I often look at people and wonder what their story is. How did they get here? What circumstances transpired that shaped their personality or molded their character?
I've wanted to sit down and write something for a long time. This is the fourth time I've tried to write a post since the wedding. So much has happened.
The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the former part. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. Job 42:12
I know this isn't really the "latter" part of my life if you consider the grand scheme of things but this season is technically considered the "latter" part... I'm the oldest I've ever been right now... and it has definitely been one of immense blessing. There were moments in the past 8 years where I wasn't even sure that such things were even probable. It's remembering those times that makes me so thankful for the present day... and also confident that whatever happens in this life... that it will all be OK in the end because God has and always will be watching over me. Maybe I don't have fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, and thousands of oxen and donkeys but... maybe I've got the modern day equivalent? Everything seems just as monumental to me anyway.
In the past year, I got married. We got pregnant. I changed jobs. We bought a house. Is that equivalent to the worth of 22,000 animals? I'm just gonna say yes.
Each of these major life events has a great faith story that goes along with it. I'm just super thankful I've been given the opportunity to even experience these things.
After Anderson died, there were so many moments I wondered if he was my one and only chance at marriage. I wondered if anyone would want someone with such a history. I wondered if I would find anyone that I'd trust with my life again. I buried the thought of having kids way in the back of a dark closet because I just couldn't even fathom that anyone would see me the way he did and want to marry me. He saw past my thorns and looked deep into my heart... and he loved me. He loved me so much that he created a safe space for me to let down my guard and start to grow into the woman God created me to be. I had never experienced God in such a profound way prior to the Anderson season of my life. It certainly was a major turning point and has shaped so much of who I am today.
When I first met PB, I told him that God is preparing for him a woman who has eyes to see him like He does... precious and worth dying for. I honestly didn't know if that person was me at the time. I knew he was struggling with his singleness, just like I was. It's what I would have told any of my single friends. Our relationship wasn't without hardships. There were moments when I wondered if staying with him was worth it or if I was just wasting my time. It's really difficult to make those kinds of decisions. There was no way for me to know how the future would unfold or if he would even see me as worth staying with either. At one significant moment... I remember my anger and frustration with the relationship had turned me into a person that I didn't like. I was yelling and hard-hearted. It would have been completely justifiable if I decided to call it quits at that time, but after taking a long, hard look at myself and my behavior... I decided that this is not how I want to remember the end of this relationship. I did not want to be the girlfriend that ruined him for all the next girlfriends. I made a decision to make the most of the situation... if this relationship ended, I wanted it to end with us as friends who both decide that we're just not right for each other. That's all dating is anyway...trying to figure out if you want to journey the rest of your life with this person. It's just as beneficial to know that it's not working out and to end it rather than drag it out and hope for the improbable to happen.
And journey we did. Things got a lot better after that point. Now that we're almost coming up on our 1 year anniversary, I can confidently say that there's no person I'd rather journey with than my husband. Throughout all the recent transitions... I feel that we've really grown so much closer... we talk through our decisions and we make them together. We didn't exactly plan on getting pregnant so soon. We weren't even sure if we would be able to have kids. So many of our friends have had fertility issues. And it was partly in the back of my mind that tragedy could strike at any moment. My husband's philosophy is more of a "let's see how it goes" and I'm a little bit more like "let's plan for multiple contingencies just in case". We could clash. Or we could just complement each other. We're both different... and that's OK. We can still work together because we love God and we love each other.
There was one weekend very early in my pregnancy when I had started bleeding. Since my baby was supposed to be the size of an orange seed, I felt like this bleeding was way too much for an orange seed to handle. I was almost sure I miscarried. Since we hadn't really planned on getting pregnant so soon and most of my heart was fearful at that point... I thought that I would just brush it aside in relief but that's not what happened. I cried and cried and cried. I cried over the soul I thought I wouldn't get to meet until we were reunited in heaven. I cried over the memories I thought we'd never get to make together on this earth. I didn't even know how I could cry so hard over someone I hadn't even met yet. This happened in January, right when PB's PPO insurance kicked in. We were able to get an appointment in a few days to get checked out. When the little peanut-shaped lump showed up on the ultrasound, I squeezed PB's hand and started crying again. She was still there. There were times when PB would talk to my belly and tell the baby, "we thought we lost you, but we're glad you're still in there. We can't wait to meet you". It's moments like that that warm my heart.
I'm 34 weeks pregnant now. I've become increasingly less mobile and more reliant on his help. My ankles are fat. My fingers are fat. I feel fat. Even getting in and out of the car... by the time I'm standing or sitting, I breathe a sigh of relief (or maybe huff and puff cuz my lungs are all squished) and say, "I made it!". I've seen my husband grow more and more into his role as a husband as a result of my physical "weakness". I've seen his servant heart come alive as the opportunities for service have increased exponentially as of late. When we were dating, one of my friends jokingly said that God made me so capable so that I could be an amazing helper to my boyfriend/husband. Maybe sometimes it's true but nowadays, I don't know how I could do this without him. I'm sure there will be moments when we're trying to troubleshoot a fussy, crying infant that he will say the same about me... but I'm just super thankful that we're in this together. Even though pregnancy is... not the most convenient season of a woman's life... I am super blessed and thankful that I have the opportunity to experience it. It might be so "normal" for so many people, but I had so many "abnormal" experiences in my 20's that I'm just grateful to be able to experience it for myself right now.
As far as my new job... I wasn't even looking for one when the opportunity arose. This was maybe a few months into our marriage and I think it was probably one of the first decisions we made together as husband and wife. Someone I used to work with thought of me when an opening became available at his hospital and he reached out to me. It took me a while to even consider the idea but I talked it over with PB. We decided that overall, my job was really stressful and that it would be something I should consider. We actually went to the hospital together to meet up with the surgeon. We talked about it and decided to just leave the option open. By the time I decided I wanted to pursue it, they'd already hired someone else. But they did tell me to stay posted. They didn't get back to me for many months and by the time they did want to offer me a new position that they created, I was already pregnant. When I came in to interview for that position, I felt obligated to tell them of my change in status because I didn't think it was fair for them to hire me and invest so much time in training me and then I go on maternity leave. Maybe it was too honest, but if I were doing the hiring, I'd want to know. A few weeks later, they decided to offer me a part time position doing exactly the same thing I was doing at my old job, except with more help and also compensate me significantly for taking the job. I talked it over with PB and we decided that I should take the job. It was a step of faith. It was a whole new hospital, whole new work environment, whole new coworkers and routine... but now that I've been doing it for a few months, I think we've both decided that it was the right decision to make. It really was like God knew what was best for me and was planning for it even though I wasn't even aware that it was a problem that needed to be addressed. This new job is a lot less stressful and everyone has been really supportive. Maybe it helps that I'm pregnant and everyone's nice to the pregnant lady... also everyone wants to talk to the pregnant lady too so it's helped me get to know the coworkers a little easier, I think. Maybe. Who knows. I used to wonder if getting pregnant and becoming a mother would turn me into someone that no one wants to talk to anymore.. if all I can talk about is baby and mommy stuff... but someone else told me that it actually makes me more relatable to more people since so many women are mothers... and not that many other women are nurses or widows, etc. And I have found it to be true. I still have a large soft spot in my heart for my single and unmarried friends. I hope I don't become irrelevant to them as I move into this new season of life.
I know this is getting pretty long, but our last major milestone is getting a house. We'd been looking for a bigger place since we got married. I'd actually been looking into buying a place after starting work. We liked our little 1-bedroom apartment. We could have lived and raised a baby there. I think we definitely could have made it work. So many people have done more with much less than we had already so I was a little bit more of a "let's see how it goes" when it comes to house hunting. We put down many offers and we were getting outbid every time. I was somewhat disappointed but I kind of just brushed it off and did the "oh well" that usually comes out of PB's mouth. There was one night when PB came home and he was noticeably down. At first he said he was tired. But when he's tired, he will just lay down on the floor and take a nap. He ate dinner and still looked down. I kept asking and eventually he told me, "are we ever going to find a house?". I was pretty surprised that our house hunting was bothering him so much since almost nothing bothers him like this. So we had a talk. We prayed together again about the whole thing... and I remember praying for my husband's heart to be lifted up. I was pretty confident that everything would be OK and we reminded each other that no matter what happened, we'd get through it together. I think we did take a little break from house hunting for a bit... and then a few houses came on the market and we went to see them. We put an offer down on one of them and much to our surprise, they actually accepted. I was in disbelief for a very long time since we had almost grown accustomed to getting the news that we got outbid. And then there are moments when PB will tell me, "I'm so glad we didn't get (such and such) house". We'll often pass by houses that we bid on and say, "remember that one?" and then we'd talk about the pluses and minuses of those houses.
I sometimes pass restaurants or places where PB has taken me out on dates and I remember how I felt about him at that particular moment. There's a Japanese restaurant nearby our house where we went on one of our first dates. He actually told me to meet him at a Japanese restaurant on Baldwin... not realizing that there are two Japanese restaurants near Baldwin and Huntington... (this happens to us many times... like when he tells me to meet him at the In-N-Out off the 10 fwy... and there's like 3 possible locations... and we've met at different ones on multiple occasions)... and anyway... that particular date, he brought me an ace bandage because I had come right after a softball game and my knee hurt. I miss playing softball. Anyway... looking back at that moment... I am so in awe of how far we've come since then. This man who brought me an ace bandage is now the father of my baby... my husband... the person who sees me every day and every night... with my hair all crazy... with boogers in my eyes... with a bulging belly and ugly comfy shoes on my feet... and still manages to remind me that I'm still beautiful to him.
We often ask each other, "can you believe we bought a house?" and we both say "no". "Can you believe we're going to have a baby soon?" "no". "Can you believe we got married?" "no". I would have answered the exact same way many years ago. I cannot believe all this stuff has happened.
I didn't really intend this post to be about my husband when I first started writing. I do have friends that haven't seen me in a long, long time and ask me, "what's he like?". I guess this post is an answer to that question. He wasn't always like this... but after all that's happened... I've really seen him grow so much and so quickly. This is who he is today... through the eyes God has given me to see him not just for who he was, but for who he is and who he will continue to grow to become.
I know we haven't been married too long and we don't often show a lot of affection to one another on social media but I do have to say that I feel like our love has grown in so much depth this past year. I feel like it's a little like... how the roots of some trees will tend to dig down deeper the stronger the winds blow. Going through huge transitions in life could be super stressful, but I think it's only drawn us closer as a couple, made us look to God more. I am confident that even if tragedy or disaster does strike... that the God who was faithful to me in the past... who has carried me through the roughest, darkest, most agonizingly painful seasons of my life... is the same God who will continue to take care of me and see me through all the other seasons of my life as well. Maybe it seems "easy" for me to say that now that things are in such a good place but only time will tell. I guess that's it for now. Not sure how long it'll take me to post again... maybe by then the baby will be months old. If I have enough energy to continue to write. I barely had enough brain power to write today. Baby brain is real, people.
I'll end with this... PB said something to me right after we got married and it's stuck with me since then... he said, "thank you for giving me a chance. You won't regret it". I'm glad that even though I didn't know I had eyes to see him like God did... that I trusted God's eyes to see for me through all the uncertainties and through the fog of these transitions. He knows what's best and His way is better than mine 100% of the time. OK... better go now!