If not, He is still good.

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When I was 20, I was asked to be a bridesmaid in my first wedding. My precious friend from high school was getting married and I was so excited to be a part of something so great. I remember everything about their wedding day. Whether it was the songs they danced too, the ceremony, or the washing of each other’s feet, I could have exploded from the sweetness and love that they had for one another. I just remember thinking that I couldn’t wait until that was me.

Over the next year, I was in 6 more weddings. I danced and sang and caught countless bouquets. Weddings are a natural environment for me. Fast forward to today, I have been in 11, and each one holds a special place in my heart. I love celebrating my friends and walking with them on such an important day.

As a result, I started to hear a lot of “bridesmaid” jokes. If I had a dollar for every time I have been asked if I’ve seen 27 Dresses, I could pay for half of the dresses I’m storing in my parent’s closet.

Somewhere in the midst of that first batch of weddings, I started to feel a pain. It wasn’t physical and it wasn’t my wallet (although, guys, weddings are expensive). But there was a pain that started to develop in my heart.

At first I didn’t notice it. I was enjoying the fact that I was celebrating friends, but, eventually I started to get anxious. “What about me?” “Did I miss something?” “Was something wrong with me?” “Did God forget me?” “I thought I was doing all of the right things.”

I went from praying for my husband to not trying too hard to not being too desperate to date. I was trying to figure out this equation that everyone told me was necessary if I wanted to meet “the one”.

When “the one” didn’t come in my timeline, I became mad. Bitter. Jealous. My heart was wounded at the thought and sight of all things marriage. My identity suffered because of this.

I was so busy telling God what He should offer me that I missed out on what He was already offering me.

I told God that I would be satisfied with Him only when He would give me the desires of my heart, which completely blinded me to seeing that He needed to be the desire of my heart.

In John 6:35, Jesus is talking to a crowd and refers to Himself as the bread of life. “Whoever comes to Him will not hunger or thirst.” My hungers were never going to be satisfied because I was looking to the wrong thing to be fed. I had idolized this idea of marriage and nothing seemed to satisfy that hunger. I was hungering for what I thought God had for me instead of God alone. My love for Him quickly became conditional in certain seasons.

This went on for almost 6 years. Some seasons I was healthier than others, but I had become addicted to my desire and I wrestled with the idea that God was holding out on me. I had to reckon with the idea of not get married. Can I still serve and love a God who does not have that plan for my life? If not, is He still good?

Today I can confidently say the answer to that is YES. Do I want to get married some day? Of course. Do I truly believe like God has missed me, forgotten me, or failed me in some way? No. I believe that God is at work in my life, with or without a husband. With or without that perfect wedding day. I am complete in Christ, not in man.

The Story of Bagel & The God Who Answers Prayers

If we’ve had a conversation in the last year, you already know this story. Some of you have heard the play by play so many times, you have it memorized (and you’re tired of hearing it).

A year ago, my life changed in a way that I did not expect. Ready to hear the whole story?

Thursday, March 3rd, I was packing to head to Myrtle Beach. I knew I needed to get out of town and pray through some things I felt God was placing on my heart. They were things that were heavy, and I needed to be with people who could help me carry that load. When my plans got cancelled, I started to panic. I needed to get away and I needed guidance desperately.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I tossed and turned and when the sun came up, I gave in. I threw on a sweatshirt and brushed my teeth and drove two hours up the road to Lyons, GA.

I showed up at my friend Amanda’s door with a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs and tears in my eyes. I just needed some chocolate and wisdom (those two go hand in hand). She welcomed me in and with the candy and her newborn baby between us, we talked through everything.

We headed to lunch and between Amanda and the pizza we ate, I felt as though God had spoken.

As we were driving home, I gazed out the window. I was exhausted. Emotionally, spiritually, physically. I was done fighting and I just needed a nap. I noticed a pile of trash on the side of the road and saw it move.

Apparently I was delirious because I told Amanda to pull over so we could see what it was.

I got out of the car and a 5 lb dog, as excited as could be, ran into my arms. I picked him up, got in the car and told Amanda I found her dog.

She replied that she had a newborn, so my dog and I would have to head home.

This was not my dog. I couldn’t have a dog. My life is too crazy and I go out of town too much and I can hardly take care of myself, how am I going to take care of a dog? I wasn’t ready for this kind of responsibility.

I desperately tried to give him away. I offered for anyone to come get him, but each time I started to talk to someone about coming to get him, I felt like I was giving up on something. (Side note: never name the dog you’re trying to get rid of. They’re right, it’s all over after you name it.)

I know this sounds crazy, but I know God gave me Bagel. That dog has taught me so much in this last year. I have learned patience and responsibility and how to care for something other than myself. I have learned how to love well. And in return, he brings so much joy to my life. I needed Bagel just as much as he needed me.

As I write this, I am watching him curled up next to me, chewing on a bone with his eyes half open. He has grown so much in the last year, and so have I.

I’m so thankful we pulled over a year ago and that God answers prayers in a tangible way.

If I could talk to Katie from a year ago, I would comfort her. I would tell her that big things were coming, and while that Thursday night was hard, joy would come in the morning. I would tell her that it’s ok to be scared, but she doesn’t have to fight it. We serve a great God who loves us well and will not lead us astray. And that soon, she will have something to care for and something that will soften your heart in ways she could not imagine.

Bless you, Bagel.