No matter who I was or was not turning out to be.
No matter if things were perfect in my marriage or not.
No matter if I was single or married.
No matter if I was healthy or sick
No matter if I had a job or was unemployed.
No matter if I passed the test or flunked the class.
No matter if I was infertile or with child.

I want to learn to choose joy.

I want to learn to stay in God’s “zone.” I want to learn to forego the pity-party for that which is the better choice.

I want to…I want to lose the First Anniversary Hangover and throw a party.

My dear friendΒ Prudence was praying for us yesterday… she sent an email to wish a happy anniversary and to say “One year is a big deal.” Pru is right. We made it a year. It is a big deal.

I want to choose to remember that we made it a year and be joyful over that.

John called later. We talked. We forgave.

It helped because in my heart of hearts, I want a healthy relationship with my sweet husband – a life-long-healthy relationship that is centered on God that uplifts both of us into the giftings He has called us to.

I am just not always sure how to get there.

But I am thinking that choosing joy is the first step towards success.




  1. Well – I of course want to wish you a happy anniversary! I pray your marriage continues to be blessed and successful with each coming year πŸ™‚

    As for the rest, I understand the plights of arguments – they are never convenient and usually peek out on important dates too πŸ™‚ Just remember that although your “first anniversary” day wasn’t perfect, you are married every day and why not celebrate more often!

    Sometimes if we place too much anticipation on an event, expectations rise and the smallest divergence can send us into a spiral of disappointment and self-pity.

    Hubby and I are actually celebrating our first anniversary (5th year) alone – as we usually celebrate with friends (our anniversary is New Years). We normally find something to do in the month of December – that way we can take our time, relax, and travel – away from the noise and chaos of the holiday season.

    I’m glad to hear that you kept your heart open to God’s grace and comfort. He is so faithful in lightening our hearts when our relationships are heavy. I wish you all the best and joy in every day!


    • Thank you! this made my day πŸ™‚ God is faithful πŸ™‚

  2. I love that you are so open about your emotions and how you feel. At least you will remember the first anniversary and what it taught you. I are truly an amazing young women and I am fortunate to call you a friend. I am glad God was there to meet you right where you were and allow your heart to open to allow Him in to heal your hurts. I love that about Him. He shows up when we don’t expect him to. You made it one year and at least one argument did not cause you to turn away. You even recognize your part. BIG — you know nothing is too BIG for God. What we see as BIG — He sees as tiny. The argument could have been so much worse.

    I am glad you got to talk it out and make amends for forgiveness.

    Enjoy the time together with God and your loveable Hubby. You deserve it.

    • true true friend… thank you for the perspective… you are always so good at that. Thank you sweet friend

  3. This was a beautiful post Jenny. I’m sorry that your anniversary was not perfect as you might have liked but I’m so glad God redeemed the day by changing your perspective on things. I love our friend Gitz and how she consistently chooses joy. I too want to learn to live that life lesson right where I am at today. Thank you for sharing your heart so openly. You are a joy and a blessing. Sending you much love from the Carolinas today.

    • You are such an encouragement to so many of us… I am SO grateful for your influence in this online circle that is being created… you are another person that reminds me to choose joy and patience and encouragement on a regular basis. Love you girl πŸ™‚

  4. Between reading your post & listening to Gitz singing, I, too, have tears! Tears of JOY! Because we CAN sing when we are happy! And when we are sad & confused. Because our God is that big.

    I know we’ve just “met” but I truly believe this awesome internet community is other-worldly. It goes beyond anything I could have ever imagined or done on my own! We can lift each other up. From across the miles. With a smile :). With (((hugs))). With song. With prayer. With “I went thru that, too!”

    I truly believe the guys who started AA paralleled recovery with the Bible. Every 12 step program since 1930 follows their design (for the most part). I have not seen any program yet that has one-upped that first 12-step program.

    The “no matter what” club is huge in my 12 step program! I do go to the pity pot to often.

    What if:

    I hadnt’ become addicted at 45.
    I hadn’t stolen to supplement my addiction.
    I hadn’t lost, not one, but two jobs.
    I had been able to provide income over the past 3 years.
    I had never turned away from God for 20 years.

    Maybe the timing sucked. Maybe the answers to prayer are answered & you haven’t had that “ah-ha” moment. Sometimes we have to “fight” to save our own spirit. Because you cannot hold onto anger & resentment. It can eat you alive if you let it! Then it can seem to explode in your face.

    That’s where this awesome community comes in. I know it’s not face-to-face, but it is honest. Life isn’t always peaches & cream. It’s a new day every day. My theme song most recently is Pocket Full of Rocks current release “Come as You Are”. The words are such an awesome reminder of how much God wants us. Broken. Scarred. No matter what!

    • I know – and all this was in the midst of happening as you and I worshipped together w/the TRF crew yesterday… so amazing how God works. I love hearing your 12 step parallels to stuff I am going through too… LOVE it. It helps me know that at some level, I’m on the right path. Thanks Shellie… you are SUCH a blessing to me πŸ™‚

  5. The NERVE of God showing up at your pity party. πŸ˜‰

    ((Hugs)) my friend.

    And I’m so thankful you chose joy.

  6. Clearly, my devo today was for you. Don’t cha love when God does that?!

    HAPPY annivesary, my friend! ~ Rachel

    • I know! how cool is that!

  7. LOL. How dare God show up at your pity party! LOL. I don’t think relationships can grow in perfection. Getting along perfectly all the time is just not reality.
    Funny, I just “got” the title of the book “The grass is always greener over the septic tank.” Something clicked for me recently, that to have a beautiful garden you need rich soil, and that rich fertilizer has many ingredients, one main ingredient you need to grow plants is “crap”. For lack of a better word. Anyway, I thought it was funny that I just got it and I think it is applicable here. We all have our moments of big fights and times where we question every thing we’ve ever done and wonder if we made the right decision or if we completely failed. So glad you two made up and moved on. There is sweetness in those moments. Happy Anniversary!

    • Mary & Jill – I know! God is a pity-party crasher πŸ™‚ LOL

  8. I keep coming back here, trying to figure out what to say. You humble me, friend. Thank you for thinking so kindly of me.

    But the thing is, none of what you said for me was really about me. It was about Him doing the right thing at the right time. I’m so grateful that anything about my life helped you when you needed it. You are loved.

    • You make my heart smile friend… so does God working through and in you πŸ™‚

  9. You’re lucky it only took the 1st anniversary to figure this out!

    • Tee hee πŸ™‚ You are the bestest ever πŸ™‚ when are y’all coming here!?! I’m excited!

  10. Jenny,
    Praying for you and John daily. God loves you two and so do all your brothers and sisters in Christ!

    • Thank you Jim… it’s an honor to be your sister in Christ… your heart for people and for God is SO encouraging πŸ™‚ Thank you. Thank you for your encouragement, thank you for your prayers. Thank you for coming back and for offering ideas, suggestions, support and prayer. I SO value your feedback and your prayers and encouragement! πŸ™‚

  11. Happy anniversary! A year is a big deal. πŸ™‚

  12. Congratulations on the year! Yes, the milestone wasn’t spent well. But you have a gift, this man, this marriage, and God will use it well in your life.

    Your transparency here is amazing. Your openness will touch so many. Years ago, when I lost yet another friend and was hurting over the loss, I asked God why he made me this way. Why does he make me love so openly, give my friendship and loyalty so wholly, when others just crap on that? I was at Church of the Apostles in the “Father’s Blessing” Friday night service when I asked God that. He answered me with words, with an answer, as if he was sitting right next to me and had hands on me. He said that he made me to bleed in public so that I can heal in public. When people watch me turning to God for the healing, they learn how to do so themselves. That’s what teachers do: model skills and behavior. So I guess I was a teacher far before I ever had a classroom, lol. Anyway, that’s what you’re doing here. Bleeding in public. And your readers will stay tuned as you learn all the ways God is teaching you to handle it. You’ve already shown us how to start…by choosing joy.

  13. I think this is one of my favorite things you have written. Yes – the choice – choosing joy. If that ain’t the perfect metaphor for marriage – choosing as opposed to getting swept up in what we feel in the moment. It’s the choice that makes marriage courageous and not for the feint of heart!

    • thank you friend πŸ™‚ I hope that I am choosing it for the next 80 or so years πŸ™‚

  14. […] Jenny! For more of what God is doing in her life, especially this post, check out […]

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