We took this photo on the top of Independence Pass last June, during our honeymoon trip to Colorado. Charles and I were blissfully happy (I mean, hello, it’s our honeymoon), and married life seemed to be going exactly as we hoped and planned. Little did we know what was to come when we returned to Tennessee.
Charles accepted a job working nights—we were thrilled for the opportunity for him, despite our different schedules. We certainly made the best decision at the time for the two of us. We moved into a new place in the city of Nashville, and shortly thereafter we found out we were expecting. Everything felt exciting and wonderful.
What we didn’t expect was how difficult the next 16 months would be. His night shift job became more and more demanding, with some weeks topping out at 80 hours. Sunday to Thursday, we passed each other like ships in the night, and our weekends were reduced to a few exhausted hours together. We struggled to make friends or community within our church, and we were unable to join the groups or classes that we desired to because of our schedule. Holidays and vacation time were almost nonexistent.
We knew we were still blessed in countless ways. Both in good health, with jobs, an apartment, and plenty of food to eat. Plus a baby on the way! We tried to focus on all the gifts in our life, rather than dwell on the negatives.
Yet the truth is that we were processing through our own version of suffering. We were learning what life looked like when it didn’t go according to plan. You know: When you think you’re driving on a straightaway with the windows down, the sun shining, and no other cars around, and instead you’re stuck in a traffic jam on a stormy day, facing flat tires and engine problems and detour after detour with no end in sight.
And then once our son was born, I felt incredibly joyful—I think God revealed His true purpose for me in motherhood—but also more overwhelmed than I admitted at the time. My hormones were up and down. I was exhausted physically and mentally. I worried about my son all the time. In fact, I didn’t sleep at all the first night home from the hospital out of fear something might happen to him. I wasn’t exactly depressed, but I was definitely dealing with baby blues.
Charles and I both knew something had to change. He’d been searching for jobs since before the baby was born. We kept praying and praying and praying God would change our situation.
The months went on, and I continued processing. I wrestled with what it meant to be a stay-at-home mom, when my identity had been wrapped up in career and achievements my whole life. I felt lonelier that I had in a long time, and I didn’t quite know how to express that to people. I just wanted them to be there for me. Then there was the anger. Oh, the anger. I’ve never really been an angry person, but suddenly I was mad, a lot. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was mad at God.
Lord, why is this our situation? Why does everything have to feel so hard?
And Charles was going through a lot of his own processing, too. Sleep deprivation will do a number on you—not to mention, he rarely saw the light of day, or anything, really, outside the four walls of his workplace.
But God has taught us more through this season than we anticipated. He’s shown us that He is always faithful, always loving, and always good. We’ve pressed into Him when we didn’t know what else to do. We’ve cried out to Him with literal tears and shouts. He’s grown our faith in areas we didn’t know we needed, and He’s reminded us that He is forever after His glory.
I’ve learned I’m not the only one who’s faced difficult situations. I have friends whose husbands work equally long hours, friends whose husbands travel all week, and friends whose husbands have been deployed in the Middle East. I have friends who are longing for a husband or a child and are probably reading this thinking I shouldn’t complain. (They’re right.) I have friends who’ve struggled with infertility or miscarriage. Friends who are walking through depression, anxiety, and grief. Friends with cancer diagnoses. Autoimmune disease. Addiction. The list goes on.
I’ve learned there are people all around us and all over the world who are struggling. Everyone is going through something. We have no idea what people might be experiencing, and we all owe each other a bit of grace and the love of Christ.
Through all of this, I now have a greater understanding that sometimes God allows His people to suffer to bring us closer to Him.
He wants our whole hearts and our dependence on Him. He wants our ultimate good and His glory. Through suffering, we see that He is God, and we are not. He is in control. Our suffering allows us to empathize with others. It makes us more like Him. When we are suffering, we are reminded of what Christ went through on the Cross for us. We have a great high priest who was tempted in every way, who suffered more than we ever will so that we can have eternal life. We can trust Him in all situations.
If you take anything away from this blog post, please let it be that. You are not alone in whatever you’re walking through. You have a Savior who knows you and who knit you together in your mother’s womb. He created you with great purpose. Jesus really does love you, and He wants a real relationship with You.
Will you trust Him?
Trusting in God is the only thing that got us through these past months. I honestly don’t know how our marriage would have survived without our shared foundation of faith in Christ. I know there will be trials in the future, too, but I can say with confidence that God will be with us in them.
And so, after many tears, much prayer, and now wonderful thanksgiving, we can confidently say God has brought us into a new season.
He’s given Charles a new job, and our family is about to get a fresh start. We are moving to Denver, Colorado!
The photo at the top of this blog post has been the background on our computer since our honeymoon. It’s a picture that makes us happy every time we look at it and gave us hope that things would turn around again. We had no idea that God would actually send us out west, to the same state that photo was taken.
We are so excited to begin this new chapter in Colorado. We cannot praise God enough. Thank you for all your prayers and encouragement along the way.
Now onto the Rocky Mountain State!