I often ask my online friends, “Do you remember how we first met?” because I have a memory that works in fits and starts. I’ve embarrassed myself on way too many occasions by forgetting something I ought not to have.
I distinctly remember the first interaction I had with Deborah. I was at a She Speaks conference in North Carolina with Gabe (well, he drove me to the conference and then made himself scarce at various NASCAR tracks and shops). This conference is where I met Sophie for the first (and only–boo!) time and Melanie (sort of, we didn’t really “meet”) for the first of three times.
Gabe and I were in the hotel room, and I got all excited because a gal named Deborah had e-mailed me about ordering multiple copies of my books. I had just asked God to provide for our financial needs, and I saw this as part of his answer. I can’t remember the details perfectly, but I do know that Deborah told me she was single and was buying the books for a bunch of her married or soon-to-be-hitched friends.
Awhile later, she sent me an e-mail and said something to the effect of, “I read your Blushing Bride book and for the first time in my life, I feel perfectly content being single. Thank you for painting such a realistic picture of marriage. So many times, those of us who aren’t married imagine that marriage is nothing but amazing and dreamy and romantic. Thanks for showing me that’s not really true.”
In other words, thanks for bursting my bubble and scaring me from EVER EVER EVER getting married. Is it really going to be that AWFUL?!? Oh, the horror! (no, I’m sure she didn’t mean it like that).
Over the next three years, Deborah became such a huge encouragement to me in so many ways. For one thing, she kept on buying more and more books. The girl has a million friends. But more importantly, she would pray for me, ask me how I was doing, send little messages that blessed me like crazy.
And this past weekend? I got to meet Deborah in real life when I spoke at her church’s Women’s Retreat. (Please ignore my hair. I put it in a ponytail for my last speaking session, but when we took the pic the first time it looked like I was bald, so I took it out. Nice.)
She was even more wonderful and beautiful and awesome in person. I kid you not. This woman is a treasure. I didn’t get to talk to her before I started speaking (she and her friends were just the teensiest bit late), so I met her for the first time after I’d already gotten up in front of everyone. I paused for a big hug, and it was fabulous. We got to chat at the end, and she walked me out to my van.
After one of the sessions, a gal came up to me and introduced herself as Sharon, Deborah’s friend. “Deborah gave me your Changing the World One Diaper at a Time book before I got pregnant with my first,” she said. She now had two boys, ages 2 and baby. “I’ll be honest,” she said, “when Deborah asked me if I liked the book I told her that, actually, I thought it was kind of depressing.”
“I mean, I still wanted to have kids and everything, but… Maybe I should read it again now that I’m a mom. I’d probably like it a lot more.”
I told her that I understood. My Blushing book had scared Deborah away from marriage. My Diapers book scares not-yet-moms into using birth control. Deborah came over then and we all had a good laugh about it.
If you’ve read the books as a wife or mom, you probably “got” them. And you probably weren’t depressed so much as relieved that you weren’t the only one having a little bit of a rough time being married or having a baby.
But put yourself in a single gal’s shoes. Or someone who doesn’t have kids yet. A realistic picture of marriage and motherhood can be a frightening thing. That’s kind of why we don’t tell brides-to-be and expectant mamas the whole truth. We want them to actually tie the knot and bear young. Or more truthfully, we want them to suffer like we’ve suffered (kidding!).
I hope you know that I absolutely love being a wife and mama more than I could ever say. And I can’t thank God enough for blessing me with Gabe and my girlies, who make my “job” so much sweeter. They rock my world.
But I’m still gonna be real, even if it turns people off. So, I guess I should be marketing my book to my single friends. “Hey! You think you want a husband? Read this, why don’tcha?”
Have a great weekend, friends! Whatever stage of life you’re in, embrace it as best you can. I don’t mean you should settle. Just determine to be content, but take lots of big, scary, fun leaps of faith too. You won’t regret it.