I love a good love story, don’t you? One of my new favorite bloggers, Modern Mrs. Darcy, is hosting a Perspectives on Life and Love blog carnival today. (Make sure you hop over there to check-it out!) Basically it means that bloggers all over the web are writing about their love stories. I’ve told you about how Jonathan and I fell in love, but there’s one part of the story I’ve kept to myself until today. I was writing this story before I decide to let you know I’ve been seeing a counselor, and I suppose it just kind of caps off a big week for me of barring my soul.
Jonathan and I talked at length last night about me sharing this, and I am grateful for his support in allowing me to write about vulnerable parts of myself that include him. I write for me, but I also write for you…in hopes that what God has done in my life will be an encouragement. So here it goes…
The doubting didn’t start until a few days after we arrived home from the Big Apple, where he’d swept me off my feet with an engagement under the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. My mom wanted to go look at wedding venues, and friends were already asking what type of dress I wanted to wear. Meanwhile, behind a big grin, I was panicked.
He had everything I was looking for in a mate—boyish charm, warm hands, a hard work ethic, humor, smarts, a great family, goofy dance skills. He adored me, and drew me closer to Jesus. Our relationship had slowly moved from friendship to romance until one day on the streets of Florence I realized he was the one. The problem was, just because I knew he was THE ONE, marriage still seemed incredibly scary.
At the time, I told no one about my doubts—not even my friend Jenny who was also recently engaged or my mom, who had broken off an engagement when she was young. I felt shame and guilt for my hesitation, and I worried that if I verbalized the feelings to anyone I might be told he wasn’t right for me.
I wish I could tell you exactly how I worked through the doubt. I wish I could write about a dream, or a vision, or a bible verse, or a deep conversation with a stranger at the dentist’s office, but I can’t. All I know are these two things:
I decided to trust what God had already shown me, rather than my emotions.
I decided to trust that my emotions were less about Jonathan and more about how I process change.
Here’s what I mean:
Jonathan and I had trusted our dating relationship to God since the moment we’d met at the prayer chapel. Since that night, God kept giving us reasons to be together. To follow an uneasy feeling of anxiety, rather than God’s consistent leading, would have been the biggest mistake I ever made.
Second, I knew that change had always been hard for me. It still is! Life changes take me a little while to get used to. When we got engaged, Jonathan knew the proposal was going to happen long before I did. He had weeks to start picturing our life together. I needed time to process the change before I could get excited about wedding dresses and apartment hunting.
Over the last ten years or so, I’ve noticed that women are different in the way we process life changes. We seem to fall into two camps. Some women dream of engagement rings; others think about having to share a bathroom and a bank account with someone forever. Some women think about maternity photo shoots and itsy bitsy baby shoes; other women think about lots of itsy bitsy big stretch marks and the costs of college. You see where I’m going, right? There are the idealists and the realists. The dreamers and the analyzers. The girls who throw all caution to the wind, and those who always pack two parachutes. Neither is better than the other but it’s best to know which one you are, and always work to find a little bit of the other.
I just want you to know that if you’re like me, a realist, and you’re anxious or doubtful over the next big change in your life—it’s okay! Better to know that marriage can have some really tough moments (hello, cancer!) or that raising a baby is going to really test your ability to function on two hours of sleep rather than having a really hard reality fall when things aren’t as ideal as you once thought.
But, and here’s the big BUT… if you’re a realist you need to let yourself dream a little bit too. Dream about the look he’s going to give you when you walk down that aisle, or the doctor puts the baby in your arms, or you finally get into the doctorate program. Take a step away from the planning, and the analyzing. Take a step towards the wonder and the beauty that comes when God brings change into your life. Because it has been my experience that if you have been seeking God’s wisdom, and His timing, change is always a good thing.
A question for you: Do you struggle with processing big changes in your life, and if so, what are your tips for moving through the change?