You'll just know

Sunday, February 22, 2015

The other night, my husband Chris and I were talking about the beginning of our relationship; well, the beginning of our second time dating... that's another story.  We were reminiscing about aspects of our journey and I suddenly felt stuck as I couldn't seem to find the memory of how or when I knew that I was going to marry him!   I was trying to recollect if it was an instant "I just knew" sort of situation, and I could not remember for the life of me.

Having dated him for two years, breaking up for a year because I felt the Lord leading me to focus only on Him, to then only a year later still feeling my heart tugging towards Chris, I remember that the decision whether to simply start dating him or not was a hard enough decision on its own!  I knew that I did not want to start dating him again unless we had the intentions of our relationship leading to marriage, so I really sought the Lord and asked wise women in my life for wisdom on how to proceed.   All too often it seemed like the cliché statement of "you'll just know" would come up.  Even typing those words makes me want to roll my eyes as I remember the frustration I would feel when people would tell me that.  I still get annoyed with that statement because it's not just used in reference to knowing whether you want to marry someone, it's pretty universal.

Being a person who often struggles with big decisions, that phrase is still a big part of my life.  And I kind of hate it.  It always makes me feel so frustrated because it seems like a cop out.  When I am asking for help in making a decision, I don't want someone to tell me that I will at some point know, I want them to tell me right then what I should do- I want them to make the decision for me- to play God in a sense and tell me what is the best thing for me.  I mean really, how nice would it be if God would every once in awhile just write us a little email or shoot us a text and say, "just do this."  Unfortunately that's not how it works.  It pains me, it frustrates me- and yet time and time again you'll just know proves to be true.  God has shown me over and over again that as much as we'd like Him to speak in loud claps of thunder, lightning strikes or to pick up the phone and make the call, it really doesn't look like that.  I very much believe that He could do that if He wanted to, but I think that more often than not, hearing Him speak truth into our lives, and giving us direction is much more of a gentle nudging or a feeling in my gut sort of thing.  Or, if we're going to go ahead and use the annoying phrase a you'll just know sort of thing.

For the past couple weeks I have been struggling with a big life decision in deciding whether or not to take a job that my sweet, sweet dad was offering me.  As you know, my struggles with whether or not being a housewife right now is enough  are very real... so the prospect of the Lord leading me to a new career was very interesting and perplexing.  For weeks and weeks I felt like I was getting nowhere in the decision process.  I started to feel heavier and heavier as the weight of indecision seemed to cloud my mind and steal my joy.  I really felt like I was never going to make the decision.  I didn't feel swayed one way or another and saw no hope of being able to find the piece I needed to tip the scale one way or another.  And then God spoke.

Right in the middle of a phone call with my dad and his business partner, as they were clarifying the role for me, in one single instant, I knew.  I had been praying and praying for something exactly like this, that the Lord would make it so clear - and through my dad's business partner's words, that's exactly what He did.  I was so shocked that my decision could seem so obvious, that in that moment I almost couldn't believe it.  It was as if the blinders had been removed and I could see oh so clearly that taking the job wasn't the direction in which He was leading me.  It's in moments like this where I am reminded of how awesome God is, and how strongly I can rely on His promise to guide me.  I don't need a handwritten letter or a firework in the sky, I just need to trust that in His perfect timing and in His perfect way, He will lead me- and I will just know.

Coming back to where this post began... after a few gruesome moments of not being able to recollect how I knew I wanted to marry Chris, he reminded me that it was very much like the scenario I just described.  After praying and praying, and seeking the Lord's guidance and wisdom for my relationship with Chris, He laid it on my heart and I just knew.  Sitting on a porch swing of my good friend's house, I can now clearly remember admitting to myself (and to my small group ladies) for the first time, that I knew, like a weight in my gut and peace in my soul, that I wanted to marry this man.

I am SO thankful that we have a God who communicates with us.  He doesn't just ask us to follow Him and then leave us to find the breadcrumbs; He grabs our hand asks us to dance and whether audibly or silently with a light pressure on our hand or back, He leads us to take the next step.

If you're stuck in a place of indecision where you are wholeheartedly seeking your next step, my prayer is that you might be encouraged.  If your mind is clouded and you feel a sense of analysis paralysis (story of my life), don't give up.  Keep seeking Him, keep praying, and trust that you'll just know because He will guide you.

--- image by Marissa Maharaj ---

Encouraged and affirmed

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

It is hard for me to grasp that I am going on 3 years with my unofficial title of housewife.  It has been a journey with many ups and downs- and as far as me owning up to this title, realistically more downs.  But the time has come for me to be proud of where the Lord has me right now, and to really be affirmed in my role and my worth in being a support to my husband.

If you've been following my little story, or are friends with me outside of lovemin, you'd know that my first year as a housewife was not so easy.  I lost my job a few months before we got married, was beginning the soul searching of what to do next, and pretty much waved newlywed-life goodbye as my husband was married to, owned and dominated by the company he worked for.  During my first year of marriage, there were many-a-night where I sat home alone on the couch as Chris would not return home until 2:00 or maybe 3:00 in the morning.  I loathed the work world that so absorbed my husband's life and felt seriously ready to write a letter, as my Grandpa would always say, or as I more dramatically planned over and over again in my head, to storm into Chris' boss' office and give them a little how-to-and-what-for, telling them how cruel and crazy they were for expecting people to work 90+ hours a week.  I really wanted to let them have it (probably in some not so nice words...) There was one night in particular where I wrote this post, when I hit rock bottom.  I was SO so angry and so drained from what our lives had become and felt really robbed of experiencing the joy of marriage.

Now here we are 2 years later, and I can thankfully look back at that crazy year, remember the pain of being a "work widow" and praise God for how he brought us out of that place by providing a new job for Chris.  There are still some long days and many nights where he stays at work to get the job done, but being at Cleary Gull has cultivated a much better life-balance and one where we can actually experience the joys of marriage.  But let me bring you back to the point of this post.

Tonight, I had the blessing of attending a dinner celebration for my husband's work.  What Chris does, is help people buy and sell companies; he (alongwith the other guys on the investment banking side at Cleary Gull) is essentially a middle man who helps connect companies who want to sell, with the right buyers and facilitate the deal.  It's quite a long process where they pitch to the seller, put together the books to market the company, find buyers, screen bids, and ultimately help the seller choose the right buyer for their company.  That was a really long winded way of explaining that tonight was a "closing dinner" aka a celebration for Cleary Gull to honor the people involved with the sale of a company.  There have been several other closing dinners that Chris has been a part of that I have not been invited to, but tonight was different.  Tonight they invited the spouses of the sellers, Cleary Gull employees, and the lawyers who were involved with the deal.  And I am so glad that they did.

After enjoying a lovely cocktail hour, and an amazing dinner hosted at the highly-acclaimed Bartolotta restaurant on the east side of Milwaukee called Bacchus, there was a time for a little presentation.  After one of Chris' bosses thanked the sellers for all their hard work and for choosing Clearly Gull to represent them, one of the sellers took his time to say a few words.  And here's why my heart felt happy.  The first words out of his mouth were not all about the money that the company made during the sell, or about the thrill of the deal, or finally closing- but it was a sincere thanks for all of the spouses in the room.  He talked about how he had pushed for the spouses to be invited to the closing deal because he wanted to recognize not just the men who worked so hard to complete the deal, but to appreciate the women who support these men behind the scenes, making sacrifices and being okay with long nights, so that the best job can be done.  Honestly, I was stunned for a moment there. I was so happily surprised to hear those words come out of his mouth and felt a great sense of pride and affirmation of how important my role is as being a support to my husband.  Although those words of encouragement and appreciation for the wives in the room may have seemed so small for this seller to say, they were HUGE for me.

Being a 28-year old housewife, I always feel like I am completely misunderstood.  I'm not staying at home with kids or an empty-nester or anything, so most often I feel insecure when I respond to the infamous question "what do you do" with a "oh, I'm a housewife at the moment."  But for the first time as a young housewife, tonight, I felt understood and validated.  Even though I may not have a distinct "career" at the moment, and I am still trying to figure out life, I felt so affirmed that what I am doing by acting as a support to my husband really matters.  And that even in this place, I have worth.

I am so so thankful; and it is in moments like this where I am yet again amazed by the way that God so lovingly, and so personally provides exactly what we need, right when we need it.  I was feeling lost and insecure this week, like my role as housewife wasn't "good" enough, and God provided just what I needed to hear.  I am forever grateful that the Lord placed my husband into this position with a company that truly cares about their employees- and I am so thankful that it's through them that I feel a new sense of affirmation in my ever-so-important role as a support to my husband.

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