looking back, i don't regret this decision, but i'll admit at the time it was weird. i've always kept to myself, been slow to meet new people, impossibly fearful of striking up conversation with strangers. so i just drove there, went to class, minded my own business, barely joined in class discussion, turned in my work, and that's about it.
half-way through college, my husband and i got married. that was a very weird feeling. you're in this place where everyone is your age and they're all care-free and dating and breaking up and going about their day as a normal college student. but i'm worried about getting the laundry done and the dinner made and the bills paid and whatever silly argument we'd been in the night before. you know? just a very weird transitional time in my life... that i would NEVER change. i wouldn't want to go back, but i wouldn't change it. does that make sense?
i do sorta feel bad for my husband who had multiple opportunities to play football at various schools across the country. he didn't actually pursue anything officially, because early on in the recruiting phase, i think he decided to stay here. i don't often wonder how our life would've ended up if he'd left, because what's the point? but when i do think about it, i wonder: would we have stayed together? would i have followed him to the college he decided to play at [which totally spells disaster in my mind]? would we have married each other? married that young? lived in san diego?
but then i look around and i just can't imagine us being anywhere but right where we are today. our physical location but also the way our marriage has evolved and strengthened and matured. our gorgeous girls. this stage of life, the craziness and the hard times and the normal everyday life and all of it.
life is weird that way, isn't it? it can take so many turns that would lead to drastically different outcomes. i think when you're young, it's really easy to think that you can choose the wrong college, the wrong major, the wrong husband, the wrong house to buy, the wrong job offer to accept. i think sometimes we paralyze ourselves with the what-ifs, you know? at that age, i just tried my best to push those type of feelings aside and keep living my life. going to a Christian high school, though, i can distinctly remember friends that were so beside themselves deciding which college to go to. what was God's will? how could they possibly know? what if they chose the wrong college and never met the real husband God had chosen for them and how would their life end up and what if it was all supposed to be different?
talk about an ineffective way to live life. always wondering if you made the wrong choice and if you were perfectly in the center of God's will?
here's the thing: God gives us His Word. and in His Word, there is nothing that specifically and absolutely tells me, in 2002, living in San Diego California, which college i'm supposed to go to.
i recently read [i think it was on instagram and i wish i could remember who posted it so i could give proper credit] that God's will is not really about what we are doing specifically, it's about who we are. God has given us free will. He has given us minds that can think critically and make decisions. He has given us creativity and capability to do amazing things. He has given us wisdom and tools with which to make good decisions. He has given us life experiences that shape us and often birth in us a ministry or message to share. but He's mostly concerned with our hearts. He's looking for hearts that are continually and consistently seeking Him and His Word. hearts that are wiling to be transformed into His likeness. hearts that are pouring out in love for others.
He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us make tough decisions, and to do really awesome things that we feel He's placed on our heart, that aren't necessarily spelled out in black and white or audibly spoken to us. i believe He absolutely gives visions and reveals plans and these are all part of His timing. but there is a huge element of faith that i don't know if we always want to embrace. knowing that God will never leave us or forsake us. knowing that He has a certain picture of who he wants us to be and that we can trust Him to guide us in the way we should go, without getting so caught up in what if i make the wrong choice. God has not created us to live that way. the enemy throws those fears at us to keep us from doing anything. we can't always have all the answers before we step out.
one more thing, and then i'll let you go. we can absolutely make wrong decisions. we can outright sin. but even there, especially there, God works. God is in the forgiving, healing, redeeming, restoring business. we are never too far gone, too far out of his reach, too old or too young. there is nothing we can do to tempt God from grace. He is waiting with the porch light on and steady eyes fixed on the end of that pathway leading up to the house, ready with arms wide open to kiss your neck and throw a party for your return. God is good. He wouldn't have it any other way.
“But while he was still a long way off,
his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him;
he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him.
Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it.
Let’s have a feast and celebrate.
For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’
So they began to celebrate.