When we realized we’d likely be spending our anniversary in the hospital, Joseph grabbed the only thing within reach… a notepad the nurses had given us. We’d been using it to jot down questions for the doctors and any notes we wanted to remember from morning rounds. It certainly wasn’t a fancy, embellished Hallmark card, but it might be my favorite anniversary letter to date. Because it was real, raw, scribbled with the pressure of a ballpoint pen and the weight of the moment.
I have been known (at least in my own heart) to have a chip on my shoulder criticizing how churches operate: Why do all the pastors sit together instead of spreading out in the sanctuary? Why aren’t the pastors mingling with strangers? Why don’t those worship leaders go hangout with a loner in the back? And so on. But at one-point years ago in my grumbling to God about church operations, He so kindly reminded me that though I am not paid to do so, I am a part of the body…so if my heart is so strong in reaching out to people, why am I not the one doing exactly what I think they should do?
I didn’t think I wanted to get married so young. I wasn’t looking for a husband. I was looking for a career. Marriage and family? That could wait until after I’d put my degree to use. Maybe 28. Maybe 30. That’s when it would be time to settle down..... Those were my thoughts as a nineteen year old girl. I knew that I wanted to get married… someday. But that someday seemed a lot farther off than the two years when I’d be standing in front of the altar exchanging wedding vows at only 21 years old. So what changed? My perspective on what marriage is and what marriage isn’t. As a 21 year old bride, I realized that marriage isn’t just a season of life. It’s doing all of life... together.
How do I know he’s the one? How do I know I’m ready to get married? How can I possibly be sure when he’s the only man I’ve ever loved? You’d think those questions would have plagued me as a twenty-one year old bride. I never thought I’d get married young. I never wanted to. Wasn’t I too young? Too hopeful? Too naive to marry the first man I had ever loved… let alone dated?
Writing about singleness is certainly not my idea of a good time, but I suppose that is just the reason to do it. I have been single for 31 years, and while probably the first 21 or so I was praised for my focus and not being distracted by the opposite sex, I have now spent the last decade feeling the pressure. Thankfully (and one of the reasons I was encouraged to write this e-book) I have had the joy of experiencing a lot of healthy community over the last decade and, quite honestly, I have put in a lot of work along the way to receive that blessing with an open heart.
What if I stay single forever? This is a thought that used to haunt me. I lived in such denial of this being a possibility. At weddings when well-meaning women would say “there’s someone out there for you too” I would nod my head in eager anticipation. But I have a bit of a different perspective on that now.
I didn’t want to be angry at my ex. I didn’t want to be angry at myself. I didn’t want to view our time together as wasted time, or lessons learned, or any other classic view people take when a relationship dies. I wanted a renewed vision of the time we had spent together. I wanted God to take my feeble natural perspective on things and help me see what He saw, and if it wasn’t asking too much, I still wanted a way to be able to show my ex I cared.
Relationships have a way of showing our weakness. If I had not been in a relationship, there are so many things I wouldn't have learned about myself. And in this relationship, there were so many good times. At first it was hard to know what to do with the memories. But as I move farther away from the relationship, I am able to think back on those memories and recognize that they were God’s grace to me at that time. I am beginning to recognize God’s hand in every good moment and every hard moment.
I can officially say I’ve been on a blind date. For some of you, I’m sure this is old hat and nothing out of the ordinary. For others, it may be new and a bit intimidating. I fell in the latter category. Let me take a minute to share with you what I learned through … Continue reading Lessons I Learned on My First Blind Date
We were engaged on our six month anniversary at my favorite spot on the beach. It rained on that day, and it was freezing cold. But it seemed to fit the theme of our relationship: things not going quite to plan.