Andy and I celebrated 13 years of marriage this week. I was so excited to sit down with the kids to watch the VHS wedding video that hadn’t been played in years. But what I felt at the end was completely opposite of what I expected. I thought I would look back to that day and feel envious of the carefree, young person I once was, the young lady with my whole life lying ahead. But I wasn’t, instead I felt grateful for the battle wounds that have me in the here and now.
As I watched my friends and family speak beautiful words from their hearts and the sweet things Andy and I said to each on camera, I felt warm inside remembering such a special day. But as I watched myself I saw right through the old me. I couldn’t help but cringe a bit when my memory flashed back to where my mind was as I sat on the altar. I remember being way more worried about how I looked in my beautiful wedding dress and who was sitting in the pews in front of me, than the fact that an actual sacrament was taking place. I regret that I don’t even remember what the priest said to us that day. Don’t get me wrong, the day was perfect and the love between Andy and I was so very special. But I wish I fully understood then, that we were making a covenant with God and how very important that was.
After thinking about all of this for a little while I realized it is okay, and that life is about accepting each stage in life and learning from it. So if I could go back to that day I would do it the same because it was who I was at the time and that played a role in who I am today. God has a special way of loving us even when we don’t show Him the love and attention He deserves.
Andy and I joked this week saying, if our lives had flashed before our eyes the minute we first met, we probably both would have run far away from each other. But thankfully that is not how God works. We don’t get to see what the future holds because God saves each obstacle until we are ready, all the while preparing us.
I have a perfect example of this in my life. Before Katie was born God led me from a career in TV journalism to a public relations position at United Cerebral Palsy. When Andy and I got engaged my contract was ending so we decided it was best for me to move closer to him since we had been dating long distance. I considered a career change at that time and almost interviewed for a position that was available at UCP, but I ultimately decided to take another TV job instead. After only a few months I realized that it was indeed time for a change and by God’s planning that same position at UCP was still open, I interviewed and changed careers. I remember thinking this job was just meant for me, little did I know how that would play out in my life.
I had never been so exposed to the world of special needs. At this job I learned all about the different therapies we provided children with special needs. I wrote press releases, did interviews and helped plan fundraising events for these new precious people in my life. But I never even thought for one second that I would soon be one of them. When Katie was born I was exactly where I needed to be thanks to God putting me where He did.
So if God has prepared me and equipped me why have my last few blog posts been focused on how I am struggling so much? Haven’t I made it yet? With all we have been through shouldn’t I be sitting on easy street popping my troubles away like tennis balls with my very experienced racket? I wish it were that easy, but we never truly finish struggling until the day we die.
Katie’s impairments are truly my biggest struggle in life, but at the same time they are my greatest gifts from God. I get to experience a relationship with God that the “young wedding dress me” may have never found. Katie’s life has been my pathway to a richer and deeper existence. The “today me” still struggles, but I handle it differently. I have not mastered it, but with God as my guide my GPS is set in the right direction.