Last night during prayers, husband said something that made me think. I listened to him and sort of stepped out of my own head. I looked in from the outside and realized that what was in front of me didn't look very familiar. The boy on the bed, the dog on the floor, the belly hiding my legs- none of it looked like the picture I've had in my head all my life. Sure, marriage and children has been my dream since I could dream, but the actual details of the picture, it looks different. I can't really explain it. It's a little surreal.
After many years in a long relationship that came to an abrupt, if slightly expected end, I attempted the dating scene in Atlanta. I wouldn't recommend it. I prayed and God answered, much more quickly than I expected. And admittedly, this new person took some getting used to. He was different in every way than anyone I had ever dated. That's not to say that he was the holy grail and guys of the past were bad. I really love the cheesy country song, "God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you." Some of those paths were broken and some of them were exactly the steps I needed to take to get to this unexpected picture. But the boy who would become the main fixture in my picture is different. He is not 'Southern,' in the UGA frat boy sense. (I still love a Georgia frat boy. Bring on the croakies and boat shoes please.) He has never driven a truck (don't get me started on his car though ;), or worked on a farm. And while I find him immensely charming, he has a a directness to him, a huge, tornado like presence that can shade his gentleness. He is exactly the man I never knew I needed.
And this life we are creating, it it unlike the picture as well. I did not foresee that I would become a mother (well, become pregnant) so effortlessly. My painting never included a dog of any sort nor a home with black leather sofas (love you babe!). But now, this dog has cuddled me on the kitchen floor and let me cry into him when Grady days became too rough or baby hormones won for the day. And these sofas, while I can't wait to put them in a basement, are cool on these hot summer days as we attempt to save money in energy costs. And this baby- well, this baby- it's the best part of the painting that I wouldn't have dared be to so bold to put in my picture a few years ago.
It has been a whirlwind. I met my husband months after a very long relationship and honestly, just weeks after final, final strings had been cut from that season in my life. We went from dating to 'we're going to marry each other' in another few short months and were engaged shortly after that. We had, you guessed it, a short engagement and were pregnant a month after our wedding. My heart beats faster just thinking about it. I am not at all a decisive person, so all these big changes in life leave me breathless at times still. I am thankful that I wasn't completely in charge of all these decisions. I don't know that I would have had the courage.
On our wedding day, I took a moment to myself in the back of the church. The person at the end of the aisle, the life awaiting me, was still so surreal- so unfamiliar almost. I had a moment with Jesus and, as hokey as it sounds, felt the most enormous peace wash over me. I felt God affirm that, yes, Keri, this picture looks different from the one YOU created in your head all those years. But the picture in front of you is the one I have chosen for you. Walk down the aisle and trust this new picture. I have told Ross that every day of this marriage, I have grown to love him more. And that has been an answer to an intentional and passionate prayer. I knew that walking down the aisle to him was an act of faith and that the Lord would reward that faith with a new, more intense love for this man every day. And reward me He has.
And while every once in awhile, like last night, I look at this belly and this man and this life and think 'whoa!', I fall asleep so thankful that I am not the one holding the paintbrush.