Almost every day I step back in awe, wondering whose life I’m living. It can’t be mine because just yesterday (okay, it was a year ago) I was a single guy, living with five roommates, working my not-quite-dream job. I know there were times where I was struggling with the quarter-life crisis, wondering exactly what purpose there was for my life. Spiritually I was in a funk, not too passionate, but not walking away. I was pretty much just getting by. Little did I know what was in store.
In June, my fiancé and I were in the middle of our five-month short engagement. With so many details and so many things to worry about, time was not a luxury to be wasted. As I look back, being a completely involved groom made the summer a blur. I averaged 4 to 5 hours of sleep a night, but managed to survive. Luckily, some weekends were spent away from home relaxing (aggressively learning to wakeboard is surprisingly soothing).
Sept. 1 came and went faster than seemed possible. If we didn’t have a $500 photo album, I wouldn’t believe it happened. The wedding itself was the best I’ve ever been to, thanks to our families and some careful planning (see “Cheap Ways To Plan A Wedding”). Somehow, I was married. Me. The guy I always expected to be single. It all seemed like a dream.
The next day we left for our honeymoon in shock from our sudden lack of physical boundaries. The whole honeymoon was shock. For a whole week we lived a fantasy. By the end we were wondering what real married life was like. Still dumbfounded, we moved our things into our apartment. I was actually living with a girl. Being so conditioned, there were times I thought I was living in sin or getting away with something. This girl was really my wife.
Over time it became more of a reality. While every day was groundbreaking, adjusting to marriage took away some of the glamour. I knew how to live like a bachelor. I spent 25 years being single, but now my problems were hers, and hers mine. There were struggles with jobs and friendships, but our marriage got stronger through everything.
Then came the holidays. Both of us are close to our families, immediate and extended, and most of them live nearby. It’s all a haze—everything from Thanksgiving to Christmas became one two-month holiday: Christgiving. I think we celebrated Christmas five times. I’m not even sure. Our own special little Christmas was shared in about 12 minutes as we hurriedly shuffled out the door with presents piled high in our arms.
Oh wait, now I remember our Christmas. We decided not to buy gifts and take a trip. For Valentine’s we took a trip to Ireland. We managed to fly to Dublin for $99 each way. I don’t know how, and I don’t even want to. It just happened (see "Cheap Ways To Travel").
While Ireland itself was not a turning point, it sure seems like a marker of change. We began wrestling with major job decisions. Should I work for Tash’s dad? It would keep us from moving away to chase dreams. Changing from advertising to running a garage didn’t look very glamorous, but the long-term impact on our family—financially and relationally—couldn’t be better. Eventually I decided I would go. For Tash, an opportunity arose at our church as a ministry assistant for the high school ministry. I was a no-brainer dream job.
In the midst of job decisions, we started looking at houses. It was exciting and frustrating at the same time. With interest rates so low, everyone was looking to buy. That made prices shoot way up. Houses in our area and price range would be on the market for a few days with multiple offers. One house came on the market, and we happened to be the first couple to see it. We made an offer, and it was accepted hours before the open house.
Once again, we were mentally and emotionally in shock. Several weeks later, still in shock and disbelief, we were cleaning and painting our first home. Every day had something planned, whether it was one of two graduations or five weddings. We were reaching a breaking point. Even though we were with each other often, we were too busy and too stressed from all the changes. Then she got pregnant.
My exact words after seeing the test were: “Shut Up!” followed by laughter. The news pushed us over the edge, but it was just what we needed. Suddenly new jobs didn’t matter. A new house didn’t matter. What mattered was this little homey (that’s our affectionate term right now). Everything paled in comparison to this miracle growing inside my wife. I was able to stop and see God’s fingerprint.
There was just so much that had happened. I guess I had hoped for such blessings, but never truly believed they’d all come my way—certainly not within the course of a single year! But when I look back, God’s hand of provision was there at every step. He was there when we were frantically planning the wedding. He was there when we ignorantly stumbled through our honeymoon. He was there during the holidays and various trips. He was faithfully leading us through job situations and buying a house. He was there smiling at our shock of a new pregnancy. And it all came together in abrupt, yet carefully controlled timing. His timing. It was His purpose being played out. I can look back and say that even though I’ve felt lost at times, whether in marriage or my job or whatever, He’s been there.
I have to admit, I’m nervous about being a dad. I’m terrified of mortgage payments. I’m not even sure what I’m supposed to do at my new job. All that being said, I can stand firm. Only by His grace can I look back and see how He is always in control, even when I feel out of control. That makes me excited to see what He has in store for the next year.
[Nate Siebertis a happily married father-to-be from Milwaukee, Wis. Being a big kid, he loves playing with kids of all ages, all the time. He also loves writing about nothing in particular and watching the Green Bay Packers.]