|Our last big trip before our first baby!|
I found this picture of us in Maui amongst the tons of downloaded-then-ignored photos we’ve taken over the years, and it made me smile. Ryan and I (and our friends the Engerts) went to Hawaii in July of 2011, blissfully unaware that one year later we’d have a brand new baby in our hands (the Engerts too!). Amidst all of the preparation to take on a new year and new life goals, finding this picture makes me eager to take a breath, a moment to think back and reflect upon the past year and how far we’ve come. And what a year it’s been…
I remember feeling really, really frustrated in the fall of 2011. I kept telling Ryan that I felt like I was floating along with no purpose and that I desired something, anything to change in my life if nothing else than for the sake of variety. We had many late night talks during that period of life, and I remember telling him over and over and over, “I really just need something to happen–change my job, sell our house, have a baby…just SOMETHING!” I’d repeat those three things constantly to him, then pray for God to create movement in at least one of those areas in my life.
I prayed, but truthfully had little hope that anything would actually change. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for my life’s work, so leaving a reliable job (and my Pottery Barn discount) seemed foolish; our house was on the market, but we had absolutely no control of when or how it would sell; and although I felt ready to take the baby plunge, Ryan wanted to wait until his business settled more before trying. (Oh, hindsight makes me laugh!) I felt helpless and frustrated and, well, sad.
Then, in October of 2011, within a two-week span, God created movement–and lots of it–in ALL THREE areas of my life. I got a new job, our house went under contract, and we found out that I had unexpectedly gotten pregnant! I remember the adrenaline and excitement of those few weeks, and I specifically remember thinking how strange it was to be so down, all the while unknowingly hurtling toward our wildest dreams coming true in such a short timespan. I was elated to say the least.
Then God pulled back the reigns. Our house fell out of contract for very odd and strange reasons. A few weeks later my new and wonderful job turned out to be a bust. I was feeling nauseous 24/7, exhausted, and confused. I felt like a phony, putting on a fake smile and telling everyone that life was great, all the while disappointed and secretly feeling like I had the permanent stomach flu. I remember praying for God to just give me a healthy baby, that “movement” in that one area, the MOST important area of my life, was enough. And He did.
2012, then, began after a series of exciting events and subsequent let-downs. Now, one year later I can see God’s hand in every event that’s carried us to where we are today. In the middle of it all, though, it was stormy seas characterized by a lot of tearful nights and crying out to Him. Slowly, though, throughout the first half of 2012, the chaos and ruin that 2011 left us in began to regroup and reform. Our lives took new shape and I began to be happy at how they were turning out. Looking back, I know that I would’ve never left my job at PBK, especially once pregnant (i.e. needing insurance and my discount), so God gave me a legitimate reason to leave with the seemingly perfect job opportunity. He also knew that my role in Ryan’s business was going to be way more fulfilling and rewarding and allow for the home life I desired, so He made my seemingly wonderful job then turn into a job-gone-bust. Our house going under contract in 2011 gave me hope that it could happen and thus stamina to endure until we actually sold it in 2012. I think that God took away the chance to sell our home in 2011 because he knew that we’d buy another house–any ol’ house–super quickly without thinking too much about it because we had a baby on the way, and that would’ve eventually put us right back where we already were: busting at the seams, mad about a hasty decision, and frustrated about having to sell another house. All along, throughout all of those let downs, there was our little baby, comfy and cozy, growing healthily and happily in my belly.
The first half of 2012 was about clearing out our life in order to usher in a new era for the second half. The birth of Emma Vance in June was, of course, one of the biggest events in our lives, and the past six months have mostly been about her. (And I suspect that most of 2013 will be, too!) Thinking back on praying about those three areas of life, now I can see how God was orchestrating all three of them in perfect rhythm in order to bring us to our lives today. In 2012, we sold our house (finally); we moved into a rental house so we can think long and hard about our next home purchase; Ryan’s business has grown exponentially; I’ve found a new career assisting Ryan and taking care of Emma Vance; and, of course, our “we” has become “three.” It all seems to be falling into place, and I hope that I look back at the second half of 2012 one day and see that it was, in fact, a time of God’s preparation for the new and wonderful adventures of 2013.
Reflecting on the past year makes me realize so much has happened. Our lives are completely different, in a good way, than they were 365 days ago. I’m thankful for every one of those days that God gave me over the past year, for the growth, change and joy I experienced during them. 2012, you were good to me…