On loving through the unexpected.

I've only been married a tiny ten months, but James and I have been through so much through these months. No, we don't have years of twists, turns, and growth. What we went through might seem minor in the scheme of things, but they felt major at the time.

We hardly got a second to bask in our newlywed bliss before the unexpected hit us in the face. Even on our wedding day. Don't get me wrong, our wedding was amazing and beautiful, but let's just say the reception could've been featured on some sort of wedding disaster show (I'm lookin' at you, caterer from hades).

Our honeymoon was everything I always wanted it to be. Long sunny days spent rotating between beaches and pools, books and fruity drinks in hand, and nights spent in dresses and heels eating crab with mango salsa overlooking the sunset. It was a dream. Until the day we were supposed to leave. All Jamaican airports were on strike. After being told by a gate agent that we were on our own for however long the air traffic controllers remained on strike, I found myself sitting crosslegged on the white tile floor of the Montego Bay airport, tears of fear and frustration streaming down my face while James navigated the throngs of angry travellers searching for a working pay phone. We had nowhere to go and no money.

Once we got home several days later {I'll write all about that fiasco later}, things were not easy. James was working at a job that paid horribly, and I couldn't find a job to save my life. We had enough money to pay the bills, but we could barely buy a loaf of bread. I was fresh out of a stressful last year of college and wedding planning. It was a year of the most intense pressure and stress I've ever experienced, and it had made me physically sick. For weeks after our honeymoon, I was so weak I could hardly get out of bed. All I wanted to do was sleep, but the more I laid in bed and on the couch, the more miserable I felt. I was cooped up in a less than desirable apartment. I rarely drove anywhere because I knew we couldn't afford the gas money. This was not the life I had pictured for myself. Not even close.

One muggy North Carolina summer morning, I drove to James's work to drop off something. I turned down the stereo when I noticed my dad calling me. It was unusual for him to call in the middle of the day. I pulled my little red car into a parking spot and told my dad everything that had been going on. I poured out my heart over my inability to find a job, my lonliness, and how badly I just wanted to move back to Ohio and start all over. The past few years had just felt like one thing after another. Like there's no rest for the weary. And my dad, in all his seemingly infinite wisdom, always says the perfect thing exactly when I need to hear it. I will never forget the moment, my legs were curled up, knees resting on the steering wheel. The air conditioner was doing it's best to keep up with the steamy heat outside. I was trying so desperately to keep the tears at bay when my dad explained that there will always be stressful situations. Always. Once you make it through one trial, there will always be another. Life is not smooth sailing. We have to learn how to thrive in these unexpected experiences. It hit me so hard. It sounds so silly, but I was living in the grass is always greener state of mind. Once I get a job/once we move/once I find better friends/etc everything would be ok again. It was discontenment. It was fear of everything not wrapped in ribbons and sunshine. A complete fear of the unexpected and disappointments in life.

A few weeks later, I got the call that changed everything. I was offered a job in Ohio. Exactly where I wanted to be. Only problem? We had three weeks to find a place to live, pack everything up, and move. But somehow we did it. Since then we've dealt with job changes, losing our health insurance, the death of James's dad, and so many other things. We have become well versed in the unexpected.

And when the unexpected hits, sometimes the only thing I can do is exactly what I did on the white tile floor of the Montego Bay airport. I have to pull out my Bible and soak in the truth. Soak in the truth that God has not left me or abandoned me. That He knew this would happen, and He also knows how it will end. That He knows my comings and goings. That He's holding me in the palm of His hand.

Only then can I be the partner James needs me to be. Only then can I encourage and love him the way he should be encouraged and loved, and vice versa. I have to choose to love him through everything. Through every event, we have to choose to let it unite us as a couple and not rip us apart. We have to come together and trust God. Because a cord of three strands is not easily broken.

linking up with Courtney, Morgan, and Gina for their marriage series.


  1. Gosh, Michelle, I can't tell you how glad I am that I found your blog. I needed this post today like you wouldn't believe.

  2. You are a daily source of inspiration :-)

  3. Thats so sweet :) Everything will work out in the end!
    So glad it has for you :)
    Amy xo

  4. Hi Michelle,
    I found this post and your blog through the commenter above (chambanchik) and as I read this post it brought tears to my eyes. I have been married 3 years now, but these past 3 years have been one things after another. In our first year of marriage I got pregnant, miscarried, got pregnant again, and found out I had thyroid disease. Our second year we spent preparing for our baby boy and when I had him my birth experience was pretty awful. I tore very very badly. It took them 2 hours to stitch me up and I was on bed rest for weeks. After that I dealt with one health problem after another all stemming from the pregnancy and birth and all the crazy hormones trying to find their place. Our third I found our my husband was going to be going on his first deployment and have been experiencing that and everything that comes with having your husband deployed and raising a baby by yourself.

    I say all that to say this. I am learning from these experiences. I have realized that like what your dad said there will always be these stressful situations in life, but it's how we deal with them that matters.

    Those last two paragraphs hit the nail on the head. Only when I have put my trust in God and have give over all my worries and frustrations over to him, then can I love my husband through all of this. Sometimes it's hard when he's exhausted and we barely get to talk because he is thousands of miles away, and I just don't know what to say, but God is giving me the strength to love through it all.

    Thank you so much for this post. I know this is going to encourage a lot of people including myself.

  5. Yikes! As I was reading this I pretty much thought I was reading my story. Minus some little details (oh... like Jamaican airport story?? What the heck that's horrible!!) I've pretty much gone through the same stuff. These tough times always bring me closer to God and it's gotten to the point where sometimes when something else ridiculous happens, I kind of get excited and think, "What's God going to do next...?" I don't know how people can live without God. I'd never make it through life.

  6. So glad I got a chance to read this Michelle! I had a long day today and trying to get ready for my trip but I was determined:) Gosh we had some similar tones in our posts didn't we...choosing to have faith and saying that there will always be SOMEthing, one thing will get cleared up and we will get through it and then something else will happen. ... interesting how we both touched on that. Thank you for sharing your heart with us , your dad, WHAT A GEM he is! He was so right and he was there for you when you needed him, that is so beautiful! All we need is constant new perspectives, ....I'm sorry you had to go through so much, but your faith got/gets you through and that shines and is evident!!!

  7. I really love this post, Michelle. And it's true. There will always be something "in the way" or something better. But happiness exists outside of those things. It exists in experiences, memories, and being surrounded by good people. Life is what you make of it.

    Also, I got married exactly 10 months ago today! Are we wedding twins?

  8. So encouraging. God is always there to bless us in times of need. Wishing the best for you!

  9. This made me cry. It really touched me in many ways and it amazes me how similar people's lives can be no matter what background, color or creed they are. Thanks for your honesty and hopefully only good things will come your way from now on x

  10. woman, i just keep reading these treasures thru your blog. you're so great. i think you and i would be great friends. so, come back to your homeland of California and we will make it happen :)

  11. Thank you for this! I love the way you write. And I just... AHHH I LOVE THIS BLOG

    But what I want to say is... wow, what your dad said just hit ME. It's like reinforcement of a bigger lesson I was learning earlier today. I've been waiting, waiting, waiting for this semester to finally be over. The end is in sight, I finished a couple of papers and I felt... nothing. No joyous relief that everything in my life was fixed or that I'm on the right path or whatever. Life is dealing with the stress and working through it... I think it's important that you've found someone you want to be around and be with even when things aren't perfect... and it makes me more grateful for my guy, too.




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