“To live your best life now, you must learn to trust God’s timing, you may not think He’s working, but you can be sure that right now, behind the scenes, God is arranging all the pieces to come together to work out His plan for your life.” – Joel Osteen
I wasn’t what anyone would call a popular student in high school. From my spiked, blonde, blue, or green hair (depending on my mood) down to my combat boots, everything about me was different from the other small town kids I grew up with. My sort of “individuality” usually didn’t bode well for adolescent girls, but despite my weirdness, I had some pretty amazing friends.
One of those friendships began halfway through football season my sophomore year when I walked into Geometry class to find the quarterback slumped over his desk. He’d never actually spoken to me before, other than to borrow a pencil or ask to share my book, but necessity doesn’t constitute a friendship. He was a junior and all I really knew about him was his name: Chris.
On any other day, I wouldn’t have given him a second thought as I took my seat behind him, but that day he looked so pitiful and friendless that it was heartbreaking. I wondered if maybe someone had died or if he had been diagnosed with a terminal illess. As the teacher took attendance, I scribbled a note to him.
Are you OK?
He looked surprised when I slipped the note under his elbow, but he opened it and wrote a reply before passing it back to me.
My girlfriend dumped me.
When I read it, I admit I rolled my eyes to his back. You’ve got to be freaking kidding me, I thought. Nevertheless, I responded with warmth.
Then she doesn’t deserve you. ☺
I knew he would probably assume that I was flirting with him. A lot of the girls at our school did. He was a small town football star, good looking, and drove a nice truck. Very much to my surprise, he simply looked back at me and smiled. It was an honest smile – a grateful one.
That small exchange began a friendship that has lasted for sixteen years and just recently spawned this little development…
Five children, a tragic accident, a nasty divorce, and a crap-ton of emotional baggage later… we FINALLY got married. I can honestly say that I have never been so truly and completely happy as I am today. But I often wonder, why, oh why, couldn’t we have figured this out in the beginning and skipped past all of the ugliness of the last nearly two decades? Why must we both have been so run over by life and love before we were allowed the joy of where we are now?
Because without God’s timing, this fairytale wouldn’t exist.
I wake up every day this happy not just because my husband is AMAZING. It is also because in the five years since my first husband’s death, I have survived some nightmarish experiences. I have suffered some Lifetime Movie Network type heartbreaks. I sincerely appreciate how well my husband loves me and cares for me because I completely know how horrid love can be. I know that our life won’t always be rosy, like it is today, but I also know what I gem of a man I have married and that knowledge will help me push through the hard times that will inevitably come our way.
Also, it is easy to be cliche and point out that we wouldn’t have our five awesome children had it not been for the roads we have taken. But even more than just their birth, my kids wouldn’t be the same had it not been for the path their mother drug them along. My kids have learned some valuable lessons by walking, sometimes limping, with me through life. They know what it is to experience loss and death; they have also seen how God redeems even the most tragic circumstances. They know what it is to be strong and yet dependent on family, friends, and Christ’s church. They understand big, grownup concepts like grace, healing, and community. They have learned how to love people – all types of people – without pretense or prejudice. Hopefully, they have learned even more from my mistakes than they have from my successes.
Finally, I have learned how to truly CELEBRATE. I have learned that climbing up treacherous inclines only makes the view from summit even more spectacular. I have learned to remind myself on awful, dreadful days that ANYTHING can happen… that joy really does come in the morning.
God’s timing is never what we would plan… but it is certainly worth waiting for.
If only I could write a letter to that dumb 15 year old girl who had a secret crush on a boy who had a secret crush on her.