In 1996, my parents ruined my life.
It was the summer between my eighth grade and freshman year and things were stressful enough (what am I going to wear the first day of high school? will I be able to open my locker? why are my parents making me ride the bus??) when we changed churches, going from a church of one hundred people to one with over a thousand every Sunday.
And I didn’t know anyone and hated everyone I met. It was a hard transition for someone who had gone to the same school her whole life and had never had to make new friends or put herself out there. It sucked and I was pretty sure my life was over.
This was also when I started carrying a purse to church. Which should have been a red flag for my parents that their tomboy daughter carried a purse only to church.
But it was the perfect place to hide my Game Boy so I could pretend to go to Sunday school class but really go sit in the bathroom stall and play Tetris.
I can’t make this stuff up.
I hated that church, those people, that place, so much.
But my parents didn’t listen to my protests, they felt this was the place for our family and they were making friends, getting connected, and thriving.
And that just pissed me off more.
Fast forward seventeen years and I am married to a man I met at that church. Whom I married at that church. That church that played such a key role in my high school years. Where I made lifelong friends, where I learned what real faith was and what it wasn’t. Where I lost my way and finally made it back. That church and those people that loved me when I didn’t love myself, when I wasn’t very lovable. That church where we’re raising our kids.
What I thought was completely ruined was only just beginning.
And the same is true for my sister.
Today, she marries a man that she met, years ago, at that church.
Life doesn’t always turn out the way you planned, but that doesn’t mean it’s ruined. What seems like chaos and mess and endless hurt can be made beautiful again.
Today my sister, who has always been beautiful, will be glowing as she marries the right man this time in a field out in the middle of nowhere.
What seemed, just a few short years ago, as the worst possible end, was really, just another great beginning.
And proof that God is good in spite of ourselves.
And I’m so thankful.