Approaching Grace in Red High Heels
The other night I made a magnificent replica of Olive Garden’s chicken and gnocchi soup. It had a whole stick of butter and two cups of milk and it was Italian perfection.
The problem: it made enough for six people, and Mr. M and I are only two.
I put the pot in the fridge and for the next week chicken and gnocchi stew was our primary lunch option. By the third day, I was really over it.
We were still in the midst of the gnocchi siege when my parents called, saying they would swing by on a Tuesday night – boosting our dinner number from the usual two to seven people. I raced to Kroger on my lunch to buy a fat-laced chuck roast, heirloom carrots and fingerling potatoes. Then I floored it home to get the meal in the crock pot before heading back to work.
The roast turned out perfectly for our company – walking in the door I could smell the herbs I’d rubbed into the meat, the smell of the beef broth and the vegetables, and pretty soon the green beans and rolls began to waft their scents into the air. I set the table carefully with my Blue Willow china and cleaned the kitchen. It’s not every day you have company from 16 hours away!
I put the gnocchi soup on the stovetop as a back up in case people were still hungry… but never served it. After all… it’s leftovers.
Clad in a spring-weight dress coat, no gloves and a jersey dress, I was completely prone to the wind that ripped through my few layers in a matter of ten seconds. When I packed for my business trip to New York I failed to remember that “north” means “colder”.
Swinging the rental car door shut I scurried to the gas pump and swiped the company card. Enter Zipcode. I hastily punched in the code and hit enter. Enter Zipcode.
“What on earth…”
I punched it in again.
Please see attendant.
I glanced at the clock and clacked over to the gas station hut, a metal igloo stacked with Camels and Wrigley gum. An Arabian man disinterestedly gazed from within the glass cave.
“Hi there, my card isn’t processing. Can you help me please?”
He slowly rose from his chair and drifted outside to the gas pump. He grunted something in a thick accent, gesturing for my card. He swiped it, punched a few numbers and handed it back. “Needs zipcode.”
Okaaay. I entered the numbers – numbers I KNEW were the zipcode for my hometown – and the same thing happened again. I could feel my temperature rising but it was doing nothing for the cold – my hands were now numb.
It was then I realized the university I work for has its own zipcode. “Great,” I muttered. Punched it in: See Attendant.
Back I clacked, this time to the front of a line of four or five people. “Hi, it’s saying to see you again.” The Arabian man said nothing, punched his computer screen and then stared at me, which I assumed was my cue to go. Back to the pump I went, swipe, punch, zipcode – See Attendant.
I’m a people pleaser. I’m also very confident in what I believe. It’s a very difficult combination.
My passion for truth in every area – seeking it out, researching it, finding out why I should believe what I believe – has sometimes tossed me in the crosshairs of conflicting opinion. The discovery that not everyone shared – or liked – my worldview was difficult to swallow. The idea that people might not like me because of my personality and opinions was even harder to take.
But unfortunately, that’s how things are.
I used to think that being a Christian meant you were nice and everyone liked you. If I wasn’t liked, I took it to mean I was not living out my Christian faith appropriately or that my opinions were misplaced. But I couldn’t get up the gumption to abandon my beliefs, especially since they were more than mere opinion. I was left to decide between being liked or having values.
For the last two years I’ve had the same goals. All my weekly goals and daily to-do lists somehow fed into this overarching dream – one that seemed far from being realized. I prayed, wrote, proposed, saved, and plugged away at them month after month, always looking forward to the end of the ‘tunnel’ but never quite sure what I’d do when I got there.
And then I got there. I arrived.
In a matter of two weeks every goal we’d worked toward was suddenly achieved: we paid off $30,000 in Mr. M’s student loans; the career position I’d prayed and worked toward was implemented and I was given the job; I finished my bachelor’s degree; and we found out we were expecting a baby. After all the excitement settled down I found myself sitting in the living room wondering what in heaven’s name to do with myself.
In order to achieve our goals I had integrated them into the very fiber of my being. Everything I did was meant to help us reach those ends. When the goals were gone, it was as if a part of my identity was gone, too.
I took the pregnancy test in a hotel bathroom. I left it on the counter and went into the sitting area to do homework while Mr. M watched TV. It was our one year anniversary.
“Well?” He asked. “I don’t know anything yet,” I replied. “It’s really probably nothing. I’m going to do homework.”
Ten minutes later Mr. M came out of the bathroom holding a plastic stick with two pink lines.
“We’re having a baby!”
My husband was thrilled when we first found out. Just the week prior he had been asking when I thought we’d really try for a Baby M, since we weren’t really trying at all. It all happened so much faster than I had anticipated, and while I wasn’t disappointed by any means, I felt extremely unprepared.
I’m the woman who maps out the entire itinerary for a trip, day by day, list by list, prior to leaving. I’m the one who plans my grocery list around a map of the store for most efficient shopping experience. And I’m the one who plans my schedule two weeks out, so if you need an appointment, tomorrow is not available.
Today I am sharing a post from my blogger friend Lisa. Lisa is married with three beautiful boys and blogs at Delighting In My Days (linked at the bottom of this post). Whether you are newly married or single, these principles shared by Lisa will be helpful as you create your expectations for marriage (and even relationships in general!). All of these are issues I’ve faced in my own marriage and Lisa’s advice is well timed!
My husband and I married young. I was 20, days away from turning 21, and Justin was 21. I still had a year of college left and my husband started work at his first post-college job four days after our wedding. The adjustment to marriage was overall a small one for us but there were sticky heart issues that I needed to face. There are plenty of things to work at as a couple but there are some that only you can fix. Here are six of the heart problems that I found when we got married.