Touché, God, touché.
There’s something about this guy that just makes me weak in the knees... & it’s not just because our story started off like a Nicholas Sparks novel. It’s because once the novelty of everything wore off... he was still who he said he would be.
Jay & I technically knew of each other for years. But we never knew each other. He was a boy’s boy. Actually... *my man’s* man. I’m serious. He was one of my husband’s best buddies. But... for whatever reason (( call it coincidence if you want... I’ll call it divine intervention )), the three of us just never hung out.
When my best friend & husband, Nick, passed away from cancer at 27 years old, just 12 days after Christmas 2013... I was devastated. Words quite literally cannot describe the pain. A widowed single mom with a 9 month old baby girl at the age of 26, I was literally living my worst nightmare.
Fast forward 18 months & throw in:
#1 - an incurable autoimmune disease (which I was diagnosed with only after seeing doctors for strange symptoms for over 8 years)... #2 - two major moves across the country from coast to coast & back again... #3 - a spiritual journey unlike any other where I stripped my faith down to nothing, in order to build it back up on TRUTH instead of hope... #4 - an eventual desire to LIVE life again & really show up... PLUS a few thousand diapers.
&&& you’d find me renting a house in Seattle with my 2.5 year old daughter Austyn, who refused to put on pants, laughed louder than anyone I know, & had her fathers eyes.
I wasn’t searching for a relationship at all by that point. In fact, I was just trying to find a church that saw God the way I saw Him now... but, that was when Jay, entirely unexpectedly & absolutely irrevocably, entered into my life.
Things would never be the same.
Our relationship was NOT perfect. Still isn’t. Every chapter doesn’t read like a sappy fairytale by any means, but... I love the hard parts of it just as much. Because, at the end of the day, at the end of every hard thing, he’s there fighting for me. Lifting me up. Being daddy to Nick & I’s little love & now daddy to our second little one. He’s here on my good days. And my bad days. Praying beside me. Holding me up.
To think I didn’t even like him in the first place. To think I told my husband that they shouldn’t even be friends. To think I told God that there was NO WAY He could change someone like Jay. TO THINK that YEARS later, entirely unrelated, I would challenge God to make something “good” with the crappy grief laden hand I’d be dealt... to KNOW all of that & then end up seeing God move in both of those challenges. Taking me up on it. “Wanna bet?! Watch me make this all... WHOLE.” Two birds, same stone.
Touché, God, touché.
It still doesn’t all make perfect sense. And on this side of Heaven, I’m not sure it ever will. But all the clues along the way... all the crazy things that had to line up to get me to here... where I run a busy online business with my second husband, where we try hard to be our best selves every day & where we serve as much as we can in all the ways we think we are being called.
I wrote an entire book on this process, on the things that had to line up for me to meet & marry my first love, on his crazy battle with a rare cancer, on what love after loss really looks like. I want to share it with you. Not because I think this story is better than Mr. Sparks’ (( necessarily )) but because it’s ENTIRELY, almost UNFATHOMABLY... true. 💕