You weren’t my plan.
As a young girl/woman, I made my life plan (I’m a real list maker). I would go to University. I would get married. I would have three kids all exactly two years apart. I would stay home with them until they were grown, and then I would have a fulfilling career. I would travel, build a home, serve a mission, and retire with my husband. I had a plan, one that I agonized over, and prayed about.
To be honest, that was pretty much my life. I met my husband Ryan on my very first day at BYU-Idaho. We married only 6 months later. We started out as poor college students, then went through the nervous new parent stage as we welcomed our first baby into the world. Our beautiful red haired daughter changed everything for us. We grew from a couple into a family. We were blessed with two more babies through our years together: a sweet blond little girl, and a smiling baby boy that looked just like his Dad. We created a beautiful life that was truly everything that I had ever wanted. That isn’t to say that things were always ideal. Our marriage endured struggles with anxiety, loss of trust, two miscarriages, stress over career/ finances…and other challenges that are not unique to just our marriage, but that were difficult for us. Thankfully, we held on through the good and the bad, and overall we grew a lot. We weren’t perfect, but we learned to communicate, forgive, and to truly love. In our short time together, we had it…that best friend love that I had dreamed about as a girl. He was my everything, and I was his. My plan was to grow old with my best friend.
And then it happened. And then he was gone. It’s so ironic that something only an inch long could completely alter the course of my life. The person I loved more than anyone was fine one moment, and then fighting for his life the next. The aneurism and stroke took his ability to breathe, to speak, to move, and in the end I had no choice but to let him go.
It was excruciating. My plan was gone. My life felt like a puzzle that had been tossed in the air, but when I tried to piece it back together, the pieces didn’t fit anymore. I was a widow at twenty seven. I was a single mom trying to console three devastated children. I was broken, and was painfully aware of how little control I truly had ever had.
And then came you.
I met you at the darkest time in my life. You were kind, understanding, and genuine. You became the person I talked to when nights were long, and the pain was overwhelming. You distracted my troubled mind with stories of your travels, dates that had gone badly, and dreams for the future. You became a dear friend. And then, after some time, you became the person I would spend time with when I needed to escape. When I was with you, I could get away from it all. When I was with you, I smiled again. And on the days that I couldn’t smile, you were there for me. You bought my kids balloons to send up to their Daddy in heaven. You drove me to the cemetery and asked to hear stories about him when my heart was heavy. You listened to my pain. You were there when my shoulders shook with sobs. You were patient, you gave me space when I needed it, but you were always there. You were gentle with my heart.
And then one September day I realized it: God still had a plan for me, and maybe somehow it was meant to be all along. I had written my first Chapter, and it was beautiful. But at 27, a large part of my story was still unwritten. Although my husband was too young to die, I was too young to not truly LIVE. It is exactly what my RJ would have wanted for me, and for our Children. It was hard to be vulnerable. To love is to risk a broken heart, something I knew all too well. But it was right, so I took the leap of faith that it required to have the chance of being truly be happy again. I married you. You are exactly what I need and want. You are my chapter two. This chapter will be full of healing, love, adventure, and growth. I can’t wait to see what the rest of our story brings.
I have found that allowing God to fill in the blanks when the pages of life seem bleak, is the way to have a best selling novel anyways.