There I sat, terrified and confused, in a row of church chairs. Awaiting my surgery the next morning, knowing that I had a hemorrhaged tumor in my head. I didn’t know if everything was going to be OK, and I didn’t understand it. People gathered around me, prayed for me, tried to keep me distracted, but I felt numb. As though my whole world had simply stopped spinning.
My friend at church whispered to me, “God doesn’t give a story like this to just anyone.”
Fast forward a year and a half, and there I laid, numb and silent, in my parents’ bed. For days. I just couldn’t shake the news. I was going to be a mom and then . . . I wasn’t. There was nothing I could do to change it, and I couldn’t believe it.
Every day I woke up and felt as though I had to re-learn the news. I’d frantically look over at my nightstand to see if the crackers and Sprite were gone. And they were, every single morning. Replaced with anxiety and sleeping pills.
People would come and go, say words that I didn’t really hear, nor would I remember. And I remained mostly silent. One day a friend climbed on top of the bed with me, with tear-filled eyes, and again the words were spoken to me: “This is part of your story now.”
But I didn’t want it to be.
I had written out a story for our lives and this wasn’t part of it. It didn’t include the loss of a baby and a brain tumor all before the ripe age of 22. This isn’t what I dreamed of when I was a little girl. It’s not what I ever hoped or prayed for.
But it’s our story.
We carefully laid out our plans. I had dreams for our future on our wedding day. I had crafted the perfect path in my head.
But I’m not the author.
And so, sometimes I just have to take that tight grasp I have on my dreams, and let go. Even when it hurts, even when I only want to grasp tighter to my carefully laid plans—on the good days, the bad days, and everything in between.
When we got married, we agreed to work together through our entire story. Each and every word, sentence, and chapter. Even when we feel like we can’t bear to flip the page and see what happens next. Even when we think the next page is going to be wonderful and it turns out to be downright awful.
It’s all part of what makes marriage such a crazy, scary, beautiful commitment. And because of our faith in Christ, we know that he will redeem all of the scary and seemingly hopeless patches.
“Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” —Joshua 1:9
Even though we’ve been through some tough times, I love looking back and seeing what God has already brought us through. The hopeless times. The tiring times. The exciting times. Because the truth is, though we add a lot of chapters we’d rather not, we also add so many that we don’t deserve. And we have to get through those tough chapters to get through to the ones that seem too good to be true.
I remember a couple days after I found out about my miscarriage and was deep in the pit of grief and decisions, my grandpa showed up for a surprise visit. It took surprise visits for me to have visitors, because I was too in shock to invite anyone over. But his words still ring true with me—“There are better days ahead, kiddo.”
So if you’re in the midst of a rough patch—in life, or marriage, or both—keep trudging on. It gets better. God does have better days ahead for you. Just trust him.