Lessons After Year One of Marriage + Blog Life Giveaway

Yesterday Ben and I celebrated one year of marriage. Tears. I have only typed one sentence and I'm crying. Whew, how has this day come and gone already? Wow. Well let me begin by saying first and foremost, the Lord is so good. He has given me the richest gift by allowing me to take on the last name Cox. Marriage has been the most incredible experience. So today I wanted to reflect on some things I have learned, some of my favorite memories, and share our wedding video with you!

First, Marriage displays the Gospel. 
This has been one of the most humbling parts of marriage for me. I can remember reading a letter Ben wrote me on our wedding day... he said, "I cannot wait to commit myself to you for our entire lifetime. I am constantly blown away by what we are committing ourselves to... to mirror the love Christ has for us. We get to do that for a lifetime. I'm so thankful that our marriage will get to be our biggest and most natural ministry tool." I love this, and again I am so humbled by this reality. By entering into the covenant of marriage, we as believers have the privilege of showing the world a selfless, unconditional, sacrificial love for our spouses. We demonstrate Jesus' love to everyone looking into our homes and seeing our relationships. This is not always easy, but it is such a rich gift. We are not called to be perfect, rather to strive to look like Jesus. When we do this, and invite others in, then the Lord is glorified.

He is the leader, not me. Part of the curse of the fall after Adam and Eve sinned was that the wife's desire would be for her husband, but that the husband was called to rule over her. (Genesis 3:16) If you look over in Genesis 4:7 you will see this exact same phrase used in describing sin..."sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it." So we see that this desire the woman is described to have for her husband in chapter 3 is not a good desire. It is part of the curse. The woman longs to be in control, and rule over her husband, but the Lord has called the husband to be the leader, not the wife. So this has been a hard lesson for me to learn, as I love being in control and being right. Marriage for me has been about learning to relinquish that desire for control, and submitting to my husband's leadership...every day!

If there is one lesson I have learned, and relearned, and will continue to relearn it is this one. To be married is to be sanctified. The two go hand in and hand, and cannot be separated. The Lord designed marriage to be a picture to the world of his bride the church...but he says in Ephesians 5 that his bride, is washed by the water of the word, and should be presented blameless. Becoming blameless, and clean, and pure is a process. Just like making a piece of pottery or jewelry, it is a process. It takes going through the fire, being beaten, molded, shaped, crafted, and honed to become something beautiful. So when you put two sinners in the same home, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sanctification is bound to happen. Marriage brings sin to light, and it is hard, and hurts sometimes. However, there is no running away, and there is always grace and forgiveness. This grace and forgiveness may not always flow easily, but we are called to give them abundantly to one another. That has been the sweetest realization for me, that the grace of the Lord abounds, and so will my husbands grace abound towards me as we seek the Lord in our marriage.

Marriage is fun! Maybe this sounds silly, trite, or obvious, but this is so true. I keep feeling like I have to pinch myself, because I cannot possibly be married. But I am! Whether is it telling funny jokes late at night in bed, or wrestling, or watching The Office, or working on a project, Ben and I have so much fun together.

So Happy One Year Anniversary Benjamin Caleb, I love you more than ever, and am so grateful to call you mine!
Ben + Rachel preview from todd urick on Vimeo.

Also, I have been so excited about this giveaway! One of my sweet bestie blog friends, Madison of Wetherills Say I Do, is giving away the best giveaway ever!! So I am teaming up with Madison and some other awesome bloggers to bring you this binder packed full of amazing blog material.

Here's what it entails: The Blog Life E-course ($50 value), Blog Worksheet Bundle from Elah Tree (you can see more about her sheets here), and a print, made my yours truly! I will be writing a post next week about my inspiration behind this print and my experience after month one in the Influence Network!

Alright, let me introduce you to the amazing ladies bringing you this giveaway!

Madison of Wetherills Say I Do // Jenna of Dearest Love 
Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts // Hayley of A Beautiful Exchange // Destiny of The Journey 
Amanda of The Lady Okie // Jana of Life Could be a Dream // Lauren of 34 Magnolia Street 
Laura of The Lovely Wren // Samantha of Elah Tree // Katelyn of Learning Creating Living

And now onto the giveaway! Any one over 18 is able to enter, however if you live outside of the US, you will be emailed the Blog Life e-course, blog worksheets, and Oh Simple Thoughts print, instead of being mailed the binder. All entries will be verified, so play fair! The giveaway begins Monday May 26 at 12am EST and ends June 1 at 12am. The winner will be notified and must respond within 48 hours to claim the prize. 

A Harvest of Blessing