Brad Paisley boomed through my ’97 Acura Integra. My phone buzzed with a text at a stop sign.
“Well, good talking to you Mar. Hope all stays well.”
I forcedly smacked the volume knob and welcomed sad, angry tears. Aggressively swerving through the winding roads of my neighborhood I sat in front of my house, head resting on the steering wheel. I had been talking to a boy who, for the sake of privacy, I’ll name Guy. Guy had been talking to me for months and, without any explanation, grew shorter and shorter with me. Anyone with an IQ above 90 knows his last text was communicating, “please don’t continue this conversation. I’m trying to politely shut it down.”
Classic 18 year old options for how to handle this are:
1) Send an aggressive text back. Maybe something like, “SCREW YOU.”
2) Mozzy inside and sit in front of the TV all mopey and miserable.
3) Call a girlfriend and hate on the guy for an hour.
This story is now going to take a dramatic turn because I did not choose any of the three options — even though I wholeheartedly wanted to.
Instead, I put both hands on my stomach and prayed, “God, give my future kids the heart you gave me. I feel like no one has a heart like mine and I yearn for my kids to understand compassion and empathy. I don’t want any of my sons to send a text like that, because I want them to understand what that communicates to a girl….and I don’t want my daughters to receive a text like that. And if they do, I want them knowing they dodged a bullet — they didn’t take one.”
I hope my “heart like mine” comment doesn’t read as being emotionally full of myself. I was shocked by my response, it felt like an out of body prayer. I wasn’t expecting my heart to go from feeling rejected to praying for my kids I don’t even have or, honestly, at 18, was thinking about.
Abruptly praying for my future kids came in a moment where all I was concerned about was myself. God intervened and shifted my perspective. That was one of the few times I KNEW and FELT God hearing my prayer. It was an intimate, special moment. I felt Him speak to my heart saying, “Mary I live inside of you, my heart is shown through you….pray for them to know Me and they’ll know you all the more.”
That’s a lot to chew on. The meat of this post begun cooked as medium, but I just cooked it longer so I hope that’s good, err, well with you. #momjoke
K, moving on.
My heart shifting drastically was not God discrediting the sting in my heart. It was Him revealing a bigger picture. My worth, my value, was not quilted between the stitches of this guy. He didn’t know my heart; he didn’t know what I had to offer. Rejection looks like that though — it feels like an expiration sticker being slapped on a package that has yet to be opened. Through that we, the package, feel like we have to prove ourselves and do everything in our power NOT to get the sticker. What’s the point though? If someone doesn’t want to get to know you….THEIR LOSS. Each person holds value and treasures worth of being pursued, but ain’t nobody got time for knowing each person’s heart fully. Heaven scheduled that in, not earth.
Rejection stings. I’m not disputing that. The 30 minutes following Guy’s text could have been detrimental for my heart. Fortunately, I received perspective: Guy didn’t truly know me, there is a man who will one day WANT to know me, and God deeply cares about the children He’ll (hopefully) give me to raise one day.
Before I move forward I want to tie the bow on my, “praying for future kids” moment. Reading about praying for future kids could be weirding some of you out, and that’s understandable. They aren’t even born yet so, what will praying do? As someone who prays more than she talks to any of you, I have strong thoughts and convictions about what prayer can do for the future. In this specific moment, however, God knew I needed perspective and something to cling to. Veering my thoughts to future kids was evidently not of my flesh. If a stranger sat down and shared a similar situation they’ve had with a guy/girl I would not say, “think of your future kids!” No, no I would not. That situation was so specific to my heart and my relationship with Jesus.
I’m an open book to those I trust, but being vulnerable to the web is harder. I’m breaking out of my comfort zone here because I want to encourage you. I encourage you in every day situations, especially hurtful ones such as the one shared above, to ask the Holy Spirit to adjust your mindset to a bigger picture. He knows what perspective, what picture you need.
Roughly a week after Guy’s text, perspective got blurry. I allowed feelings to win and caved. My heart (and eyeballs) cried out:
“Why didn’t he want to know me?!”
“What is wrong with me?!”
“How could he not give an explanation?!”
I felt defeated. I vividly remember hiding under my covers crying one night — everything was out of my control. I missed Guy, I still checked my phone several times a day in hopes of him texting me, but all notifications were from my mom. In the stillness of the night, I felt the Holy Spirit speak to my heart saying, “It isn’t that you aren’t ready, it’s that I’m not ready to share you.”
God knew, once again, my heart needed to feel comforted. What felt like rejection now felt like provision. In the midst of pain, as long as our eyes are on Him, we can’t escape His best. I am SO thankful my heart heard those words because I had been feeling unlovable and worthless. Sounds a tad dramatic but, seriously, it’s pathetic how little a guy (pun intended) can do for a girl to feel utterly unimportant. Thankfully, my pain was used for growth and strengthened my sensitive, tender 18 year-old soul.
2009-2012 holds lessons learned from a multitude of guy hiccups. During those years I didn’t hear another gold nugget from God regarding my love life. I just had His, “I’m not ready to share you” statement to hold. During my third year of college I believe He said two things. The first was, “the man I have for you is not in Kansas City,” and the second being, “I can’t wait for you to live your love story. Trust My timing.”
Midwest mentality is to find your spouse in college and if you don’t, then, bye. Something is wrong with you. Most, if not all my friends during college, had a significant other. Many of them are engaged, even married now. Some pregnant, some with two kids. Being a Jr. and hearing I would go the next year and a half without a HOPE of meeting the man God had for me was at first extremely difficult. I probably wrote in my journal, “WHAT is the point of living!?!?!?! What am I doing here?! Where the flip IS he then so I can MARCH there?!”
Once I internally processed everything, my soul exhaled and I rested in believing I wasn’t going to meet “the one” for the next year and a half. I was fine — believing that positioned me to fully embrace independence. If you saw me on campus you knew I wasn’t messing around with life. My life revolved around enhancing my education, picking up any and all shifts to prevent debt, and investing all free time deepening friendships.
Don’t get me wrong, I developed crushes. My college roommate Christiana can especially attest to this. Sometimes I’d twist things around and think, “maybe he isn’t from Kansas but VISITING Kansas….maybe he wasn’t in Kansas THEN… but now, because of like, free will, he’s HERE.” Dwelling in that space never lasted long. My gut knew better.
Throughout the years I’ve been told I’m a steady, strong woman.
I have full confidence in knowing my strength. It took years for me to be confident in my confidence because I never wanted to come off prideful or full of myself. There’s a clear difference and I’m thankful to rest in that now. I trust my strength because in the hardest of moments, I chose to obey time and time again. I’ve gone through turbulence and have ultimately landed. I chose “no” to things my flesh wanted, all because I saw a bigger picture. For me, God gave me the big picture of future kids. Do I want my kids to have a mom who did drugs, slept around, swore like a sailor or didn’t do her best with what she was given- such as school or a job? Personally, I don’t.
Disclaimer: I’m not living FOR my kids. I live to glorify God, strive to be more like Jesus everyday and be a good steward with what I’m given. Who knows, God may not have kids for me — nothing is promised. But y’all, I do think about what legacy I’m leaving, the mark I want to leave on this earth. If I died when I was 20, what life would I have left? If I died today, what would people remember me as?
Wherever you’re at in life, seek wisdom for a bigger picture. There’s purpose in the pain. Your scars, your tears cried in secret are not lost on God. Release all burdens to Him, verbally express where you’re at, and be still. See what He’ll do. He knows what perspective YOUR heart needs. If you receive a gold nugget, hold on to that. It has been seven years since hearing, “…it’s that I’m not ready to share you yet.” I thought God would be ready after one, maybe two years — certainly not more than FIVE. Looking back on what my story has been though, I’m thankful I chose singleness for that year and a half and to clung to my nugget. I’ve had years to grow and mature alongside Jesus and through that, our relationship is pretty solid. One day I’ll (hopefully) be led to grow and mature with someone, but that’s in His timing. Whether it’s another five days, five months or five years, I can trust in His timing. I have the confidence you can too.