I couldn’t have planned it better myself

Sometimes you really just have to stop, drop and roll with the punches. But after all of that, there’s something more important you have to do. You need to stop, sit back, and appreciate.

When I drive through the mountains everyday and get a glimpse of a fantastic view of the Blue Ridge, I just have to be thankful. I like living in the mountains because I feel like you’re reminded of God’s creation more often than if you live somewhere flat or surrounded by metal and concrete. If it’s one thing I learned this year, it’s that no amount of planning or worrying I do will ever help or hinder what God has planned.

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The view from our car on Easter Sunday as we drove back up to our mountain home from a trip to Charlotte.

If a year ago you told me I would be here, I would have looked at you like this o_O. I had a great job in Florida with the nicest people ever, Addison and I were looking at condos to buy just earlier that year with his inheritance from his grandmother, and we still anticipated his mother to get better. But this month a year ago, everything changed.

We had talked about maybe moving back to North Carolina to possibly take care of his family if they needed us, but we didn’t think we would need to. Addison had already dropped out of school to be his mother’s caretaker, which put a bit of a wrench in our plans of both being college graduates come the time we got married in July. But that was okay. It’s what was needed to be done at the time.

When she died before our wedding, the very last few days of April, Addison finally said what he wanted– which, let’s be honest, my mild-mannered man rarely says what he wants because he’s usually content. What was the one thing he wanted? To go back to Appalachian State and finish his degree the way he started.

After all he had been through, I couldn’t say no to that. We tried to make it work with my job. Could we live in two different states the first few months of our marriage? No. Could he take classes at App online from Florida? Not really what he wanted. Could I work remotely like some of the other employees just for a few months? Maybe! No..wait…just kidding. Sorry for the false hope, but NO.

Earlier that year, a coworker and friend of mine said something really profound that still sticks with me today. She said, “Marriage is an institution of God. Satan hates God, so why wouldn’t he be attacking your marriage?”

You always hear about spiritual warfare, but I never thought the crazy obstacles in my life leading up to my wedding day would be part of it. And honestly, I’m grateful for that piece of wisdom because it really carried me through with a renewed perspective I couldn’t have had on my own.

Maybe, just maybe, my marriage was meant to glorify God in such an awesome way, the devil couldn’t bare to see us together. It’s a silly notion to some, but I decided to go with it. I decided to fight when I felt like giving up.

People had suggested we postpone our wedding. Some suggested a few months. Some suggested a year.

If my future marriage was in fact part of some crazy spiritual warfare where the enemy was trying to prevent me from it, why would I give in to that? It was that friend’s comment that made me realize, sometimes you have to go for it, even if it didn’t make sense.

I didn’t want my life to be defined by bad circumstances.

We didn’t want our marriage to start off being controlled by what would be more convenient.

People often describe getting marriage as “taking the plunge.” And for us, we really had to. We decided to move forward despite none of our plans working out.

So there was only one thing left to do. We called it Plan Z because it was really our last resort. Addison would take out some of his inheritance for us to live off of while he finished school that semester. I still had some freelance work, so I had at least a little bit of income, though not enough to live off of.

We really had to step out in faith when it came to our marriage– something you’re always told you need to be 100% sure of, 100% secure during and 100% responsible about.

I like to make plans. I need to make plans. This period of my life was so hard for me because I couldn’t actually plan anything. But for one of the first times in my life, I TRULY got to see how God works putting things together. Sure, growing up in the church you always “know,” but to see? That’s a whole other can of awesome. And this is what we saw:

When Addison re-enrolled, his financial aid not only covered his last semester, but they gave him a living stipend that was– no lie– the exact cost of our rent.

For our wedding, we invited one of the faculty at App State who we worked for when we were both in college. She is a good friend and someone we highly respected. She, of course, brought her husband.

Within weeks of moving to Boone, her husband emailed me saying his wife mentioned I needed a job. Samaritan’s Purse needed a freelance writer. Was I interested? Um…yes.

He’s now my boss. (And a pretty cool boss, at that)

By November I was hired full-time. I cannot even express the sense of relief that I felt.

And then December came. I was invited to help host a Christmas party which Addison agreed to take a break from studying for exams to drop in on. He’s not much of a mingler, but I was so proud of him that night for actually talking to people– even though one of the only things he could talk about was what he was studying because it was on his mind. Once he left, a friend approached me saying that there was a position open in her department who needed someone with Addison’s computer skills. Would he be interested? Um… yes.

Addison didn’t want to be bothered by applying quite just yet. After all, he was still studying for exams. But it turns out he didn’t even have to inquire because his future boss contacted him himself…the VERY next day.

But then in January, the job got frozen and even though he had interviewed well and was their choice, they couldn’t offer him the full-time job. Instead, they hired him on as an hourly employee on contract for three months. We were still grateful, but of course kept our options open… just in case.

Well, of course God’s plans our better than our own and we didn’t even have to have a Plan Z this time. Addison was offered his job with salary, benefits– the whole she-bang! They kept hinting at it forever, but  now, his start date is NEXT TUESDAY. He signed all the papers yesterday. It’s like a dream.

Within a year of not knowing what the heck was going on in our life, we both got full-time jobs…at the same place.

How good is God?

Before our wedding, we took pictures with Addison blind folded so we could pray together. I look at those pictures and it really reminds me about how we started out–completely blind, not knowing what was about to happen. But you know what? I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

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