(Warning: long post ahead. Grab hot tea, or coffee, or a beer AND a snack.)
I’m quite young. I have much to learn. But I have learned much for a young woman my age.
I feel quite overwhelmed with humility for God having placed me where I am right now. I’m honored that He saw me as fit to be the wife of an incredible man who loves Him – not to mention a mother figure in the lives of two wonderful young boys. I’m honored to be chosen for someone, three someones. It’s completely surreal. It’s a life-long dream come true.
The past few months have been a radical life adjustment, a paradigm shift, an exciting new adventure down a similar road I was on before – only this time it’s with someone at my side. I’ve learned so much about myself and how I operate because there’s this man is in my life for good. He is constantly learning more about me, and I about him, because we’re in this together. I’m learning so much about myself: about how I process, how I communicate, how I actually feel at any given moment. When you’re single you can just ignore those things because you’re not accountable to really work on them. With my almost husband (as I like to call him), I have to work on them; I have to open up and share how I am feeling even when I don’t want to because it’s helpful for our relationship to communicate these things.
The great lesson of prioritizing is also on my plate. I used to have a million friends and time for nearly all of them. This is a hard lesson for me to have to give some of that up – to learn that my time first belongs to God, followed by my almost husband and two delightfully sweet boys, followed by my family and close friends, and then whoever else I can manage to make time for. This was a swift change in my life and difficult to remember that I cannot allow myself to feel guilty when I don’t have time to spend with everyone. (Let’s not forget to mention I work 30 hours each week, I’m almost finished with a wedding gown for a client and then will begin on mine, all while planning a wedding. Suffice it to say I’m sleeping a lot less than I’d like and drinking way more coffee than my body appreciates. I know the planning and the wedding gowns are really only a short season. But let me say, it breaks my heart to see my guest list for our wedding and know I’ve only seen a handful of some of my closest friends a few times in the past month.)
Not only have I begun learning a better communication process with Kelly, and am learning to be confident in who I am and how my time is spent, but I’ve learned one other pretty rad thing: God has blessed me with the (or at least some of the) character that I have been asking Him for over the past few years. Kel and I have been reading through “This Momentary Marriage” by John Piper. It’s a really good, foundational book for those who are married – or, forget it – it’s a really good book and you should read it whether you’re married, single, or especially if you’re in a relationship headed toward marriage. And because if you follow the link I attached to the book title, it’s a FREE download, therefore you have no excuse not to read it. Just sayin’.
Of course, the things I’ve prayed to God for over the years have been pretty basic stuff: that the man I will marry should be one who loves the Lord with all of his heart, mind and strength, that he is willing to lead myself and our future family spiritually, that he would protect and guide our family in daily life, that he would be adventurous and willing to do crazy stuff with me, and that he daily follows what God asks him to do with his life. Yes, that’s a laundry list, but to my sheer amazement God fulfilled ALL of those desires of my heart in Kelly and more. (Don’t ask about the “more” part, because I don’t even know where I would begin at this point.) As we read through the first seven chapters I was delighted again and again that God had done such a marvelous work in preparing Kelly and I to meet and be married. All of these little details He orchestrated, things I couldn’t have even begun to hope and wish for lest my heart be crushed. Kelly is – for me – the perfect man to marry. No, he’s not perfect, nor am I, but we are perfect for one another. That’s what’s important. And that’s probably why we’re shotgunning this dating/engagement process – because deep down in our hearts we know that this is God’s will for us. And if you wanna get persnickety in the details, God pretty much told me out of the clear, blue sky that I’m supposed to marry him. But that’s another story for another day. I guess my point in saying all of this is that this book is rad and it has reminded me over and over again (as if I needed a reminder!) that Kelly is the only man for me, the one for me, my match, and a Godly, wonderful one at that.
Then we hit chapter eight in the book, all about the role of the woman in marriage and the mysterious thing of submission. No, I was not dismayed when I read the chapter, I was encouraged; it’s an insightful, beautiful look into Ephesians 5:22. And let me say before my next point, that Kel and I have been going through some rough stuff on the periphery of our lives. It has not been an easy few months for us because it seemed for weeks on end that every time we turned around we would smack right into a difficult situation, a family member with health problems, roadblocks for work or business, you name it. We’ve been put through the fire. Because of these fires, I have become more and more confident in our relationship and our ability to trust God and weather whatever life throws at us. So when we hit the chapter about the biblical and Godly role of a wife I was a little nervous hoping that I wasn’t completely failing. We came to this section, which reads:
She looks away from the troubles and miseries and obstacles of life that seem to make the future bleak, and she focuses her attention on the sovereign power and love of God who rules in heaven and does on earth whatever he pleases (Ps. 115:3). She knows her Bible, and she knows her theology of the sovereignty of God, and she knows his promise that he will be with her and will help her and strengthen her no matter what. This is the deep, unshakable root of Christian womanhood. And Peter makes it explicit in verse 5. He is not talking about just any women. He is talking about women with unshakable biblical roots in the sovereign goodness of God—holy women who hope in God. (p. 97)
At the time I was the one reading aloud sitting in front of Kel as he gave me an exquisite (and much needed) shoulder rub, and he just stopped me, hugged me, and said, “Hey, that’s you he’s talking about. That’s my Annie.” Oh man, and I cried. I’m crying now. I’m quite thankful for the blessings God has poured on me, the strength He’s given me, and thankful for His blessed sovereignty in His orchestration of my life.