Welcome to my quarter life crisis - where there is never a shortage of wine, chocolate, and wondering what the H-E-double hockey sticks God wants me to do with my life (I mean also prayers...)
Lemme give you a little back story:
Seven years ago my life was on the path I had planned since childhood - I was married, I was pursuing my dream career of teaching high school, and I was beginning to think about starting a family. I had the best group of girlfriends a woman can ask for and an amazing relationship with my family. We were gearing up for an overseas move to England and I daydreamed about romantic strolls in Paris or beach vacations to Spain (lets just say my planning hour at school was filled with more trip planning than lesson planning). My husband and I felt the world was at our finger tips and we were fully ready to take our fair share.
But over the course of the next six years things changed. My teaching career was hard to sustain in a foreign country, as was any job really, so filling my time during the day became a struggle (until I found all 7 seasons of Army Wives at the library and OMG I had found my purpose again). We became pregnant with our first so my time was quickly filled with newborn snuggles and too much coffee.
We lived in England for three years and then moved back stateside. Shortly thereafter, my family life began to fracture. My parent's marriage struggled for several, very long years and ultimately ended in divorce. I was shattered. I felt as if my entire foundation was gone. My parents were my rock, my security, and my example for how to do this often times hard/crazy/exhausting thing called marriage and parenting. I began to question everything - my childhood (was it even real? were happy memories really happy for them? was this all a rouse?), my own marriage (how do I prevent this? what areas are weak in our marriage we need to fix?), my parenting (what am I going to tell my daughter? how do I answer the questions when they inevitabley come?), and myself (what am I even doing? how do I make sure to end up strong and secure in myself after 30 years of marriage?).
We soon had another baby and three days after my son was born I lost my sister-in-law in a tragic biking accident. My heart ached for everyone, but none more than then her two precious babies I get to call my niece and nephew. We soon endured two more deaths and two more divorces - at which point I found myself wanting to know when it was all going to end. What happened to the life we had seven years ago?
We recently moved (again) and while unpacking boxes I saw a picture from our wedding day - my husband and I surrounded on either side by our respective families. I looked at the picture and realized we don't even have this same family anymore. I tucked it back into the box.
Through the heartache though we were provided with such strong relationships. That same amazing group of girlfriends were by my side every step of the way, along with some new ones I made (If there is one thing in life every woman needs it is a set of real, honest, come-as-you-are friends. I unbiasedly think I have the best). I took a part-time job at Stitch Fix which eventually led to starting my own styling business when I had to move. My husband and I worked to make our great marriage even better and I loved on my babies something fierce.
But through all of this I still felt very lost. I still questioned what the H I was supposed to do with my life. Why, God, did you place such a burden for teaching on my heart just to have me marry a man whose career hinders that ability? Why did you give me such clear direction to stay at home while my kids are babies yet I still feel so restless? Why did I feel pulled to start a styling business when what I've always cared about more is the women behind the clothes more than the clothes themselves? Why do I have such a heart for ministering to women and girls but no real platform to do so?
I still don't have answers to these questions.
But I do know that I have these desires on my heart for a reason, even if that reason is currently clear as mud. I know that I loved using my styling business as a way to reach women and I want more depth and less fluff. I know I want women to believe that they each have a beautiful story written just for them. I know that I have all these things building up inside of me and I need some place to put it. I know I love community with women and raising up the next generation. I love realness and honesty and truth.
I know my story matters to someone out there but only if I am brave enough to tell it.
So this quarter life crisis is in full-swing and I'm not sure when it's going to end.
But until then -