“Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”
— Forrest Gump
In the words of Forrest Gump, life is indeed like a box of chocolates, for “you never know what you’re gonna get”.
I have learned that many times in my life, more times than I could ever count.
I could focus on all the “bad” that has happened (which was all for God’s glory and my good). What is the point in that, though? I don’t want – nor need – anyone’s sympathy. I have lived an extremely full, blessed, good life. I wouldn’t trade anything that has occurred. In fact, I’m who I am today because of it, so enough about the “bad”.
As for things in my life that I could have never imagined I’d receive, I have a wonderful husband, a new career and years of life that I never thought possible. I am living life to the full, or so I’d like to think, even if I’m no longer out speaking across the country or entertaining the local high school students with the opportunity to ask me anything (and I do mean anything) during one of my organ and tissue donation awareness seminars I used to frequently hold.
Do I miss some things I was able to do before I got married? Yes, I do. Would I give up my husband and my marriage to have them back? Never.
I can’t exactly be out gallivanting the country and be home cultivating my marriage at the same time. I also know it’s important to my husband that I contribute financially to our home, so that we’re able to pay off his school debt faster and not be a slave to the lender. In many aspects, my life hardly resembles what it was six months ago. Does that make me sad? Sometimes. On the other hand, though, I am afforded the privilege and responsibility of being a wife and being loved by John and growing in Christ because of it. That makes it more than worth it to me. I wouldn’t trade the past five months I’ve spent married for anything.
When I chose to get married, I made a choice. Call it a mistake if you want. Some see it that way. I am a staunch believer, though, in seeing the Gospel lived out at home first and then elsewhere second. I have not forsaken my deep desire to serve the body of Christ just because I am now a stay-at-home publicist and marketing assistant, as well as a housewife. I also have not forsaken my call just because I am no longer speaking in churches multiple times a year and working on my “next big project”. In fact, I am learning I am growing more in my walk with Christ because my life has slowed down – albeit too much for me at times – and will be a more effective speaker one day when the Lord allows me to get back out in the public’s eye, if that day ever comes, which I believe it will. It will be in His timing, however, and not mine.
For now, long gone are the days of plane trips and conferences, seminars and speeches to give, lunch dates and hours of hanging out with my closest friends. Instead, my days are filled with managing marketing materials and building contact list for authors, while I stare out the window and think about the life I left behind for the life I have now. After 5:00pm on weekdays and all weekend, the life I have now is filled with serving another human being as best as I can, being fully known by him and loved still. All day every day, it is filled with learning new, sometimes painful things about myself, trying my best at cooking (I’m slowly getting better!), doing dishes and laundry and learning to be content when I don’t want to be anything of the sort.
My job and marriage have taken me out of the public spotlight. This is not a bad thing, however. It is kind of nice to get away and not be bothered by tons of people every day, though many times I long to see people, if only just a few. The phrase, “I miss people”, passes over my lips many times every week….yet, as I was telling a group of close friends (Wed. nights are my favorite, because I get to see people!) last night, I feel myself closing up the longer I go without really connecting with the outside world. It’s a strange, scary feeling for me, one I’ve never had before. It’s almost becoming easier for me to not be around people than it is to be the socialite I’ve been since before I uttered my first word. Strange. It didn’t make any sense to me when I was explaining it, but I’m thankful for Godly friends that acted like everything I was saying made perfect sense to them. : -)
I’m choosing to fight for my joy and my sanity. Satan has been trying to defeat me for far too long. Either through demonic, horrible dreams while I sleep or frustrations during the day, he’s constantly after me. I choose this day to say “No. You’re done. You’re a nut job (as pastor Mark Driscoll would say) and you have no place in my life. Get behind me, Satan.”
I know that God has me in this place of solace for a reason, and even if I can’t physically see tons of people all the time anymore, I can connect more with Him. I also know He doesn’t want me to live a life tormented with fears, doubts, demonic dreams, etc. All of those are lies from Satan are have no place in my life nor my marriage.
So, I press on. Since I don’t see nearly as many people on a daily basis as I was accustomed for so long, I find myself sitting on my back porch on my lunch hour writing on a laptop, wondering if anything I’m saying is resonating in the heart of anyone else. All I know is with each new word I pen, I feel my old self coming back again, that part of me I have missed since I got married….the part of me that’s always been there but just hasn’t been tended to like it should.
I don’t blame John for this. It’s not his fault. I don’t even know if I can blame myself. I guess if someone can be blamed, it’d be me….I just think it’s life. Like Forrest said, “you never know what you’re gonna get”…..and the past few months, I’ve learned a lot of lessons and had a lot of new experiences, that’s for sure. A few times, I’ve bit into a proverbial piece of chocolate and was disappointed when it wasn’t caramel (my favorite) but instead something bitter or unpleasing to my taste….but I learned through those lessons, too.
No matter where life takes me, I never want to lose myself. What a travesty it would be to gain a marriage and the commitment of another human being to walk through life with me – no matter what the journey brings – and lose myself along the way. I don’t want to be that kind of woman. I don’t want to be that kind of wife. I don’t want to be that kind of friend.
Sometimes it’s hard to find your way when you feel lost but also know that much of the changes around you are for your own good. I wouldn’t trade what I have, even if it is not what I expected. In fact, I’m thankful God gave me more than I expected, which shouldn’t surprise me. Does not His Word say this would be true? He gives out of the goodness of His heart because He is our Father. He wants what is best for us. We must remember that “best” does not always match our earthly mindset. God’s economy certainly is not ours.
What does that mean for me? I need to continue to fight against the Enemy’s attacks, who daily seeks to destroy my joy. I need to daily fight for my marriage and stay committed to serving my husband, even if I don’t “feel” like it. I need to fight for my close friendships and re-connect with a few that I’ve sadly, albeit not intentionally, lost touch with over the past few months. Most importantly, I need to be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10).