Hi. It's been far too long, little blog. Today is my birthday, and my birthday gift to myself is to write to you. I'm not entirely sure where to begin, so this might be a little rambling. Forgive me. I'd like to tell you a story...
Almost four years ago, in February of 2012, I got a phone call from my mom that changed our lives forever. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her mom, my grandmother, had been taken from us under the same disease years before. It was caught early, but we were so afraid. I was a senior in college. Chris and I had been together for over two years, and we were on the threshold of deciding when to get married. He had decided just a few months before to go to law school, and he had applied at schools all over the nation. He held my hands and told me to look for jobs close to home in Arlington and not to worry about being with him.
He applied for SMU in Dallas on the last day he could apply. He got in.
I got a dream job in Dallas. We both moved to Dallas that fall as an engaged couple, close enough to home that I could be with my mom at a moment's notice.
The following summer, we held hands and said our vows—and my mom sat in the front row, cancer free. Hallelujah is a bit of an understatement :)
I begin with this story to remind myself that God's timing is perfect. It may be impossible to understand, especially in our darkest moments, but when He graciously pulls the scales off our eyes to look at what He's done, we can't help but say His timing was better than we could've dreamed. Let's continue...
Chris ended up attending a school he had never really considered attending before. He feared he wouldn't fit in or wouldn't find friends. His first week of school, he sat in a row of young men who had recently graduated from A&M and found common ground in the desires of their hearts. What a blessing! Chris worked hard in his classes, and prayed for the best. He continued to tell me after every final he took that he failed it. This was never the case—in fact, I remember one moment when a professor personally emailed Chris to let him know he had gotten the highest grade on an exam ever recorded for that test. Praise be to God.
Three years after that fateful move to Dallas, Chris stood at a podium in the SMU Law Quad and gave the valedictorian speech. It had been a windy day, threatening rain at any moment. As he placed his hands upon the podium to begin, the sun shone through for just a moment. I remember closing my eyes and breathing in deep. God had carried us here, cradled in His hands. The salutatorian had a .01 grade point difference from Chris. And yet Chris would be the one who was able to say he was top of his class, and it made a world of difference in who was interested in hiring him. That day, I asked Chris if he wanted to be a judge—a dream that had been growing in Chris that he had never truly vocalized. That day he admitted that he would. He shared with me how he would love to prayerfully put pen to paper in a way that would glorify God in our nation. I told him I would support any wise decision that would help him to do that.
Chris applied to work for a judge on the Supreme Court of Texas, researching, writing, and collaborating with him. It was a year-long position in Austin. Chris had told me it would be a long shot if he got it. He did. We began to make plans to move to Austin in the fall of 2015.
This past summer, Chris got an email from SMU's career services team saying there was a judge on the 5th circuit looking specifically for an SMU student to hire. It was a year-long position in Jackson, Mississippi. The 5th circuit is a set of courts that are responsible for several southern states, Texas included. These typically only go to Ivy League students. Chris was shocked this judge wanted someone from SMU—the judge said he had interviewed someone from there and was incredibly impressed. Chris reached out to one of his close friends, his classmate (and often, competition), Bryan, to ask him what he thought. Bryan turned white as a sheet and told Chris he had applied for that judge not long before. But before he heard back about a job offer, Bryan had accepted a position with a judge in Dallas. A judge that Chris had worked for a summer before, who had called Chris and asked him for recommendations of who she could hire from SMU. He had told her Bryan's name. She offered Bryan the job on the spot at his interview.
So Chris applied to the position in Jackson. It was too much of a coincidence to pass up. Chris and I agreed that if he got it, we knew that was where we were supposed to go. If he didn't get it, he had a job offer waiting at a law firm in Fort Worth. In one hand, we saw another year of restlessness and incredible opportunity. In the other, we saw a chance to settle down and start a family.
We got the job in Jackson. We move again next fall, in 2016.
When Chris began to tell his friends and mentors that he had gotten the offer to work for the 5th circuit, they immediately asked him if he would apply to work for a Supreme Court judge for the year after Jackson. Having worked for the Supreme Court of Texas and for the 5th circuit would be a huge boost to his resume. Working for a Supreme Court judge in D.C. is the opportunity of a lifetime. It would put Chris's name before the people who would be able to later recommend him for a federal judge position later in his career. We agreed that he should apply.
In the past few weeks here in Austin, Chris has managed to meet up with several people who have connections to Chris and to the Supreme Court. They've been more than encouraging. It's been a beautiful thing watching this unfold... and yet, so terrifying.
As Chris's career opportunities have unfolded, I began to harbor a deep desire in my heart to have a baby. It began last fall, and I assumed it was out of sympathy for our friends who are expecting; that it was a feeling that would pass. It didn't. When March came, I confessed to Chris what I had been feeling. I told him that I wasn't intending to put pressure on him or on us, but that it had affected me in a way that wasn't too pleasant and asked him to pray for me.
We entered our year of so much change by praying together over the decision to have a baby... and we both felt convinced that Austin was not the place to start trying. When we found out about Mississippi, I felt my heart begin to break. I questioned how long God would ask us to wait. When we realized we should apply to D.C., my heart shattered. I looked ahead at uncertain waters, pushed off of the safety of the shore without paddles, praying God would guide me. I felt Him calling me to put my desire for our baby in a bottle—and to put that bottle in the ocean and let it drift.
"Trust me to bring this back to you. I know you don't see how that's possible. I know you want to hold onto it, to have it in your control. But this is my doing. I am the Creator. Trust me to bring this back to you at the perfect time."
I wring my hands and wait. I question where we're going. The past year has been a battle between my head that knows God is good and my heart that isn't quite convinced. Once we moved to Austin, I started working from home, began seminary school, Chris began working, we began to adjust to a new city, and we totaled a car and got a new (to us) one. Depression entered my world quickly, sucking up any light in it's path and plunging me into darkness.
Depression is an old friend of mine. Growing up, I battled it on and off for years. My sophomore year of college, I hit bottom and began going to counseling. I got better. I changed. Chris and I started dating. And I naively thought I would never walk through depression ever again—that now, I had been cured.
This time, it came hard and fast. I began to humbly expose my ugliness to Chris, confessing to him my heart's lies. Dragging the lies out of the dark into the light was terrifying but freeing. They began to lose their power, little by little. I called upon my dearest friends and asked them to pray for me, because I couldn't bring my ugliness before the Lord on my own. I started seeing a counselor again. We are working on tangling out the lies to find what is true, especially what is true about my God, who loves me more than I can possibly comprehend.
I hid from this space online, on the blog. I didn't want you to be afraid. I didn't want you to worry about me, to cause an undue burden on you. I didn't want to expose the fears of my heart in a world that has so much hurt in it, much weightier and more important than my own. But then I look to Jesus. Did he see any person's hurt as an inconvenience? Did he find the most important person in city and work only on them? Did he decide one political "big issue" to tackle during his time on Earth? No. He looked at the heart. He went to people's homes. He healed individual people. He never saw them as an interruption or inconvenience. He came to save our sinful, broken hearts.
So here's mine. It's not perfect. It's pretty beat up, shattered and in recovery from it's wounds, with an anxious heartbeat. And yet, God sees so much glory in it. He knows the desires of my heart. He asks me to give those to Him, and let Him fill that space with more of Him, with more of the things He loves to love.
If any of this reminds you of yourself, please know that today I am praying for you. One of the sweetest things for our human ears to hear is "me too." I am fighting beside you. Satan loves to take the things we love and twist them to cause us pain and shame, shame that drives us to hide from God. Please don't hide. Let's stand side-by-side, and prayerfully drag the darkest of lies out into the glorious light of God's love, where they cannot survive.
I would love to hear from you—you can comment here, or find me on social media and send me a private message. I would love to know what I can be praying specifically for you. We have a good, good Father, who claims us as His, and frees us from our slavery under fear. There is no greater joy than this. As always... let's share joy together. Love you.