The string quartet began playing Pachelbel, as my dad and I took our first steps down the aisle. I began to lose my composure as we proceeded to the altar. Hundreds of guests had their eyes on me as tears streamed down my face. Struggling to look my future in the eyes, I looked to the ground for reprieve.
God, everything around me looks perfect, so why doesn’t this feel right? I’m not sure how I got here. The flame once dancing inside of me, has extinguished. Lord, I need you.
Dad squeezed my hand gently, “Are you OK sweetie?” I took a deep breath and tightened my grip around his arm, giving a quick nod, I whispered, “Yes,” quickly wiping away the evidence of devastation in this moment.
The uncertainty on the face of the man waiting in front of me mirrored mine. Maybe we both wanted to run away, but were too polite to say anything. That cold November day ended with an I do, but not long after, we agreed to go our separate ways.
There was a window of time after I graduated from college, just before the wedding, that I thought I was living my best life. I became a professional dancer and a talent agent at a modeling agency. I lived for fleeting moments of fame. During this period of living on cloud 9, or so I thought, I had broken up with my long-term, college boyfriend-turned NFL quarterback for fear of abandoning my plans of never living in someone else’s shadow and more importantly, never moving away from family. Watching him date one celebrity after the next was torture, and I continued to fill the void with selfish ambitions, shallow aspirations, and unstable desires. The more I felt the rush of performing in front of large crowds, photo shoots, and the next big break, the more the humble person I had been all of my life began to disappear.
So, when my marriage ended and I finally woke up from the dream world I had been living in, it became my mission to change all that I had become. The feelings of failing as a Christian woman and the disappointment of how off track I had fallen were minimal in comparison to the One I felt I had let down the most. I cried out to Him, Lord, take the reins of my life in Your hands. Lead me back to you.
He graciously met me right where I was. Humbling me, He stripped away my old way of thinking, and showed me unconditional love like I had never experienced before. It wasn’t until I was willing to surrender my old life, that I was able to see who He created for me to be all along. He filled the empty spaces and made me whole again. The fire that had smothered in my pain reignited when I was willing to be made new. This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17
When we drift away from Him, or are too absorbed in our own lives to acknowledge Him, believing our plans are superior to His, He is steadfast. I imagine as our Father, it hurts Him to see us walking down the path to destruction, but He is patient and knows what is best for teaching us to be more like Him.
It has been over a decade and looking back, I am grateful for the painful lessons in my 20s; without them I wouldn’t have needed rescue. I have been married to a pilot for almost nine years. Through my husband’s many deployments, long trips away from home, and moving from place to place, the loneliness I have experienced has given me a dependence on God. I trust this was His plan for me. I had to be taken from the comforts of the place I grew up, so that I would fully depend on Him. My purpose looks different from what I thought it would long ago. It isn’t flashy or extravagant, but it holds so much more value. Raising our children rooted in Christ is our biggest assignment. His Word is our anchor, and no matter where this life takes us, we are never alone.
Lasting fulfillment and joy in our hearts, comes from the One who created us. He is our missing peace. He is our greatest love story.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4
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