I heard tons of great advice and lots of great points that I hadn’t thought about before at the conference. Even heard some hard to hear facts about why some marriages fail. And I say ‘hard to hear’ because it basically felt like the speaker was telling my story to thousands of people. I felt raw and exposed. I also felt overwhelming joy that the light is being shed on that darkness… TO THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. The right thing isn’t always the easy thing, ya know.
Anyway, there was this segment of the conference where the speaker had certain people stand up in the room to give visual representation to a statistic he was about to share. Things like 2/3 of men look at porn on a monthly basis (ouch) and 97% of women struggle with body image in some capacity (ouch again). And trust me, those two stats are dramatically intertwined. But one thing this guy shared was something I’ve heard hundreds of times in church over the years and yet it hit my ears differently in that moment– every single person on this planet has purpose. We are not accidents. We can’t possibly give birth to an accident. He talked about the statistics of “oops babies.” At this point, my brain took a bit of a hiatus from the speaker and rabbit trailed for a minute. I was thinking that while those parents maybe didn’t PLAN to get pregnant, that child was still knit together with the same intentionality as the child whose parents tried for months or years to conceive. God hand selected that child be born to that set of parents at exactly that time. Order! I like that…
I grew up knowing full well I was an “oops baby.” High school kids don’t plan pregnancy all that often, at least not rationally. And my mom would have had a much different life had she decided not to keep the fetus growing inside her at the age of 15. My parents were honest about it to me. I was an accident… to them. But God put me on this planet at exactly that time. Order. Purpose.
So, I was sitting at the conference, and there was a short intermission where a game was being played that didn’t require my attention. I was still thinking about this concept of accident to my mom but on purpose to God. I wondered if my mom ever thought about that. I wondered if she thought that there was some thing purposeful that would come from her hard times. Did she ever wonder what it would be? And I began to think of my own situation… having a son in a completely broken and unhealthy relationship… now raising him as a single mom. Where is the purpose in that pain? My mom could have had a MUCH easier life without becoming a mom at 16. A lot of pain came her way in that season, I’m sure. And I experienced the most painful time in my life inside my toxic marriage that has left my son in a single parent home.
There was also a lot of “team talk” as you’d expect at a marriage conference. As a family unit, we are on the same team and each player is necessary. Each child born is an addition to the team that is needed to fill a hole that existed before – to purposefully fit. The team was missing something before and God said, “I got it, you need THIS child.” Not a child. THIS one. Maybe I’m going to do something big in my life and the timing was just so, so that my mom needed to have me while still being in high school. Or maybe that big thing I’m going to do was to grow up, get married and have Liam, despite all the hard times that would follow because it’s Liam that is going to do something big. Or maybe its even bigger than all that. Its all connected. Its all purposed. And its all God’s plan.
It can get really overwhelming to think about it all – what that purposeful plan could be. However, I decided I really like looking back on something and examining how it played out. Track with me for just a second…
I’ve been meeting with and speaking love and truth into women on a weekly basis. These are women who have been hurt by betrayal and/or trauma in their marriage and have found the incredible courage to reach out. Even in the past 24 hours, I was contacted again. And I gracefully accept that this is where God has me right now. Walking with those that are hurting so they can know that they do NOT have to walk this out alone. I am honored. We are on the same TEAM and our paths did not cross by accident. Okay… so I’m talking with these ladies who have been hurt how I’ve been hurt and I’m instantly thankful for the birth of my son who I ultimately decided to leave my marriage for – for his emotional safety growing up because I wasn’t ready to fight for my own safety… my child saved my life. So did my mom struggle as a teen mom so that I could ultimately show women Jesus by loving them in a dark time? Was Liam’s birth part of that plan, an extra nudge in the right direction? It sure feels like it. And I am even more sure that the plan is even bigger still. Bigger for my mom, bigger for me and bigger for Liam. Because I just went to a marriage conference about building a healthy future and saw purpose in my past through generations. That guy I’m head over heels for, he’s in my future – we’re building a team together, and its our responsibility to take our past experiences, sort through them together safely and honor them and their purpose, so we can honor the Lord together.
I can’t speak to knowing the purpose God has in my future marriage, but it will sure be fun to look back on that marriage, 10, 20, and 30 years down the road and see purpose in hindsight. I’m not going to let the unknown overwhelm me, I don’t have to KNOW the purpose. I just have to honor God and honor my man. God’s plan will play itself out and add to the story.