A Dancing Baptist Princess

6:51 PMHeather

Ah, y'all are too sweet! My post yesterday was really NOT me fishing for compliments--just being honest about how I was feeling. But, oh so lovely of you to let me know you're reading!

So, I hope after yesterday none of you bloggy friends are afraid to ride with me driving? I promise--I've had 25 years of much more successful driving experience since that fateful day in Lampasas. As long as you can forget that once, oops I mean twice, that I hit the car in front of me. I hope my insurance agent isn't reading this? Anyway, you guys have hung on through more than half of my dribble about my Top 40 life lessons...you can do it! Just 16 more....

25. Don't leave anything unsaid with those you love. The last time I was with my dad in person, we had a heated debate while filling out my financial aid packet. We talked on the phone a few times after that, but Dad slipped into a coma before I realized that the end was so near. I never got to say good-bye. If there is anything in my life I would do over, this is it. I would have somehow summoned up the courage and maturity to broach the subject that he avoided. I would have asked for his thoughts and blessings for my life without him. I would have had that movie moment where the main characters carefully and tearfully express their love for each other.

26. Sometimes Baptists DO dance. Okay, okay...truth be told, this little Baptist girl danced a LOT in my Baylor days. May have had something to do with the fact I was dating a Methodist? I don't know. But, my guy and I fell in love dancing together. Nothing like having him hold me close and guide me around a dance floor. Sigh. Honestly, dancing with Chris still makes my heart sing. And, we love making our kids roll their eyes when we dance around the kitchen. It's really something we should do more often.

27. Seeking God's will means waiting for the if AND the when. I definitely learned the hard way that yes, I should seek what God has for me. But obeying Him doesn't just mean asking Him IF I should do something, but also WHEN. As with most life lessons, it came along a long hard road. Chris and I knew pretty quickly (relatively speaking) that we would get married someday. Yeah, I know--we were 19. But, I knew he was the one. The problem was that the "yes" from God came with a "wait." So, after realizing he was the right one, I had to wait for the right time. Thank goodness, Chris had way more discipline on this. So, we finished Baylor. And then went to grad school in different cities. And THEN we got engaged after nearly 4 years together. In hindsight--I wouldn't trade it for the world. And God has blessed our marriage for our obedience.

28. Speaking of obedience...I will never regret waiting for sex until marriage. Uh, yeah. I debated going there. I am not meaning to shame anyone if you don't fall in this category. Let me be clear. You wait during 4 1/2 years of dating by the GRACE of God alone! Believe me. But, again, thank the Lord for Chris' leadership and discipline. On our first dating anniversary, we went back to a Wayne Watson concert--returning to the scene of the crime of our first date. I remember Wayne saying that he loves looking at his wife across the room and knowing that she is HIS alone--and vice versa. I was struck by that statement. I decided right then and there that I wanted that. Like him, 15 years into my marriage, I wanted to look across the room at my man and know that we knew each other in a way no one else in the world does. I believe God can redeem all the hard places--if this isn't how it went for you. But, if you are debating this decision...rest assured. It's well worth it.

29. No partner can ever complete you. Chris complements my weaknesses in unbelievable ways--and then some. And, we work well together as a team. But, he can not complete me. I think the year living alone in Dallas while I got my Master's degree was a really important time for me. God knew I needed that time to stand on my own two feet--with the help of my nearby grandparents who sometimes "cooked too much dinner" and had to bring me leftovers. Five years before that, I don't think I would have EVER imagined myself living in Dallas alone. But, I learned I could do it and I learned a lot about myself during that time on my own. Really important lessons to bring into marriage.

30. God opens doors that no one can close. As I wrapped up my Master's in Social Work, newly engaged and rather naive about the world, I looked ahead to the next chapter. I KNEW that I wanted to work in adoption. I had known that since my senior year at Baylor when I did a field placement at an adoption agency. I also knew that I might have to start somewhere else and gradually work toward that goal. So, I did the only thing I knew to do. I looked up adoption agencies in the yellow book, and I sent my resume to every one in the book. I mailed them off, praying that God would open doors. And I waited. Yep, God was just that sweet to me. I got an interview with The Gladney Center in Fort Worth. My first real interview ever led quickly to my first real job ever.

31. You really can grow up and be a princess! My wedding day--oh my goodness--my wedding day! My colors weren't blush and bashful. But, it was glorious. It meant so much more to me because we waited until just the right time to marry. And, our friends seemed to enjoy the celebration even more because they'd waited with us. It made it such a sweet day. My sister wisely told me that this would be the only time in my life that all those people who love me will be in the same place together for such an occasion. I think one of the happiest moments of my life was walking down that aisle to see tears in Chris' eyes at the sight of me. I felt like a princess.

32. Pleasing God is more important than pleasing anyone else. This life lesson is still hard for me, honestly. But, I learned one thing pretty quickly while working as an adoptive parent caseworker. You know--the old, you can't please all of the people all of the time. At some points, I had caseloads of 70 couples. These 70 couples were eventually matched up with birth parents who had parents and aunts and uncles and siblings. That is a lot of conflicting opinions and needs to try to negotiate. Add on top of that the need to please management and upper management. And, I fell short every time. After falling flat on my face pretty hard at one particular point, I had to do some soul searching. And, I decided that I could pick myself back up and press on in that demanding career if I got one priority straight. I would work heartily as for the Lord rather than man. And, as long as I was fixed on pleasing Him, I could press on.

INTENTIONAL challenge: Wow, what a reflective week I have had. I have found my mind wandering back to my life thus far--a bit like my life flashing before my eyes. But, it has been a great exercise. I guess if I had to sum up my graduate school, early marriage, and career days, I would say it was a time of learning more and more about fixing my eyes on Jesus. God blessed me with an amazing husband--exceedingly more than I could ask or imagine. And He allowed me to work in the very field that I had dreamed of. But, nothing and no one is ever perfect. Except Him. Nothing else can fulfill us. I know this. So, I am not sure why I keep trying, but thank goodness, I keep failing--because it's then that I turn back to Him.

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