A lesson in being grateful and learning how to become unimportant.

Today, I’m going to be honest about something.

Today, I’m going to be honest about what I do for a living.

I work in the marketing department for a company that makes and sells wheelchair vans. You know, the ones you see in handicap parking spots with the motorized ramp that extends out of it?

 
My official job title is “Social Media Manager.” 

Seven months ago, I tweeted about how I could use the extra prayer for the job hunting and interviewing process. Because I wanted to marry Greg, and I’d need a flow of income to do that.

 
I tried branding myself: I made the graphics, started putting a portfolio together, looked into selling a book of all the poems I haven’t shared with the world yet, joined all of the freelance websites, downloaded the Indeed.com app onto my phone. I did all the things that looked like the life I had lived before God had called me out. Searching for a full time job was a full time job in itself. 

And this wheelchair van company was the only company that reached out.

When I finally started working here, people who’d been praying for me asked where I had landed a job, and I avoided answering. 
So here’s the truth: I use my words to help sell wheelchair vans. 

And it has been one of the most transformative, difficult seasons of my life.

 
There’s nothing sexy about 9-5. Little girls don’t dream about one day getting to sit where I sit. 

The other night, I was having dinner with a friend I used to work with in Atlanta and she said, “It’s weird, ya know? You go from being one thing where you’re recognized and strangers know you, and then you just get forgotten.”

 
To be forgotten wounds the soul deeply. 
And I have undeniably found myself submerged in a season of irrelevance where my pride was the first thing to take a hard hit. 
The thing is: I want to be a good adult. I want to be a good pastor’s wife. I want open hands and a spirit that will rise to all the places God has called me to. 

But what about the dessert? What about becoming a good listener before I can live in what God has planned?

 
God has surely taught me how to be unimportant. He has taught me how to be alone and even sat back while I felt crazy for stepping out into the places He’s lead me. He has taught me how to sit in the passenger seat and how to play the understudy well. 

It’s just that, if we’re doing this whole honesty thing today — today I feel boring and tired. Flat. So I sit and pin photos of purple hair and try to figure out when I can get my next tattoo, flipping through these immature outlets that I know are a quick fix to make me feel exciting again.

Greg met me when I had white hair and wore all black and had a fake nose ring. He met me when I was somewhere between coming to terms with all the things that made me bitter and stepping into a life lived for Him. 

And the sad thing is that, the more my life becomes less of my own and more of something that is entirely managed by Him, the more nostalgia tries to reign me back in. The more my own ghost shows up to remind me of who I was before, like I’d already attained the best version of myself. The more I feel like I was prettier, thinner, with better hair and even funnier.

 
So how’d I get through the past 7 months? 

Gratefulness.

All that I am becoming now is an echo of God’s heartbeat. I don’t move without Him, and I cannot leave Him again. I have this life with Greg that I wouldn’t have been able to have had I not shed my old skin. 

Usually, I don’t write until I’ve come out of something and have a lesson to offer up for the next person. I don’t ever want to share my words unless it’s to say, “Me, too,” for someone.

 
But I think today is about being honest. About calling myself out. Because that’s how we fight the dark, isn’t it? We point out its lies and tricks. 

So, being honest: I have to remind myself daily that out of all the places God could have taken me when my spirit was finally humble enough to listen, He chose here. At a wheelchair van company. Teaching me how to be unimportant. Teaching me how to let Him live this life for me, in place of all I used to be or wanted to be.

 
And my, “Me, too” for now, until I can see the whole picture? 

Do you feel like you’re drowning in all the change? Do you feel like you have to die to self daily? Do you feel like the only way to stay sane is to remind yourself that God is here and He’s still staying faithful in the ways He’s given you things to be grateful for, even in the dessert? Do you feel boring and flat and like somehow you were better before even if you were unhappy and lost? Do you feel like there aren’t any traces of even the parts you used to like about yourself?

 
Me, too.

But how “good” could those parts have been if God is still trying to transition them out? And yeah, don’t forget how unhappy you were before. Now you’re moving uphill. That’s why it’s taking the breath out of you.

Love at any cost is worth the bargain. 

“I can’t wait for you to meet the girl that you can’t possibly imagine hurting. I can’t wait until you meet the girl that you just can’t let sit in her pain cause it hurts you too much. I can’t wait until you meet the girl that you can’t imagine ever doing this to. I can’t wait for you to find that.” 

And that was my get-outta-jail-free card for the boys that broke my heart and made me feel like I wasn’t worth respecting. My excuse was simple: I just wasn’t that girl for them. If I was, my pain would cut them so deeply that it would stir a rise to action in them. 

This excuse was fueled by the belief– the blind, here-and-now-minded hope– that when I met the right guy, I’d find rest; I’d find joy and bliss and he’d never let me hurt and loving each other would be seamless without any bumps or frays; I’d find the boy that connected all my dots and gave answers to doubting questions– a boy who’d make sense of all the pain and unfinished stories. 

I thought that I’d meet the boy who would make me okay, who’d make all that I wanted to change about my life OKAY. 

That’s what marriage looked like for me. It was what the ring and the knee and the forever promise all illuded to– fixed. Better. Finally at one hundred percent. 

Needless to say, I was pretty shell-shocked when engagement wasn’t this beautiful, dreamy thing of a road to walk down when it finally happened to me. You can imagine the surprise that found me dumbfounded and bewildered when we both still managed to hurl ugly words at one another without even a second thought. 

If I’m being honest, engagement was one of the most fulfilling, ache-filled seasons of my life. As a little girl, I probably daydreamed more about my engagement than my wedding itself. And to say that battling disappointment and frustration when engagement turned out to be an uphill trek in the sleet and thick mudd and the last thing I expected when I imagined being engaged to the love of my life– to say it wore me out and took a toll on me physically, emotionally, and spiritually would be an understatement. 

Loving Greg is a dream. Being loved by him is an overwhelming honor that leaves me speechless every time I get to wake up next to him in the morning. I’m almost three weeks into my marriage, and it’s honestly the best choice I’ve ever made– choosing Greg. And choosing to choose him every day. He is my backbone and my last burst of energy when I’m down in the dumps. He’s my slow Saturday mornings and the lighthouse that draws me back in when my mind is storming. I love him more every single day. I wouldn’t have ever not chosen this life.

But love, if you’re the girl with the heaviness wrapped around your shoulders like a hand-me-down back-pack, throwing all of your hope like an anchor into marriage because you think that’s going to be your escape— then let me be the first to stop you right now. Because I’ve run ahead of us hopeful hearts, and I’ve seen what’s coming. 

The problem is, the right guy isn’t going to come with a flashing red neon sign above his head that shouts, “IT’S HIM!!” 

You’re still going to fight with him.

He’s still going to break your heart.

You’re still going to let your ugly show it’s fangs and say things you wish you could take back.

You’re still going to wonder, even in the thick of engagement and wedding planning and premarital counseling, if you’re even going to make it. 

You’ll still make up reasons in your head about how and why it’s not going to work out. 

You’ll still ask him if he’s sure when he asks you to spend the rest of your life with him. 

And that’s the reality of engagement that people don’t warn you about. 

It’s not your rescue. It’s not your safety net. 

Because, no, he won’t come with the “It’s me, I’m here,” sign. 

You won’t know it’s him by all the ways he shows up or says exactly the right thing or makes everything better as soon as the storm clouds roll in. You won’t know it’s him because you’re his only choice or because he tells you he loves you after the first week of casual dates. No, that won’t all happen for you when you meet the right guy.

But you know how you will know it’s him? 

You’ll know he’s the right one when you’re sitting in the passenger seat while your car is parked outside his house before dinner with his parents, and you’re almost in tears because your hands are full of all the deflated expectations that reality didn’t meet. You’ll be telling him how you just had always wanted to find the guy who would hurt when you hurt, who wouldn’t let you sit in the pain. You’ll be talking with your hands, trying to explain, trying to take control back of the situation when you realize — thats not his job.

It’s not anyone’s job.

That’s what Jesus did. 

You’ll know he’s the right one when being loved by him points out the Kingdom shaped hole in your life that you’ve been waiting for “the right one” to fill, a hole that won’t ever be patched up until you stand in the Light. 

Jesus didn’t let me sit in the pain. He did something about it. He couldn’t stay seated at the right hand of the Father and continue to watch my life play out the way He saw its doomed storyline unfolding– and so He came. The help from heaven. 

Engagement and marriage and finding the one you’ve been waiting for is a lot of wonderful things, but it’s not our rescue. It’s not our heaven, the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not even the thing we can hold onto to justify the pain. 

You’ll know he’s the right one when, for the first time, you stop looking to him to rescue you and instead find Jesus at the end of all your questions. 

When God’s Faithfulness is Painful.

We forget God. Life gets comfortable and we forget God. It’s a cycle the people of God have been stuck in since the very first two humans. Even when He does so much good and wins our battles and answers even the silent prayers, we forget Him without even a second thought. The book of 1 Samuel is calling out the forgetfulness in me, today. When the people of Israel finally got the earthly king they’d asked the Heavenly Majesty for, Samuel reminded them of what happened last time the Israelites had forgotten God in the Promised Land: they’d been sold into slavery and died in wars for other nations. 

And I am struck with the way things usually play out in my life: I forget, I go on without Him, and I watch my life unravel in a dysfunctional downward spiral. It is only when the pain comes that my heart is reminded that there is One who is higher than I.

How sweet that our King is an all-knowing, all-seeing King who is graceful in spite of what He knows and sees. How wondrous and mesmerizing is He, that He planned ahead for our forgetfulness and knew just how to draw us back to Him — it makes you look at all the hurt and lostness and rough patches just a little differently, doesn’t it? 

When we forget God, He remains faithful still, even if that faithfulness looks painful; that pain reminds us that we have somewhere to turn — to Him.

Maybe this is how we learn thankfulness: re-wiring our hearts to see the traces of faithfulness in all the pain.