What My First Year of Marriage Has Taught Me

It’s so crazy to me that Mr. Yell and I have been married for a full year already!

In one way, the time has flown quickly; in another way, the time has moved slowly. Not slowly in a bad way, but in a way that makes our marriage feel like it has always been a part of each of us. It’s hard to remember a time when Mr. Yell and I weren’t together, and I am so thankful.

This first year of marriage has been full of lessons in our lives; both individually and as a couple. We have dealt with my school issues, the exciting times of “firsts”, and learning how to blend our families together. Like I said, I have learned so much, but today I want to share just a few of the things I learned.

Communication is HARD.

A while back, I wrote a blog post about communication, and how I thought I was good at it… until I got married of course! I have a really hard time sharing my emotions (because I have a ridiculous amount, let’s be real) and that has taken a toll on how Mr. Yell and I communicate. If I don’t share what is wrong, the situation becomes way worse and my husband remains clueless. Communicating on a more transparent level is something I am still working on and I have to put forth an effort everyday.

There is no such thing as giving 50/50.

Really, there is no such thing. I’ve even heard about how a relationship is 100/100, about giving all that you have all the time, and that isn’t true either. This past year has been one of the hardest personally and I couldn’t give near my best to my new marriage. I was struggling enough to keep myself sane, let alone work on communication or other things. I am not proud of this, obviously, but this was were I was during our first year. So instead of giving 100%, I was only able to give about 40% and Mr. Yell had to pick up the slack. And there will be times in the future when I will have to give way more than planned when Mr. Yell needs me too. That is what our partnership and a relationship does.

Love really does grow deeper.

“I love him more and more each day” Blah, Blah, Blah… I know what you are thinking, “How cliche.” and to that I just have to say… YEAH. Because this is one of the truest and hardest things to explain. I thought I loved Mr. Yell on our wedding day, on our engagement day, and when we first told each other that we loved the other person; but that doesn’t even compare to how much I love that man today, in this very second. I don’t know how to explain it, and I don’t think anyone does, but it is the most real love. No matter how irrational I am or tired he becomes, I love him more and more and he loves me more and more each day.

It’s TOTALLY worth the effort.

I know, I know… “The first year is the easiest! Of course you think you’ll be together forever!” Can I just say, I really hope this year wasn’t the “easiest”? It was so hard with all the outside issues that we had to deal with. There are times when quitting seems like the easiest option. I get it. Commitment is a dying ideal, and it’s something that Mr. Yell and I vowed to fight against EACH DAY. Divorce it isn’t an option. NOT AT ALL. We don’t even say the word in our home. We firmly believe that the reason we are together in the first place is because we make a much better team together than we ever could apart. We believe that God brought us together for His glory to be shown, and divorce doesn’t glorify God in our relationship. We promised the Lord, and those present in the ceremony, that commitment was worth our effort. Mr. Yell and I are fighting the battle of non-commitment in a world where almost nothing is worth the fight… and it is something we will fight for everyday in our marriage.

Like I said previously, these are only a few things I have learned. If I could go back to the night before my wedding, these are the things I would tell myself. These are the things that I found so important during my first year, and I can’t wait to see what this second year holds for us!

Is there any newlywed advice you wish you had? Something you wish you would have known before your first year of marriage? Let me know by email or commenting!

Much love. Much grace.

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Why I Love Being Married Young

There are different ways  and different stages of growth.

Being married is one of them.

Let me just preface this post by saying that I got married at the age of 22 years old. I am not as young as my parents were when they were married nor am I as young as my grandparents were. However… the average marrying age in my generation is 27 for women and 29 for men. So for Mr. Yell and I to get married at 22 years old is considered marrying very young in today’s world.

Marrying young is not something I planned on happening, nor did I particularly hope it would. Being married at 22 is something that has worked out in the best way possible for my life… and honestly my husband and I love it. 

People have asked me about why I would settle at the young age of 22 so I made a list of some of my favorite things!

  • New adventures for both of us. Zach and I love traveling, hiking, road trips, and any type of adventure. We did a bit of international travel separately when we were just dating, but being able to have a travel buddy is the best thing ever! We not only get to experience amazing things, now we get to experience them together.

 

  • New habits formed together. Let’s just be real. We all have our quirky habits and as we get older we tend to get less compromising about them. Whether it’s how you put toilet paper on the roll or how often you wash dishes, when you are younger you are more likely to alter your habits because you haven’t been living on your own as long. Being married young means that Zach and I have been able to work out more compromises about day-to-day habits than if we had been older, because let’s be honest… I would be ten times more stubborn than I am now.

 

  • Lots of dreamer talk. I am a BIG dreamer. I love making plans, researching fun trips, and just thinking about possibilities. Being only 22, Zach and I can talk about the fun things we would like to try, cities we would love to move to, and dream of building our own tiny house. When you are younger there is a sense of possibility even if these dreams don’t end up happening how we want, we are able to enjoy a fun, restful stage of life where we can dream together.

 

  • No rush to do anything! I think this is one of the biggest pros of being married a bit younger. We are in absolutely no rush to do anything. We can take our time figuring out what we want to do career wise. We are able to talk about getting Master’s degrees, the possibilities of moving, and even switching careers altogether. We can also take our time when deciding when we want a family. Zach and I feel fairly unique in this regard living in the South because many of our friends are already wanting to (or actually are) starting families at our age. While we love children, we are able to think through about what we would want for our future family and can plan accordingly. With the earlier start, we are able to  work on building our relationship together before feeling the need to add kiddos to the mix.

 

  • Learn about the Lord together. This one is obviously a biggie. No matter what, God should be the center of our lives. We each have our own walks with the Lord and that is absolutely important, but there is something to be said about being a unit. Zach and I are able to journey together in this new walk. We are learning about the Lord everyday, and what He has planned for us. Since we are younger as a couple, we don’t have solidified of ideas of who we should be or even what God wants us to do. We are learning together how the Lord wants to use our individual talents… and as a team.

 

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Photo cred: Jessica Bennett

Obviously these are all pros of young married life. I know there are cons, I am not naive or oblivious, but for those who just can’t see the appeal of young couples, here ya go! 🙂

I know we are still in the “honeymoon stage” so these points may feel a bit biased, but I am loving this stage and part of marriage. That’s the beauty of new relationships and marriage; there are so many different stages of growth. As long as we are both growing towards Christ and towards each other… there is no reason for the “honeymooning” to discontinue.

Much love. Much grace.

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The Truth About Being A Military Wife

Christina is a sweet woman and wonderful friend of my mother. She is such a light to anyone who meets her, and has so much joy it is contagious! Anyone who meets her truly knows something is different about her life because of her compassion and love for others.

“Are you my home?”

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Colossians 3:2

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the children’s book Are You My Mother?  It follows a tiny bird as it searches for some semblance of a parent after tumbling carelessly out of his nest.  He meanders around, questioning anything from a dog to a crane if it’s his mother.  The pint-sized bird feels misplaced, away from familiar surroundings and he longs to be a welcomed by the warmth of the familiar.

This is a perfectly illustrated picture of my pilgrimage of being a military wife! (I use the word pilgrimage because I envision myself carrying loads of luggage, of which my husband can support as truth!)  I sometimes feel like that misplaced tiny bird; instead I go from house to house asking, “Are you my home?”

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I have been a military wife now for over twenty years and military child seventeen years prior to that.  I have moved every four to six years of my entire life. (Please don’t do the math to find my age!) Currently, God has called us to reside in Louisiana, this month we will have been living in the Bayou State for over five years!  

Midway through my military-wife-pilgrimage there was a small verse in Hebrews that completely transformed my life:

For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Hebrews 13:14

Can’t you just hear the words jump off the page when the tiny bird shouts, sounding almost frustrated from his journey, “You are NOT my mother!” to the large crane he calls a SNORT.  Like that tiny bird I often look at these many dwelling places and shout, “You are NOT my home!”

This life is all I have ever known, but not all I have ever seen.  

I have seen aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews all squeezed on to a tiny group of bleachers, just to watch a t-ball game.  All the while I tried to remember how I got to the baseball field so can find my way back to my new home in the dark.  

I have sat through numerous church services, feeling insignificant because no one knew my name, and I in turn did not know theirs.   

I have been culturally confused more times than I care to know;  I speak too fast for the south and too slow for the north!

I have gotten lost too many times to count and I have had a driver’s license in five states and one foreign country.   

The pilgrimage has been long and trying, but truth be told, I wouldn’t change a thing!  I know just how blessed I am to be able to see new places and experience diverse cultures.  However, in the midst of my military life journey I realize just how much I struggle with connection.  

I find it easy to keep my mind on things above, it’s the connections on earth I struggle with.  It’s simple; staying disengaged from deep relationships keeps me safe from the distress of leaving a friend behind.  However, I know that is not what God desires for my life!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!  

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10  

Two things I have concluded from my struggle:  God created relationship and it’s really not about me.  It’s not about me finding a friend it’s about me being a friend and an encourager, even if it’s only for a season.

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Moving tags; attached to every piece of furniture in my home.

Let’s revisit that pint sized bird again and his quest to find his mother.  The crane, which he chastised for not being his mother, is the very object that elevated him to his perch.  Could it be that my perpetual temporary state is the very thing God will use as an open door for a ministry of encouragement?  

God desires for me to be involved in other’s lives, to be a blessing.  I am inspired by Barnabas, in Acts who was known as the son of encouragement, and everywhere he journeyed he was an encouragement to others.  God has opened the door for friendships in every location I have lived in and I have grown in my spiritual walk with every move.  Sometimes I was the encourager, and other times I was the recipient of encouragement; meeting many strong godly women along the way.  

My faith in Jesus has carried me to the place where I am secure in the knowledge that I have a home waiting for me that is permanent and unshakeable.

My reliance in Christ has allowed me to reach out to others wholeheartedly and cultivate friendships for the glory of His kingdom, even if for just a brief time!

My pilgrimage as a military wife, while at times unpredictable, I can see has lined up perfectly with the necessary growth in my faith journey, and for that I am truly blessed!

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Christina is an Air Force wife and a stay-at-home mom to two school age children, with a college age son now living away from home. She loves to study biblical history, and is never far from a vanilla latte. She is currently serving as the Women’s Ministry Leader at First Baptist Church in Haughton, Louisiana, where she has the privilege of exploring creative ways for women to grow in their spiritual walk! In her free time she loves to write, in hopes of one day fulfilling my dream of becoming a published author of Christian fiction!

“Patiently” Waiting

Jordan is a sweet soul I met in college and have the pleasure of calling friend. Her spunky spirit and compassion for others are infectious and such a joy to be around. I am so excited to have Jordan be a part of Go Giver’s “Perspective Women”!

Note for the readers: This is for all the planners out there. Those of you who have a need to know where you’re going so that you can start working to get there. I hope this post encourages you to find real peace and inspires you to grab hold of today before it’s gone.  ­- Jordan

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make money. ” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13­-15

If you ask me, there’s nothing more refreshing than “getting your life together.” Now, for me, getting my life together might look something like this: Finally finding a major to stick to, getting acquainted with the taste of black coffee, graduating, finding a haircut that flatters the shape of my face after all these years, and even getting engaged and married ­ my number one life goal. For a little while, I had it all going, but moving can really mess things up. Don’t get me wrong. I welcome adventure! I love people, new cultures, new scenery and chances to begin again. Considering these, moving sounded like the perfect opportunity for me. And then God said “Arkansas.”

In my perfect ‘Jordan knows best’ world, we would’ve packed up and headed to Alaska, my favorite place on earth. I would’ve even settled for Washington, Oregon.. Anywhere with deep green forests and more rainy days than you can count. (Yes, I’m a pluviophile. Google it.) But He who knows better than I chose Little Rock to be the new home of the #newlywednortons. That was that. So, Josh and I found a cozy apartment by the river in Little Rock. It took us about 3 days to have it all settled leaving me with endless time to navigate the city,find my favorite coffee shop and job search.

After 2 months of dissecting Indeed.com, I finally was offered a full­time job, on the spot. I was going to be a Customer Service Representative for a great insurance company. It came with the title, an office, a salary and a pencil skirt. (Okay, I bought the skirt.) I was going to be a professional! Then I remembered .. I hate sitting in offices. And answering phones. And skirts. I lasted 3 days. I was a little discouraged and ashamed of being a quitter, but I was confident in God’s promise. He knew the plans He had set out for me. I just had to wait a little longer to find out what those were.

A New Perspective

In the meantime, I worked as a coffee barista at a swanky European Cafe. As a coffee lover, it had always been a dream of mine to learn the art of coffee­making. I loved making lattes and cappuccinos, but as it turns out, it doesn’t take long to master.

Not long into my caffeine career,a door was opened for me to be a College Intern for Josh’s and my new church home. Being offered a ministry job was truly a dream come true! So, I was newly married, employed with an amazing job and was beginning to make friends. It should’ve been another one of those “getting my life together” times. But something was off. I couldn’t sleep. When I had days off, I’d rest but still feel restless. I had bursts of uninvited tears and a heavy feeling of hopelessness. For weeks, I’d ask myself why I felt like I was falling apart even while my many blessings were evident. It took a little roadtrip to wake me up.

Last week, I drove back down to Ruston to see my college friends and the missionary family from Alaska who had come back to visit and recruit. I brought my stubborn heart with me not knowing that God was about to shatter it to pieces.

After seeing all my people, I went to stay with a close friend. We stayed up late sharing our hearts with each other. Somewhere in between my tired sentences, I realized that my exhaustion wasn’t only physical. It was mental, emotional and spiritual. My wrestling with God about where I was and where I wanted to be had slowly broken me down. I had given the the enemy permission to use a good thing to steal my joy and to replace my peace with anxiety.

My discontent was my own fault.

When I lived in East Texas, I wanted to leave and never go back. Once I did leave, I realized it wasn’t so bad. In North Louisiana, I was itching to get out. I loved my friends and the ministry teams I served on, but I was over the humidity and flat terrain. I wanted Alaska or just some place better than where I had been. My eyes and my heart were always on what might come next. But in a conversation with a friend, through my own words, I saw a piece of God’s heart. There was nothing else for me to do but surrender. I decided that it was time for me to stop wrestling with God about my future and be faithful in my present.

You don’t have to cash in your dreams to be faithful. You just have to be a little less selfish. Be willing to die to yourself so that you can really start living for Jesus. I may never be a Razorback fan, but I am choosing to open my heart to Little Rock ­ a beautiful city with great opportunities and even greater people that I can’t wait to meet.

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Jordan is a Louisiana Tech graduate with a degree in Speech Communication. She loves Jesus, coffee, and music. Jordan lives in Little Rock, Arkansas with her new husband Josh and works as a college intern with Immanuel Baptist Church.

Mrs. Yell

Honestly, this part of marriage has so far been the hardest for me.  I never thought I would be so emotional, heartbroken, or struggle with this particular act.

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Changing my last name.

Crazy, right? I mean, there I was, marrying the man of my dreams; and yet I could not bring myself to take his name.

This wasn’t a struggle before we were married. I was so excited to get all the cute decor with our letter “Y” on them and hearing my friends call me the “Future Mrs. Yell”, and yet when I got married I was so upset that I would have to change my last name.

My whole identity up to that point had been just about me. All of my accomplishments had “Chelsea Hoskins” on them. My passport with all of my travels and adventures had “Chelsea Hoskins” on it. My diplomas, scholarships, important or impressive papers…. they all had “Chelsea Hoskins” on them.

That was me.  Without MY name, how would people know what I did or who I was? I was scared of losing myself.

I didn’t want people to hear my name or see me and not think of me, but instead that I was just a wife. I did not want to lose my independent achievements for the sake of a title.

In this way, changing my name felt like the loss of a person. I was grieving over the loss of myself.

In a way… it was.

But in a more important way… it wasn’t.

I did not LOSE my name, my accomplishments, or myself. These labels were not TAKEN from me.

I gave them up.

I made the CHOICE to not just become one with my husband by the marriage license, but legally with a new title.

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When I was on my own, I was ready to take the world by storm on my own. Truly a Miss. Independent, and I wanted it to stay that way.  Now I have the coolest person in the world that I get to travel, learn, and do life with… and I want to be associated with him by whatever means possible. Including my last name. I get to tell people as soon as they meet me that I am with that cute, honorable man Mr. Yell.

So, not only am I slowly learning how to sign my new name, I am learning how to give up some pride, and a little bit of ego. And friends, can I just say it is absolutely worth it? Because, it absolutely is.

Be encouraged ladies.

Much love. Much grace.

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