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I was in the third row on the left side of a Southwest flight from Houston to Jacksonville wearing a pink tank top.

My shirt choice was one of the many decisions I was questioning on a day that was so drastically out of character for me.

I was grateful when I noticed that it was a single-seat row so I didn’t have to run the risk of a seat-mate wanting to exchange pleasantries about what was taking us to the east coast.

I hadn’t convinced myself yet that it was the right call to even be on the flight . . . so I’m not sure I would have been ready to explain it to a stranger.

I spent most of the flight with my forehead pressed up against the window looking mindlessly out at the clouds; every so often banging my head against it to try to knock my “why are you doing this?” fears out of my mind.

A couple of times I glanced at my boarding pass that cost me $172 and wondered how much I’d have to pay if I needed to get a flight home sooner.

Because what if this was all a huge mistake?

The plane landed and I simultaneously shook my head and laughed to myself.

I couldn’t believe I had really done it. I was minutes away from finding out if this was the dumbest or best decision I had ever made.

Before making the phone call to let him know I was there, I stopped in the bathroom to freshen up my makeup and give my pink-shirt-and-jeans getup a once-over.

If this weekend went the way I thought it was going to, this outfit would be the first one my future husband would lay eyes on me wearing.

With a deep breath, I picked up the phone and went to the digits I had dialed dozens of times.

The voice that had made butterflies dance in my stomach and a giddy smirk hit my face for the last month and a half answered on the other end.

“I’m here! I’m the one in the pink shirt at the gate!” I told him before he let me know what car he was driving so I could look out for him.

My heart hit the cement when I saw his white SUV come around the corner.

“Good God,” I think I said out loud. “Here goes nothing.”

I smiled obnoxiously as he pulled up to the curb wearing a backwards hat and a giant set of dimples that I had heard he was known for.

He got out of the car and hugged me.

Unfamiliar shock waves hit my heart.

And I immediately knew I was about to owe my sister for the rest of my life.

Because two months prior I’d gotten a phone call from her.

“I’m at a wedding,” she said from the reception bathroom to which she snuck away to call me. “And I just met your future husband.”

All I could do was laugh.

I had just gotten out of a two-year relationship and I knew she was trying to get me to move on.

“I’m not kidding,” she said when she sensed the part-annoyed-part-humored tone in my voice. “He’s perfect for you and I already gave him your email.”

After encouraging her to stick to dancing instead of matchmaking, I went to bed in my hotel room and the next day I had an email from Mr. Wedding Guy.

Dear God. He really emailed me.

I tried to be annoyed, but the three hours it took for me to script my email back was an indicator that I was intrigued enough that I wanted my words to be on point just in case this guy was the unicorn man my sister swore he was.

Emails turned into phone calls. Phone calls turned into a deep friendship. A deep friendship turned into butterflies. Butterflies turned into booking a flight to meet in person and find out if this was as real as it felt.

A flight turned into that hug on the curb of the pickup area at the airport.

And he’s hugged me hundreds of times since.

With the greatest ones being the embrace he gave me when I got to the end of the aisle in my white dress . . . and the ones he gave me after I delivered each of our three kids.

That girl in the pink shirt had nothing to worry about after all.

She surrendered to fear. Surrendered to doubt. Surrendered to risk. Surrendered to a God who was smiling that day as he watched 20+ years of a perfectly laid out path that had finally reached its destination.

That day I learned something valuable about life’s happenstances.

They aren’t accidents.

No matter how hard you try to fight it . . . no matter how much you doubt it . . . God has a plan.

And I’m so grateful for the one He laid out for the girl in the pink shirt.

Originally published on The Thinking Branch

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Brea Schmidt

Brea Schmidt is a writer, speaker and photographer who aims to generate authentic conversation about motherhood and daily life on her blog, The Thinking Branch. Through her work, she aims to empower people to overcome their fears and insecurities and live their truth. She and her husband raise their three children in Pittsburgh, PA.

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