Almost 3 years ago, we sat and posed for these pictures, our engagement pictures. We were about to embark on the journey of a lifetime and we were thrilled.
Just a few weeks ago, I was sitting on the couch in our living room with Michael, looking at a framed collage of our favorite pictures from this photo shoot. And, all of a sudden, I was just overcome with this feeling of God's mercy and His numerous blessings on us.
When these photos were taken, we had no idea what our "yes" would mean for our future together... We had no way of knowing that three years later, we would have two babies under the age of two; or that we would have bought a home that needed to be completely demoed and remodeled; or that my family would have moved down here with us; or that my Mama would finally get a good job she will enjoy...We were just excited to be there, to be on the brink of entering a new phase in our individual lives, and at the very beginning of our adventure together as a newly married couple.
When I think back to what my biggest worries and fears were at this moment in our lives, it all seems almost silly: graduating college, planning a wedding, moving 1000 miles away from the only place I'd ever called home... then I was worried about finding a job and we started looking at, and ended up buying, our home. And then time stopped when we found out we were expecting the first little peanut.
Or, it seemed to stop anyway. For the first time in a very long time, I had to come to grips with the fact that my life was not my own; that no matter how neatly we laid our plans, God stepped in and basically said, this is what's best for you. I was absolutely terrified. And thrilled. And just, emotional, really (pregnancy does that... :]). And, now that the second little peanut is on the way, I only feel overwhelmingly blessed.
When I was sitting with Michael the other day, looking at those engagement pictures, I thought of those initially terrifying moments. And, I felt so grateful. Seven years ago, my doctors had told me that I was entering menopause (at seventeen!!) and, there was a possibility I would never be able to have children. And, here we are today, with a perfectly healthy and happy baby girl, and a little baby boy on the way.
It really made me stop to think about all of the ways God has blessed us. He has healed me enough that we have been able to start our family. He has given us both good jobs so we can provide for ourselves. He has blessed us with a house that we have turned into our home. When I was rear-ended last December, we received enough between the two settlements that we were able to purchase a new car and pay off one of our student loans. He has provided for our every need, without us even realizing it sometimes. And, I know that with all of these big changes and adjustments that still lay ahead of us, I haven't been especially grateful sometimes. I'm scared and worried about almost everything.
But, here again, God gave me a glimpse of hope, something to hold on to, at Mass this past Sunday. The 2nd reading was from Phillipians 4:6-9:
"Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you."
It just hit me like a really hard punch to the chest: Have no anxiety at all. It's such a high standard for us to try to live up to. And not an easy one for me, because by my nature I am an avid worrier. But, here it is, laid out by Paul, simple and straightforward. God does not want us to be worried -- He wants us to lay those worries at His feet and be at peace.
From now on, when Iook at those pictures, I will remember this moment as a turning point. Even though the future is uncertain right now, and we don't really know what lays in store for us down the road, I will hold on to Paul's words. I will remember that God wants to share that peace with me, if only I let Him in.