Saturday, October 31, 2009

Chapter One: Beginnings

Every parent desires the "best" for their daughter - the American dream: health, wealth, and happiness. Financial or relational struggles, sickness and tragedy never enter this utopian dream for her life. Only an uninterrupted plan can achieve that dream: high school, college, career, then marriage and family. Marrying someone on a different path would complicate things too. No parent thinks "I want my daughter to marry a musician, a plumber, a mailman, etc..." No. "Job descriptions like that would not be fitting for my daughter's husband..."

Well, about fourteen years ago, the summer before my senior year of high school, I was struggling. After my close knit group of friends started dabbling with things that were not healthy, I pulled away. I found myself very lonely and anxious to get out of my small hometown to start fresh. I was no longer looking for self worth in my latest high school relationship, but was beginning to see things differently. My mom knew I was struggling and invited a young Christian man from work to take me out on a blind date with the purpose of encouraging me. Six years older than I, he was kind and funny and I remember thinking to myself "I'd like to marry a guy like this one day."

School started and I had every symptom of senioritis and could not leave quickly enough. I was still dealing with a bit of drama with the friends I still loved, but wouldn't spend time with anymore. I was hurt by how they were acting out towards me, and suppose they were hurt because I hadn't communicated with them. I just didn't have the gumption, or relational maturity, to confront them and tell the truth about why I was choosing a different path. A Sadie Hawkins dance was coming up and I finally got the courage to ask out the guy I'd had a crush on since sixth grade - and he had said "yes". While our friendship was developing, my mom's coworker started pursuing me and after a little hesitation, I went out with him again. One afternoon I was heartbroken over the loss of friendship I was experiencing and had a date planned with my mom's friend again. I was still wiping tears away when he arrived, pulled myself together and went out with him anyway. I really paid him little attention because I was focused on leaving, going out of state for greener pastures, and I wanted to see where this other relationship would go after the dance.

When Monday morning came around, he told my mom he wouldn't be asking me out again. When my mom came home that evening and said, "I think you may like him more than you realize...". I cried and knew she was right. After several attempts, he finally answered my call, came over to chat, and...well, he ended up being my date to the dance that December.

The night he came over to talk we agreed not to date anyone else and we became inseparable. Six short weeks later, we were engaged. At first, both our families seemed okay, but after a short time (and for the next three and a half years), my parents made it clear they were not happy about our engagement.

I was interrupting the perfect formula for attaining their dream for me. Not only was I not even out of high school and considering marriage, my fiance had no college degree and had moved to Nashville to...........you guessed it - be a musician! This was not ideal, and now, as a parent myself, I can truly relate to how they must have been feeling and all the red flags they were seeing. In three and a half years and many conversations, they expressed to me what an unstable life that would be....a life of feast or famine. Feasting when work is good, and famine when it wasn't.

By the time we married, Shane was making a decent living as a songwriter and guitar player and I was in my junior year of college, working part-time. Now, now that we were married we could begin the quest for our own American dream, right? Not quite..

Here I am, ten years and four children after being wed, and I can say I have not even come close to that American dream. The more I want it, the more I realize what a false hope it really is. I have faced tragedy, financial woes and deep struggles that could never have been solved by the American Dream, or any worldly thing. My trust in God, who is sovereign over all, over every detail of my life and yours is the only One who is able to satisfy the soul. I MUST choose to feast on the promises of my Savior and avoid wallowing in the famine that often lies in my heart.

Stay tuned as I fill in the gaps and connect the dots for His perfect story for my life....